“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”: Love and Sight in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer McDermott/ University of Toronto
contact email: 
jennifer.rae.mcdermott@gmail.com

The University of Toronto's Early Modern Studies Seminar (EMSS) seeks papers for its upcoming graduate conference, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”: Love and Sight in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature, to be held April 22 and 23rd 2010. This is an interdisciplinary conference welcoming papers from all fields of study.

We are very pleased to announce the plenary speakers for this conference will be Professor Suzanne Akbari (University of Toronto), who will speak on “The Geometry of Love,” and Professor Katherine Rowe (Bryn Mawr College), who will speak about "Architectures of Shakespearean Desire: Virtual Globe Theaters from Hollar to Second Life.”

Correlations between love and sight abound in the late medieval and early modern periods, but perhaps the most familiar relationship between the two is causative: that one sees before one loves, and one loves what one sees. Even causation between love and sight proves dynamic and capable of reversal, however, indicating that a wide range of relationships exist between love and sight - and between loving subject and beloved object - in these periods.

Of course, correlations between love and sight extend beyond the immediate expression of erotic or romantic love. Love and sight play important roles in religious devotion, and the gods wreak havoc with both the sense and the emotion. Descriptions like blazon and ekphrasis work to convey sensory/emotional experience in language, and media like illustration, illumination, performance, film, etc. impact the viewer’s experience of a text. Likewise, optics and humoral psychophysiology inform and historicize tropes of love and sight in provocative ways.

This conference is eager to explore how late medieval and early modern writers imagine and describe the relationships between love and sight. Possible topics for this conference include:

- Apparitions, ghosts, projections and visitations
- Blazon, ekphrasis and other description
- Blindness
- Dreams, illusions, hallucinations, visions, etc.
- Film/new media adaptation
- Humoralism
- Icons, illustration, illumination, portraits, emblems, etc.
- Language
- Light/darkness
- Optics
- Performance
- Perspective
- Physiology
- Religious devotion
- Space/spatiality
- Subject-/objectivity
- Time/temporality

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words. The submission deadline is Friday, January 15, 2010. Please submit your proposals to: emss.conference@gmail.com

cfp categories: 
graduate_conferences
medieval
renaissance
theatre