Medievalist Fantasies of Christendom: The Medieval as a Christian Apologetic in the Inklings (Kalamazoo 2011; 9/15)

full name / name of organization: 
Cory Lowell Grewell
contact email: 

Papers in this panel will analyze in detail how medieval imagery and literary technique is used as Christian apologetic in the works of the Inklings. Papers should go beyond a simple notation of the usage of medieval imagery as apologetic, e.g. the medievalism of Lewis's Narnia Chronicles, and explore how the medieval imagery results in a Christian polemic and of what kind. Under this broad umbrella, there are several questions that might be explored, which might be important to a better understanding of the medievalisms of the Inklings: How authentic is the usage of the medieval in any given work or author to the Middle Ages, and what bearing does this authenticity have on the author's implicit or explicit apologetic stance? To what extent does an evocation of the cultural trappings of medieval Christendom constitute a Christian apologetic, if at all? In the context of modern Christian pluralism (Catholic and several flavors of Protestant), what version of "Christendom" is being evoked, and how does a given author's doctrinal position influence his or her reading of the medieval? Can one say that the medievalism of the Inklings consitutes even a loosely coherent literary phenomenon, and if it does, how does the medievalism of the Inklings compare with the medievalisms of other Moderns (Eliot's usage of medieval imagery in The Waste Land, for instance)? To what extent, if at all, is there a natural synthesis between the medieval and Christianity/Christendom?

The above questions are by no means a comprehensive boundary for the types of exploration invited here. Proposals and abstract (250-300 words) should be sent to Prof. Cory Lowell Grewell at by September 15th.