Experiencing Anglo-Norman Law: Facts and Fictions" NeMLA, March 21-24, 2013 Submission Deadline Sept. 30, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Laura J. Shafer, University of Connecticut
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While a great deal of research has focused on the history of English law, recent work has begun to focus on how medieval English peoples experienced law in the course of their lives. Manorial rolls, parliamentary rolls, the rolls of the King's and Common Benches, and other administrative sources are plentiful; from these emerge skeletal narratives of wrongs done and justice sought. The literature of this time offers another window onto the workings of the legal system and the perceptions of those seeking justice. Chronicles, poetry and treatises offer insight into such ideals as the king as the fount of justice, the necessity for him to heed the advice of his councilors, the availability of the law to all of his subjects, and the essential nature of law in establishing peace and order. And in the face of these ideals, literature presents images of how quotidian reality all too often falls short.
This panel proposes to examine perceptions of law as seen through the documentary and literary sources of the Anglo-Norman period (including the Angevins and Plantagenets). Outlaw poetry, trials for treason and trespass, the debat of "The Owl and the Nightingale" and the examination of legal terminology in "Des Grantz Geanz" are but some examples. Located with the recent focus of law as encountered by individuals, this is a timely and provocative topic.
Please submit all proposals to Laura Shafer, University of Connecticut, themomms@snet.net by September 30, 2013.