Neighboring Genres (Kalamazoo, May 9-12, 2013)

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International Piers Plowman Society (IPPS)
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James Simpson has observed that Langland “often merges recognizable genres in one sequence of his poem . . . often with the effect of creating poetry that is distinctively Langlandian, and beyond the reach of traditional generic categories.” How then do we talk about genre and Piers Plowman? As Simpson notes, the poem sows affiliations with a vast array of literary as well as expository and didactic forms of writing. This panel invites papers that examine these "neighboring genres" within Piers Plowman, among associated texts, and in its manuscript contexts. What is the effect of the layering or serial appropriation of genres within the poem? How does Langland’s handling of genre compare to others of its kind? What do the generic traits of its manuscript neighbors suggest about its audiences’ expectations and affinities? Paper topics might include, but are not limited to: Langland’s use of particular genres in unexpected contexts or to new purposes; generic influences whose presence and function in the poem has not yet been fully understood; intertextual studies of Piers Plowman and other works that share particular generic traits; examinations of specific manuscript contexts, such as genre in compilations like the Vernon Manuscript or Cambridge University Library Dd 1.17; the repeated associations of Piers Plowman and particular texts, such as Mandeville’s Travels, or types of texts, like the historical romance; generic mismatches or dissonance within the poem or within its contextual settings; and studies of the appearance of particular genres or generic discourses within the poem, such as debate, lyric, romance, liturgy, personification allegory, estates satire, sermon, religious polemic, petitionary, legal, and other bureaucratic forms, historical narrative, prophesy, and apocalypse, to name a few.

Send abstracts of ca. 300 words, or any queries, to Rebecca Davis ( by September 15.

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