Kalamazoo 2013: The Righteous Heathen in Medieval England
From Chaucer's Theseus to the popular heathen knight Ferumbras the character type of righteous heathen captured the imagination of audiences in medieval England. Using heathen characters that ranged from Greek emperors to Muslim knights, authors sought to represent a variety of concerns. In this way, the righteous heathen became a critical (or propagandistic) space for such broad projects as: defining nationality, developing cultural and historical relationships with the Roman Empire and thinking through complex eschatological problems. Broadly, this panel discussion will examine the use of the righteous heathen character in English literature. Panel papers might investigate the development of this character type within the English literary tradition as well as contrast it to its continental counterparts. More specifically the panel will focus on the critical function of these pagan figures and examine how authors used this character type to address a variety of literary and cultural themes.
We welcome all submissions that explore the development and fictional uses of the righteous heathen in English literature. Please submit a 250-word abstract of your paper, along with a filled out participant form (found at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html) and email them to William Driscoll at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15, 2012.