Sell it in Seven: Close Readings of 15th Century Political Poetry

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Oregon Medieval English Literature Society
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Close readings of fifteenth-century political poetry followed by roundtable discussion by presenters.

The fifteenth century is often seen as a lost century between Chaucer and Shakespeare; its poets are treated as propagandists for the Lancastrian regime (a view often referred to as the Lancastrian thesis). This session aims to create a forum for new political readings of fifteenth-century poetry. We are looking for presentations that focus on a short passage of a text so that audiences that are unfamiliar with the work can be actively engaged. Presenters should limit their remarks to a maximum of ten minutes (preferably seven). The close-reading structure and time restrictions of the session will help maximize the audience participation in this session. By increasing audience participation and keeping the presentations extremely focused (vis-a-vis close readings), this session provides the perfect space to test and develop new approaches to fifteenth-century political poetry. All submissions should be focused around politics and poetry, so that the papers in this session will be in conversation with each other. As such, this session will produce alternatives or at least alterations to the Lancastrian thesis. Hopefully, the brevity of the presentations will encourage many new approaches to poets who have been lost in the shuffle.

This session is sponsored by the Oregon Medieval English Literature Society (OMELS). Please send a completed participant information form (available at and an abstract of no more than 500 words to William Driscoll ( by September 15. Abstracts not accepted for this session will be forwarded to the Congress Committee for consideration in general sessions.