Between Europe and England: Early Middle English Sermons in a European Context for International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo,

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Dorothy Kim/Early Middle English Society
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n the last generation, scholars such as Bella Millett have begun to look at the English of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries not as a last gasp of an Old English wiped out by the Norman Conquest, nor as a precursor to the language of Gower and Chaucer, but on its own terms. In recent years, one genre of literature in particular to have received attention is the Middle English sermon written before about 1300. Many early Middle English sermons reflect not a native English style of preaching or composition, but rather a borrowing from continental models. Indeed, as Latin sermons made the transition from the homiletic exegesis of scripture to the so-called sermo modernus in the twelfth century, their Middle English and Anglo-Norman counterparts followed the same course.

This scholarly ground, however, has only recently been broken. More work on the relations between the Latin sermons reflecting the mainstream of twelfth- and thirteenth-century theology and sermons in Middle English would inform scholars of both Middle English and the Latin sermon traditions of the relationship between the oral and written, between Latin and the vernacular. It can also show how even at the ebb of its prestige as a language, the English language was tied into the European mainstream in a way that was anything but insular.

Deadline: Sept. 25, 2013.