Medievalist Fantasies of Christendom: The Use of the Medieval as a Christian Apologetic (9/20; Kalamazoo 2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Cory Lowell Grewell
contact email: 

46th International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 12-15, 2011)

This panel will analyze in detail how medieval imagery and literary technique is used as Christian apologetic in the works of the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their lot). Papers should go beyond pointing out the sometimes obvious fact that imaginative works by the Inklings in fact DO use the medieval as apologetic (Narnia Chronicles), and focus on how they use a particular medievalism to advance a particular Christian polemic. Under this still broad umbrella, questions that might be explored include but are by no means limited to the following: How authentic is the usage of the medieval in any given work or author to the Middle Ages, and what bearing does this authenticity have on the author's implicit or explicit apologetic stance? To what extent does an evocation of the cultural trappings of medieval Christendom constitute a Christian apologetic, if at all? In the context of modern Christian pluralism (Catholic and several flavors of Protestant), what version of "Christendom" is being evoked, and how does a given author's doctrinal position influence his or her reading of the medieval? Can one say that the medievalism of the Inklings consitutes even a loosely coherent literary phenomenon, and if it does, how does the medievalism of the Inklings compare with the medievalisms of other Moderns (Eliot's usage of medieval imagery in The Waste Land, for instance)? To what extent, if at all, is there a natural synthesis between the medieval and Christianity/Christendom?

Please send your abstracts (250-300 words) by September 20, 2010, to Dr. Cory Lowell Grewell ( Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the organizers.