Rereading John Skelton (NeMLA 2013, abstracts by Sept 30, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Tristan Samuk, University of Toronto

Call for Papers

Rereading John Skelton

44th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 21-24, 2013
Boston, Massachusetts
Host Institution: Tufts University

As Logan and Greenblatt's headnote in the Norton Anthology informs readers, "John Skelton was not a tame poet." In many ways this evaluation is characteristic of Skelton's entire reception history. From detractors like George Puttenham, who derided his poetry as "pleasing onely to the popular eare," to modern admirers like Robert Graves, who praised him for being "no monstrous Milton," readers and critics have often found it easier to discuss what Skelton's poems fail to do rather than what they actually accomplish. By inviting papers that attempt to evaluate Skelton's astonishingly original poems on their own terms, this panel will aim to challenge the long critical tradition of reading and teaching Skelton as a negative example or as an anachronistic hold-over from the fifteenth century. Perhaps more than any other literary works of the early Tudor period, poems like "The Bowge of Court," "Collyn Cloute," and "Phyllyp Sparowe" offer remarkable insight into the anxieties surrounding the emergence of the early modern state in England and the drastic social changes that occurred during the reign of Henry VIII. With the goal of reading Skelton as a sophisticated poet in his own right, and not simply a stylistic foil for writers like More, Wyatt, and Surrey, this panel hopes to attract papers that challenge traditional notions of periodization and canon formation. It will also emphasize, as A. C. Spearing asserts, the importance of understanding Skelton as a writer for whom the terms "Medieval" and "Renaissance" would have had no meaning. Topics may include (but are not limited to) Skelton's formal innovations, his relation to popular verse and ecclesiastical satire, the political struggles of the 1520s, Skelton's ambivalent relationship with the church and state, as well as his tumultuous reception history. Please send 250- to 300-word abstracts to Tristan Samuk, University of Toronto,

Deadline: September 30, 2012

Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
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A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 2013 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. The 44th annual event will be held in historic Boston, Massachusetts, a city known for its national and maritime history, academic facilities and collections, vibrant art, theatre, and food scenes, and blend of architecture. The Convention, located centrally near Boston Commons and the Theatre District at the Hyatt Regency, will include keynote and guest speakers, literary readings, film screenings, tours and workshops.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.