Monastic Literary Production for Lay Audiences in the Late Middle Ages

full name / name of organization: 
Brandon Alakas and Stephanie Morley

Call for Papers

48th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
May 9-12, 2013

This session aims to provoke discussion of the vital role monastic culture played in contributing to forms of lay piety in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a period that we refer to as the "long fifteenth century" in England. While much scholarly attention has been paid to reevaluating vernacular literature written during this period, this panel will focus exclusively on devotional texts written by religious authors for lay consumption. Seeking to further undermine dominant historical narratives, which view late medieval monastic culture as moribund, recent work has tended to focus on elite religious foundations, such as Syon Abbey and St Albans Monastery. This session will consider the role that individual monastic authors played as conduits for the transmission of religious culture to lay readers as a more general phenomenon within the evolution of English religious culture.

Religious writing produced between 1410 and 1530 has traditionally been dismissed as derivative, reactionary or, perhaps most damning, "dull," and this session will challenge this persistent view by acknowledging the importance of devotional literature to the substantial expansion of vernacular literacy in England during the period. Furthermore, by recognizing the continuum between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, we invite scholars to consider the ways in which these texts take up ideas that query a traditional medieval/early modern divide

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a completed Participant Information Form to either co-organizer of this session by 15 September 2012. Electronic submissions are preferred.

Brandon Alakas
Department of English
Royal Military College of Canada
P.O. Box 17000, Stn. Forces
Kingston, Ontario K7K 7B4

Stephanie Morley
Department of English
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3