The Line that Lies Within: Form and Poetics in the Pricke of Conscience (Kalamazoo, May 2015)

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MARS (Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Purdue)
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The Line that Lies Within: Form and Poetics in the Pricke of Conscience

The Pricke of Conscience is a work that has garnered increased attention over the past several years with scholars taking note of the text's visceral images, complex theological implications, and extensive manuscript circulation. Howell Chickering and Moira Fitzgibbons, in particular, have explored the Pricke of Conscience's poetic and rhetorical properties as a way to analyze the text's engagement with matters of sin, salvation, and the Final Judgment. Chickering, for example, argues that the text differs from other late medieval didactic works in its rhetorical emphasis. He states that "many passages are explicitly designed to stimulate physical fear (ME. 'drede') in the reader or hearer as a first step toward contrition" ("Rhetorical Stimulus" 193). This panel continues the focus on the poetic and rhetorical properties of the Pricke of Conscience, asking how questions of form can deepen our understanding of the text's theological, didactic, and cultural resonances. Papers might examine the Pricke author's creative reworking of his source texts, representations of hearing and seeing in the text and their relationships to form, intersections between form and self-knowing, explorations of the text's visceral poetics, questions of whether the text is worthy of literary study, etc. We invite any work that explores issues of form in the Pricke of Conscience in connection with broader concerns of style, content, and context (both religious and cultural).

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here: to Shaun Hughes ( by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.