Medieval Romance Kalamazoo 2015

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Medieval Romance Society
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Call for Papers: Medieval Romance Society, Kalamazoo ICMS 2015

How do we think about things? Scholarship's recent "material turn" offers an exciting new focus on things that forces us to rethink romance's well-recognised but under theorised relationship with stuff: in particular, the trappings of courtly and chivalric life (costly fabrics, rich foodstuffs, glittering jewels, shining weapons, luxury furnishings) and the thing-ness or object-ness of the texts themselves, whether books or booklets, loose leaves or other fragments, some extravagantly decorated, others poor and tatty.

The Medieval Romance Society invites papers for three inter-related sessions that explore and interrogate the wealth of material culture that contains, or is contained by, medieval romance, i.e. both within the romance narratives and in their physical, manuscript materiality. These sessions will focus on:
The (Im)materiality of the Book: romance and its medium
Romancing the Material: material culture's presence in romances
Material Afterlives: the narrative goes forth

These three foci are designed to allow for a nuanced and exciting exploration of how romance narratives are affected by their materiality, and how they, in turn, can shape material culture.

Potential topics could include (but are not limited to):

The romance book as object
Immateriality of the digital romance text or romance manuscript
Cultures of reading or methods of visual processing
Manuscript presentation rituals
Romance manuscript codicology and fabric
The relationship between the narrative content and manuscript physicality
Electronic editions
The role of the modern reader
Rethinking the function of material objects in romance
Historically informed close studies of specific items or scenes
Armour and weaponry
Medieval textiles and fabrics
The impact of furnishings in constructing romance settings
The contemporary role of foodstuffs and spices
Romance beyond the book
Engagement between romances and the wider world
Contemporary influence on material objects
Images or depictions of romance in tapestries
Statues or images of romance heroes
Romance's influence on postmedieval material culture

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Jenn Bartlett at by 14th September 2014