Loving and Hating Lydgate - Kalamazoo 2016

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Lydgate Society
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In its five hundred years of reception, responses to John Lydgate's poetry have varied between extremes. Early regard for Lydgate appears in such places as Stephen Hawes' Pastime of Pleasure, where the monk is canonized alongside Chaucer and Gower and at greater length than either of the other poets. By contrast, Joseph Ritson describes Lydgate in 1802 as a "voluminous, prosaick, and driveling monk." This comment has formed a flashpoint in Lydgate studies for both those who would dismiss and those who would defend this poet. Renoir, Schirmer, Pearsall, and Patterson provide a wide-ranging sampling of these perspectives. The emotional element of these perspectives continues to characterize much of the discussion of Lydgate as scholars have begun to reassess his work in the last few decades. But what has caused these extreme swings in perception of Lydgate? This session will seek insight into this question through papers that examine historical and historiographical shifts in how Lydgate has been perceived. Its focus will be not so much on reasons to "love" or "hate" Lydgate as shifts between how his work has been received.

Individuals interested in giving a paper for this session should submit a one page abstract and completed Participant Information Form (PIF) to Alaina Bupp (University of Colorado Boulder) and Tim Jordan (Ohio University Zanesville) at lydgatesociety@gmail.com. Paper proposals should arrive by September 1, 2015. Copies of the PIF can be downloaded from the congress's webpage: http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html.