Land and Language in Layamon’s Brut

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
International Layamon's Brut Society/Kalamazoo 2018
contact email: 

The International Layamon's Brut Society is accepting proposals for the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13, 2018, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.  

Land and Language in Layamon’s Brut

Compared to his precursors Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wace, thirteenth-century English historian-poet Layamon shows demonstrably greater concern for the fate of the land in his verse history of Britain, the Brut.  The text’s emphasis on conquest and the foundation of kingdoms, repeated references to changes in place names, amplified descriptions of landscapes, and other methods combine to enhance the poetic and rhetorical weight of Layamon’s depictions of the British land, which in some ways becomes analogous to his historical-poetic text.  This heightened interest and the reasons that underlie it have led to a great deal of scholarly discussion both about Layamon’s treatment of the land and about his use of land as a literary trope. Recent scholarly work on this subject—seven essays related to land or landscape, for instance, in a recent collection (Reading Layamon’s Brut: Approaches and Explorations)—evidences the significance of this topic. The proposed session seeks papers that will build upon and expand these discussions, welcoming proposals that offer new approaches to land and its relation to language in Layamon’s Brut and possibly in analogous Brut texts.  Some potential topics include: the symbolic nature of place names, land as metaphor for historical composition, treatment of conquest and colonialization, borders and border crossings, marcher lands and margins, land and its relation to kingship, land and its relation to law, land as source of cultural identity, the value of ecocritical approaches, poetic depictions of wilderness, and the relationship of land to law. 

300-word abstracts by September 15 to: Kenneth Tiller Professor of English University of Virginia's College at Wise Wise, VA 24293