Seeing the (Im)Material: Visual Detail, Abstraction, and Artifice in Medieval Texts
The literature produced by the communities of early Northern Europe, where the elements of craft and material culture informed the descriptive matter of both poetry and prose, has left a legacy which demands critical analysis of the ways in which the trappings of the real and the imaginary were represented. What were the relationships between figurative language, mimetic representation, the production of craft, and perceptions shaped by the visual arts? Did the allegories, symbols, emblems, fancies, and verisimilitude of literature in Old and Middle English, Old Norse/Icelandic, Early Welsh, or Early Irish provide opportunities to discuss the interface of descriptive writing with other modes of representation? Potential papers are asked to consider these questions, and to dig deeply into possible theoretical explanations to be found in native, Classical, or medieval vernacular rhetoric, cultural and social ideologies of artistic production, early notions of “product” and “marketplace,” the potential existence of schools or cults of “style,” the blurring of secular, sacred, profane, and visionary modes of perception, and the degree to which the process of representation in the visual and plastic arts functioned as a metaphor for the dynamics of literary creation. Abstracts of 300 words considering these and related questions are invited for participation in the panel Seeing the (Im)Material: Visual Detail, Abstraction, and Artifice in Medieval Texts, as part of the 50th Anniversary Northeast Modern Language Association Convention, to be held in Washington, D.C., from March 21st through the 24th, 2019. The deadline for submission of abstracts for this Northeast Modern Languages Association panel is September 30th, 2018. The panel is hosted by Professor David Pecan, of the department of English at SUNY Nassau Community College. All abstracts for this panel, identified as session number 17548, should be submitted through the official NeMLA website at http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers.html.