Language and Boundaries in the Brut @ ICMS 2019

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

This is a session sponsored by the International Layamon's Brut Society for the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 9-12, 2019, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.  

This session looks at the broader implications of language in Layamon’s Brut and in the Brut narratives. For some time, scholarship has considered Layamon’s awareness of the power of language, evident in his use of an almost exclusively English vocabulary and his reliance on the Old English poetic lexicon. Recent scholarship, however, has offered more nuanced discussions of Layamon’s conception of language as a writer working near the Welsh marchlands at the turn of the thirteenth century. The session seeks papers that extend these developments in Brut scholarship into discussions about the relationship of language to boundaries—political, cultural, and literary—in Layamon’s Brut and in analogous Brut texts. We welcome papers that explore ways in which language both establishes and transgresses boundaries in the Brut texts—how language differentiates different national groups in the Brut, for instance, and how it is shown as bridging boundaries, through translation and through establishment of shared identities through shared language. The session is further interested in proposals that examine how language may be used to transgress boundaries of acceptable conduct and undermine established order, as in narratives of treachery and deceit.  We will also consider papers that examine Layamon as a border writer bringing together English, Welsh, and French historical narrative.  Finally, the session invites proposals that examine the crossing of linguistic and generic boundaries, between history, romance, epic, and chronicle. 

Please submit a brief proposal (250-300 words) to Kenneth Tiller, Professor of English, University of Virginia's College at Wise,