Kalamazoo ICMS 2020: Proverbs and Wisdom

deadline for submissions: 
September 13, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Early Proverb Society
contact email: 

The Early Proverb Society emphasizes the functions of that mobile, morphic form, the proverb.  EPS showcases our readings at a round table (three to four discussants and one respondent) and a panel of papers (three speakers) at the 55th Congress, May 7-10, 2020.  All methodological approaches are welcomed warmly.

Round table:  Medieval Proverbs:  Exchanges, Clashes, and Transactions

Open up the paradoxes of proverbs — their risk-taking uses in discourse, their conservation of traditional wisdom; the voices the proverb authorizes and the proverb’s use of authority; the formlessness of the proverb and its discursive markers; and the proverb as a breaker and maker of generic boundaries. How do proverbs discuss or create gender and national identities — tell who or what you are?   Articulate your research problems, bring your texts to the table, and let us work out the evolving framies for the study of the proverb.  Each discussant will have about ten minutes to speak before a robust discussion among panelists and the audience.


Paper session:  Medieval Proverbs:  Afterlives

Explore the proverb as a tactic for, e.g., establishing  credibility in medieval and medievalizing fiction.  Examine the minting of wisdom-speaking and advice-giving in fantasy, and investigate how proverbs function as part of fantasy’s mimicry.  What is the life-span of a proverb?  Autopsy a proverb’s death or discuss the re-animation of a body of traditional lore.  How are newly-made proverbs marked in 21st-century literature?  Can musicological and visual tropes operate the way that a proverb might to authenticate a fantasy-world?  You are welcome to work on a proverb's biography within medieval literature or to compare Modernist and Post-Modern uses of the form of the proverb or of traditional wisdom.  Each speaker will have about twenty minutes before the Q&As commence.