CFP (peer-reviewed journal issue): Religious Dispute and Toleration in Early Modern English Literature and History
CFP (peer-reviewed journal) Caliban 68 décembre 2022 / December 2022
According to Christian Plantin, the various types of agonistic exchanges serve different purposes: “In the field of conflict resolution, certain forms of interaction are aimed at reaching a consensus and at ending the conflict (negotiations, conciliations, etc.), while others aim at exposing or amplifying the disagreement (political debates, polemical discussions, etc.)” (Christian Plantin, “L’interaction argumentative” in Dialoganalyse VI, Referate der 6 Arbeitstagung Prag 1996, eds. C. Cmerijkova et al., Tübingen, 1998, 153). The Renaissance is a period marked by the notion of interconfessional conflict but also by a certain religious hybridity illustrated by the numerous interactions between Catholics and Protestants in the British Isles and in mainland Europe.
The public religious disputation organised during the reigns of Elizabeth I and then James VI and I (both in Scotland and in England) or the conferences organised by Henry IV of France testify to a desire to use and to adapt this old form of controversy, which was rigidly codified, in order to arouse religious antagonism. Indeed, this form of communication was primarily used to reveal a disagreement. Participants in these agonistic dialogues made sure to stand their ground while trying to force the enemy to retreat. In literature, the staging of scenes of religious disputation or the emergence of the genre of the polemical dialogue seem to reflect, at first sight, the oppositional nature of interconfessional relationships. We welcome articles investigating the conflictual dimension of scenes of disputation or dispute and their mechanisms.
However, not unlike all the conflicts at that time, religious antagonism was characterised by a notion of confrontation between two parties but also by that of appeasement and the dialogical style is always likely to serve a double purpose. Indeed, we wish to go beyond a simple dichotomy. Although disputation and toleration are usually opposed, the volume seeks to explore the dynamic interplay that exists between these two concepts. To what extent is the clear separation between the language of conflict and the language of appeasement relevant when examining the various types of interconfessional interaction during the Renaissance?
Does the encounter between the two warring parties always have one single purpose (amplification or appeasement)? Or, can the polemical objective be concomitant with an attempt to establish an agreement, even if it ultimately proves unsuccessful? How can a disputation, by adopting the methods of political diplomacy for instance, be turned into a tool used to resolve the conflict?
Proposals focusing on early modern English literature and/or history and dealing with the following issues (non-exhaustive list) will be considered:
- How the genre of the medieval disputatio resurfaced and was adapted in the writings of the period: theatre, polemical dialogue, pamphlet…
- How the religious conflict and/or religious toleration is staged and represented in literature, with a special emphasis on so-called “minor” works.
- The transition from a language of conflict to a language of appeasement
- Paradoxical forms of toleration, or at least appeasement, in scenes of dispute: strategies of dissimulation, negotiation, elements left unsaid, silence, ritual sacrifices…
- Forms of compromise
- Polyphony and inclusion of the religious Other, negotiation of a common space on stage
- Drama generating and/or amplifying conflict
Please send a 300-word abstract, in English or in French, and a short biographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org 1st October 2021. Confirmation of acceptance will be given by 15th October 2021 and the final papers (6,000-8,000 words) expected by 1st February 2022.