Middle English Literary Theory: Keywords and Methodologies
A One-Day Workshop at the University of Sussex
Thursday 16th June 2016
The 1999 anthology The Idea of the Vernacular aimed to be ground-breaking, setting up a new foundation for work on Middle English literary theory. This anthology’s call to consider Middle English literature as a site for theoretical thought has been taken up by a number of scholars in relation to particular texts and topics (e.g. Minnis and Johnson (2005), I. Johnson (2013), and E. Johnson (2013)). Yet fundamental questions about both the limits and the possibilities of vernacular literary theory in medieval England remain unanswered. This one-day workshop seeks to establish current attitudes and approaches to Middle English literary theory, and to revisit and re-imagine the methodologies for scholarly inquiry into it. The workshop aims broadly to reflect on questions such as: Do Middle English writings evidence a specific and developed vernacular literary theory? If so in what ways is this theory distinctive from Latinate and French traditions? Is there a Middle English lexicon for describing and doing literary theory? And if so, can the description and analysis of this lexicon provide one way of taking forward the study of Middle English literary theory?
Places are limited, but if you are interested in attending the workshop, please contact the workshop organisers by 27 May 2016: James Wade (email@example.com) or Katie Walter (K.L.Walter@sussex.ac.uk)
Draft Workshop Programme
Jubilee Room 117
10.30 Arrival and coffee
11.00 Introduction (James Wade, Girton College, Cambridge)
11.15 Session 1
Jenni Nuttall (St Edmund Hall, Oxford) ‘Poesie and Poetrie’
Conor Leahy (Cambridge) 'Theory and Practice'
Jane Griffiths (Wadham College, Oxford) ‘Untranslatability’
13.45 Session 2
Nicolette Zeeman (King’s College, Cambridge) ‘A figure with
a name and no name: Vernacular personification'
Katie Walter (Sussex University) ‘Boistous’
Jocelyn Wogan-Browne (Fordham University) ‘French’ (a discussion led by JWB)
15.45 Session 3 Keynote and Roundtable discussion
Ian Johnson (University of St Andrews) ‘The Miscellaneity and Coherence of Middle English Literary Theory’
17.30 Close and drinks