Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vernacular Religious Writing in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England

The traditional view of medieval English literary history holds that vernacular literary production in England took a major hit in the immediate aftermath of the Norman Conquest. Indeed, some scholars would have us believe that no important English prose or poetry may be found in post-Conquest England until the early- to mid-thirteenth century. Homilies and other religious texts, however, continued to be produced (in English as well as Anglo-Norman), and they make up a large portion of the surviving vernacular literature from twelfth- and thirteenth-century England. Some of these works were reproductions and adaptations of Ælfrician or Wulfstanian texts, but many were not, instead taking their inspiration from Continental or other sources, many of which have not been traced. The purpose of this session is to provide a space for us to explore what these pieces of vernacular writing may have to show us about the literary culture, as well as the socio-political environment, of England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Possible topics may include:
- use and reuse of Old English texts
- continuity and change in late Old and early Middle English religious literature
- Anglo-Norman religious literature
- categorization and its discontents
- multilingual textuality
- sovereignty of the religious vernacular
Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and the congress Participant Information Form ( by September 15, 2011. Papers are to be no longer than fifteen minutes, please.