CFP for two panel proposals for ANZAMEMS 2019

Speakers are invited to submit paper proposals for two panels at ANZAMEMS 2019 on “Rereading the Medieval and Early Modern” and “Language and Agency from Medieval to Modern”.

Submissions for these panels close 10 August 2018. Please email your completed proposal to BOTH mgerzic@gmail.com and jennifer.nicholson@sydney.edu.au.​ An overview of each panel is provided below. See the attached PDF for full details.

Rereading the Medieval and Early Modern

For Vladimir Nabokov, the process of re-reading is always constructive: “A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.” For Patricia Meyer Spacks, re-reading — though satisfying for pure literary analysis — can reveal unwelcome truths about the past, and cause disenchantment with works we used to love. While a first reading depends (primarily) on the expectation of pleasure (of a vicarious or hermeneutic kind), re-reading draws on critical self-awareness. According to Michael Riffaterre, only a second and separate retroactive reading can produce “significance” by identifying and reconfiguring the various perspectives of the text. Thomas Leitch argues that re-readings allow for an “appreciation of the story through an analysis of the ways in which it achieves its initial effects.” If we all already know what will happen in medieval and early modern texts, what changes for us when we return to them? Do different words, phrases, symbols, and ideas become important when refocused by class, gender, and race? How do these texts have different meanings when read in different contexts? Are re-readings better readings? This panel aims to examine the process of re-reading the medieval and early modern, in revisitations and adaptations.

Language And Agency From Medieval To Early Modern

Nearly a decade ago, Ardis Butterfield proposed that “we cannot understand Englishness without seeking to understand what was then its superior cultural other of Frenchness”. She also argued for the “strangely elusive” notion of medieval Englishness, where “we find ourselves in a verbal world that is both fragmented and plural, where audiences are not merely ‘English’, but multilingual (in varying degrees), partly local, partly international, and from more than one social, cultural, and intellectual background.”​ How do medieval or early modern texts engage with relationships between language(s) and agency? How might gender or education, religious or otherwise, play a part in writers’ engagement with different kinds of agency? How might language(s) grant or withhold agency? What is different or indeed similar between medieval and early modern engagements with language and agency?

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