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Dear Colleagues:

A brief reminder that there are still a few days to send an
abstract for these Tristan sessions at Kalamazoo in May 2006:

Session 1:
Star-Crossed or Simply Confused: Separating the Strands of
Illicit Love in the Tristan and Arthurian Traditions

It is no secret that elements of the Tristan story have become
grafted onto the Arthurian tradition, with the most explicit
treatment existing in Malory’s epic retelling. Yet other
versions of either story also contain some blurring of the
narratives in describing either Tristan’s love for Isolde,
Lancelot’s passion for Guenever, and even Uther’s ravishment
of Arthur’s mother Igraine. All three of these stories reflect
distinct familial relationships that help us to distinguish
between the narratives and to understand the context for the
illicit love that is crucial to each.

This session concerns the distinctions that are important to
understanding the elements in Tristan that have analogues in
Arthurian narratives, and the ways in which these traditions
may be seen to reinforce other themes found in each. The
passion that becomes transcendent love in Tristan takes on
dimensions of disloyalty and honor when it is embedded into
the story of Lancelot and Guenever. Other elements emerge in
both that have similar associations, but sometimes different
meanings. The sword that unites Arthur’s kingdom is not the
same as the sword Mark uses when establishing proof of the
respect Tristan pays to Mark’s marriage to Isolde. Likewise,
the madness of Tristan has a parallel with the madness of
Lancelot in Malory’s Morte. At the end, Mark and Arthur must
deal with the consequences of illicit love, but their fates
differ significantly.

This session will provide an opportunity to explore these and
other resonances between the Tristan story and the Arthurian
traditions in literature, music, film and other media. While
this should result in a clearer understanding of each
narrative, it will also provide an opportunity to appreciate
the ways these stories merge as the shared elements enhance
the meaning of each.

Session 2: Tristan and Manuscripts

This session will consider all aspects of manuscripts which
contain versions of the “Tristan” narrative. Pertinent issues
of textual transmission as well as manuscript illumination are
among the broader topics to be considered as submissions for
this session. Recent studies on textual problems of Tristan
manuscripts in the various vernacular languages have shown
that individual versions of the narrative still offer
considerable editorial possibilities for scholarly
exploration. In addition to critical and diplomatic editions
of specific manuscripts, or groups thereof, topics here would
focus on various stages or continuations in textual
transmission, and how these might contribute to the evolution
of a specific version over a longer period of time.

The topic of illustration in Tristan manuscripts has also
undergone both rethinking and expansion in recent years. As
further manuscript evidence has been made available, the
interaction of image with text has become and will continue as
a productive field of research in Tristan scholarship. Just as
iconographic and textual evidence continues to be evaluated,
submissions in this area would be of interest to both art and
literary historians. 

Please email brief abstracts to 

Christopher R. Clason
President, Tristan Society at Kalamazoo
[log in to unmask]
Christopher R. Clason
Associate Professor of German
421 Wilson Hall
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-2063
http://personalwebs.oakland.edu/~clason

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