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CFP for Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Boston, MA, January 3-6 2013

 

Transgressing Discipline in Medieval German Narrative

 

Whether delivered as extra-diegetic asides, placed in the mouths of the characters, or integrated into the very form of the text, discourses from other genres of writing and spheres of knowledge seem to interrupt medieval narrative.  The High Middle Ages has been characterized by a concomitant discovery of the individual, a rise of the university, and a growth in professionalization and specialization in knowledge.  Theology, medicine, and law, for instance, were increasingly becoming more esoteric.  And yet, modern medievalism has begun to uncover ways in which literary texts are significantly imbricated in other disciplinary and generic discourses.  Some of these instances include, for example, Giburc's ethical plea in Wolfram's Willehalm, Mechthild of Magdeburg’s incorporation of tropes of courtly love, and the lengthy medical disquisition about Amfortas' wound in Parzival. 

 

Beyond considering pointing up the relative fluidity of disciplinary and generic boundaries in specific texts, few scholars have, however, investigated the literary role of these "digressions" within the narratives they appear to interrupt.  How are we to understand these seeming interruptions?  Do extra-literary discourses interfere with the "story," or are such references to external disciplines, in fact, integral to the writing of medieval narrative?  How do these various genres of medieval narrative (romance, hagiography, chronicle) interrupt or supplement each other?

 

We invite abstracts concerning the role of non-literary disciplines or spheres of knowledge (e.g. law, theology, medicine) as they appear in medieval German narrative.  Papers considering individual medieval texts are welcome. 

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words by 12 March 2012 to Claire Taylor Jones ([log in to unmask]) and Mary Campbell ([log in to unmask]).

 



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