Print

Print


CFP for collected essays

Melusine’s Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth

Editors: Misty Urban, Melissa Ridley Elmes, Deva Kemmis

Matriarch, monster, muse, and myth: while the late 14th c French prose
romance by Jean d’Arras—in which he envisions her as a foundress of the
powerful Lusignan family— arguably remains the earliest version of the story of
Melusine, the figure of the fairy woman cursed with a half-human, half-serpent
form traveled widely throughout the legends of medieval and early modern
Europe. From Thüring von Ringoltingen’s German iteration of 1456 to related
folktales that brought Melusine decisively to the European medieval imaginary,
Melusine’s variants surface in countries and centuries far beyond her French
inception. One finds her entwined in the ancestry of noble houses across Europe;
a Melisende ruled as Queen of Jerusalem; and the philosopher Paracelsus writes
of Melusine as one of the four elementals. Today, one finds her in film, novels,
video games, and the Starbucks logo, suggesting that Melusine was and remains
a powerful, multivalent symbol capable of condensing the fears, myths, and
cultural fantasies of any given historical period into a potent visual image.

We seek to assemble a volume of essays that examine the impact and
legacy of the Melusine legendary in art, history, literature, and fields beyond.
This collection will investigate the many representative instances of
this figure
over time and space, with analyses that give consideration to the following
questions: What particular valence does the half-serpent figure of Melusine hold
for the time, place, and media in which she appears? How has the figure changed
over time, and what forces have contributed to these changes? How do these
various installations of Melusine deal with the transgressive nature
of her hybrid
form, and the transformations of that form which are integral to her story?
What about this figure resonates across cultural periods, and what meanings
herald a particular historical moment? What can Melusine teach us about
reading history (or art, or indeed any sort of cultural artifact) and
the ways in
which readers continually recreate meaning each time a story is retold?

While all proposals will be given full consideration, essays that approach
the figure beyond the work of Jean d’Arras are particularly welcome. We invite
methodologies that are historically researched or theoretically grounded as well
as descriptive in nature. Please send a proposal of 500-800 words, including a
short list of projected sources, along with a very brief CV to Misty Urban at
[log in to unmask] by January 6, 2015. Final essays of 6-25 pages will
be expected by December 31, 2015.

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html