IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 223: Boundaries, Categories, Modes of Knowing, in Pearl, Cleanness, and The Book of Margery Kempe

Monday 12 July 2004, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Roseanna Cross, Department of English, University of Bristol
Paper 223-a'My blysse, my bale, ye han ben boþe': Mysticism and Pearl
(Language: English)
Susannah Chewning, Department of English, Union County College, New Jersey
Index terms: Religious Life, Sexuality, Women's Studies
Paper 223-b'Hard hit hym þozt': Merging Sacred and Secular in Cleanness
(Language: English)
Kenna L. Olsen, Department of English, University of Calgary, Alberta
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 223-cSelf-Disclosure as Co-Constructed Discursive Activity in the Book of Margery Kempe
(Language: English)
Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti, Department of Linguistics, Università degli Studi di Firenze
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Literacy and Orality

session grouped by Catherine Batt (21/11/03):
Abstract paper -a:
The dream vision poem, Pearl, has been examined as a representation of both a courtly and a spiritual work. What has not been done (at least not fully) yet by scholars is to address its relationship to the genre that is most closely related to it, mysticism. By examining English medieval mysticism (mainly the 12th-century mysticism associated with the Wohunge and Katherine groups), their sources, and their influences, I seek to connect the two genres — dream vision and mysticism — and to explain their overall connection to the spiritual and literary traditions of English medieval poetry.
Abstract paper -b:
Many critics note the merger of sacred and secular images in the Middle English Cleanness. To the modern reader this juxtaposition seemingly occurs in unlikely places, an occurrence termed ‘startling’ by one critic. The union of the religious and secular, witnessed by manipulation of sources ranging from the Latin Vulgate to Mandeville’s Travels, is also seen in the presentation of God as an overtly emotional deity who often expresses himself in terms of human emotion. This paper explores this depiction, arguing it underlines prevalent clashes between ‘clean and unclean’, religious and secular, in Cleanness.
Abstract paper -c:
Self-disclosure is a fundamental ingredient of human communication and there are discourses that are specifically focused on self-centred talk as negotiated activity, for instance the narrative of personal experience in certain contexts, such as confessional, courtroom, job interviews etc. In the Middle Ages a typical situation would be the co-construction of the woman mystic’s text. For the purposes of this paper I will present an analysis of the main rhetorical and linguistic strategies that reveal the negotiation of meaning in the Book of Margery Kempe.