IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 817: Ageing and Authorship in Middle English Literature

Tuesday 12 July 2005, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Nicole Nyffenegger, Institut für Englische Sprachen & Literaturen, Universität Bern
Paper 817-a'For Twenty Years after the Tyme of the Shewing': Ageing and Textual Alteration in Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love
(Language: English)
Ingrid Abreu Scherer, Faculty of English, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Religious Life, Women's Studies
Paper 817-bHoccleve and Didactic Dialogue: Towards Dialogic Reading
(Language: English)
Alice Spencer, Università degli Studi di Torino
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative

Abstract paper a) As much as twenty years may separate the ‘finished’ version of Julian’s Revelations from the original short text. This paper will explore how the processes of maturation and ageing in the author are reflected in her editorial decisions to expand the short text into the ‘finished’ long text. Does the stylistic maturity of the long text make it a more legitimate study source than the more spontaneous – and perhaps more ‘mystical’ – short text? In addition, this paper will argue that ageing and maturity have a gendered component that affects not just Julian’s style, but also her development of the feminity of Christ.

Paper b) Thomas Hoccleve’s La Male Regle, The Regement of Princes and The Series all employ the didactic dialogue form in a way to some extent parodying the dits amoureux of Mauchaut and Froissart. This irony suggests a process of ageing and decling [sic!] which precludes the idealism and escapism manifest in the French works. Time is to some extent transcended through an undermining and transformation of dialogue. The inadequacy of teachers, including, significantly, the elderly beggar, is compensated for by an internalisation of dialogue. Hoccleve’s Series suggests a replacement of temporal, oral dialogue with an ongoing dialogue with written texts.

Paper c) Thomas Hoccleve frequently complains about the effects of years of scribal labor on his aging body. He is particularly preoccupied with the bodily and metaphorical implications of his deteriorating vision. Studies of Hoccleve often discuss how he sees and understands himself. This paper, rather, emphasizes the physical and social aspects of his interest in sight. I first examine Hoccleve’s assessment of his own vision, focusing on his appeals to corrective spectacles. I then argue that while Hoccleve writes in concrete ways about sight, his anxiety about his own impaired vision mirrors his anxiety about the threat of metaphorical social blindness.