IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1611: Lamenting as a Cultural Practice

Thursday 13 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Romedio Schmitz-Esser, Stadtarchiv & Stadtmuseum, Hall in Tirol
Paper 1611-aGod in the Medieval Welsh Elegy: Enemy or Consoler?
(Language: English)
Barry James Lewis, Aberystwyth University
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Celtic, Lay Piety, Rhetoric
Paper 1611-bTears and Sorrow in Passus 14 of Piers Plowman
(Language: English)
Katherine O'Sullivan, Medieval Studies Program, University of Connecticut
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Theology

Abstract paper -a: Formal elegies in verse (marwnadau) were a major part of high-status mourning rituals in medieval Wales. The elegy lay in a disputed zone between extreme grief and Christian consolation. This paper will examine how poets negotiated the role of God as bringer of death and saviour of souls.

Abstract paper -b: The physical display of tears as an expression of sorrow is prominent throughout Piers Plowman, and in Passus 14, this is especially the case as the character of Haukyn the Actyf Man laments his inability to keep himself free of sin. At the end of the Passus, Haukyn ‘cride mercy faste, / And wepte and wailede’ (14.331-32), indicating a distinction between confession and contrition, centered on an outward manifestation of Haukyn’s inward remorse. This paper will explore the significance of tears in Passus 14, and to what extent expression of emotion is required for true contrition in Langland’s poem.

Abstract paper -c: The Byzantine monody was a genre similar to the encomion, but it gave praise as part of a lament. The praise intensified the profound feeling of sorrow experienced. It could be addressed to the dead, or was created after a terrible disaster. This paper will examine laments written for the Fall of Thessalonica (1430). Less known than the monodies written for the Fall of Constantinople (1453), these works give a pre-taste of the end of empire, and reflect the intensity of those last years.