IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1119: 'The cause of all my game': Literary Play in the City

Wednesday 11 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Heather Blatt, Department of English, Fordham University
Moderator/Chair:Adrienne J. Odasso, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Paper 1119-aUrban Rituals, Sacred Texts and the Crabhouse Nunnery
(Language: English)
Rebecca June, Department of English, Fordham University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Paper 1119-bAt the Chesse He Dooth Excelle: Les Eschez Amoureux and Lydgate's Reson and Sensuallyte
(Language: English)
Janice McCoy, University of Virginia
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Paper 1119-cAn Urban Spectacle: The Craft of Theater in Medieval Histories of Invention
(Language: English)
Shana Worthen, / Canterbury Christ Church University
Abstract

Festive behavior, drama, gambling – play in the late medieval city explored a variety of forms, from the familiar storytelling occasioned by chess to the dramatic to the playful considerations of quotation and literary reference in the early years of the printing press. In this panel, the speakers explore different ways in which the play of the city features as a locus in which questions of ritual, intertextuality, and allegory can be addressed. The first paper considers the ways in which the foundation texts of the Crabhouse nunnery could be seen as play: nuns engaging with urban rituals of public textual performance (a kind of play in itself) for their own purposes. Enclosed spaces within a city become the staging ground for larger questions of reading and interpretation in the second paper, ‘At the Chesse He Dooth Excelle: Les Eschez Amoureux and Lydgate’s Reson and Sensuallyte‘. There, the game of chess provides a key to the interpretation of personification allegories
within the poems as the readers nagivate the garden setting, its environs, and its inhabitants. In this panel’s final paper, the City of Ladies provides the setting for questions of intertextual play and translation in ‘Playing with Text: Variant Readings of Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies.’ Through playful moments of textual variance in the first English edition of the work, readers can glimpse the translator’s presence in the City and better understand the function of this work, published in early-16th-century London.