IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1322: Love, Virtue, and Vice in the City

Wednesday 11 July 2007, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Cora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen
Paper 1322-bSymbolic Spaces: Cities as Sites of Virtue and Vice
(Language: English)
Margaret Mary Raftery, Department of English & Classical Languages, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Comparative, Mentalities, Sexuality
Paper 1322-cProblematics of Framing in the Decameron: A Frame Study of X4
(Language: English)
Allison Adair, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Language and Literature - Italian
Paper 1322-dQueering the Nibelungenlied
(Language: English)
Beatrice Michaelis, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - German, Sexuality, Women’s Studies

Paper b: Under the suggested theme of ‘Cities and patterns of belief: worship, cults, pilgrimages and heresy’, I should like to analyse various medieval English, Dutch, and German literary texts and their contexts for evidence of the representation of cities and other late-medieval places of habitation (as well as movements or pilgrimages between them) as ambiguous markers of virtue and vice, safety and danger, orthodoxy and heresy, worship and witchcraft, and so forth – i.e. physical spaces as symbolic of religious ‘spaces’ – while also considering the role of such places in the construction of identity, particularly female sexual identity.
Paper c: I propose an examination of Decameron X4 through Derrida’s model of the parergon, which he defines as an external ‘frame’ to a work of art (e.g. painting, sculpture, or architecture) whose interaction is conceived in terms of friction and fulfills a particular ‘lack’ in the work itself. By dividing equal attention to the ‘frames’ of the plague-ridden Florence and the brigata’s country-side escape, Boccaccio creates a curious equality between the two planes of existence: the geographic frames mimic the expanse of the social spectrum from microcosm to macrocosm, i.e. from the ennui of the lady at home to the malaise of society as a whole. Instead of trivializing the plague in its juxtaposition against the ladies’ lovesickness and the brigata’s utopian retreat, Boccaccio foregrounds the human instinct of survival in the familiar territory of the troubles of love.
Paper d: In my talk I would like to offer a queer reading of the Nibelungenlied. Looking closely both at the texts as well as the main strands of academic and cultural reception, I hope to trace some of the faultlines of discursive constructions of (hetero)normative concepts of gender and sexuality. The narrative focusses on questions of power, knowledge, and secrecy, often displaying blurrings, inconsistencies, or blanks. Taking these as my starting point, I want to offer a reading that both irritates canonical understandings of the epic and examines critically the relationship between sexuality, canon, and ‘the nation’.