IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 819: Transforming Cities in Medieval English Texts

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Faculty of English, University of Oxford
Organiser:Catherine A. M. Clarke, University College, University of Oxford
Moderator/Chair:Helen Fulton, Department of English, Swansea University
Paper 819-aChanging Images of the Town in Old English Literature
(Language: English)
Mark Atherton, Regent's Park College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Economics - Urban, Geography and Settlement Studies, Language and Literature - Old English
Paper 819-bCity on the Edge: Lucian's In Praise of Chester
(Language: English)
Catherine A. M. Clarke, University College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Economics - Urban, Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
Paper 819-cConsecrating the Church, Constructing the City: Sacred London in The Book of the Foundation of St Bartholomew's Church
(Language: English)
Laura Varnam, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Economics - Urban, Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - Latin
Abstract

The papers in this session offer historicised approaches to reading cities in medieval English literature, examining the cultural contexts and politics of city representations in Old English, Middle English and Anglo-Latin texts.
Mark Atherton examines the 10th-century Legend of the Seven Sleepers as a work which reflects the changing urban landscape of the late Anglo-Saxon period. The text depicts an anglicised Ephesus which includes features of the 10th-century English city, and dramatises the mixed responses of wonder and anxiety which contemporary urban transformation might evoke.
Catherine Clarke looks at the 12th-century In Praise of Chester by the monk Lucian, exploring how the text transforms Chester from a city on the margins of England and the edge of the world into a new Jerusalem or Rome and a symbolic centre of power.
Laura Varnam discusses the representation of London in The Book of the Foundation of St Bartholomew’s Church, and its construction of the church of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, as the most sacred site in the city. The paper focuses in particular on the textual and political strategies which aim to transform St Bartholomew’s into the city’s spiritual centre.