IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1120: Englishness and the Sea, II: Post-Conquest Writings

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Sebastian Sobecki, Department of English, McGill University, Québec
Moderator/Chair:Alfred Hiatt, School of English, University of Leeds
Paper 1120-aLinguistic Travels: Margery Kempe on Land and Sea
(Language: English)
Jonathan Hsy, GW Digital Humanities Institute, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Middle English, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1120-bCrossing Borders in the Alliterative Morte Arthure
(Language: English)
Kathy Lavezzo, Department of English, University of Iowa
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Military History, Political Thought
Paper 1120-cThe Law of the Sea and Ideas of Englishness in the 15th Century
(Language: English)
Sebastian Sobecki, Department of English, McGill University, Québec
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Law, Maritime and Naval Studies, Political Thought

Geographically and culturally, the sea ‘defines’ Britain as well as a large part of England. But whilst Prospero’s elemental mastery over water and his subjugation of Caliban express an insular understanding of Englishness that embraces both land and sea, many premodern texts appear to resist such integrative readings. For the most part, today’s scholarly literature is content with making assumptions about the sea’s cultural role. These two sessions, concerned with writings before and after the Norman Conquest, explore the sea’s contribution to changing models of Englishness and their at times unfixed insularity.