IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 517: Writing the Natural World, I: Literature and the Heavens

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research, Swansea University
Organiser:Simon Meecham-Jones, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge / Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research, Swansea University
Moderator/Chair:Liz Herbert McAvoy, Department of English Language & Literature, Swansea University
Paper 517-aHeaven and Earth: Cosmography in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Adam Mosley, Department of History, Swansea University
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative, Science
Paper 517-bHeaven and the Written Word in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess
(Language: English)
Simon Meecham-Jones, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge / Centre for Medieval & Early Modern Research, Swansea University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Philosophy, Theology
Paper 517-cChasing the Roebuck: Criticism, Ecology, and the Poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym
(Language: English)
Dylan Foster Evans, School of Welsh, Cardiff University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Celtic, Language and Literature - Comparative
Abstract

This session examines the language used to describe the heavens in medieval writing. The first paper considers the failure of medieval thought to develop a sustained tradition of cosmography. The second paper considers how the imagery of the heavens is used as a means of validating human systems of reason, and Chaucer’s unease at the claims of literature to be able to map and explain the cosmos. The third paper examines how Dafydd ap Gwilym uses imagery from the natural world to comment ironically on the ways in which writers of love poetry had identified their desire with the Heavens (in both senses) as a means of qualifying its physical and ‘animal’
qualities.