IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 308: The Reception of Medieval Literature in the 19th to 21st Centuries

Monday 13 July 2009, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:David Matthews, Department of English & American Studies, University of Manchester
Paper 308-a'The Vilest of Cavaliers': Lancelot and Female Interpretation of the Events at Astolat
(Language: English)
Kate Lister, Department of English, Leeds Trinity University
Index terms: Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Women's Studies
Paper 308-bMedieval Mysticism in the Poetry and Prose of Kevin Hart
(Language: English)
Melanie Duckworth, School of English, University of Leeds
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Theology
Paper 308-c'If your heaven's on fire, you'd better look to that': The Retelling of Beowulf in the post-9/11 World
(Language: English)
Marina Buzzoni, Dipartimento di Scienze del Linguaggio, Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Rhetoric, Social History, Theology
Abstract

Paper -a:
One of the most recognisable images of 19th-century medievalism is the iconic Lady of Shalott. What is not as well known is that two female authors, Letitia Elizabeth Landon and Louisa Stuart Costello, published variations on the Shalott mythology before Tennyson published his highly influential ‘The Lady of Shalott’. This paper will closely examine the role of Lancelot in all three texts, with close reference to Malory’s original tale of Astolat, and pay close attention to the female idealising of medieval courtship and the unusual defamation of Lancelot as ‘the vilest of cavaliers’ that occurs when the ideal is found lacking.

Paper -b:
Kevin Hart is not only a prominent Australian poet, but a philosopher and a literary critic. In The Trespass of the Sign (1989), Hart explores the relationship between deconstruction and negative theology. The dialectic between the medieval and postmodern is also explored in his poetry, with reference to The Divine Comedy, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, and medieval images of death. In this paper I will discuss the implications of this attempt to bridge the medieval and the postmodern in order to articulate a spirituality for a postmodern world.

Paper -c:
After dealing with the thorny issue of ‘orthodoxy’ in the medieval hypotext, the paper will focus on how the themes of ‘heresy’ and ‘heterodoxy’ are refunctionalised in recent movie adaptations of the poem. Attention will be paid to Gunnarson’s Beowulf & Grendel(2006) and Zemeckis’s Beowulf (2008). A main topic will be explored, that is the human inability to tolerate that which is different and the difficulty to cope with the irreducible plurality of our society. Furthermore, it will be shown that this fear is further enhanced in the post-9/11 world, as the aforementioned contemporary rewrites testify.