IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1313: Spiritual or Otherwise: Literary Depictions of Pleasure

Wednesday 3 July 2013, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Edward R. Haymes, Department of Modern Languages, Cleveland State University, Ohio
Paper 1313-a'Quasi signum laetitiae': Representations and Functions of Spiritual Pleasure in the Navigatio Sancti Brendani abbatis
(Language: English)
Fyodor Koranday, Institute of History & Political Science, Tyumen State University
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism
Paper 1313-bThe Politics of Pleasure: Cynewulf's Poetry
(Language: English)
Stefany Wragg, St Cross College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Old English, Monasticism
Paper 1313-cDeparting in High Spirits in Spite of Departing in Distress in 'Herzog Ernst B'
(Language: English)
Nadine Krolla, Deutsches Seminar - Germanistische Mediävistik, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Mentalities

Paper -a:
This paper addresses the problem of structure of Navigatio Sancti Brendani, Hiberno-Latin tale, сomposed as early as 8th and not later than the 10th century. The first step is to reveal the specially marked pivoting points of the text, which are used by the narrator to declare once again the sublime liturgical significance of the abbot’s cyclical voyage. In this regard, the sacred enigmatic language of the inhabitants of the Island of Birds may have the same function as a separated Greek words wich were sometimes included in the Latin liturgy. Descriptions of the joy felt by monks and other characters are essential ornamental element of these episodes. We outline the sources, clarify the functions and semantics of these descriptions.

Paper -b:
In his account of the first English poet, Cædmon, Bede tells us that, after receiving the gift of poetry, he could only compose fitting religious verse. Cynewulf, too, confesses his poetic craft was a gift from God in his runic signature to Elene. Yet Cynewulf’s verse is well-populated by type-scenes and traditional formulae external to the Christian tradition. This paper explores the politics of Cynewulf’s poetry, suggesting he harnessed traditional aesthetics in his verse edification of the church. Cynewulf thus gives us a poetry of both earthly and spiritual pleasure.

Paper -c:
In ‘Herzog Ernst B’ (composed about 1200) the vocabulary of joy/ pleasure (Middle High German vröude, wünne, vrô, vrôlîch etc.) is used in divergent contexts and functionalized in special ways, but has hardly been analysed in research. Firstly, the paper will introduce the settings in which joy and pleasure become important in ‘Herzog Ernst B’; afterwards one exceptional context will be highlighted, in which the condition of a joyful mood is frequently mentioned in a social connection, apart from the classic themes like ‘celebration’ or ‘Minne’: departing in high spirits in spite of departing in distress. An analysis of the narrative representation will point out this hitherto little-noted particular facet of the polarised topic of joy and pain, and special usages of the vocabulary.