IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1727: The Idea of Place in Middle English Literature

Thursday 4 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Alaric Hall, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki
Paper 1727-aTextual Taverns: The Devil's Domain
(Language: English)
Margaret Mary Raftery, Department of English, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1727-bSin, Madness, and Death: The Disastrous Consequences of Inviting the Wodewose into Courtly Spaces
(Language: English)
Rose A. Sawyer, School of History / School of English, University of Leeds
Index terms: Folk Studies, Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities

Paper -a:
The wodewose, examined as an imaginative construct, provides a fertile ground for insight into medieval attitudes. Utilising the theories of van Gennep, Turner and Karras, as regards to liminality and lifecycles, this paper shall examine ‘Partonope of Blois’, a Middle English translation of a French poem, since the poem displays a clear coming of age narrative. As Partonope descends into and then is redeemed from ‘the wodewose life’ this text allows for analysis of the metaphorical function of the wodewose within the context of the elite male lifecycle, specifically the liminal period of transition between boyhood and manhood.

Paper -b:
The paper discusses the pleasures of the tavern/inn/hostelry as presented in various Middle English texts and allows for comparative analysis of the textual ‘idea’ of the tavern on the Continent and in England. It presents the tavern as the terrestrial domain of the devil and considers the various ways in which evil is inscribed in the characters, actions, ‘props’, symbols, and discourse belonging to the tavern. Considerations of magic, transformation, and number are also involved.