IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 312: The Pleasure and Pragmatics of Epistolary Exchange, II: Use of the Letter Form in Religious, Learned, and Political Interaction

Monday 1 July 2013, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Historisches Seminar, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Organisers:Diana Marie Jeske, School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies, Monash University, Victoria
Sita Steckel, Historisches Seminar, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Moderator/Chair:Mia Münster-Swendsen, Section of History, Roskilde Universitet
Paper 312-aLords of the Word: Mendicant Leaders' Use of Letter Communication in the Secular-Mendicant Controversy
(Language: English)
Sita Steckel, Historisches Seminar, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Rhetoric
Paper 312-bThe Dynamics of Crisis and Change: Epistolary Communication among Byzantine Elites around the Mid-14th Century
(Language: English)
Alexander Riehle, Institut für Byzantinistik & Neogräzistik, Universität Wien
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Greek, Politics and Diplomacy, Rhetoric
Paper 312-cResponse
(Language: English)
Julian P. Haseldine, Department of History, University of Hull
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Rhetoric

Current research is recognizing medieval letter-writing as an elaborate, highly self-aware, and literary medium. But letters also brought extra dimensions to pragmatic interaction concerning religion, politics, and learning. Seen as fictional speech, letters remained poised between gesture and the spoken and written word, bringing the force of stylized writing and of social ritual to bear on political, religious, or scholarly debates. The session explores the dynamics of these pragmatic uses, discussing examples from the 13th-century Western church and the 14th-century Byzantine aristocracy. A response will reflect on possibilites for further diachronic and comparative research on letters.