IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 812: Pleasure in Medieval Literature

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Irene Fabry-Tehranchi, Department of Modern Languages & European Studies, University of Reading
Paper 812-a'When the Mind Is Moved Contrary to Right Reason': The Medieval Knight, Stoicism, and the 'Right Reasonable' Response to Pleasure and Pain
(Language: English)
Rebekah Fowler, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities, Philosophy
Paper 812-bTravel for Pleasure?: The Act of Pilgrimage and Being a Pilgrim in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
(Language: English)
Denise Wang, Center for Medieval Studies, National Chung Cheng University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Rhetoric
Paper 812-cFrom poete de l'amour to poete theologisant: Christine de Pizan's Epistre d'Othea
(Language: English)
Courtney Palmbush, Princeton Theological Seminary
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Theology, Women's Studies

Paper -a:
The ubiquitous lists of knightly virtues in medieval romance bespeak an awareness of Stoic philosophy by affirming appropriate behavioral responses to circumstances based on sound judgment. Yet, romance instances of love sickness and extreme grief confound many virtuous knights. This paper argues that knightly exhibitions of strong emotions nevertheless confirm a medieval mythos of ideal masculinity based in Stoic thought by acknowledging that strong feelings are natural to the ordinary man, but that a wise and virtuous man responds rationally to the facts of the situation that initiated those emotions rather than acting, as Cicero declares, ‘contrary to right reason’.

Paper -b:
This paper examines the stylistic features of the first 34 lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with a view to exploring interpreting the poet’s representation of pleasure in the late medieval England. How do we best understand the roles of entertainment and leisure in medieval living? How can we make of the stylistic differences in this passage and relate them to the practice of pilgrimage as a common pleasure in medieval material culture? This paper will be particularly concerned to trace changes in the ways Chaucer the pilgrim describes the causes of events, leading up to the analysis of medieval ways of seeing and ordering the world.

Paper -c:
Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet has characterized Christine de Pizan’s desire for knowledge as erotic desire that transforms into sacred desire, in a way that mirrors Dante’s development from the Vita Nuova to the Divine Comedy– from poete de l’amour to poete theologisant. Suzanne Akbari Conklin, like Cerquiglini-Toulet, understands Christine’s pursuit of knowledge to be grounded in desire, and she adumbrates the tension between early allegory and later allegory, and how this tension is reflected in shifts in metaphors for vision, the transition from form to matter. This paper will consider the Othea in terms of a genre constructed out of the mutual relations between an author and her audience situated in the cusp between the late medieval and early humanist periods, and, following the work of Rosalind Brown-Grant, seek to better understand what Christine teaches in the text regarding profane and sacred loves, profane and sacred pleasure, and the relationship of these loves to reading, writing, and identity.