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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1139: Pro-Choice: Unnatural Motherhood and the Agency of the Female Body in Medieval Narrative

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Institute of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Durham University
Organiser:Natalie Moore Goodison, Department of English Studies, Durham University
Moderator/Chair:Raluca Radulescu, Institute for Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Bangor University
Paper 1139-aMiraculous Miscarriage: Intervention and Atonement in 12th-Century Pregnancy Narratives
(Language: English)
Lydia Harris, Department of History, Durham University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Medicine, Sexuality
Paper 1139-bUnnatural Offspring: Reproduction and Spiritual Reform in the Middle English The King of Tars
(Language: English)
Natalie Moore Goodison, Department of English Studies, Durham University
Index terms: Folk Studies, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality
Paper 1139-cMasculine Motherhood: The Lady of the Lake's Rejection of Passive Femininity in the Old French Merlin Romances
(Language: English)
Laura Campbell-Chuhan, School of Modern Languages & Cultures, Durham University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Sexuality

Although the female body was expected to enable maternity, some women in medieval narrative redirected male desire through her reproductive self, rendered consciously or unconsciously, transforming these submissive roles of sexuality and motherhood into powerful social and spiritual acts. This panel will consider three aspects of the female body: the maternal influence of embryonic development via spiritual means; feminine abstinence and adopted motherhood; and, 'miraculous miscarriage' in cases of unwanted pregnancy. Papers will consider aspects of reform and renewal across Arthurian prose romances, hagiographic romances, and spiritual narratives, specifically focusing on aspects of maternity.