IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 131: Modelling Ethical Reform in Medieval Literature, I

Monday 6 July 2015, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Mary Michele Poellinger, Deparment of English, University of Leeds
Paper 131-aIl vousist miex estre en biere: An Ethical Employment of Rutebeuf in Paris, Bibliothèque National de France, MS 12483
(Language: English)
Adam Tyler Grant, Department of French & Italian, University of Minnesota / Université Paris IV - Sorbonne
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Rhetoric
Paper 131-bBecoming the rex futurus: Female Renewal and the Undoing of Chivalric Reform in Malory's Le Morte Darthur
(Language: English)
Phoebe Catherine Linton, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Pagan Religions
Paper 131-c'Þat worde þat he warpyd': Diachronic English in St Erkenwald
(Language: English)
Leanne MacDonald, Department of English, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Literacy and Orality
Abstract

Paper -a:
Once in the hands of scribes, the well-known 13th-century Old French writer Rutebeuf’s markedly self-referential dits were able to play a variety of roles, circulating in diverse vernacular miscellanies. I will explore the inclusion of several of his pieces in an early 14th-century manuscript that places the tale of his marriage opposite a set of Marian miracle texts, Paris BNF fr. 12483, which has been largely untouched by Rutebeuf scholars. How does this manuscript recast and renew the use of vernacular works, particularly the often bawdy and confrontational writings of Rutebeuf, in the context of more traditional religious and ethical discourse?

Paper -b:
This paper will explore one of the final scenes of Le Morte Darthur, Morgan’s passage with Arthur to Avalon. Their ambiguous disappearance destabilises the rigid Christian reform brought about by the Grail quest, restoring the original, more liminal quality of Arthurian spaces. This allows Arthur to transcend death in the reader’s imagination. Morgan’s marginality is key, since female marginality is often the source of empowerment in this text. In contrast, whilst the knights’ Grail quest does lead to an authoritative chivalric reform, it is one of stasis and degeneration. Thus reform and renewal are not synonymous here; rather they are divergent processes.

Paper -c:
In the 14th-century alliterative St Erkenwald, it is clear from the outset that its setting is in a place and time of reform and upheaval – an imagined version of the period during which the Saxons were being converted to Christianity. As temples are stripped of their heathen idols and rededicated to the saints, the Erkenwald-poet posits one source of stability that allows the people of London to trace their history back to their Roman ancestors – the English language. In this paper, I will argue that the Erkenwald-poet suppresses known diachronic linguistic difference in order to depict a culturally consistent England.