IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1513: Shifting Definitions of Medieval Epistolarity in Theory and Practice, I: Defining the Letter in the Early Middle Ages

Thursday 9 July 2015, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Prato Consortium for Medieval & Renaissance Studies
Organiser:Diana Marie Jeske, Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Monash University, Victoria
Moderator/Chair:Kathleen Neal, Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Monash University, Victoria
Paper 1513-aSecuring Status: Early Medieval Letters in Context
(Language: English)
Verena Epp, Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Philipps-Universit├Ąt, Marburg
Index terms: Learning (The Classical Inheritance), Mentalities
Paper 1513-bCategorization & the Carolingians: Issues of Genre and Epistolarity in the Early Medieval World
(Language: English)
Laura Carlson, Department of History, Queen's University, Ontario
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1513-c'Vox clamantis in eremo':12th- and 13th-Century Carthusian Development of Epistolary Networks
(Language: English)
Stephen J. Molvarec, Program of First Studies, Loyola University Chicago
Index terms: Monasticism, Religious Life
Abstract

These three sessions investigate the parameters and problems of medieval letters as a genre, specifically the porous definition of letters throughout the medieval period (i.e. their varying application as legal contracts, sermons, etc.). Speakers will comment on methodological approaches and challenges scholars encounter when using letters as source material. Papers also will address how this permeability challenges our interpretation of these documents as well as the medieval understanding of the letter itself and its potential use. The first of these sessions will explore the potential rigidity of the epistolary genre in the post-classical west, specifically questions of structure, vocabulary, as well as letters’ continuing role in literate social and political networks.