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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 819: Modern Renewals of Medieval Culture, II

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Victoria Turner, School of Modern Languages - French, University of St Andrews
Paper 819-a'The Sound of Dante's Language': An Alternative Medieval Tradition for Ted Hughes
(Language: English)
James Robinson, Department of English Studies, Durham University
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Italian, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 819-bEarly Medieval Echoes: Monastic Missionaries to the Sioux, 1887-1910
(Language: English)
Steven A. Stofferahn, Department of History, Indiana State University
Index terms: Local History, Mentalities, Monasticism

Paper -a:
The influence of Dante on the development of modern English-language poetry is well known; however, the voice of Ted Hughes has yet to be heard in the critical conversation around Dante's modern 'afterlife'. Discussion of Hughes's medievalism tends to focus on Middle English traditions, but in this paper I will show that Hughes's substantial engagement with Dante - rooted in an early encounter with Dante's language - lasted throughout his career. Exploring Hughes's positioning of medieval poetry as the bedrock of his poetic identity, and his sense of Dante as a visionary writer in the 12th-century Sufi tradition of Farid ud-Din Attar, I will demonstrate how the Italian poet came to be a shaping influence on Hughes's poetic vision, particularly within his last collection Birthday Letters.

Paper -b:
In January 1887, a band of German Benedictines from St Meinrad Abbey in southern Indiana (USA) trekked a thousand miles westward to the frozen Dakota prairie. Distinguished by a cenobitic background prizing abbatial obedience and reverence for monastic forebears, these monk-missionaries struggled to make sense of their daunting duties as teachers, priests, fundraisers, merchants, and ranchers, all the while navigating a host of competing claims on their loyalty by a distant abbot, the abbey's superior house in Einsiedeln, local bishops, the federal government, charitable organizations, and even wealthy patronesses. This presentation will highlight the ways in which these heirs of Benedict and Boniface explicitly renewed their connection to the Middle Ages by drawing upon early medieval models to resolve those conflicts and to justify their evangelization of the Sioux Indians.