IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1127: Medievalism in 18th- and 19th-Century Literature in English

Wednesday 4 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Louise D'Arcens, Department of English, Macquarie University, Sydney
Paper 1127-a'Enlightened Medievalism' and National Identity in Clara Reeve's The Old English Baron
(Language: English)
Hi Kyung Moon, Department of English, Korea University, South Korea
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Paper 1127-bMoral Chaucer?: Remembering Medieval Fabliaux in the 19th Century
(Language: English)
Natalie Hanna, Department of English, University of Liverpool
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Social History
Paper 1127-c'Echoes from Mist-Land': The Anglophone Nibelungenlied in the 19th Century
(Language: English)
Mary Boyle, Department of German, Maynooth University
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Medievalism and Antiquarianism
Abstract

Paper -a:
Clara Reeve’s The Old English Baron (1777) is a gothic novel that is set in the 1430s. Whereas most 18th-century gothic novels demonise the Middle Ages as an era of barbarity, superstition, and terror, Reeve, on the contrary, looks back to the past for the model of a society in which the enlightened values of virtue, reason, and justice predominate. This paper will explore the significance of the words ‘old’ and ‘English’ in the title and the way Reeve grounds ‘Englishness’ in the ‘enlightened’ virtues of the medieval past in a period when Britain emerges as a modern nation.

Paper -b:
Today we often remember Chaucer as a bawdy social satirist. However, in the 19th century when our modern concept of the ‘medieval’ was first conceived, writers instead sought to moralise Chaucer’s writing, nationalising the poet in a way that fit the socio-political agendas of the day. For this reason Chaucer’s fabliaux were omitted from editions or radically changed. This paper will examine how 19th-century writers who did choose to adapt Chaucer’s fabliaux remembered and recreated his stories, with focus on the language of Mary Haweis’s adaptations of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. More widely the paper will explore how the memory of Chaucer is reconstructed in line with social attitudes to ‘Englishness’.

Paper -c:
21st-century popular medievalism offers only the latest image in which the Middle Ages have been re-created for the modern world. As part of a post-doctoral project examining 19th-century cross-cultural medievalism, this paper looks at the early stages of Anglophone reception of the Middle High German Nibelungenlied. 19th-century English translations of the text were once dismissed as ‘mirror[ing] the poem with a permanent factor of distortion’ (Hatto, 1969). My paper explores the causes, nature, and effects of this distortion in the adaptations, translations, analyses, and interpretations of the Nibelungenlied left to us by 19th-century British and American female and male writers.