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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1211: Tombs and Epitaphs in Medieval Literature

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Emma Campbell, Department of French Studies, University of Warwick
Paper 1211-aStone Graves, Water Graves: Honour and Spirituality, Materiality and Immateriality in the Narrations of King Arthur and Renart the Fox's Deaths
(Language: English)
Lisa Sancho, UFR Lettres et Philosophie, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Mentalities, Pagan Religions, Theology
Paper 1211-bMedieval Welsh Poetry as Evidence for the Material Culture of Death and Commemoration
(Language: English)
Madeleine Gray, Department of History, University of Wales, Newport
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Language and Literature - Celtic, Lay Piety

Paper -a:
Revolving partly around the question of the representation of the grave, the cases of King Arthur's death and Renart the Fox's false deaths are caught in a tension between stone and water, truth and lies. Through this dynamic, these narrations involve fundamental themes such as honour and spirituality, but with diametrically opposed intentions. This paper aims to show how medieval representations of death, by oscillating between materiality and immateriality, give a hold to an ambiguous use of honour and spirituality, ranging from the celebration of the epic ideal and religious beliefs to the satirical degradation of chivalric and spiritual values.

Paper -b:
Medieval historians have traditionally regarded the tomb carvings of medieval Wales as the poor cousins of the tradition in England and mainland Europe. However, as long ago as 2003, Howard Williams reminded us that the materiality of death and commemoration was much wider in scope than the study of tomb carvings. Recent work on the remarkable tradition of commemorative poetry in later medieval Wales provides valuable evidence for the material aspects of burial rituals as well as challenging some received ideas about monumentality.