IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 510: Women and the Natural World in Medieval Literature, I: Trees

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Olivia Colquitt, Department of English, University of Liverpool
Moderator/Chair:Olivia Colquitt, Department of English, University of Liverpool
Paper 510-aColours of the Wind: An Ecofeminist Reading of the Multicoloured Tree of Life in Malory's Le Morte Darthur
(Language: English)
Danielle Howarth, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Danielle Howarth, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Women's Studies
Paper 510-bSubjects of Artifice: Queenly and Arboreal Agencies in Sir Orfeo
(Language: English)
Sarah-Nelle Jackson, Department of English, University of British Columbia
Sarah-Nelle Jackson, Department of English, University of British Columbia
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Women's Studies
Paper 510-c#TreeToo: Nature as Female Empowerment in Medievalist Fantasy
(Language: English)
Anahit Behrooz, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures - English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Anahit Behrooz, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures - English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Gender Studies, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Women's Studies
Abstract

This series of linked panel sessions begins with the symbolic, spiritual, and material connections between women and trees. Approaching Le Morte Darthur from ecofeminist perspectives, we reveal the environmental tensions underpinning the feminine exploitation of the Tree of Life in the Sangreal tale. The passive yet critical agencies of trees in Sir Orfeo reflect their political duality; this embodied agency is mirrored in Heurodis, facilitating her increasing passivity in the narrative. Liminal natural spaces permeate the works of Tolkien and Mirrlees, who draw upon medieval representations of trees as sources of female empowerment to disrupt preconceived notions of gender roles.