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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 511: Book Production and Expanding Readerships in Late Medieval England

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Ad Putter, Department of English, University of Bristol
Paper 511-aRepresentations of the Catechism in the Vernon Manuscript Speculum Vitae(Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. poet. a. 1)
(Language: English)
Kathryn Vulic, Department of English, Western Washington University
Index terms: Art History - General, Language and Literature - Middle English, Lay Piety, Religious Life
Paper 511-bBeyond Allegory and Urban Space in William Caxton's The Game and Play of the Chesse
(Language: English)
Kyle Dase, Faculteit Letteren / Faculteit Wetenschappen, KU Leuven
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Political Thought

Paper -a:
This paper explores the representation of lay catechetical worship in the Vernon Manuscript Speculum vitae, which is unique among all manuscript witnesses in being prefaced by a large diagram that distills elements of the poem down to a single image. Speculum vitae, a late 14th-century. Middle English poem, purports to teach the Paternoster prayer to novice worshippers, devoting its roughly 16,000 line length to the purpose. I argue that the prefatory image offers a gloss on the poem, offering interpretive models and mnemonic practices to help the lay reader better understand and retain the poem's teachings regarding lay catechesis.

Paper -b:
This paper incorporates frameworks of spatial theorists as a means of understanding William Caxton's use of chess as an allegorical model of the state in his translation of The Game and Play of the Chess. By focusing on space and perspective in this ludic model of the state, I expand upon Jenny Adams's understanding of the emergent proto-citizen in Caxton's translation as an independent entity and emphasize the importance of interconnectedness for the benefit of the comyn prouffyt in his work (Caxton 3.226). The result is a material model expressing social harmony as product of shared values among related social positions.