This discussion focuses on representations of medieval wizards, both in Arthurian literature and medievalist young-adult fiction. I will talk particularly about Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Merlin and the Morgan of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, who both demonstrate magical modes of thinking that place them at odds with traditional Romance heroes. I’ll then track how these characters are adapted in diverse YA texts, such as ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. The goal of this discussion is to explore not only how queer adaptations transform these medieval figures, but how wizards across genres ‘think queerly’ in ways that encourage neurodiversity.
The Jewess as femme fatale – widely recognized as a caricature by the end of the Middle Ages and into the early modern period – has been tentatively traced to 13th-century English texts. The extent to which medieval Christian texts characterize Jewish women as dangerously seductive, however, is limited, and the case for English examples overstated. This paper will discuss the relevant English texts, from 13th-century chronicle accounts to the 18th-century ‘Ballad of Sir Hugh’, to show that the Jewess as love interest (where she appears) matters more for her invisibility than her sexuality. Her danger and agency are later anti-Jewish accretions.
Hope Emily Allen, the scholar who identified the manuscript of The Book of Margery Kempe – an account of the life and revelation of the 14-15th-century female mystic – remains to this day a figure often escaping well-deserved recognition. In the proposed paper I shall attempt to re-introduce Allen as the scholar responsible for establishing an approach to Margery Kempe studies that has benefitted future generations of academics, influencing modern discourse. Drawing from my own research of Hope Emily Allen’s papers at Bryn Mawr, I shall focus on the issues of materiality of researching the palimpsest of Allen’s papers, Margery Kempe related research threads, and intuitions proposed by Allen and their relevancy to current studies, and the aspect of medieval feminist studies and scholarship sensu largo.