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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 232: Textual Boundaries: Translation, Writing, and Narrative Voice in Old and Middle English

Monday 6 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Jane Beal, Department of English, University of La Verne, California
Paper 232-aBoundaries of Time and Eternity in The Old English Boethius
(Language: English)
Ruta Zukiene, Filologijos Fakultetas Vilniaus Universitetas / Faculty of Humanities Vytautas Magnus University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Philosophy
Paper 232-bMiddle-Earth: England as an Island in MS Junius 11 (Oxford: Bodleian Library)
(Language: English)
Gesner Las Casas Brito Filho, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Art History - Decorative Arts, Language and Literature - Old English, Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 232-cAt the Edges of Chaucer's Dream Poetry
(Language: English)
Hannah Byland, Graduate School, Cornell University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Literacy and Orality

Paper -a:
Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy transmits to the medieval world an important Plotinian notion of timeless eternity. Closely related to the idea of divine simplicity, timeless eternity is opposed both to time and to everlasting duration - sempiternity. Following Plotinus, Boethius defines eternity as 'a perfect possession altogether of an endless life' (Cons. and insists on it having no duration, in contrast to the endless perpetuity of the created world. The present paper examines the reception of this distinction in the Old English rendering of Boethius’s Consolation and considers it against the background of the underlying Neoplatonic thought.

Paper -b:
In this paper, I will present how the earth sphere is presented as an isle and its geographical and 'supernatural' boundaries in Junius 11 manuscript, in text and image. This island at first can be the land, the soil, the geographical area where the Anglo-Saxons migrated and lived and where they recognized as their land, the land of the English people, England. But also there is the intangible idea of this island, that is also present in Junius 11 manuscript and occasionally in other sources from the same time, as the promised land and holy land, connected with the heaven and hell spheres, the 'spiritual' island. In this paper I will show how the idea of England which produced Junius 11 was the context of the creation of England as a unified kingdom, under the rulership of the house of Wessex and the Benedictine reform of the Church: a time of creation and recreation, foundation and refoundation, formation and reformation.

Paper -c:
The author of the Cloud of Unknowing bemoans uneducated readers, forbidding any reader except those who read 'in a trewe wille and by an hole entente' (Prol. 11-14). One only needs to look a few lines into the Canterbury Tales to know what Chaucer would say about an 'hole entente.' Like the Cloud author, though, he is concerned with the relationship between writing and reading. The Retraction shows an author asking forgiveness for his translations and compositions; it reveals awareness of the problems of unconstrained reading. Yet in his dream poetry, Chaucer needs a reader who will search out meaning and read between the lines, one who will look for the holes. This paper reconsiders the boundaries between author and reader, writer, and dreamer.