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CFP 2015

Reassessing Courtliness in Medieval Literature

International Courtly Literature Society, British Branch

14th – 15th April 2015

University of Warwick

Featuring a roundtable discussion with Dr Jane Gilbert (UCL), Professor Ad Putter (Bristol), and Professor Emma Dillon (KCL)

Call for Papers

What are the boundaries of the courtly in the Middle Ages? How useful is ‘courtliness’ as a category for thinking about medieval texts of different kinds, including those not conventionally considered to be courtly? To what extent is courtliness a notion that translates between or among texts written in different languages or associated with particular cultural and historical contexts? How far is the idea of courtliness historically, linguistically, or culturally embedded?

Taking these questions as its starting point, this conference will critically assess the value of ‘courtliness’ for contemporary approaches to medieval literature.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers addressing the following issues:

  • What different kinds of medieval source – including visual material, and literary, historiographical, religious and other texts – can tell us about what the courtly includes or excludes;
  • The extent to which courtliness is connected to the court (as a real or imagined space);
  • What engagements with courtliness in literature not conventionally defined as ‘courtly literature’ reveal about medieval perceptions of it (e.g. in religious literature, comic texts, epic);
  • What the limits of courtliness may be and the extent to which these limits map onto or transgress medieval political, linguistic, or cultural boundaries
  • How far notions of the courtly presume particular kinds of gendered behaviour or forms of sexual desire;
  • To what extent ideas of courtliness translate – or fail to translate – between or among texts, languages, and cultures;
  • To what extent the notion of the courtly cuts across – or provides a way of rethinking – genre in medieval literature.

Proposals on other topics relevant to the conference theme are also welcome. Papers may be on any area of medieval literature and culture.

To propose a paper, please send an abstract of 200-300 words to Dr Emma Campbell ( by Friday 19th December 2014.