Calls for Papers/Aug 15, 2022

Tangling with the Classics

Tangling with the Classics lead image

Tangling with the Classics, session at the 2023 International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 3–6, 2023

The term 'classical reception implies a unidirectional movement of texts from antiquity to the Middle Ages. However, medieval did not always view themselves as passive recipients or enthusiastic continuers of classical literature. In keeping with next year's IMC theme of "Networks and Entanglements," this panel seeks papers that consider how the relationship between classical and medieval texts might be considered a kind of entanglement. Hope did classical auctores 'rope' medieval authors into certain ways of thinking or writing? Or to ask the inverse, how did medieval writers 'rope' classical auctores into supporting their political or ideological views? Is the relationship between every medieval writer and their classical source(s) an "entanglement"?

We seek papers that complicate the idea of classical reception in the Middle Ages by reimagining it not as a linear movement but as a tangled mass of threads, in which classical authors are equally likely to ensnare or to be ensnared by medieval writers.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Medieval stories about classical authors, such as biographies or legends
  • Imagined dialogues or other kinds of 'conversations' between classical and medieval writers
  • Medieval texts or authors who felt 'trapped', 'limited', or otherwise 'entangled' by classical texts or classical tradition more generally
  • Entangling classical and religious sources in the Middle Ages
  • The misrepresentation of classical auctores in the Middle Ages
  • Networks of entanglement, e.g. between multiple classical authorities and medieval authors
  • Filtered entanglement: reading the classics through intermediary texts, such as in commentaries or through other writers
  • Pseudepigrapha and literary forgeries
  • Different theories of textual entanglement, such as cento or medieval theories of authorship

Session organizers
Jacqueline Burek, George Mason University
Rebecca Menmuir, Queen Mary University of London