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 Medieval Studies Lectures
Marisa Galvez, Stanford University
“How Medieval Lyric Makes Political and Aesthetic Communities: From the Troubadours to the Avant-Garde”
Thursday, April 12, 5:30pm
Campbell Hall 153

This paper examines two ways in which medieval lyric makes communities. The first is political and synchronic. During the period of medieval crusades spanning 1095-1300, poets could be found among the crusaders, and many of these poets wrote lyrics about the events they witnessed and the experiences they had. But what do their accounts represent? It has yet to be asked how such courtly texts for a literate, elite audience might reflect the tensions of a new penitential culture and the crusade movement: tensions among, on the one hand, the idea of a penitential Holy War and changes in devotional lay practices, and on the other, secular ideals of chivalry and love. Through a comparative study of verse from different vernacular traditions (Old Occitan, Old French, Middle High German, Italian) of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, we can discern multiple perspectives about crusade that resist the complete repentance and rejection of earthly cares that the Church required, what I call a “courtly crusade idiom.” The second way of making communities is aesthetic and diachronic: with an understanding of medieval verse as the conjoining of music and words, modern poets produce newness through the constraints of medieval verse forms such as the troubadour alba and sestina. I call this the paradoxical process of “unthought medievalisms”: inhabiting form through the practice of translation incites anachronistic otherness, reproducing medieval lyric anew rather than rendering it archaic. I take poems by Pound, Creeley, Baraka, Merwin, de Campos and Mayers as experimentations in media, syntax, and pronounced musical idioms that emulate the substantive, performative nature of medieval lyric.

Solange Bumbaugh, American University
"Magical Protection: Ethiopian Prayer Scrolls and Egyptian Oracular Amuletic Decrees"
Monday, April 16, 12:00noon
Gibson Room, Cocke Hall

Stocker Lecture
Antony Augoustakis, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
"Death, Burial, and Ritual in Flavian Poetry”
Friday, April 20, 5:00pm
Rouss 410

Dissecting Cultural Pluralism Lab Talk
Sonam Kachru, University of Virginia
Friday, April 27, 12:00noon

Graduate Student Conference
Corpora Mutata: Transformations of the Body in Classical Antiquity
April 28 - 29