Spring 2014 Events
Framing Memory in Late Medieval English Narrative CFP - MLA 2015
How do late medieval English narratives frame cultural memory? From the great famines at the beginning of the fourteenth century to the ongoing Hundred Years War, the twilight of the Middle Ages in England contains many memorable events itself, yet poets and writers during this period also draw on a fantasized English past - Arthurian legend - and the common trope of translatio imperii. Additionally, authors cite the authority of past auctors (authorities) to validate their own work. As Larry Scanlon has noted, "Authority, then, is an enabling past reproduced in the present" (Narrative, Authority, and Power 38). Past and present coalesce in many narratives, and authors frame the memories of past and present as a history of continuity while at times ignoring a changing world in which political, theological, and poetic meaning are growing increasingly unstable.
This panel seeks to engage the intersection of memory and narrative frame. How do framing narratives or techniques impose a desired or sanctioned interpretation of the cultural memory of England as presented in the work that follows them? Do these texts acknowledge alternative narratives of memory in their attempts to suppress them? Are there fissures between the frame and the body of the text that encourage readers to interrogate the frame and, therefore, the privileged memory it presents?
Papers focusing on these ideas and questions from a wide variety of theoretical approaches are welcome. Please e-mail a 300-word Abstract and CV by 10 March 2014 to Jeffery Stoyanoff (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Susan Boynton (Professor of Music, Columbia University) "Sound and Image in the Middle Ages: Reflections on a Conjunction." Tuesday, March 18, 5:00-6:30 pm at the University of Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning, Room 512.
Although sound and image are characterized by markedly different temporal and material expressions, the experience and the idea of music are crucial to the received meanings of many works of medieval art. Links between art and music, rather than directly representational, are often indirect and elusive, as in the case of the capitals of the modes from the abbey of Cluny. Through several case studies, I will discuss the dynamic relationship between sound and image, the construction of musical images, and some ritual uses of music and image that shape the historical interpretation of visual culture.
Brian Curran (Professor of Art History, Penn State University) "Of Gods and Monsters: An Egyptian Bestiary in Early Modern Rome." Thursday, April 3, 4:00-5:30 pm at the University of Pittsburgh, Frick Fine Arts, Room 202.
In this talk, I explore the curious afterlife of the many Egyptian animal statues—lions, sphinxes, baboons, crocodiles, Apis bulls, and others—who once inhabited the gardens, palaces, and public spaces of Medieval and Early Modern Rome. Focusing on the "careers" of these works as they moved from place to place, and to new settings over the course of many centuries, I describe their rise, in some cases, to international fame as emblematic, "celebrity" statues in the antiquarian and intellectual, as well popular, tourist culture of the period from around 1300–1800. In addition to their inherent interest as tales largely untold, it is also hoped that these "cultural biographies" may cast a light on the social life of things in general, and art objects in particular.