CFP: Direct Discourse in Old French Narrative, Kalamazoo 2016

Jenny Tan's picture
Call for Papers
May 12, 2016 to May 15, 2016
Michigan, United States
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Fine Arts, Languages, Literature, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies
CFP: Direct Discourse in Old French Narrative
International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 12–15, 2016
University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI (USA)
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2015
Kathryn Levine, Department of French, UC Berkeley
Jenny Tan, Department of Comparative Literature, Program in Medieval Studies, UC Berkeley
Call for Papers:
Characters' speech reported in direct discourse is a linguistic and formal feature that signals the introduction of another voice in the text; as such, the presence or absence of direct discourse in a given scene raises a wide range of questions about authorial choices as well as reception. The frequency with which characters speak, and the moments when their speech is included or excluded, reveal clues about the narrator's role in the text, variation of point of view in the narrative, the relative irony or sincerity of a given passage, and even the text's ideological investments in social values including the portrayal of gender. Especially for medieval romance, attention to reported speech offers a fresh approach to many central critical concerns.
The panel hopes to generate conversation between scholars both of medieval linguistics and of literature, connecting medieval-specific research with the critical mass of literary critics working on medieval romance. Some possible lines of inquiry include: How are monologues and dialogues deployed to advance a narrative or explain a scene? What literary ramifications can patterns in the distribution of direct discourse among characters put into relief? How and why do discourse reporting strategies differ between medieval genres? When a text is translated from verse to prose, or from Old French to another language, do instances of reported speech remain constant? Methodologically, how can we reliably identify direct discourse? How should we take the narrator into account, especially a narrator who addresses the reader, in analyzing direct discourse?
We invite papers that focus on these and other aspects of direct discourse in Old French literature, as well as comparative papers with an Old French component. Please send abstracts of 350-500 words to Deadline: September 15th.
Contact Info: 
Kathryn Levine, Department of French
Jenny Tan, Department of Comparative Literature, Program in Medieval Studies
University of California, Berkeley
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