NCS 2016 cfp: Meters and Stanza-Forms

A call for papers for a seminar at the 2016 New Chaucer Society conference in London (July 10-15). Co-organized by Jenni Nuttall and myself. Submit abstracts using this interface. As a seminar, this session will involve two or three precirculated critical essays, chosen by the organizers, and precirculated excerpts from primary texts, chosen by the participants.

Meters and Stanza-Forms: The Favorite and the Forgotten

The 14th and 15th centuries witnessed a proliferation of metrical forms and great experimentation with stanza-forms in English. Study of these holds out the promise of charting new lines of formal affiliation and alternate literary histories of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This seminar will investigate, through individual case studies, what it is to write and read metrically and stanzaically. As Mark Lambert writes: “the maker of stanzaic narrative is […] conspicuously committed […] to finding a certain shape of experience again and again.” This session will offer a space in which to compare the shapes of experience made by Middle English meters and stanza-forms both familiar and rare. Participants will be asked to focus on one meter and/or stanza-form and precirculate a short, representative passage.

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