Kzoo 2016 cfp: Late Old English Verse

A call for papers for a Special Session at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI (May 12-15, 2016). Send abstracts to eric.weiskott@bc.edu by September 15, 2015.

Late Old English Verse

This session focuses on Old English poetry datable to between c. 950 and 1150. Many of these poems are embedded in late annals in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; most of them were snubbed by being excluded from the standard edition of Old English verse, the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records (Columbia University Press, 1931-53). As a result, late Old English poems as a group are severely understudied. Indeed, because Old English verse is written out in unlineated text blocks in manuscript, and because most theories of Old English meter are based on putatively pre-950 poems like Beowulf, scholars disagree about the exact number of extant late Old English poems. As recently as 2007, Thomas Bredehoft could identify an entirely new, never-before-discussed poem. This session explores what the study of short, late, and (often) topical Old English poems might contribute to critical conceptions of Anglo-Saxon literary culture and Old English literary history.

Possible paper topics include: metrical form; manuscript contexts and textual transmission; historical allusions; authorship and audience; problems of definition between verse and prose; and transitions to Middle English language and literary cultures.

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