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).
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