Call for papers for an edited collection exploring the connections between sanctity and power in medieval literature. A frequent trope in medieval accounts of saints, within both hagiographical and historical narratives, is a significant and central relationship between the saint and an authority figure; for example, St Judas confronts the queenly St. Elene in the Old English poem Elene; St. Wulfstan confronts William the Conqueror in the Vita Wulfstani; and Margery Kempe confronts her bishop, Philip Repyngdon, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, in her eponymous biography. A positive relationship between saintly men and women and their influential secular patrons both colors the reception of the saint within the world and facilitates the saint's move towards a more temporal authority. A negative relationship, by way of contrast, augments the saint's depiction as a miles christi who rejects the temporal world and all its temptations. Kinship relationships between saints and monarchs too can be fraught with tensions. Whether patron, antagonist or kin, the affiliations between saints and secular or ecclesiastical authorities can create fissures between prominent cultural figures, as well as create crises of conflicting loyalties.
Submit essays exploring how saintly allegiance is represented, how power and sanctity coincide, how dynastic saints use their influence in a secular world, and how sanctity itself is a powerful force within medieval narratives. Additional avenues potentially addressed in the collection are whether a saintly king is—by temporal criteria—a good king, whether saintly men and women have different expectations of those figures who wield temporal power, and whether figures in medieval narratives can maintain power without fostering ecclesiastical blessings of that power.
A publisher has expressed interest in this volume, and we are seeking a few additional essays to complete the collection.
By 1 September 2008, please submit full contact information (name, address, phone/cell, and
email), a current c.v., and abstracts of 600-800 words or 20-25 page papers to Dr. Erin Mullally at firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Moyne College
1419 Salt Springs Rd
Syracuse, NY 13214
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