THE EVERGREEN ROMANCE:
THE RECEPTION OF _SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT_ IN POPULAR CULTURE
45TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MEDIEVAL STUDIES
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
13-16 MAY 2010
PROPOSALS BY 1 SEPTEMBER 2009
THE SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF POPULAR CULTURE AND THE MIDDLE AGES
The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages invites proposals for 15 to 20 minute presentations exploring the theme of "The Evergreen Romance: The Reception of SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT in Popular Culture." We have two sessions to fill and hope to explore a variety of media.
Despite our temporal and spatial distance from the Middle Ages, medieval themes proliferate in post-medieval culture, especially popular culture, and attest to the veracity of Umberto Eco’s observation that “people like the Middle Ages.” Medievalists, as both teachers and consumers, are as intrigued by these new representations of the medieval as non-specialists are, though fruitful academic discussion of such material has been limited when compared against the vast corpus of available medievalisms. It is the goal of the Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages to foster and encourage further investigation into the relationship between Medieval Studies and popular culture research.
For our sixth anniversary sessions, we propose a set of two sessions devoted to the post-medieval reception of the fourteenth century, alliterative romance now known as SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT. Virtually unknown until its rediscovery by Sir Frederic Madden in 1829, SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT is now considered a masterpiece of Western literature and taught to students at a variety of levels. Medievalists are especially familiar with this text and with the voluminous corpus of scholarship that has been produced since Madden’s own 1839 study, SYR GAWAYNE: A COLLECTION OF ANCIENT ROMANCE-POEMS BY SCOTISH AND ENGLISH AUTHORS, RELATING TO THAT CELEBRATED KNIGHT OF THE ROUND TABLE. In addition to its reception by antiquarians and scholars, SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT has also inspired a variety of creative artists, whose work is largely unknown and unexplored by medievalists.
In furtherance of our goals of illuminating the use of medieval themes in post-medieval popular culture, we intend in these sessions to sample the various ways that this unique work, an evergreen romance adaptable to any age and situation, has been received by creative artists of the nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty first centuries. Presentations in the two-session “The Evergreen Romance: The Reception of SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT in Popular Culture” will assess the impact of the romance in popular culture by highlighting the use of this text by authors of children’s books, comic book writers and artists, composers, filmmakers, illustrators, librettists, musicians, novelists, playwrights, poets, and translators.
Please submit a 250-500 word proposal and completed Participant Information Form (available at http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html) to the organizing committee at Popular.Culture.and.the.Middle.Ages@gmail.com by 1 September 2009. Please include the words “Evergreen Romance” in the subject line.
Michael A. Torregrossa, MA
34 Second Street
Smithfield, RI 02917-3627
Co-Founder, The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages http://PopularCultureandtheMiddleAges.blogspot.com/
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