115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Medieval Literature II

Session Chair: 
Michelle M. Sauer, University of North Dakota
Session 6: Saturday 10 – 11:30 am
Henry 109
Topic Area: 


  1. Samer Mahdy Ali, University of Michigan
    The field of Arabic literature has offered several studies recently that illustrate the functional capacities of Arabic discourse (khitab) to serve as a commodity in a gift exchange. Among gift exchange, we notice intercession or peace offering to release self or others from captivity, harm, or even death. This paper goes beyond brute functionality to develop a model of valuation in poetic exchanges that lead to intercession in the service of a scapegoat. Part of the Islamic Peace Studies Initiative at the U of Michigan.
  2. Akash Kumar, University of California, Santa Cruz
    This paper proposes a reading of Dante's purgatorial and oceanic poetry, as taken in by the contemporary poets Derek Walcott and W.S. Merwin. Particular attention is paid to Dante's poetry of nature and the sea in his Purgatorio, how such aspects are highlighted in poetic reception and translation, and what the stakes are for such a mode of reading across time, space, and cultures.
  3. Robert Doran, University of Rochester
    This paper examines how Erich Auerbach sees the role of sublimity in the literature of the Middle Ages. Using his essay "Camilla, or the Rebirth of the Sublime" as its central reference, the paper argues that Auerbach indeed conceives of a distinct “medieval sublime,” despite Auerbach's narrative of a decline of sublimity in the Middle Ages. In fact, Auerbach sees the sublime as one of the defining features of the lofty style of the High Middle Ages, with its focus on courtly love, a “modern” theme that did not exist in Ancient literature. 
Session Cancelled: