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Early Modern Medievalisms: The Interplay between Scholarly Reflection and Artistic Production
International Conference

University of Leiden (The Netherlands), 21-23 August 2008

Call for papers

The early modern period was marked by plural discourses on the Middle
Ages. Both scholarly work and artistic production created images of the
philological Middle Ages, the imagined Middle Ages, the utopian Middle
Ages, and even the anti-Middle Ages. Although this plurality was certainly
conditioned by the early modern period's relation to Antiquity, it also
reflected an interest in the Middle Ages as such. Paradoxically, early
modern medievalism can therefore be conceived as a form of classicism as
well as anti-classicism, exoticism as well as nationalism.

Emphasizing this diversity, the conference focuses on the interplay and
tensions between discourses, continuities and discontinuities, and
competing images of the medieval during the early modern period.

We invite papers that address these topics. We are particularly interested
in papers that explore one or several of three interrelated questions:

1. The conceptualization of the medieval in early modern scholarship.
How was the medieval transformed into an object of study? Which topoi did
scholars and collectors use to legitimize their interest in the medieval
past? Is it possible to discern a transition, as postulated by R. Howard
Bloch and Stephen G. Nichols, from appreciation of the medieval past
(gendered female) to scholarship (gendered male)?

2. Continuities and discontinuities between the medieval and the early
How did different perceptions of time (cyclical time, converging time) and
place (the New and the Old World, East and West) provide the contexts for
scholars and artists to inscribe themselves in a tradition? How did the
Middle Ages and the early modern communicate? How did actual scholarly and
artistic work relate to topoi establishing a distance between the medieval
and the contemporary?

3. The interplay of medieval studies and artistic production.
How did literary and visual images of the Middle Ages influence scholarly
practice? And how did scholarship inspire artists, writers and musicians?
What were the processes of cultural transmission from one disciplinary
context to another? How did medieval traditions move between popular and
elite culture, thereby problematizing our view of the early modern public

The conference will take place from 21 to 23 August 2008. A volume with
selected papers is scheduled to appear in 2009, as volume 15 of Brill's
series Intersections. Yearbook for Early Modern Studies, edited by Alicia
Montoya, Wim van Anrooij and Sophie van Romburgh (all University of
Leiden) . Proposals, about 300 words, should be sent electronically no
later than 1 May 2007, to

Alicia C. Montoya (Department of French, University of Leiden):
A.C.Montoya at
The authors of the proposals that have been accepted will be invited to
participate in the conference before July 2007.
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