Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Upcoming Event: Sarah Kay @ Medieval Club

Vernacular Verse Encyclopedism in Medieval France: System and System-Failure
Sarah Kay
Princeton University

The age of the vernacular verse encyclopaedia in France is both remarkably productive, and remarkably short-lived, since it lasts from c. 1230 to c. 1290 at the outside. The rapid demise of the verse encyclopaedia may be due to the rise of prose, with its greater connotation of factuality, and in particular to the success of Brunetto Latini's prose Tresor of the 1260s. However, the energy that went into writing verse encyclopaedias seems to have been diverted into the production of what are often called 'encyclopaedic texts': works that contain passages of the kinds of material found in encyclopaedias but whose overall frame clearly belongs in another genre. The Romance of the Rose would be a good example, since it contains passages on disciplines such as optics and theology within the framework of a narrative dit. This talk reflects on this fall from the systematic character of verse encyclopaedias into the partiality of encyclopaedic verse, and includes discussion of works by Christine de Pizan, Froissart, and Chartier.

Sarah Kay is Professor of French at Princeton University. She is the author of Raoul de Cambrai. Edited with an Introduction, Translation and Notes (1992). Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry (1990), The Chanson de geste in the Age of Romance: Political Fictions (1995), The Romance of the Rose. Grant and Cutler Critical Guides no. 110 (1995), Courtly Contradictions. The Emergence of the Literary Object in the Twelfth Century (2001), Zizek: A Critical Introduction (2003), A Short History of French Literature, co-written with Malcolm Bowie and Terence Cave (2003), and The Place of Thought. The Complexity of One in French Didactic Literature (2007).

Friday, April 3, 2009, 7:30 PM
CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Ave. @ 34th St.) Room 4406
Reception, with wine and cheese, follows.

Monday, March 16, 2009