CFP for ICMS 2018, Kalamazoo, Michigan

The International Marie de France Society will sponsor three panels for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, to be held on the campus of Western Michigan University, May 10-13, 2018. Abstracts must be received by the session organizer, Tamara Bentley Caudill (, by September 15, 2017.

New for 2018: Graduate Students who participate as panelists in our sessions will be eligible to receive an IMFS-sponsored travel award in the amount of the Congress pre-registration fee for students. Last year, this fee was $95. The award(s) will be presented at our business meeting, which has historically occurred on Saturday at noon.

Note: You do not have to be a member of the society to submit a topic, but all presenters are expected to join for the 2018-2019 Academic Year. See Join IMFS for our dues schedule.

(1 – Papers) Queering Marie

This paper panel proposes to call attention to tales of queerness and alterity in the works of
Marie de France or her imitators. Papers may address any of the known works by Marie de France (the Lais, the Fables, the Espurgatoire seint Patriz, and/or La vie Seinte Audree) or the anonymous lays. Comparative analyses that draw connections between Marie and other works of medieval literature are welcome. Papers may consider, but should not be limited to, animal studies, disability studies, gender and sexuality, alterity, and so on. The objective is to stimulate discussion regarding the ways that Marie’s oeuvre addresses these themes in the Middle Ages and its broader implications.

(2 – Roundtable) Marie and Ovid

This roundtable will bring together a group of scholars interested in the intersection of the Old
French narrative lay, particularly those of Marie de France, and the Ovidian tradition. In addition
to drawing inspiration from oral Breton lays that circulated in her milieu (“des lais pensai qu’oïz
aveie” v. 33, Prologue, Lais), Marie de France draws philosophical and literary frames from the
“anciens” (v. 9) or “li philosophe” (v. 5): those who set the standards within which she composes
her poetic corpus. In this context, Ovid presents himself as an intriguing undercurrent in Marie’s
works; and this session will explore Ovid as palimpsest in Marie’s Lais. Topics may include the
transformation of lovers from human to animal (and vice versa), the rewriting of classical myths
such as Philomela, Narcissus, or Piramus and Thisbe, the influence of the Ars Amatoria and the
Remedia Amoris, and other related issues. Special consideration will be given to participants with interdisciplinary approaches, either traditional (art, philosophy, religion, etc.) or contemporary (animal studies, disability studies, etc.). Roundtable participants will be asked to transform their presentations into full-length articles, to be submitted to Le Cygne, the society’s journal.

(3 – Performances) Le Fresne Again! Celebrating a Decade of Performing Marie de France

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of our popular performance panel in its current format; and we plan to bring back the original performers (with a few new faces) for an all-new performance of the text that started it all: Le Fresne. As in years past, the panel will involve period music, new
translations, and dramatic readings in the original language. As Joyce Coleman, Evelyn Birge Vitz, and others have argued, hearing a text read aloud or watching its performance both mirrors the way the work would have been consumed in the Middle Ages and enhances our modern understanding. Our attendees regularly report that their perception of the work changes over the course of the session.

Contact information

Submit abstracts of less than 300 words to the organizer:

Tamara Bentley Caudill
Assistant Professor of French
Division of Humanities
Jacksonville University
2800 University Boulevard North
Jacksonville, FL 32211