Call for Papers: IMFS @ ICMS 2020 (Kalamazoo)

The International Marie de France Society is pleased to announce that it is sponsoring three sessions for the International Congress on Medieval Studies to be held at Western Michigan University from May 7-10.

Abstracts and queries should be sent to Dr. Simonetta Cochis,, no later than September 15, 2019.

Food and Furnishings: The Domestic in Marie de France (papers)

Twelfth-century author Marie de France is renowned for female-focused courtly narratives, but her fictional worlds are not limited to courtly settings: they also present an intimate look at the quotidian domestic elements of the realms her characters inhabit. Domesticity links to issues of appetite and consumption, the physical presence and limitations of spaces and objects, the formation of sex, gender, and sexual identities, privacy and agency, among others, illustrating the domestic’s significance as more than merely backdrop.  Papers may address any of the known works by Marie de France (Lais, Fables, Espurgatoire seint Patriz, La vie Seinte Audree) or the anonymous lays. Comparative and interdisciplinary analyses are welcome.

Translating Marie de France: Challenges and Opportunities (A Roundtable)

This session focuses on the issues that affect the translation of the works of Marie de France. Four to seven presenters may address two broad areas: accurately rendering the substance of Marie’s texts or intentionally departing from their meanings, and the formal characteristics of the resulting translations. In the case of translations of Marie’s Old French into verse, this may include emulating the formal characteristics of Marie’s original or conforming to other formal characteristics. The objective is to generate discussion among roundtable presenters and participants regarding matters such as variations in word choice and syllable count, the use of rhyme, sentence length, and the use or avoidance of enjambment and sentence fragments. Participants will read excerpts from a variety of translations to demonstrate the impact on the modern reader.

Performances of Marie de France: Chaitivel

In this performance session, three to five performers will present the lai of Marie de France entitled Chaitivel. As in years past, the panel invites performers who revive the lai by using period music, new translations, and dramatic performances in the original language. As Evelyn Birge Vitz and others argue, hearing a text read aloud or watching its performance mirrors the way the work was received in the Middle Ages and enhances our modern understanding. Attendees regularly report that their perception of the work changes over the course of the session. The objective is to generate discussion about the use of voice, gesture, and music in the embodiment of the text – and how its performance reveals nuances of meaning that may be lost in silent reading.