Parution : Alicia Montoya, Vincent Ferré (dir.) "Speaking of the Medieval Today : French and Francophone Medievalisms", RELIEF, vol. 8 (n°1), 2014

Alicia Montoya, Vincent Ferré (dir.), Speaking of the Medieval Today : French and Francophone Medievalisms, numéro de la revue RELIEF, vol. 8 (n°1), 2014

RELIEF- Revue électronique de littérature française à lire en ligne



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Présentation :

The present special issue of RELIEF originated as a response to several recent developments within the field of medievalism studies. These included, as its most direct catalyst, a conference we organized in July 2010 on “Transatlantic Dialogues / Speaking of the Middle Ages”, at the joint initiative of the U.S.-based group of scholars around the journal Studies in Medievalism and the French-based association Modernités médiévales ; five of the eight articles included here are based on papers first presented at that conference.The original conference had several aims. The guiding theme “Transatlantic dialogues / Speaking of the Middle Ages today” was inspired both by its European venue, and by the legacy of one of the greatest medieval scholars of the twentieth century, Paul Zumthor, who started his academic career at the University of Groningen (where the original conference was held) in 1948 and whose book Parler du Moyen Age (Speaking of the Middle Ages) remains still one of the seminal works of academic medievalism. As a Swiss scholar who worked in the Netherlands and later emigrated to North America, Zumthor represented an outstanding example of the border-crossing nature of medieval and medievalist studies, and specifically of the French-language and continental European tradition within medieval and medievalism studies, which our conference wished to showcase and critically interrogate.

Indeed, the conference and the present collection of essays arose from our desire, as scholars on both sides of the Atlantic working on similar medieval(ist) artifacts and themes, to engage in a dialogue that had, until then, too often been lacking, for both linguistic and institutional reasons. We felt that, working in relative isolation from one another, continental European and Anglo-American traditions of medievalist scholarship were beginning to develop along distinct lines – lines that we felt it might be fruitful to confront to one another, and to engage in a more substantial critical dialogue. At that time, since the two major groups working on medievalist material were to be found in the United States and France, it was between the French and American traditions that we first noted this developing difference of focus. At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, it seemed to us that French medievalist scholars were largely following a text-focused path that foregrounded theoretical issues, inspired in part by the institutional strength of literary studies and philology in French universities, while American scholars tended to show more interest in empirical approaches, focusing often on the products of contemporary popular American (visual) culture. More broadly, while the Middle Ages we refer to today are European, it appeared that it was Anglo-American scholarship in particular that was developing new ways of conceptualizing this era as the object of a distinct field of medievalism studies, dealing not with “the Middle Ages” but with the imaginative recreation of the medieval past in ensuing periods. Ever since it came into being in the late 1970s, modern medievalism as a subfield within cultural studies has tended to have a strong Anglo-American focus, overwhelmingly privileging the study of examples drawn from the Anglo-American world and from English-language arts and literature in particular. Within the field of medievalism, medievalist phenomena from other geographic areas subsequently did not receive nearly the amount of attention they might seem to deserve.

This existence of nationally distinct approaches to the medieval – of which some are better-known than others, for reasons both intellectual and geopolitical – certainly seemed to invite further questioning. As the conference unfolded, our initial hunch was confirmed, for several papers presented there convincingly illustrated how the dominant Anglo-American paradigm of medievalism studies could be enriched by drawing on insights from other geographical and cultural contexts – in the first instance, the French tradition, but as the conference demonstrated, also other ones. One of the revelations of the conference – for instance – was the enormous richness of Hispanic and Lusophone engagements with the medieval, ranging from the ideologically-motivated defenses of the medieval elaborated by Spanish historians exiled in South America during the Franco years, to postcolonial Brazilian “medievalizations” of the country’s own geographical peripheries. Both these elements, furthermore – exile and peripheries – opened new vistas for medievalist theory, by their cultural and geographical displacement of the traditional “centres” of medievalist academic discourse. And while the academic tradition of medievalist studies developed in France, which was the primary focus of our original conference, may not at first blush appear to be terribly “peripheral”, in fact all these traditions, taken together, have the potential to subtly decentre the dominant Anglo-American paradigm.


MEDIEVALISM AND THEORY : Toward a Rhizomatic Medievalism Résumé PDF (English) Vincent Ferré, Alicia Montoya 1-19

ROYALIST MEDIEVALISMS IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTION : From Robert de Lézardière to Chateaubriand, 1792-1831 Résumé PDF (English) Carolina Armenteros 20-47 MEDIEVALISM IN A MINORITY LANGUAGE : Frédéric Mistral’s Wish-Fulfillment Provençal Past Résumé PDF (English) William Calin 48-60 RÊVER DU MOYEN ÂGE ENTRE ÉRABLE ET LAURIER : Une « Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes » au Canada français vers 1900 Résumé PDF Aurélie Zygel-Basso 61-74 INTRODUCTION TO ROBERT GUIETTE : “Formal Poetry in France in the Middle Ages” and “The Adventure of Formal Poetry” Résumé PDF (English) Jeff Rider 75-77 FORMAL POETRY IN FRANCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES [1946] Translated by Jeff Rider Résumé PDF (English) Robert Guiette 78-91 THE ADVENTURE OF FORMAL POETRY [1946] Translated by Jeff Rider Résumé PDF (English) Robert Guiette 92-100 FECUNDITIES OF THE TRACE : Medieval Scholars and Medievalists before the Medieval Text Résumé PDF (English) Michèle Gally 101-114 MEDIEVALISM AND MEDIEVAL THEATRE : About Adam Résumé PDF (English) Véronique Dominguez 115-133 CROSSDRESSING MEDIEVAL TROUBADOURS, CASTILE TO BRAZIL : Cristóbal de Castillejo (d. 1550) and Augusto de Campos (b. 1931) Résumé PDF (English) Roy Rosenstein 134-151 “IN THE FAR DISTANCE” : Memories of the Medieval and Ghosts in Modern Poetry (Jack Spicer, Cole Swensen) Résumé PDF (English) Nathalie Koble 152-170

RELIEF - ISSN 1873-5045