Session Title: ‘Labor and Workers in or around the Arthurian Tradition’
Sponsored by Arthurian Literature
Submit Proposal through Kzoo’s website: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call#sponsored
Rationale and Brief:
Part of the importance of mediaeval Arthurian literature is that it provides a window onto mediaeval life, and the popularity of modern Arthurian adaptations indicates that Arthuriana still reflects human interests and needs. At the same time, one must be aware of the dangers of hegemonic universalization. ‘Labour and Workers in or around the Arthurian Tradition’ takes a timeless subject but examines it for evidence of classes and interests other than those of the nobility. This session questions several critical axioms about Arthurian literature. Texts and critics often emphasize the knight in mediaeval Arthurian literature; other scholars emphasize the importance of women to the tradition, Arthurian art can be found in religious settings, and manuscript evidence indicates chivalric and mercantile readers. Within the texts, the more famous knights and gentry ladies often rely on the unsung assistance of hermits, messengers, healers, and others to complete their quests. Yet Arthurian literature is generally associated with the chivalric class. This session invites papers from any methodology that explore non-armigerous characters in, or audiences around, Arthurian literature.