We are pleased to announce that our last speaker of the academic year is Dr Megan Leitch (Cardiff University), who will be giving a colloquium on Tuesday 2nd June, entitled:
Chaucer, Hypertextuality, and the Memory of Middle English Popular Romance
The abstract for the talk is as follows:
This paper reconsiders the cultural and cognitive work of Middle English popular romance and the relationship of Chaucer’s Sir Thopas to this insular genre. The narrator’s proposition that Sir Thopas trumps ‘Horn child’ and ‘Lybeux’, ‘Beves and sir Gy’ is a playful way of reinforcing Chaucer’s mockery of the shortcomings of both insular romance and his own pilgrim persona. However, as this paper will explore, Chaucer’s comparative catalogue of protagonists also finds a number of sophisticated parallels in other English romances, from the chivalric Richard Coer de Lyon and the pious Emaré to the bourgeois or burlesque Squire of Low Degree. Even this satirical yet laudatory list in ‘Sir Thopas’, then, further demonstrates Chaucer’s indebtedness to the conventions that other Middle English romances likewise deploy. Accordingly, this paper is concerned with the ways in which ‘Sir Thopas’ is a romance as well as the ways in which it may respond to romance in parodic fashion. This paper will examine the hermeneutics of Middle English popular romances through their explicit intertextual references. This intertextual analysis, I suggest, can further elucidate both the ethics and the enjoyment that these narratives offer, in their form as well as in their content.
Dr Megan Leitch is Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012. She is the author of Romancing Treason: The Literature of the Wars of the Roses (Oxford University Press, 2015), and has published essays in journals including Medium Aevum, The Chaucer Review, and Arthurian Literature. Her research interests include romance, Arthurian Literature, Chaucer, and the fifteenth century; she is currently working on a monograph on Sleep and its Spaces in the Pre-modern Imagination.
The talk will take place at 6pm in the Parlour, First Court, Magdalene College.