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Medieval and Early Modern Authorship (Geneva, 30 June-2 July 2010).

Monday 29 June 2009, by Guillaume Berthon

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Second Biennial Conference of the
Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Colin Burrow (Oxford)
Patrick Cheney (Penn State)
Helen Cooper (Cambridge)
Rita Copeland (Pennsylvania)
Robert Edwards (Penn State)
Alastair Minnis (Yale)

Authorship has come to the forefront of medieval and early modern English studies in recent years. The objective of this conference is to take stock of a duly socialized form of authorship which recognizes that while authors have agency, that agency is circumscribed by the multi-faceted social, legal, institutional, and intertextual pressures within which authorship takes place. Contributions are invited on any aspect of medieval and early modern authorship. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

- The history of authorship. The pre-history: authorship in antiquity; the history of medieval authorship; the reception of Chaucer and/or other medieval authors in early modern England; the history of early modern authorship; the post-history: from early modern to modern authorship

- Authorship and critical theory. Eliot, Bloom, Barthes, Foucault and beyond: theorizing the medieval and/or early modern author

- Authorship and its social contexts. Authorship and gender; authorship and censorship; authorship and patronage; the economics of authorship; early professional authorship; authorship and copyright, authorship and the law; authorship, forgery and plagiarism; authorship and the culture of authority; authorship and anonymity

- Authorship and its literary contexts. Authorship, imitation, intertextuality; authorship and literary style; authorship in medieval and/or early modern literary theory

- Authorship and the theatre. Authorship and playwriting; authorship and theatrical collaboration; authorship and acting

- Authorship and literary genres. Authorship and genre; authorship and early lives of the poets; the I in medieval and early modern poetry; authorship and commendatory verse; authorship and miscellanies

- Authorship and the material text. Authorship and paratext; authorship and the book trade; authorship and the scriptorium; authorship and publication; authorship and media: manuscript, and print

- Medieval and early modern literary careers. Authorship and the Virgilian cursus; Spenser, Jonson, Milton and print-constructed careers; careers of medieval and early modern female writers

- Constructing the medieval and early modern author through the centuries. The Making of Chaucer, Gower, Langland, Malory, Marlowe, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton

- Authorship attribution. Modern methods of determining medieval and early modern authorship; Chaucer and the Chaucer apocrypha: authorship and co-authorship questions; Shakespeare and the Shakespeare apocrypha: authorship and co-authorship questions; the case of Middleton: collaboration, authorship, and The Collected Works; disputed authorship attributions: from Shakespeare and the Funeral Elegy to Milton and de doctrina Christiana; editing, authorship, and authorial intention

Proposals for full panels are welcome. These should include three proposed speakers, including, or in addition to, a chair and/or a respondent. Individual papers will be grouped with two others. Parallel sessions will last an hour and a half, which means that papers should usually be no longer than 20 minutes to leave sufficient time for discussion.

The final deadline for proposals is 15 January 2010, but early submissions are encouraged. Proposals should contain a title, an abstract (ca. 200 to 400 words) as well as a short bio sketch (no more than 100 words). Proposals will be reviewed in the weeks following their submission, so that prospective participants will usually be notified of the decision within a month of reception of the proposal.

Proposals should be sent to For the conference website, see A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a collection.

For the conference organizers,

Lukas Erne (University of Geneva)

English Department
Faculté des Lettres
Université de Genève
Uni Bastion
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Phone: +41.22.379.70.34
Fax: +41.22.379.11.30

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