Session Title

Carolyn Dinshaw's Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, 1990-2015

Sponsoring Organization(s)

BABEL Working Group

Organizer Name

Bruce Holsinger, Rita Copeland

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Virginia, Univ. of Pennsylvania

Presider Name

Bruce Holsinger

Paper Title 1

Hermeneutics as Autobiography

Presenter 1 Name

Steven F. Kruger

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Paper Title 2

Glosynge Is a Glorious Thynge

Presenter 2 Name

Emma Maggie Solberg

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Bowdoin College

Paper Title 3

The Tex(t)ual Body

Presenter 3 Name

Myra Seaman

Presenter 3 Affiliation

College of Charleston

Paper Title 4

Materna Lingua

Presenter 4 Name

Nicholas Watson

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Paper Title 5

Chaucer's Deadly Text

Presenter 5 Name

Lynn Shutters

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Colorado State Univ.

Paper Title 6

Documents and Doctrine: A Case for Chaucer's Discerning Women

Presenter 6 Name

Elizabeth Robertson

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Univ. of Glasgow

Paper Title 7

Response

Presenter 7 Name

Carolyn Dinshaw

Presenter 7 Affiliation

New York Univ.

Start Date

14-5-2015 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 1005

Description

The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Carolyn Dinshaw's "Chaucer's Sexual Poetics" [CSP] a book that has had a transformative and lasting impact on the study of medieval literature and culture. More than a thematic study of women, gender, and sexuality in the Canterbury Tales, the book proposed a mode and theory of reading medieval literature--a sexual poetics--that arose from medieval hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, and that inspired a generation of readers to find new and newly feminist ways of comprehending the gendered idioms of medieval writing in their full complexity. Several of Dinshaw's key phrases from the book--"Eunuch Hermeneutics," "Reading Like a Man," and others--would become shorthand for particular interpretive turns in medieval literary studies, while initiating strands of anti-homophobic criticism that would develop in subsequent queer medievalist work by Dinshaw and others. This session will examine the legacy and influence of CSP in Chaucer studies and medieval literary studies more generally. Where has feminist literary criticism gone since CSP, and with what implications? How might we think about CSP in relation to later developments in queer and feminist theory? What did it mean to talk about "reading like a man" in 1990, and what might such a phrase imply now? Carolyn Dinshaw has agreed to serve as a Respondent for the session.

Eileen A. Joy

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May 14th, 10:00 AM

Carolyn Dinshaw's Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, 1990-2015

Fetzer 1005

The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Carolyn Dinshaw's "Chaucer's Sexual Poetics" [CSP] a book that has had a transformative and lasting impact on the study of medieval literature and culture. More than a thematic study of women, gender, and sexuality in the Canterbury Tales, the book proposed a mode and theory of reading medieval literature--a sexual poetics--that arose from medieval hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, and that inspired a generation of readers to find new and newly feminist ways of comprehending the gendered idioms of medieval writing in their full complexity. Several of Dinshaw's key phrases from the book--"Eunuch Hermeneutics," "Reading Like a Man," and others--would become shorthand for particular interpretive turns in medieval literary studies, while initiating strands of anti-homophobic criticism that would develop in subsequent queer medievalist work by Dinshaw and others. This session will examine the legacy and influence of CSP in Chaucer studies and medieval literary studies more generally. Where has feminist literary criticism gone since CSP, and with what implications? How might we think about CSP in relation to later developments in queer and feminist theory? What did it mean to talk about "reading like a man" in 1990, and what might such a phrase imply now? Carolyn Dinshaw has agreed to serve as a Respondent for the session.

Eileen A. Joy