Session Title

Devotional Luxury, Literary Necessity

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Harvard English Dept. Medieval Colloquium

Organizer Name

Helen Cushman, Erica Weaver

Organizer Affiliation

Harvard Univ., Harvard Univ.

Presider Name

Anna Kelner

Presider Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Paper Title 1

Un-Break My Heart: Metaphoric Luxury, Affect, and Performance in Devotional Lyrics

Presenter 1 Name

Annika Pattenaude

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Paper Title 2

Gawain's Social Piety and Green Garbage

Presenter 2 Name

Casey Ireland

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Virginia

Paper Title 3

Devotional Content and Manuscript Form: Material Metaphors and Aesthetic Status in the Katherine Group

Presenter 3 Name

Jenny C. Bledsoe

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Emory Univ.

Paper Title 4

Forms of Luxury: Devotional Necessity in the Late Medieval Book of Hours

Presenter 4 Name

Jessica Brantley

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Yale Univ.

Start Date

13-5-2017 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 2345

Description

"Devotional Luxury, Literary Necessity” When we call a text “literary,” we often identify its literariness as a kind of “excess.” The literary exceeds necessity—it is a kind of luxury meant to be enjoyed for its own sake. Devotional texts, in contrast, are often considered “devotional” because of their intended use—they are objects used for religious worship. In short, unlike a literary text, a devotional text is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. What do we mean, then, when we call devotional books—such as books of hours—“luxury” items? Do “devotional” texts cease to be merely devotional when they exceed necessity or functionality in form, in performance, or in material presentation? Or is luxury an end—or a condition—for devotional reading? How do we describe the “excesses” of devotional books and, by the same token, how do we describe what we might call the “necessities” of the literary? This panel invites new research about luxury and necessity as they relate to literary and devotional reading culture.

Helen Cushman

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May 13th, 10:00 AM

Devotional Luxury, Literary Necessity

Schneider 2345

"Devotional Luxury, Literary Necessity” When we call a text “literary,” we often identify its literariness as a kind of “excess.” The literary exceeds necessity—it is a kind of luxury meant to be enjoyed for its own sake. Devotional texts, in contrast, are often considered “devotional” because of their intended use—they are objects used for religious worship. In short, unlike a literary text, a devotional text is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. What do we mean, then, when we call devotional books—such as books of hours—“luxury” items? Do “devotional” texts cease to be merely devotional when they exceed necessity or functionality in form, in performance, or in material presentation? Or is luxury an end—or a condition—for devotional reading? How do we describe the “excesses” of devotional books and, by the same token, how do we describe what we might call the “necessities” of the literary? This panel invites new research about luxury and necessity as they relate to literary and devotional reading culture.

Helen Cushman