Session Title

Elections before Elections: Insular Political Prophecy

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Eric Weiskott

Organizer Affiliation

Boston College

Presider Name

Eric Weiskott

Paper Title 1

The Vernacular Afterlives of the Prophetiae Merlini: Translating Political Prophecy and the Poetics of the Open Text

Presenter 1 Name

Laura Chuhan Campbell

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Durham Univ.

Paper Title 2

Henry IV and the Making of a Politically Prophetic Gower in the Vox clamantis

Presenter 2 Name

Kimberly Fonzo

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Texas-San Antonio

Paper Title 3

Prophecy and the Border in Anglo-Welsh Literature

Presenter 3 Name

Daniel Helbert

Presenter 3 Affiliation

West Texas A&M Univ.

Start Date

12-5-2018 1:30 PM

Session Location

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Description

Inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Prophecies of Merlin, the tradition of political prophecy in Britain covered numerous centuries and languages, from the twelfth century to the seventeenth and from Welsh to English, French, Latin, and Scots. The genre of political prophecy combines conventionality and topicality in unfamiliar ways, presenting the recent political past as an imagined future and serving (sometimes simultaneously) as political propaganda and social protest. Relatively understudied, prophecies are often unedited and are to be found in large, incompletely catalogued manuscript collections. The publication of Victoria Flood’s Prophecy, Politics and Place in Medieval England (2016), a major study, marks renewed interest in this strange and urgent mode of writing. Political prophecy has obvious relevance to contemporary national politics, particularly regarding the relationship between political discourse and truth (notably, in the outrage over fake news in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election) and the rhetorical use of the future for political purposes.

Eric Weiskott

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May 12th, 1:30 PM

Elections before Elections: Insular Political Prophecy

Bernhard Brown & Gold Room

Inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth-century Prophecies of Merlin, the tradition of political prophecy in Britain covered numerous centuries and languages, from the twelfth century to the seventeenth and from Welsh to English, French, Latin, and Scots. The genre of political prophecy combines conventionality and topicality in unfamiliar ways, presenting the recent political past as an imagined future and serving (sometimes simultaneously) as political propaganda and social protest. Relatively understudied, prophecies are often unedited and are to be found in large, incompletely catalogued manuscript collections. The publication of Victoria Flood’s Prophecy, Politics and Place in Medieval England (2016), a major study, marks renewed interest in this strange and urgent mode of writing. Political prophecy has obvious relevance to contemporary national politics, particularly regarding the relationship between political discourse and truth (notably, in the outrage over fake news in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election) and the rhetorical use of the future for political purposes.

Eric Weiskott