Session Title

Sensational Words: Describing Sensory Engagement in the Middle Ages

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Medieval Studies Institute, Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Organizer Name

Erin E. Sweany

Organizer Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Presider Name

Erin E. Sweany

Paper Title 1

Conceptualizations of the Sense of Smell in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature

Presenter 1 Name

Daniel C. Najork

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Arizona State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Then I Desired to See: Mediating Marvelous Encounters in the Old English Alexander's Letter to Aristotle

Presenter 2 Name

Meg Gregory

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Washington Univ. in St. Louis

Paper Title 3

"Clyppe ond Cysse": Movement and Communication in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Presenter 3 Name

Rebecca Straple

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Western Michigan Univ.

Start Date

12-5-2018 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2040

Description

“Sensational Words” seeks to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation not only about how the senses mediate a person’s subjective knowledge of the material world but also about how the medieval languages of sensory experience distinctively communicate and even shape that experience. As scholars have noted, while the sensorial capacity of the human body has likely changed very little, if at all, since the Middle Ages, the sensorial realities of past humans are notoriously difficult to study and relate to, particularly if we must rely primarily on textual evidence of past human perception. One long-standing example is the difficulty of translating Old English color words. Whether a cup is red, or golden, or glittering, or shining (or perhaps all of these things simultaneously) seems impossible to discern, and these options show fascinating possibilities in the way visual qualities were delineated in Old English. How a sensorial experience is perceived of, articulated, and valued is a significant component of human engagement with the world. This panel welcomes papers that explore the medieval experience and valuation of sensorial engagement with the material world through literary accounts, historical accounts, philosophical studies, or archaeological studies. As an interdisciplinary panel, we welcome papers from any stage of the Middle Ages, any geographical location, and any discipline.

Shannon N. Gayk

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May 12th, 10:00 AM

Sensational Words: Describing Sensory Engagement in the Middle Ages

Fetzer 2040

“Sensational Words” seeks to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation not only about how the senses mediate a person’s subjective knowledge of the material world but also about how the medieval languages of sensory experience distinctively communicate and even shape that experience. As scholars have noted, while the sensorial capacity of the human body has likely changed very little, if at all, since the Middle Ages, the sensorial realities of past humans are notoriously difficult to study and relate to, particularly if we must rely primarily on textual evidence of past human perception. One long-standing example is the difficulty of translating Old English color words. Whether a cup is red, or golden, or glittering, or shining (or perhaps all of these things simultaneously) seems impossible to discern, and these options show fascinating possibilities in the way visual qualities were delineated in Old English. How a sensorial experience is perceived of, articulated, and valued is a significant component of human engagement with the world. This panel welcomes papers that explore the medieval experience and valuation of sensorial engagement with the material world through literary accounts, historical accounts, philosophical studies, or archaeological studies. As an interdisciplinary panel, we welcome papers from any stage of the Middle Ages, any geographical location, and any discipline.

Shannon N. Gayk