Courses & Workshops/Nov 19, 2020

Medieval Literature Across Languages

Medieval Literature Across Languages lead image

Medieval Literature Across Languages, Online Summer School, May 17–28, 2021

This online summer school seeks to provide PhD students with a first immersion into the study of medieval literature across languages. Language training, with the aim of inviting PhD students to become acquainted with new medieval languages, will here be combined with lectures on case studies, addressing various methodological issues and approaches. The summer school focuses on five medieval languages: Georgian, Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Old French. Together these languages cover an immense geographical and literary expanse, yet they all involved various areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Texts of obvious interest are the story of Barlaam and Ioasaph (Josafat), the Alexander Romance, the Secretum Secretorum, the fables of Kalila wa-Dimna, the Apocalypse of Ps-Methodius, and Scriptures (the Bible, the Qur’an). These were all far-travelling texts, whose long trajectories and multiple linguistic interpretations elicit surprise and interest. Through language study, lectures, and by reading together the same text (e.g., the Barlaam and Ioasaph) across five different languages, the summer school aims to show how these literatures worked as a multi-lingual common resource.

The summer school will explore the exchanges and mutual enrichment between medieval languages and literatures. Key texts and entire literary genres passed from one language to another through the intense work of translators and thereby made a significant impact on their target world, just as they themselves underwent changes in order to speak to it. Indian texts travelled far and reached the Mediterranean through multiple translations; Greek philosophy journeyed to Khorasan and beyond, primarily in Arabic translations; romances and fables created inter-continental chains of literary inter- connectedness.

These themes have received increased scholarly attention in recent years, and the study of these processes holds great promise and interest to a world searching for models of how to write global (hi)stories of past cultural exchange. Some impediments, however, often hold back students within these fields: the lack of linguistic proficiency and methodological concerns (can and should we compare, and if so, how? which cultural implications can we deduce from translations, often the product of a single and perhaps exceptional person? are we exaggerating transcultural aspects in the light of modern interests? etc.).

The programme has been changed to a completely online format to address the ongoing barriers to travel. All instruction will take place online between 14:00-17:00 (CEST, Danish local time). Lectures and seminars will be held in English.

The online summer school will be organized around language teaching and tutoring, lectures and presentations, and an introduction to TEI encoding. Substantial work will be required of students in advance of the summer school (learning of new alphabets, initial reading and encoding exercises).

Among confirmed lecturers are Stratis Papaioannou (University of Crete, Rethymno) and Lars Boje Mortensen (University of Southern Denmark).

There is no cost for attending the Summer School.

This project is organized by the Retracing Connections project (Uppsala University) and the Centre for Medieval Literature (University of Southern Denmark and the University of York). Organizers of the summer school are Julian Yolles (University of Southern Denmark) and Christian Høgel (University of Southern Denmark).