The first order of business today, as I get started writing quite late in it, is to wish my mother a happy birthday. How old she is...is enough. She is old enough. And that should be all there is to the matter.
The next order of business is to continue reporting from the International Congress on Medieval Studies. I spent much of yesterday engaged in the business of the Tales after Tolkien Society, of which I am a member. The Society is dedicated to the study of medeivalism in genre, not only in writing but in all media, not only from a scholarly perspective but from a creative--and we are looking to cement ourselves as part of the academic and general communities. To that end, we need more members, so if you have or someone you know has an interest in looking at how genre appropriates the medieval--and even how it defines what it is to be medieval--join the conversation; join the Society.
Present plans include an expansion of our online presence; a blog and several social media ventures are in development, and I will doubtlessly be posting more about them here once they get underway in anything approaching earnest. Each will invite people to examine and reflect upon various materials too frequently underexamined and to be in contact with scholars and artist in a way that we anticipate will advance mutual understandings of how parts of the past are continually made present. I hope you and yours will join us in making Tales after Tolkien a continuing success.
The Society will also be proposing sessions for the 50th Congress, likely a traditional paper session or two, a roundtable, and a business meeting. There are plans to have the Society propose sessions at other conferences, as well, beginning with those which current active members of the Society attend. (Since I am one of those, expect that there will be more information about the endeavor posted to this webspace, as well, once things get going.) We also continue to work to get our first collected volume into production, and other academic and creative projects are forthcoming.
I also had the great honor of presiding over the Middle English Arthuriana general session yesterday, which consisted of three excellent papers. The idea of reading the Arthurian chivalric ethic as a refiguration of Stoic virtues is intriguing (and serves to validate the examination of current work for its refigurings, since the medievals being refigured were themselves refigurers), as is work on the purpose of digression in romance and the way in which it queers narrative time. Similarly interesting is the notion that gravesites colonize--and the concomitant idea that the lack of grave markers bespeaks subjugation and Othering. I will be looking for further developments from the scholars whose work I was privileged to hear--and who made me look like I knew what I was doing as a session presider.
Today will be a bit more relaxing a day for me; my formal, official duties are done for the conference, although I have some other activities that I will be doing. Tomorrow, I will again be a bit delayed in making my comments to this webspace (the computer labs only open so early), but there will be things to discuss, I am certain.