Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Wednesday at Kalamazoo

A quiet day at the medieval studies congress, with no Tolkien on the schedule. In the morning there was a very tempting-sounding session on medievalism and anti-semitism. This turned out to be somewhat fuzzier than I'd hoped. Two of the presentations were on current right-wing movements using pseudo-scholarly medievalist tropes with, inter alia, some anti-semitism in it: racist black-metal bands, and groups that think knights are cool, not because of chivalry of course but for their violence. Another speaker mentioned the dispute in Spanish historiography over whether to derive the nation purely from Visigothic roots or from multi-cultural ones including Jewish and Muslim influences, and then discussed contemporary Spain's greater readiness to make amends for its anti-Jewish past than its anti-Muslim past, without connecting the two points although the thesis was that there was a connection. Another speaker made a cursory survey of medieval anti-semitism without connecting it to the Carmina Burana poetry, her ostensible topic, and being even less connected, if possible, when turning to the Carl Orff version. So I didn't feel I learned much here.

Later on I had to choose between a C.S. Lewis session and one on women and Beowulf. I wound up at the former, and heard about derivations of The Last Battle from Piers Plowman and of Out of the Silent Planet from Bernardus Silvestris, that latter of which took its garbled time to finish up, and two papers on Ransom's moral development in the latter novel, one of which engaged in vigorous Social Darwinist-bashing.

Not as effective a day as Tuesday. I'm hoping for better tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment