Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England

The Institut de Recherches sur la Renaissance, l'Age Classique et les Lumihres (IRCL) at the University of Montpellier III (France) will host an international conference on Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England on June 15-16, 2007, and will welcome papers on issues relating to all aspects of this topic.

An alleged knight of Saint Albans, Sir John Mandeville is the fictitious author of one of the most popular and extravagant travel narratives of the late Middle Ages (1357). Having supposedly journeyed through three continents and served the Sultan of Egypt and the Great Khan before visiting the land of Prester John and approaching the gates of Eden, Mandeville fills his account with mirabilia inherited from ancient authorities (Pliny, Solinus, Isidore of Seville) as well as from authentic travellers (Odoric of Pordenone, Marco Polo, William of Rubroek), conjuring a picture of the East which is at once marvelous and monstrous. First printed by Anton Sorg (Augsburg, 1478), Mandevilles Travels, along with that editions lavish woodcut illustrations, circulated widely and was translated all over Europe, leaving its mark on the imaginations of many early discoverers of the New World, such as Christopher Columbus, who coined the term cannibal by using Mandevillian references, and the pseudo-Vespucci of the Mundus Novus letter. One of the first books to be printed in England, Mandevillea Travels enjoyed immense popularity and long-lasting credit in early modern England, to the point of being included in the first edition of Hakluyts Principal Navigations (1589), as well as providing a rich mine of sensational details for authors of exotic geographical fictions, impressing many a stereotype on the Orient on the minds of the future builders of the British empire.

Proposals (title, 300 word abstract, short biography) for a 30 minute presentation followed by questions are to be sent by October 31, 2006 to any of the following organisers :
Dr. Anne Mathieu, University of Montpellier III,
Dr. Nick Myers, University of Montpellier III,
Dr. Ladan Niayesh, University of Paris VII,
Pr. Charles Whitworth, University of Montpellier III,

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following :

*Mandevilles editions and illustrations in early modern England, as well as early modern annotations on medieval manuscripts;
*Mandevillian influences on voyagers (Walter Raleigh, Martin Frobisher, etc.) and geographers, as well as on travel writing, both real and fictitious (e.g. Edward Webbes Rare and Most Wonderful Things)
*Literary works or allusions addressing the Mandevillian material in either a serious or a parodic way (e.g. Bromes The Antipodes),
*Travel plays and conquest plays indebted to Mandevillian stereotypes (e.g. the Tamburlaine and Tamar Cam vogue, Tom a Lincoln, The Tempest, The Sea Voyage, etc.).

The proceedings will be published in the Astraea Collection by the Institut de Recherches sur la Renaissance Anglaise, l'Age Classique et les Lumihres, a research centre accredited and supported by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).


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