Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Faculty Research Colloquium

The Department of English presents:


The Faculty Research Colloquium



Headless and Loving It: Tactile Beings of the Middle Ages


by Lara Farina


Lurking at the edges of medieval maps, strange creatures display their bizarre anatomies. Sciapods rest in the shade provided by their torso-sized feet, Panotti wrap themselves in their dangling ears, and Blemmyae stare ahead with eyes sunk deep in their chests. The exaggerated extremities of the “monstrous races” enabled speculation about the operation and possibilities of the human body and about sensation in particular. This talk will follow the cultural career of one of these figures, the headless Blemmyae, to explore medieval ideas about tactility and the role of touch in practices of reading. Texts to be touched upon include The Wonders of the East, Mandeville’s Travels, and the works of the “Pearl Poet” manuscript (Cleanness, Pearl, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.)


December 5, 2012

2:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall

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