Imagining Medieval English Conference (Day 1)


Location: McKenna Hall (ND Conference Center)

Prof. Tim Machan (ND English Department) is the organizer of a three-day conference that will bring together a group of distinguished scholars who are collaborating on a book entitled “Imagining Medieval English” (Cambridge University Press, 2015). The participants will present papers that form the chapters of the book, and join in a general discussion on practical and theoretical topics in the history of medieval English.  What are the social, linguistic, and historical reasons for positing a medieval stage of the English language? What are the cultural implications of such a stage? And what are the reasons for and consequences of linking this stage to Modern English as versions of the same language? All paper sessions and discussions are open to the public.

Paper topics will include: contact among English, Norse, French, Latin, and Welsh; the linguistic reasons for positing coherence in the linguistic record of 500-1500 and for drawing distinctions between an Old and Middle English period; the kinds of coherence and difference that can be posited among medieval English regional dialects; the discursive specialization of English in literature; the role of historical grammars and dictionaries in the construction of medieval English; the characteristics of manuscripts as sources of all medieval linguistic evidence; the nature of historical linguistic evidence; the relations between literary language and linguistic history; the role of medieval English in linguistic history; the historical factors influencing modern notions of periodization; the relations among English and European linguistic practices; and the evidence for colloquial medieval English in the extant manuscripts.

Invited participants: Cynthia Allen, Christopher Cain, Helen Cooper, Andrew Galloway, Simon Horobin, Seth Lerer, Tim Machan, David Matthews, Colette Moore, Ad Putter, Jeremy Smith, Merja Stenroos.

Preregistration by audience attendees is requested. Registration includes all meeting materials, refreshments during breaks, the opening reception (Sept. 15), and lunch (Sept. 16). To register, go to: Click on the conference link and go to the registration page, where information is also available about hotel accommodations. (Notre Dame faculty and students are not required to pay a registration fee, however, they MUST register.)

The conference opens on Monday, Sept. 15 at 3:15 p.m., and the first session will be followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Medieval Institute (715 Hesburgh Library). See the conference program for more details.

The conference is made possible by grants from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters, the Henkels Lecture Series, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Department of English.

For more information, contact Prof. Tim Machan at