Interfaces no. 10
The newest issue of Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures is now available online. As always it is open access and can be read online or downloaded
Narrating Time in the Twelfth Century
The essays that make up this special issue of Interfaces share a common interest in the narration and representation of time in twelfth-century texts. The volume focuses primarily on works that we would now regard as 'literary:' writing that prompts an affective response in its audience through the tactical use of rhetoric and form. The issue is primarily concerned with writers operating in England, France and Germany, a cultural zone bound together in the central Middle Ages by the relatively fluid circulation of people, books and ideas across territorial boundaries. While the focus is on the literatures and languages of these regions (vernacular and Latin), the contributors have worked up their essays with an awareness that this is an editorial choice with respect to scope and scale, a choice that brings certain patterns into view at the expense of others. England, France and Germany are conceived of here as a cultural zone nested within a series of larger spaces, with graduations including, but not limited to, western Christendom (overlaying the world of Roman antiquity), eastern Christendom (overlaying the ancient Greek world), and a larger Afro-Eurasian frame.
In the broadest terms, what brings these essays together is a common interest in the representation of time and temporal structures in twelfth-century narrative. All concern the way in which different kinds of texts, written in different languages yet in the same period, organize and structure their content so as to depict temporal process, order or change. Across these essays, the authors explore how twelfth-century writers employed literary techniques (be they rhetorical, allegorical or narratological) with the aim of organizing time or engaging creatively and intellectually with theories of time and eternity.
Cover image: Robert Hardy, Engel, 2023, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 cm - https://roberthardyartist.com/