Narrating the Middle Ages

In our culture, the Middle Ages is often seen as an era of great narratives. From Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian romances to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a large number of medieval texts have survived to our day, while the Middle Ages and its stories are constantly being reinterpreted in contemporary fiction (e.g. Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, HBO’s hugely popular Game of Thrones, and role-playing games set in pseudo-medieval worlds, to name but a few). Offering a rich array of genres and styles, the textual practices of the Middle Ages are a fundamental building block of modern literature. As Judith Ferster (1986) puts it, ‘We create our own Middle Ages, but not solipsistically, because it has created us.’

In the interdisciplinary seminar ‘Narrating the Middle Ages,’ we will focus on medieval narratives and their contemporary as well as modern significance. How were stories experienced in the Middle Ages, and how did they reflect cultural and ideological values? Did medieval literature justify or challenge the status quo? How and why are medieval narratives still present in our culture today?

The seminar is free of charge and open for everybody!

For the coffee, we kindly ask for a registration by the 11 of September in the Konsta-system​


10.00 Welcome - Aloitussanat (Hanneli, Erika ja Miika)
Session 1: Medieval Narratives: Self and Others - Keskiaikaiset kertomukset: minä ja muut 
Chair: Hanneli Seppänen
10.15 Päivi Kosonen: Omaelämäkerrallinen kertomus keskiajalla  
10.45 Erika Pihl: The Mirour of His Mynde: Representations of Interiority in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
11.15 Miika Norro: The book - a gateway to the past? Arthurian romances and history
11.45 Jari Nummi: Trubaduuri Jaufré Rudelin rakkaustarina kirjallisuudessa ja taiteessa

12.15 Lunch - Lounastauko

Session 2: New Readings of Medieval Narratives - Uusia tulkintoja keskiajan kertomuksista
Chair: Miika Norro
13.00 Annette Volfing: Re-writing Wolfram: Albrecht’s Der Jüngere Titurel and Muschg’s Der Rote Ritter
13.30 Kendra Willson: A saga king in a Finnish Peking opera
14.00 Stefan Schröder: The Long Shadow of the Crusading Past: The Changing Narratives of the Conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 from Medieval to Modern Times
 14.30 Hanneli Seppänen: Power and importance of Arthurian ladies as construction of contemporary authors
15.00 Coffee - Kahvitauko
Session 3: For Profit and Pleasure: Ideology and Edification in Medieval Narratives - Hyödyksi ja huviksi: opetusta ja ideologiaa keskiajan kertomuksissa
Chair: Erika Pihl 
15.15 Bo Pettersson: In Defence of “Comun Profit”: What Chaucer’s “The Parliament of Fowls” Can Teach Us Today
15.45 Teemu Korpijärvi: “Thus Does Riga Always Water the Nations!” Use of Past to Justify the Future During the Medieval Conversion of Livonia
16.15 Antti Ijäs: 'Liber vetustissimus': Erään keskiaikaisen miekkailuoppaan reseptiohistoriasta
16.45 Mikko Kauko: Naantalin luostarin kirjaan sisältyvien kertomusten anti keskiajalla ja nyt

17.15 Closing Discussion - Loppukeskustelu

The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (TUCEMEMS).


MA Miika Norro, Cultural History, University of Turku

MA Erika Pihl, Literary Studies, University of Tampere

Lic. Phil. Hanneli Seppänen, Studies of Religion, University of Helsinki