Thursday, 06 January
76. Sanctity and Pornography: On the Verge
1:45–3:00 p.m., 409A, LA Convention Center
Program arranged by the Division on French Medieval Language and Literature
Presiding: Sarah Kay, Princeton Univ.
Speakers: William E. Burgwinkle, Univ. of Cambridge, King’s Coll.; Marilynn R. Desmond, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York; Noah David Guynn, Univ. of California, Davis; Cary Howie, Cornell Univ.
This discussion will address Burgwinkle and Howie’s book Sanctity and Pornography in Medieval Culture: On the Verge and reappraise the modern distinctions between the sacred and the erotic. As medieval French literature shows repeatedly, to worship is to do something hyperbolic, something hyperbolically embodied and hyperbolically erotic. Saints embody the risk and the pleasure of a world that exceeds our grasp and invite us to imagine ourselves in, and to give ourselves actively to, heightened states of being that are never only spiritual or pure.