Horses were, arguably, the most important animals in medieval economy, and their symbolic value was greater than being the equivalent of the modern machine.
Relatively little has been said about horses in medieval Arthurian romance, yet they are ubiquitous. Usually, horses simply take their riders from A to B, unless being killed in the interim. In the text, little is said about the animal itself, its qualities, its interaction with its owner or about the experience of the animal itself. However, when the author says more than usual about the horse, the information stands out as meaningful.
In Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, ‘Tale of the Sankgreal’, Lancelot’s horse is ‘exchanged’ for another while the famous knight is sinfully asleep. When Lancelot meets and unhorses the horse-thieving knight, he is sure to take his own animal back, for, as Malory notes, Lancelot’s horse is better. In the Welsh Mabinogion, the tale of the Lady of the Fountain, Owain takes care to shield his horse’s head during the killing rain, though the poor animal is later cut in half by the falling portcullis. These are but two examples of Arthurian authors providing details about the horses in the romance.
Papers are invited for sessions on Arthurian horses, exploring different aspects of the horse and human interface in medieval Arthurian literature, contemporary sources, as well as post-medieval editions, translations and adaptations of medieval Arthurian texts and art. All approaches are welcome, including animal studies, gender studies, historical analysis and ecocriticism. Likewise, contributions on Arthurian literatures from a wide variety linguistic and national traditions are sought, especially the Nordic, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Latin ones.
Please send details of your proposed papers (about 200 words) to Dr. Anastasija Ropa (email@example.com) by 15 September 2016.
NB: you need to be member of the International Arthurian Society to submit and present at the International Arthurian Congress!