CLSG Autumn Conference 2013
On the Road:
Pilgrims and Fellow-Travellers
Saturday 2 November 2013
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
‘Rolls, Promises, Sentences, Passages, Gaps and Strait Gates: the hazardous Allegorical Way for Bunyan’s bookish pilgrim and his Biblicist author’
Professor Valentine Cunningham, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
‘Identity and the Theology of Grace in Guillaume de Deguileville’s Le Pèlerinage de vie humaine (1330-31)’
Lynn Muldrew, St Anne’s College, Oxford.
‘Salinger’s Way : “Franny” and the Russian Pilgrim’
Professor Adrian Grafe, Artois University, France
‘T.S. Eliot’s Pilgrimage from The Waste Land to Four Quartets’
John Cox, Sarum College
‘Shedding Stones, Reaching Peace: William Schmidt’s Walking with Stones: A Spiritual Odyssey on the Pilgrimage to Santiago’
Dr Kerstin Shands, Södertörn University, Stockholm
There’s an ancient history of pilgrimage, and not only in Christian tradition. Pilgrim stories have served a variety of purposes, spiritual, homiletic, ecclesiastical, personal, literary. In the Bible Abraham’s journey to Canaan illustrates faith, as does Israel’s wandering, conflicted escape from Egypt. Pilgrimages have been imposed as judicial sentences, marked bereavement, or provided opportunity for the pilgrim to express repentance, aspiration, and the desire to find God. Other pilgrimages are neither more nor less than holidays.
In his OE poem, the Seafarer reports bleak travel in northern seas on the way to the only worthwhile destination where the angels dwell. Chaucer’s holiday pilgrims seized the opportunity of a journey to Canterbury to tell stories. Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well reportedly goes on a pilgrimage, providing some sleight of hand for Shakespeare’s plot. Bunyan audaciously took up the idea when pilgrimages, shrines and indulgences were non grata. The theme has also been used by contemporary novelists including David Lodge and Rachel Joyce; while Jack Kerouac claimed that On the Road was ‘really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God.’
Offers of papers to be read at the conference (and subsequently printed in The Glass were invited before the deadline 31 May 2013. Papers will focus on Christian topics and will have a reading length of 25 minutes. Time will allow up to five papers to be presented during the day. Conference organiser: Dr Roger Kojeckı
Some pilgrim texts
Biblical accounts of Abraham, the Wilderness wanderings, the journey to the heavenly country in Hebrews
The Navigation of Brendan
Guillaume de Deguileville, Le Pèlerinage de vie humaine
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
The Book of Margery Kempe
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
Nathaniel Hawthorne, ‘The Celestial Railroad’
Anon., The Way of a Pilgrim
Henry James, ‘A Passionate Pilgrim’
L. Frank Baum,The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome
J.D. Salinger, ‘Franny and Zooey’
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Rachel Joyce,The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Wu Cheng'En’s A Journey to the West in the 1590s is about a fantastic ‘pilgrimage for scriptures’ deriving from the journeys to India from 7th century China by monks such as Xuanzang.
Scholarly and other writing
Craig Bartholomew and Fred Hughes (eds.), Explorations in a Christian Theology of Pilgrimage, Ashgate, 2004.
Ian Bradley, Pilgrimage: A Spiritual and Cultural Journey, Lion, 2009.
Dee Dyas, Pilgrimage in Medieval English Literature, 700-1500, 2001
Philip Edwards, Pilgrimage and Literary Tradition, CUP, 2005
Jonathan Sumption, Pilgrimage, 1975
Diana Webb, Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in the Medieval West,1999, and Pilgrimage in Medieval England, 2000.
N.T. Wright, The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today, 1999
Wu Cheng’En, Journey to the West ,1592 (aka Monkey tr Arthur Waley).
Detailed programme and booking details here. Both members and non-members are welcome.
CLSG: exploring Christian and Biblical themes in literature