CLSG Autumn Conference 2013
On the Road:
Pilgrims and Fellow-Travellers
Call for Papers
Deadline 31 May 2013
Saturday 2 November 2013
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
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) are invited before the deadline 31 May 2013. Papers will focus on Christian topics and should have a reading length of 25 minutes. Time will allow up to five papers to be presented during the day. Please send a provisional title and short paragraph (an abstract isn’t expected of something not yet written) stating how you will approach your topic, adding some information about your background, to Dr Roger Kojecký
Some pilgrim texts
Biblical accounts of Abraham, the Wilderness wanderings, the journey to the heavenly country in Hebrews
The Navigation of Brendan
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
The Book of Margery Kempe
Motifs in the poems of Southwell, Herbert, Vaughan
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
David Lodge, Therapy
Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Wu Cheng'En’s 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
Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, 2012
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).
The detailed programme and booking details will appear on this page, which will be progressively updated in the run-up to November.
CLSG: exploring Christian and Biblical themes in literature