Fri, Nov 12, 2021

12 PM – 1:30 PM PST (GMT-8)

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In Uncertain Refuge: Sanctuary in the Literature of Medieval England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), Elizabeth Allen explores the symbolic significance of sanctuary in medieval English literary works—miracle collections and chronicles, romances and drama. Her topics range from a stag seeking sanctuary from the hunt, to Sir Gawain and Robin Hood, to the Civil Rights Movement in America. Though sanctuary was a legal practice, it was often represented as temporary and precarious, a desperate flight that could lead to exile or draw violence and even breach. Uncertain Refuge illuminates a fantasy of protection--and its impermanence--that animated late-medieval literary culture, one that remains poignantly alive, if no longer written into law, in today’s troubled political world.

D. Vance Smith, Princeton University | moderator
Jennifer Jahner, Cal Tech | law and literature
Catherine Sanok, University of Michigan | sacred and secular
Karma Lochrie, Indiana University | hospitality and romance
Matthew Vernon, UC Davis | medievalisms

Elizabeth Allen is professor and chair of English at the University of California, Irvine.

Event co-sponsored by the Department of English, the New Swan Shakespeare Center, the Center for Early Cultures, and Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts and Culture Initiative.

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