Call for Papers: Boccaccio at 700: Medieval Contexts and Global Intertexts

Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS)
Binghamton University
Call for Papers
April 26-7, 2013

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375) stands on the threshold between the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a time of rapid transition in the political, economic, artistic, and literary realms, all of which were touched in some way by his legacy. In the course of his lifetime, Boccaccio was a merchant-banker, courtier, scribe, philologist, mythographer, geographer, literary scholar, social critic, lecturer, cleric, and ambassador of the Florentine republic, as well as fiction-writer, biographer, and poet. Boccaccio’s corpus of Latin and Italian texts offers a summa of established (classical, Christian, romance) genres and discourses, and at the same time anticipates many of the formal and topical innovations that emerged in early modern literatures and that remain evident in contemporary narrative genres. His substantial correspondence offers a window on the changing worlds of fourteenth-century Europe.

In honor of the 700th anniversary of Boccaccio’s birth, the 2013 CEMERS conference at Binghamton University (SUNY) will provide an interdisciplinary forum in which to rethink all aspects of this last (but not necessarily least) of Italy’s three crowning writers, in order to re-contextualize and revitalize his place in history, as well as in the literary pantheon. Scholars who work in the wide variety of fields relating to the biography and texts of Boccaccio, as well as the history of late Medieval Europe, are invited to submit papers or session proposals on his life and his literary career, as well as on his texts and their reception in medieval, early modern, and modern culture.

Of particular interest are papers and sessions that address Boccaccio’s texts—both Latin and vernacular—and their relation to:

Italian and European Humanism

The Angevin court of Naples

Northern Italian politics and relations among city-states

The history of the Church and the religious orders

Medieval mercantile practices and global trade

The study of gender and sexualities

Medicine and magic

Manuscript illumination and the other visual arts

Dante and Petrarch

Renaissance theatre and chivalric epic

The novella tradition

The emergence of narrative realism in fiction

Global literature, music, and cinema

We hope to receive proposals that explore the intertextual networks that provided sources for Boccaccio’s Latin and Italian texts, as well as their subsequent global itineraries. We also invite submissions for papers and sessions that approach the Boccaccio corpus as source-material for historical inquiry, whether cultural or social.

Papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length and may be delivered in English or Italian. Send abstracts and brief CVs by September 15, 2012, to Inquiries may be directed to Professors Olivia Holmes ( or Dana Stewart ( We anticipate publishing a volume of selected conference proceedings.

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