Reading Pleasure, Pleasure Reading: medieval approaches to reading
Summer School, 23–28 May 2016, at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. Organised by the section for Greek and Byzantine Studies (Uppsala University) and the Centre for Medieval Literature (University of Southern Denmark and the University of York).
This summer school will explore discourses and strategies of reading and pleasure in the Middle Ages. From what appears to have been a primarily pious, learned, and/or legal use of reading in the early medieval period, books and texts came to be gradually and increasingly associated with notions of pleasure. On the one hand, different kinds of explicit or implicit pleasure made up literary motifs and became a literary theme; on the other, pleasure came to be thought of – at least by some – as fundamental to reading. This tendency concerns not just narrative fiction and poetry, traditionally associated with reading for pleasure, but also genres such as epistolography and historiography. And patterns turn out surprisingly similar in both Persian, Arabic, Byzantine and Western medieval environments.