Call for Papers

ICMS 2022 Session Call for Papers

‘Rethinking Chaucerian Obscenity’

If Chaucer is known as the ‘Father of English Poetry’, he is equally famous for rather less elevated reasons: his bawdy sexual and scatological language and content. While responses to this material have varied over the past six centuries, Chaucer’s obscenity is regularly an issue to be contended with, a fact that raises questions about how or whether a particular editor, publisher, or reader will engage with content that would otherwise be regarded as taboo. This ICMS 2022 session will gather together a series of presentations that consider how Chaucer’s obscenity has been received in different contexts since the poet’s death in 1400.

We invite proposals for papers of approximately 18 minutes on Chaucerian obscenity and its reception. Among the topics proposed papers might cover are:

  • Chaucerian obscenity in translation
  • editing practices
  • links between obscenity and other taboo topics (e.g. anti-semitism, violence)
  • obscenity and humour
  • the ethics of obscenity
  • Chaucer’s status within the canon
  • obscenity and gender
  • obscenity and sexuality
  • medievalism
  • Chaucer in performance
  • Chaucer on film

The 2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies will take place online between 9-14 May 2022. Please submit abstracts of approximately 250 words via the ICMS Confex online submission portal before Wednesday, 15 September 2021. Should you have any questions, please contact Prof. Mary Flannery by email (mary.flannery [at]

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