Name of Organization: Texas Medieval Association (TEMA): International
Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan: May 12-15, 2016.
Devils are everywhere in medieval literature, disturbing, challenging, and violating conventional spatio-temporal constraints as they move freely between worlds in order to torment the holy, spread disease, and tempt good Christians by making sin seem sweet. They appear as enchanters, tempters, playful tricksters, masked tormentors, terrifying beasts, mankind’s lawyerly accusers, and on occasion, as sympathetic figures who happened to be on the losing side of a cosmic war. Although much has been written about how devils are staged, their appearance, and their interaction with those they torment, very little has been written about what devils actually say. How do devils represent
themselves and their spaces of punishment? When, how, and to whom do they speak? How does their rhetoric reflect social, cultural, and religious beliefs and practices in the Middle Ages? What do rhetorical gaps or silences signify?
This panel focuses on what devils have to say not only about those they torment, but also about other devils, Satan, their hellish domain, and ultimately, about themselves. Papers that explore the rhetoric of devils and diabolical figures are welcome.