THE words people commit to paper – or parchment – in the past tell us volumes about the world they lived in.
This isn’t just the personal letters, diaries, proclamations of state and other historical documents, but the works of literature too.
Novels, sagas, plays, though fiction, often portray the life and times of the authors, offering a window into a by-gone age. That’s just as true with modern literature as it with historical texts.
A conference to be held at the University of Leicester next month will be examining the manuscripts of the Medieval period to explore what they say to us in the modern world. The Writing English conference will look at writings from the period 1,000 and 1,400AD to ask what they can teach us, in the 21st Century, about the lives, loves, beliefs, language and culture of the people who compiled and wrote the texts and the people who read them.
“So much modern literature is influenced by Medieval literature. People continually go back to that because they are fascinated with our past. It captures their imagination,” said Dr Orietta Da Rold, who is organising the ‘Writing England’ conference.
“Through literature we understand the people who lived in a distant period of history. Look at any movie, any contemporary book, and you will see something there that relates to our own times. The very fact that we can tell people about ourselves through our literature is part of our heritage.”
The event takes place from 28-30 April 2010, at the University of Leicester. More details on the conference can be found at www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/writing-england