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Marco Nievergelt

University of Lausanne
Allegory, Hermeneutics and Epistemology
01 September 2015 -
30 June 2016

Marco Nievergelt is a SNF Research Fellow in the English department at the University of Lausanne. He specializes in late medieval and early modern literature, English and French. He has held various teaching positions at the Universities of Geneva; Lausanne, and Oxford with prestigious fellowships. He was awarded the James Randall Leader Prize for ‘Outstanding Arthurian Article in 2010’ for an article on the Alliterative Morte Arthur.

Research interests

Allegory, medieval and modern; medieval theories of signification, perception and interpretation; interactions between scholastic philosophy and literature in the later Middle Ages; the reception and translation of continental literature, particularly French, in England; chivalric literature and romances; late medieval crusading and ideas of holy war; the history of (textual) subjectivity and self-representation.

Key publications

The Sege of Melayne and the Siege of Jerusalem: National Identity, Beleaguered Christendom and Holy War during the Great Papal Schism. Chaucer Review 2015.

The Place of Emotion: Space, Silence and Interiority in the Stanzaic Morte Arthure. Arthurian Literature 32, 2015.

Allegorical Quests from Deguileville to Spenser, Cambridge, 2012.

The project examines how late medieval dream-poetry could provide a powerful means for exploring a set of closely related epistemological questions through allegorical narrative. My analysis focuses primarily on three very popular and influential literary texts from the later Middle Ages, two in French and one in English: Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose (ca. 1269–78), the two versions of Guillaume de Deguileville’s Pèlerinage de Vie Humaine (1331 and 1355), and William Langland’s vision of Piers Plowman in its 4 extant versions (ca. 1360–90). All three poems provide extended first-person accounts of quest narratives framed as dream visions, and respond to major shifts in scholastic philosophy occurring during the thirteenth century, specifically in the areas of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. The first aim of the project is to explore the neglected question of how the two French allegories shape Langland’s poetic project and its evolution over time, with specific attention to Langland’s interest in processes of human knowledge. A second, related aim of the project is to contribute to our understanding of the larger question of the ‘philosophical’ uses of allegorical poetry, specifically its ability to address cognitive matters.

Conference organized by M. Nievergelt (Paris IAS fellow), J. Marenbon (Trinity College, Cambridge) and J. Morton (King's College, London)
20 Jun 2016 09:00 -
21 Jun 2016 18:30,
Paris :
Le Roman de la Rose et la philosophie parisienne au XIIIe siècle
23 Feb 2016 18:00 -
23 Feb 2016 19:30,
Cambridge :
The Shadow of Faux Semblant: Fiction, Truth, and Deception in Fourteenth-Century Allegorical Poetry (France, England, Italy)
Call for proposals for a conference co-organized by Marco Nievergelt, fellow of the IAS
01 Jan 2016 09:00 -
01 Mar 2016 18:00,
Paris :
The Roman de la Rose and Parisian philosophy in the XIIIth century
03 Dec 2015 11:00 -
03 Dec 2015 11:00,
Rome :
L’ombre de Faus Semblant : fiction, déception et vérité dans l’allégorie narrative au XIVème siècle (France et Angleterre)
08 Sep 2015 10:30 -
08 Sep 2015 11:30,
Fribourg :
Creation, Reproduction and Idolatry: Pygmalion and Generative Textuality in the Tradition of the Roman de la Rose
Middle ages
Western Europe