At Dominican U in RF last night, Robert Hanning from Columbia U. on confession in the middle ages. Title led me to expect a socio-cultural explication but he was about close reading of Bocaccio and Chaucer.
I found the former heavy-handed in his slashing attack on church practice, producing cartoon characters — opera boffo? — none of them credible or noteworthy. The latter — dear Geoffrey — produced memorable people and made same points with relative understatement. Subtlety, thy name is not an Italian one.
Considered a q. during post-lecture q&a, where was holy mother church during all this? Besides indexing Bocaccio. But H. was not attuned to that, or seemed not to be, or had simply ruled that out a la monograph-style, not to mention journal-ready text with references and attributions right and left.
Appropriate, in that he was keynoting a joint meeting of the Illinois Medieval Assn. and the Midwest body of medievalists, this in DU’s near spanking-new Parmer Hall on west side of burgeoned if not still burgeoning campus.
From which I exited on Thatcher, by the way, using the easement much disputed by tree-huggers and forest preservers. The trees did not cry out at me as I hung a left and headed south.
A nice evening, for $10 that included a sip of wine and bite of something beforehand, sitting and watching medievalists chatter in clumps. A look at the ivory tower, you might say, without prejudice.
But I had to think about what Ezra Pound would say, he who moved ever in the mainstream of (literary and other) life and preferred jumping to (fascinating, engaging) conclusions. Takes all kinds.