"Shameless": The Sense of a Pejorative, from St. Augustine until Now

Apr 25, 2013
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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Steven JusticeUniversity of California, Berkeley


Co-sponsored by the Medieval Studies Workshop

Readers interested in the history of Christian writing are often surprised and nonplussed by the uninhibited polemic they find; scholarship often treats such polemics as obviously pathological. This talk takes one common form of medieval denunciation “the habit of calling” certain opinions and practices “shameless,”as a sort of laboratory specimen, showing what it meant, how it worked, and why serious thinkers took to it. It will suggest that the same judgment, in different words, is still part of scholarly discourse today.

Steven Justice is Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from Princeton in 1985 and has taught at Berkeley since 1987. His recent essays include “Did the Middle Ages Believe in their Miracles?” (Representations 103 [2008]); “Who Stole Robertson?” (PMLA 124 [2009]); “Literary History,” in David Raybin and Susanna Fein, ed., Chaucer: Contemporary Approaches (2010); “Chaucer’s History-Effect,” in Andrew Galloway and Frank Grady, eds., Answerable Style: The Idea of the Literary in Medieval England (forthcoming); “Eucharistic Miracle and Eucharistic Doubt,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, forthcoming. He is author of Adam Usk’s Secret and is currently working on Did the Middle Ages Believe in Their Miracles?.