Monday, May 11, 2009

Mission statement

The blog has been online for a while, but I just finished revising our mission statement while at Kalamazoo. I'm pleased to report that our time at the Congress was productive, and we will be co-sponsoring a series of panels for next year (i.e. 2010) with the Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages.


Recognizing that a hero is nothing without his or her opposite, the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain was founded in 2009 to foster further investigation into the various antagonists and antiheroes of the multimedia Matter of Britain. Characters, such as Agravain, the Green Knight, Mark of Cornwall, Meleagant, Mordred, Morgan le Fay, and Morgause, serve an important function in the stories of King Arthur and his associated cast of nobles, knights, damsels, and mages. By challenging the heroes of the Arthurian tradition, Arthurian villains enact a vital role as agents of conflict who initiate narratives that enable Arthurian heroes to attain renown and achieve their destinies, however the contributions of these malefactors to the Arthurian legend remains largely unexplored, both by scholars and creative artists, in contrast to the wealth of material that has been devoted to the protagonists of this tradition.

It is the intent of the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain to offer an annual themed panel or set of panels each year at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, which convenes each May at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and additional sessions at other related conferences. Panel presentations will focus on the treatment of a specific character or linked characters and explore their activities as represented in texts produced from the medieval era to the present in the interests of producing a companion and comprehensive bibliography, comparable to Routledge’s Arthurian Characters and Themes series, devoted to each of the major Arthurian villains or themed collections addressing the representation of Arthurian villains, both major and minor, in select media.

Michael A. Torregrossa
7 April 2009