Well, it’s 12:15 in the morning and I’ve just finished the first draft of the paper I’m presenting at Wofford College next week. For all my haste in writing it, I’m pretty pleased with the results so far. It ain’t bad, though I do need to trim it down quite a bit: my oral delivery of 16 full pages would far exceed my allotted 20 minutes.
The heart of the paper is my theory that two late-medieval poems, The Siege of Jerusalem and The Alliterative Morte Arthure, are both ring compositions, having extremely complex chiastic structures behind them. Instead of having narratives reliant on a sequential order in which events are tied largely through chronology — A-B-C-D-E, in other words — these poems have narratives that are additionally reliant on a pattern of reflection in which later events sequentially parallel earlier events — A-B-C-B’-A’. In a “normal” narrative the climax of the action is at the end (event “E”), whereas in a ring composition the climax is in the center (event “C”). Pretty cool, eh?
Just to be clever, I decided my paper, too, should be a ring composition. Yes, I’m that kind of person. No, I don’t think anyone will notice.