Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature Anjela Mescall presented a paper on March 17 at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) annual convention in Rochester, N.Y. The paper, titled “The Goodness of Evil: Shekhinah, Lilith and Kabbalah in La Celestina,” was part of a session called “Representing Identity and Power in Medieval and Early Modern Spain.”
According to Mescall, “Over the past 20 years, scholarship on ‘difference’ and early modern Catholic Spain has increased the breadth of the canon and begun to complicate the diametric oppositions between orthodoxy and heterodoxy yielded by more traditional studies of canonical-only literature by showing how ‘others’ – like Conversos (New Christians either converted from Judaism or descended from Jewish parents) – were involved in the premodern literary production of Spanish kingdoms.”
Mescall said that her paper departs from this framework focusing on the margins of Spanish societies and asks questions that “highlight shifting discourses of power and identity in premodern Iberia as well as scholars’ conceptualizations of a Western canon,” looking at “resonances between La Celestina and the mystical Jewish Zohar.”
According to its website, the NeMLA is a “scholarly organization for professionals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other modern languages.” Membership is comprised mainly of professors and students from Maryland to eastern Canada.