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Please note that registration for this event will close on the 26 March 2023.

This two-day conference will explore the concept of “contesting authenticity” in later medieval and early modern literature. The boundaries of authenticity are not clear in these periods: does a continuation or supplement of an earlier text count as inauthentic? How do explicit forgeries compare with accidental misattributions? Is it more authentic to claim another’s work as your own (plagiarism) or to ascribe your work to another (forgery)? How authentic is the act of translating? These questions deal with the authenticity of literature: what about issues of truth in literature (such as narrative authenticity)?            

Authenticity is not a stable concept. Texts considered genuine may then come to be contested, and presumed fakes are sometimes reevaluated. Both medieval and modern readers engaged with, and are still engaging with, the practice of contesting authenticity. Therefore, as well as exploring the production of inauthentic texts, this conference must also examine their ongoing reception.            

Central to this conference is an examination of the language we use across disciplines and approaches to (attempt to) define authenticity. Is it possible to define the boundaries of the authentic across such a contested topic?            

The scope of this conference is broad, welcoming a variety of literature across languages, disciplines, and time. 

Practical details:
Contesting Authenticity will be free to attend, with the option of attending either in-person or virtually; we encourage physical attendance wherever possible. There are a limited number of bursaries available for those wishing to attend in person, to defray travel and accommodation costs: please visit for more information and an application form.

A draft programme can be found at the following link:

For full conference details, please visit, which will be updated regularly with conference news and further information. The conference programme, bursary details, venue details, and suggestions for travel and accommodation can be found here.

Image (left): Annius of Viterbo, fifteenth-century forgerImage (background): Plate from the Lead Books of Sacromonte, sixteenth-century forgeries