Category Archives: ANZAMEMS

Highlights from the Parergon archives: Methodology and medievalism

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Bronwyn Reddan talks about an innovative 2010 article by Helen Young that tackles important questions about methodology in approaches to medievalism. 

One of the things I enjoy about Parergon is the way it showcases the vibrancy of contemporary medieval and early modern scholarship by publishing articles on a diverse range of topics. My research focuses on early modern women writers, but my interest is often piqued by pieces on the afterlives of literary texts regardless of the period.

One example is Helen Young’s 2010 Parergon article ‘Approaches to Medievalism: A Consideration of Taxonomy and Methodology through Fantasy Fiction’ (
https://doi.org/10.1353/pgn.0.0235 ). This offers a valuable methodological intervention in taxonomies of medievalism by proposing an approach that examines both the historical and imagined ‘medieval’ and the purpose and effects of medievalism. Young applies this approach to modern fantasy writing using case studies from Katharine Kerr’s genre fiction and two short stories by Neil Gaiman.

Through her analysis, Young demonstrates how an examination of the effects of medievalist practice reveal convergent layers of meaning that are not always captured by taxonomies of the use of medieval sources. Young’s more nuanced approach allows her to distinguish between different approaches and engagements with medieval source material by Kerr and Gaiman, while acknowledging similarities in their use of medievalism to engage in social commentary and critique.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

Highlights from the Parergon archives: Grendel’s mother again

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Emma Knowles reflects on Renée Rebecca Trilling’s ’Beyond Abjection: The Problem with Grendel’s Mother Again’, Parergon 24:1 (2007), pp. 1-20 (DOI 10.1353/pgn.2007.0059)

Renée R. Trilling’s Parergon article ‘Beyond Abjection: The Problem with Grendel’s Mother Again’ is a piece of scholarship that I have found myself returning to on a regular basis since I was an undergraduate at the University of Sydney. In it she tackles the representation of Grendel’s mother in Beowulf in an original and interesting way, despite the large volume of scholarship that already exists dealing with that character. Trilling’s analysis of Grendel’s mother emphasises her ambiguity as a character and builds usefully on the previous work of Paul Acker by tying Julia Kristeva’s theory of the abject to Beowulf and to Grendel’s mother in particular.

To the abject she adds Kristeva’s conception of the semiotic, arguing that it is not just abject or maternal characteristics which define Grendel’s mother; it is also her existence outside the ‘linguistic economy’ (4) of the text. Trilling’s analysis considers key areas of criticism associated with Grendel’s mother’s characterisation, including the role that translation plays in defining her monstrosity and the role that changing pronouns play in representing her gender. She draws these threads together to demonstrate that Grendel’s mother is disruptive in the text ‘at the level of language as well as plot’.

I read this article as an undergraduate while thinking about Grendel’s mother as a character. Trilling’s clear articulation of the relationship between Kristevan concepts and Beowulf was a key moment for me as it developed my understanding of how theory can unlock new ways of thinking about older texts. Her work was especially influential for me as I wrote my master’s thesis. In this research I considered the relevance of Kristeva’s theory of the abject not just for the representation of Grendel’s mother, but also the mere in which she lives. In this way Trilling’s work was a catalyst for my own research, and a key building block for my own thinking about Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poems.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

Parergon 36.1 preview: Language and Thought in Hildegard of Bingen

We’ve asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Jeroen de Gussem and Dinah Wouters talk about their piece, ‘Language and Thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s Visionary Trilogy: Close and Distant Readings of a Thinker’s Development’ (doi:10.1353/pgn.2019.0001).

Our article on ‘Language and Thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s Visionary Trilogy’ originated in the discovery that each of us (the authors) had data that could clarify the other’s findings. We are both writing our dissertations at Ghent University in Belgium. Jeroen’s project employs a computational methodology to investigate the issue of medieval authorship and collaborative writing in a variety of texts, ranging from Suger of Saint-Denis to Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen. Dinah’s project is more focused on the figure of Hildegard and explores how the allegorical form of the vision books functions within its intellectual setting.

One day, Jeroen showed the results of a so-called ‘principal component analysis’ of Hildegard’s three vision books, which demonstrates how they each have such a distinctive stylistic profile that a computer could easily attribute small chunks of randomly chosen texts to one specific vision book. We thought this quite remarkable, given that what is most apparent to the non-digital readers is that the texts share the same prophetic and formulaic style. But Jeroen’s findings corresponded to something Dinah had discovered that same week. While studying Hildegard’s ideas on language, she had noticed that the prophet significantly changes her vocabulary and the semantic contents of words, but also that the changes are implemented as discreetly as possible. We decided to bring these two findings together and to do some collaborative writing of our own.

For the article, we combined the methodologies of distant reading and close reading, while focusing on the level of words. We investigated the frequency of words, their occurrence in relation to other words, and their semantic values. By looking at a number of almost imperceptible changes and patterns, we traced the development of Hildegard’s prophetic style. Our goal was to demonstrate how small developments in the frequency, use and meaning of words are indexical of the way in which a prophetic style, which wants to appear monolithic and unchanging, deals with variation, change, and development. A distant reading of the texts’ lexical patterns reveals subtle changes and developments not apparent at first sight, and a close reading shows that these patterns result from an effort to integrate variation and change into a style that aims to dissociate itself from human writing.

An abiding issue in Hildegard scholarship is the influence of secretaries. To what extent did the prophet’s collaborators contribute to the language and ideas of the texts? Our article makes a contribution to this discussion by highlighting the strong internal motivation behind stylistic variation and change. Regardless of how we should envisage the ‘author’ Hildegard – as a divinely inspired writer, a group effort, or a strong central voice aided by others –, the somewhat curious style of her texts appears as the voice of an unlearned woman only as the result of a stylistic effort that controls even the smallest words. We hope our article can shed light on the way in which Hildegard crafts her words and her style in accordance with her prophetic persona.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

 

Highlights from the Parergon archives

In this new series, we ask members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that really stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Dr Keagan Brewer, Honorary Research Associate in the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at The University of Sydney, shares his pick.

Lawrence Warner, “Geoffrey of Monmouth and the De-Judaized Crusade”, Parergon, vol. 21, no. 1 (2004), pp. 19–37. (DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2004.0076)

As an undergraduate, I had been aware of Lawrence Warner’s presence at the Medieval and Early Modern Centre at the University of Sydney. His was a face that I had seen around. I knew he specialised in Middle English, which I would have described at the time as ‘not my sort of thing’. Nevertheless, an enthusiastic undergraduate should read papers written by members of their department.

Warner’s paper was my first exposure to Parergon and the paper itself was incredibly interesting because I was a student of the crusades. It offered a completely novel approach to reading Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae. Having not read it at that stage, I had previously considered this text the domain of Anglo-Saxonists. The main thesis of Warner’s article is that the conquest of Britain can be construed as a ‘de-Judaized crusade’, and that this idea may have appealed to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s intended audience in a milieu of crusading and—all too frequently—anti-Jewish sentiment.

Warner notes the reliance on Old-Testament imagery in crusading literature and by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in both of which the protagonists are made to ‘out-do the Israelites’, as Warner puts it. To the undergraduate me, it was a completely novel way of thinking because it combined domains of medieval history that I considered starkly separate: Britain, crusading, Jewish history, and mythology. Warner links crusading to the Exodus, the Aeneid, the Brutus legends, and to Merlin. Britain and the Holy Land, in reality and idea, were more interconnected than I had previously believed, particularly for medieval English readers. I would recommend this piece to anyone interested in crusading, the politics of Arthurian literature, Jewish history, or the reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (from Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

 

ANZAMEMS PATS: Approaching Medieval and Early Modern Conflict

Approaching Medieval and Early Modern Conflict
ANZAMEMS Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar 2019
University of Queensland (St Lucia campus), 11–12 August 2019

Applications are invited from postgraduates and ECRs in Australia and New Zealand who would benefit from taking part in this year’s ANZAMEMS Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar, which will focus on the study of medieval and early modern conflict.

Day One will be comprised of four methodological workshops:

Conflict in Crusade Narrative (Dr Beth Spacey);
Conflict in Monastic Narrative (Assoc. Prof. Kriston Rennie);
Conflict and Material Culture (Prof. Megan Cassidy-Welch); and
Conflict in Early Modern Print Culture (Dr Charlotte-Rose Millar).

The sessions will be followed by a roundtable discussion for broader reflection on the study of historical conflict. The workshops are designed to expose participants to a variety of approaches towards conflict in a historical setting, to enable engagement with ‘research in progress’, and to develop skills in textual, visual, and material cultural analysis. This is also an opportunity for participants working on cognate topics to connect with academics, students and ECRs from UQ and beyond.

On Day Two, participants will attend the one-day symposium at UQ, Landscapes of Conflict and Encounter in the Crusading World. This symposium brings together medievalists working on diverse areas of crusading activity in Europe, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, to give papers on the relationship between landscape, conflict and encounter. By focusing in on a particular aspect of medieval conflict, this symposium will allow participants to build their own knowledge around the theme, while providing an opportunity to network with an international group of scholars in the field.

The costs of participants’ return airfare and accommodation will be covered by ANZAMEMS and the University of Queensland.

To apply, please send the following information to Prof. Megan Cassidy-Welch (m.cassidywelch@uq.edu.au) by 17 May 2019:

  • Your name, affiliation and status (i.e. currently enrolled MA/MPhil, PhD, or ECR within 5 years of completing a postgraduate degree);
  • A copy of your academic CV;
  • A c.300-word overview of your research, including reflection on how you might benefit from participation in this PATs;
  • Estimated cost of your return economy airfare to Brisbane.

Please direct any queries to m.cassidywelch@uq.edu.au .

Parergon 36.1 preview: Sutton Hoo and assemblage theory

The latest issue of the ANZAMEMS journal is out and Parergon 36.1 is winging its way to members’ mailboxes. We’ve asked the contributors to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Georgina Pitt talks about her piece, “The Enigmatic Sutton Hoo Ship Burial: Fresh Insights from Assemblage Theory,” DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2019.0000

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/Sutton_Hoo_helmet_%28replica%29.jpg/256px-Sutton_Hoo_helmet_%28replica%29.jpg

Replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet

It was the Sutton Hoo helmet, which is astonishingly beautiful (in replica) and yet so very intimidating, which first intrigued me and got me hooked on Sutton Hoo. This sumptuous ship-burial was undeniably a momentous event for its community — the extraordinary wealth of the grave-goods and the meticulous planning of the burial attest to that. This burial meant something profound to its community, and that meaning subsisted in the East Anglian community’s memory and sense of identity for a long time, because there was no attempt to rob the burial site for nearly a millennium. What was this all about? Why did they invest so much in this burial? Why did its power endure so that it lay undisturbed for so long, notwithstanding the retrievable wealth deposited in it?

This ship-burial is both an historical event and an archaeological site: the richest earliest medieval grave discovered intact and its grave–goods preserved, but we have no extant documentary explanation for it. The documentary record is silent but the material record gives exuberant voice. It seemed to me, reading the literature on Sutton Hoo, that historians had found the task of explaining the event too difficult in the absence of a contemporary text to analyse. There was no anchor point from which to safely venture an opinion on why the East Anglian community chose to invest so much wealth and labour in this burial. Yet there are useful clues in Bede, even though he never mentions Sutton Hoo. On the other hand, the material record is a familiar anchor point for archaeologists, and the archaeological evidence abundant and carefully recorded, but archaeologists give a variety of explanations for the ship-burial; they can’t all be right.

It seemed to me that this ship-burial offered the perfect opportunity for interdisciplinarity. My background is in law; I was a commercial litigation lawyer for twenty years. I thought there would be a challenge in teasing out the clues in Bede and using a new theoretical lens (assemblage theory) to make sense of the evidence, to explore whether there was an alternative explanation compatible with the evidence. This was a challenge to be relished.
My particular interest is in issues of political power, identity, and community in the early medieval period. There is fluidity in each of these interlocking concepts in this period, wriggle-room for individuals and groups to re-invent themselves and to articulate different identities, negotiate different relationships. I think that the Sutton Hoo ship-burial is just such an exercise in negotiating identity, community and power. The Sutton Hoo ship-burial provides valuable insights into how early medieval people could manipulate material culture to construct and advertise identity, to define and cohere a community, and to instantiate and transfer political power.

Contributor bio:

I am a PhD candidate, and my doctoral research on Alfred the Great similarly focuses on issues of political power, identity and community. This is my first publication, although I am co-author (with Emeritus Professor Andrew Lynch) of the essay ‘Emotional Literatures of War’ in the forthcoming Routledge History of Emotions in Europe 1100-1700. Can I finish this blog with a shout-out? Heartfelt thanks to my two anonymous reviewers, whose careful reading and thoughtful remarks prompted many improvements to this article.

Parergon can be accessed via Project MUSE (From Volume 1 (1983)), Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (from 1994), and Humanities Full Text (from 2008). For more information on the current issue and on submitting manuscripts for consideration, please visit https://parergon.org/

Image credit: Mark Ramsay [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

New issue preview: Parergon 36.1

36.1 CoverANZAMEMS is delighted to advise researchers that the latest issue of the Association’s journal Parergon is now out. Issue 36.1 features 7 original research articles and over 40 book reviews. ANZAMEMS members will receive their print copies by post in the coming weeks. Digital content is available via Project MUSE, Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (Informit) and Humanities Full Text.

The research articles in issue Parergon 36.1 cover a breadth of medieval and early modern topics and disciplines:

Brows of Grace, Nerves of Steel: Malcolm and Macbeth
Elizabeth Mazzola

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the legibility of a butcher’s designs is succeeded by the monstrous virtue of his replacement Malcolm, who artfully confuses the social world’s assumptions and habits, its ways of recognizing authority and punishing sin. This article explores Malcolm’s powers in terms of a new politics equally expert at manufacturing fear and imitating grace, with reference to witchcraft trials and to analogues provided by Rembrandt and Hobbes. It also considers theories about the workings of this new politics supplied by social scientists, concluding that Malcolm’s strategies for unleashing evil and its remedy similarly sequester and obscure people from each other.

The Enigmatic Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: Fresh Insights from Assemblage Theory
Georgina Pitt

The sumptuous Sutton Hoo ship-burial has been much debated since it was discovered nearly eighty years ago, but there is no consensus on its interpretation. Assemblage theory, with its focus on the linkages between people, places, and objects, and the related concept of ‘fittingness’, may provide an alternative explanation that accounts for this ship-burial as both archaeological site and historical event. This article suggests that this ship-burial was a deliberate strategy to cohere and transmit secular political power across the hazardous liminal space between death and succession in troubled times in early seventh-century East Anglia, after the death of King Rædwald.

Language and Thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s Visionary Trilogy: Close and Distant Readings of a Thinker’s Development
Jeroen De Gussem and Dinah Wouters

By combining the methods of distant reading (computational stylistics) and close reading, the authors discuss the development of language and thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s visionary works (Sciuias, Liber uite meritorum and Liber diuinorum operum). The visionary trilogy, although written over the course of three decades, raises the impression of a monolithic and seemingly unchanging voice. Moving beyond this impression, the interdisciplinary analysis presented here reveals that the trilogy exhibits interesting differences at the word level which cannot simply be explained through external historical circumstances (e.g. manuscript transmission or different secretaries). Instead, the results raise pertinent questions regarding the trilogy’s internal development in didactic method, style, and philosophy.

John Harrison: A Case Study of the Acculturation of an Early Modern Briton
Rickie Lette

The important role that the Mediterranean played in England’s development as an imperial power in the early modern period has begun to be appreciated, but more work is required to properly historicize the interactions which occurred during this time and understand their impact. This article argues that to do this it is necessary to move beyond generalized interpretations and examine the impact of encounter at the individual level. Moreover, through examining the experiences of one such sojourner, it demonstrates how a focus on acculturative change can provide novel insights into the consequences of historical encounters between European and non-European peoples.

John Milton’s Samson Agonistes: Deathly Selfhood
Jennifer Lodine-Chaffey

Critical attention to death in Samson Agonistes has been dominated by the question of whether Milton’s drama glorified acts of religious terrorism, a question that involves death but unnecessarily narrows it. I seek to reframe our understanding of Samson by looking not only at his aggressive exploits, but also at his movement towards death. The poem illuminates Samson’s development of what I call a ‘deathly selfhood’, which relies on an interior awareness of who he is, rather than on an outward manifestation of his abilities, and only becomes available to him as he nears death.

Mealtime Sanctity: The Devotional and Social Significance of Mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe
Hwanhee Park

This article argues that mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe establish Margery’s orthodoxy and demonstrate her sanctity. Mealtimes provide Margery with a sufficiently flexible boundary between private and public for her to express her devotion and reach out to people without incriminating herself as a heretic. Medieval mealtimes, symbolizing community and hierarchy, enable Margery to express her sanctity and be accepted by respected figures. As a result, mealtimes allow Margery’s ministry to succeed at a time of religious dissent.

The Eastern Policy of Alfonso V the Magnanimous (of Aragon), Seen in the Light of His Political Relations with the Bosnian Duke-Herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača
Marijan Premović

This article re-assesses political relations between Alfonso V the Magnanimous (r. 1416–58), King of Aragon, Sicily, and Naples, and the Bosnian duke-herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (r. 1435–66), analysing the period between Alfonso V’s conquest of Naples in 1442 until his death in 1458. It considers political developments in the Eastern Adriatic, particularly relations between Alfonso and Stjepan, and the policies that the king, as ruler of Naples, pursued toward the east, in order to argue that Alfonso’s activities in the Balkans were mainly intended to disrupt the interests of Venice and to solidify his rule over southern Italy.

Parergon welcomes article submissions on all aspects of medieval and early modern studies. We are especially interested in material that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and takes new approaches. For more information and submission guidelines, visit the Parergon website.

ANZAMEMS membership fees now due for 2019

Current and prospective members of ANZAMEMS are reminded that membership fees for 2019 are now due. New and renewing members are advised that you must be a financial member by 31 March 2019 in order to receive the upcoming issue of the Association’s journal Parergon (Issue 36.1) or vote in the elections to be held at the forthcoming AGM on 1 April. Those unable to attend the AGM need to return their proxy voting forms to the ANZAMEMS Secretary by 25 March.

Membership fees start at AUD$33 for concessional (student/unwaged/retired) and AUD$66 for full individual membership. Institutional subscriptions are also available. To join, please visit the ANZAMEMS website.

The benefits of membership include:

  • Subscription to Parergon — the latest research in medieval and early modern studies and reviews of recent books, published twice yearly (please note you will receive one hard copy of the journal only).
  • Opportunity to apply for a range of travel bursaries and publication prizes award by ANZAMEMS
  • Opportunity to review the latest academic titles for Parergon.
  • Inclusion on the ANZAMEMS mail-list — receive notifications of upcoming events and opportunities, be informed of the books available for review in Parergon.
  • Inclusion on the ANZAMEMS postgraduate and early career research social group on the social media platform Facebook.
  • Access to a dynamic and supportive international research network.

Notice of ANZAMEMS AGM

The Annual General Meeting of ANZAMEMS Inc. will be held on Monday 1 April 2019 at 10:00am-12:00pm (WST).

The meeting is hosted by The University of Western Australia and will be held via the video conferencing software Zoom. 

Local times (for your convenience):
WA: 10:00am-12:00pm
QLD: 12:00pm-2:00pm
SA: 12:30pm-2:30pm
VIC/NSW/TAS/ACT: 1:00pm-3:00pm
New Zealand: 3:00pm-5:00pm

Current members should have received by email details of matters to be voted on at the upcoming AGM, along with a Proxy Voting Form for those members who are unable to attend the meeting in person, and details for joining the meeting by Zoom video conferencing. If you are a current financial member and have not received this information, please contact the ANZAMEMS Executive Administrator Marina Gerzic.

You must be a financial member of ANZAMEMS for 2019 in order for your vote to be considered valid. To renew your membership for 2019, or to join ANZAMEMS, please visit: https://anzamems.org/?page_id=75

New member publication: Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries

Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries cover imageCongratulations to ANZAMEMS members Helen Hickey, Anne McKendry and Melissa Raine on the publication of their co-edited collection Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries (Manchester University Press, 2018). It is doubly pleasing that the book is a festschrift for long-time ANZAMEMS member and past president Stephanie Trigg, who has contributed so much to the Association and to the wider field of medieval and early modern studies. Below, the editors reflect on what inspired their book and the diverse approaches contributors take to its unifying themes.

“We were delighted to take up the opportunity to celebrate Stephanie Trigg’s academic achievements as well as her tireless fostering of scholarly communities throughout her career. Our intention was to create a vibrant collection that attests to her achievements and her generosity as a researcher. We felt that within Stephanie’s wide-ranging interests, Geoffrey Chaucer was central to the progression of her own ideas and her sphere of influence. For over 700 years, many readers have claimed powerful personal connections not only with Chaucer’s writing, but with the author himself. Stephanie’s Congenial Souls (2001) delved deeply into the desires that Chaucer’s literary output has both created and fed throughout those seven centuries. This mode of inquiry, which she describes as a symptomatic long history, makes explicit the stakes and the manoeuvres that give shape to the experience of communing with the Chaucerian text, its author, and the age in which he lived, claims that are at times proprietorial and exclusive, and at others challenging and resistant. Stephanie has since employed this methodology to interrogate hierarchised distinctions between scholarly and creative responses to medieval culture, the latter often known as medievalism. Congenial Souls therefore offers an important contribution to Chaucer scholarship, but further lays down groundwork for researchers of medieval culture to reflect on the broader significance of their own practices.

Two decades after the publication of Congenial Souls, we felt it was timely to review current debates surrounding the traditions, emotions and intellectual underpinnings of Chaucer scholarship, and the implications of this work for researching the Middle Ages more generally. Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries showcases the contributions of fourteen outstanding thinkers in the field who explore both Chaucer’s writing and the longue durée of its reception. The diversity of topics and approaches evinces the dynamic and innovative research that Chaucer’s writing continues to inspire, as well as the resonance of Stephanie’s insights within contemporary Chaucer research.

Each essay stands alone as a significant contribution to Chaucer scholarship, in some cases drawing attention to features of Chaucer’s poetic techniques and intertextual allusions that have gone unnoticed, despite extensive poring over Chaucer’s oeuvre. Some are inspired by or engage directly with Stephanie’s work on authorship, emotions and medievalism to produce fresh insights into the faces, bodies and environments found within Chaucer’s narratives; others consider emotions and connection with Chaucer himself in critical analyses as well as in creative forms such as cinema and stand-up comedy.

The historical development of Chaucer’s legacy is represented in a variety of contexts, from scribal activity and early print culture through to contests over national identity in the nineteenth century. Several essays address how critical trends and challenges both shape and are impacted by Chaucer’s canonical status, and many individual essays attend to combinations of these themes. Together, they create a dialogue about what the past means in our own present moment, and why Chaucer continues to be such a source of fascination and reward. These essays confirm that we are never truly “done” with the past; we continue to return with new questions to Chaucer’s writing and the astonishing experience of immediacy that it produces in readers even as temporal distance increases. The changing present compels us to reconsider, re-evaluate, and reappraise the connections between literary traditions and contemporary scholarship, and past and present more broadly.

Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries is also inflected by the diversity of our own research interests. Melissa is currently working on children’s voices in both medieval literature and contemporary Australian culture. In both contexts, she explores how historically specific ideas about childhood, especially the relationships of children with adults, shape the communication of actual and imagined children, including some created by Chaucer. Anne is at the proofing stage of her first monograph, Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview, which will be published by McFarland in April and offers the first sustained analysis of this neglected but extremely popular example of contemporary medievalism. She is also finalising an article for Exemplaria that considers Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale through Georges Bataille’s theory of an economics of waste. Helen is currently working on feet in medieval and early modern poetics and art, and on ideas of beauty and aesthetics in medieval European poetry. She is completing a chapter on Thomas Hoccleve’s poetics through theories of embodiment.

Helen M. Hickey, Anne McKendry and Melissa Raine are Research Associates at the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication. A substantial preview of Contemporary Chaucer across the Centuries can be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526129154/

ANZAMEMS members wishing to promote their research through the ANZAMEMS newsletter are invited to email the editor, Amanda McVitty. We particularly welcome approaches from early career scholars.