Employment: Director, Monash Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies

Monash University in Melbourne, Australia is seeking to appoint a Professor or Associate Professor to build upon its longstanding research strengths in Medieval and Renaissance history and to position the Monash Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) as a global leader in these fields. This teaching and research position offers an opportunity to build research collaborations both within Australia and internationally, and to use innovative teaching practices to extend the well-established cohort of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The Monash Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) was established in 2012 and has grown rapidly to be one of the most dynamic and successful centres for the study of pre-modern European history in Australia. The Centre is located at Monash Clayton campus and uses the Monash University Prato Centre in Italy to offer several of its undergraduate units in intensive mode and for an annual postgraduate conference.

The successful applicant will be appointed at the level and appointment type appropriate to their qualifications, experience and in accordance with the relevant classification standards.

This role is a full-time position; however, flexible working arrangements may be negotiated.

For further information please see the Monash University website: http://careers.pageuppeople.com/513/cw/en/job/591770/associate-professorprofessor-of-medieval-renaissance-or-early-modern-history 

Closing Date: Tuesday 25 June 2019, 11:55 pm AEST

CFP Nihil Obstat: Reading and Circulation of Texts After Censorship

Paper proposals are invited for the conference Nihil Obstat: Reading and Circulation of Texts After Censorship, to be held at NYU Global Studies Center, Prague, 17-19 October 2019.

Literary scholars, sociologists, and historians have long explored the processes and ideology of censorship as well as the histories of the censors themselves. Pre-publication censorship practices and the institutions of church and state that foster them have dominated the field of study. Fewer efforts have taken texts after the fact of censorship or have detailed their further intellectual, cultural, and social trajectories. But as Deleuze wrote in Negotiations (1995), “Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves, but rather force them to express themselves.” While censorship takes various forms, many of them violent, it has tended toward failure, and historically the experience of censorship amongst groups as disparate as 17th century Puritans and 20th century Lithuanian poets is often deeply instructive in the means of subversion, publication, and dissemination. Censorship has informed collecting practices, as with Thomas James, who used the Catholic Index Librorum Prohibitorum to dictate the acquisitions policy of the Bodleian library from the late 16th century onward. Censorship creates new relationships between people and places because it is enforced differently from country to country, even from building to building; for example, in 1984 when the police raided Gay’s the Word bookshop in London to confiscate “obscene” imported books by Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Kate Millet, and Jean-Paul Sartre, the same titles remained available for loan at Senate House Library a few streets away, and UK publishers continued to publish the same authors unpunished. In the spirit of these examples, this conference seeks to foster an interdisciplinary conversation broaching a larger number of underexplored issues that begin only after the moment of censorship—the excess of argument, collaboration, revision, and in many cases, creative thinking, that are given shape by the experience of suppression.

We are pleased to announce that Hannah Marcus (History of Science, Harvard University) and Gisèle Sapiro (Sociology, Centre national de la recherche scientifique / École des hautes études en sciences sociales) will deliver respective keynote addresses each evening of the conference

This conference aims to be as broad as possible in its geographical, historical, and disciplinary range. The organizers welcome applications from anthropologists, bibliographers, classics scholars, comparative literature scholars, gender studies scholars, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and those within allied fields, including library and information sciences and the publishing industry. The working language of the conference will be English, but participants are naturally encouraged to present research completed in any language(s). The goal of the conference will be to publish the proceedings in a collective volume.

Applications should consist of a title, three-hundred word proposal, and one-page CV, due on 31 May, 2019. Accommodations will be available for participants and some funds may be possible for travel assistance within continental Europe.

Possible topics include:

– The reception history of expurgated, bowderlized, and censored texts
– The social history of reading censored and samizdat editions
– The impact of ‘market censorship’ on the rise of small, independent or clandestine publishing establishments.
– Religious communities formed around mutual practices of censorship
– The history of translation vis-à-vis censored texts
– Publishing within colonized spaces
– Canonical texts’ reception vis-à-vis censored editions
– Strategies for circumventing censorship, i.e. scribal publication and xerography
– Scientific and medical pedagogical traditions employing censored texts
– Teaching censored texts: period pedagogy and teaching practices today
– The contingencies of space and geography in censorship practices and the international circulation of censored texts
– ‘Asymmetric’ publication or the coordination of censored and uncensored editions
– The changing status of texts from uncensored to censors, and the inconsistent enforcement of banned items
– Textual histories of self-censored texts and later full republication
– Reversing censorship
– Bibliographical challenges in book description
– Publishing, marketing, and openly advertising censored texts
– Hermeneutic and exegetical concerns facing censored or expurgated texts
– Classical scholarship built upon expurgated texts and embedded polemical citations

In order to apply, please send the materials detailed above to Brooke Palmieri and John Raimo by 31 May, 2019: bspalmieri@gmail.com and john.raimo@nyu.edu.

CFP Das Mittelalter special issue

The editors invite proposals for a special issue of the peer reviewed journal Das Mittelalter: “Small Things of Greater Importance: Exploring the Sensory Relationship of Medieval People and Objects”

While the study of material culture is longstanding, the dynamic sensorial relationship of objects and people is a still emerging field. Research inspired by the material turn has acknowledged that especially small things, no bigger than one’s hand, have a particular agency: they played special roles in people’s lives. A miniature scale enhances objects’ potency: it forges and activates personal connections between items and their owners or users. Small objects, such as prayer nuts, spindle whorls or coins, differ from larger scale items, such as shrines, altars, or chests, because they offer an alternate experience. Small items are usually portable and often have an intimate relationship with the human body. For that reason, sensorial and emotional experiences were triggered by and connected to small artefacts.

An interdisciplinary dialogue addressing questions of how medieval people from different worlds engaged with small objects helps us to understand the entangled sensorial relationship of people and things. This does not have to be constrained by positive emotional experience but can capture the full spectrum of human feelings. This issue seeks new pathways to explore the social lives of small things; why they were curated, contemplated on, and often adored by medieval people through the sensorial lens of taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. To this end we expressly welcome proposals by scholars from a variety of disciplines working on the European and Global Middle Ages.

It is our belief that studies of ‘small things of greater importance’ offer colleagues working in the disciplines from medieval art history, literature, philosophy and theology to archaeology, geography and medicine an opportunity to deepen discussions about how small things served as vehicles of sensory experiences:

Artefacts worn around the neck and held in one’s hand, like a late medieval intricately carved prayer nut with miniature scenes from the life of Christ that were meant to stimulate private devotion, could be activated through touch, movement, and view as well as through its materiality. The sensorial and material experiences enticed by objects also contributed to their emotional and memorial qualities.

Archaeologists have revealed how seemingly mundane items also mediated special relationships with the body. For example, spindle whorls, are understood to be embodied with knowledge of weaving but also with memories of exchange and gift-giving. Smaller personal items may reveal previously unknown things about identity including gender and age.

Literary historians have shown that in (vernacular) literature, miniature objects play important symbolic roles, as is exemplified by the oranges in the Persian story Yusuf u Zulaykha by Jami. The fruit described as colourful and flavourful but noted too is their stinging qualities. Things like these, whether in texts or as props in plays are often imbued with strong emotional feelings, and despite their small scale are crucial to storytelling.

Although not always writers’ primary concern, historical texts feature small scale objects, for example in connection to pilgrimage, miracles, and gift-giving. Book 1 of the Sachsenspiegel details household items (paraphernalia) inherited by women which were passed from mother to daughter. This gives insights into familial bonds and the important emphasis placed on smaller portable items in women’s lives. This is visible in wills where personal items also surface.

The senses, in particular sight, play an important role in writings of theologians and exegetes. It is through the eyes and ears that people can be spiritually instructed, as well as morally tempted. We can easily imagine the impact of large religious objects such as mosque lamps or church stained glass on spirituality, but how did small objects such as the nails used in the crucifixion of Christ play a role in the ideas of theologians and exegetes?

Medievalists interested in emotion may want to explore how the smaller images that wrap the pages of many manuscripts or form parts of larger textiles such as the coronation robe of Roger II of Sicily could reveal conceptions of self in the mind of the creators or moral musing such as the implied sexual assault scene hidden in the margins of the Bayeux Tapestry. Their expressivness captures unspoken medieval emotional experiences.

Spices such as cloves and saffron or dyes like indigo were small things that travelled long distances from Indonesia and India. Spices of course, had an immense sensorial impact; the smallest of things may have made the biggest of differences. They could be of interest to food or medical scholars.

650-word abstracts can be submitted until 31 May 2019. Please send your proposals to Karen Dempsey (K.Dempsey@reading.ac.uk) and Jitske Jasperse (jitske.jasperse@hu-berlin.de)

 

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 .

CFP 2020 French Shakespeare Society Conference

The organisers invite paper proposals for the 2020 Société Française Shakespeare conference, Paris, Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe, 9-11 January 2020. The conference theme is Shakespeare and Actors.

“All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players” (2.7.139-40), says Jaques in As You Like It, suggesting that playing is inherent to life itself. Throughout their dramatic production, Shakespeare and his contemporaries were keen on showcasing the omnipresence of actors while also stressing the instability of their status. As a theatrical practitioner himself, Shakespeare wrote primarily for his company and his rhythmic language was specifically designed for being projected from a stage. It is thus hardly a surprise to find so many metadramatic and metatheatrical allusions on the early modern stage, from the mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the travelling actors in Hamlet, instances of mise en abyme of the theatrical world abound, emphasising the motif of theatrum mundi. Together, they call for a reflection on the uncertain boundaries between stage and life, and on the material conditions surrounding the acting profession.

Early modern playwrights seldom missed an opportunity to play on the uncertainty generated by boy actors performing female parts, given women were excluded from the professional stage until the Restoration. While sometimes joking on the male actors’ cross-dressing, they also subtly rely on the permeability of gendered identities in the theatre to reconfigure desire. “Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness, / Wherein the pregnant enemy does much,” young Viola cries out disguised as a page in Twelfth Night. If the disguise complicates identities and enmeshes the heroine in a love tangle, however, it also conjures up hitherto unknown feelings in her and helps enact what Stephen Greenblatt called “self-fashioning,” namely the shaping of one’s social and sexual identities.

Yet, dramatists did not always judge actors kindly, for their means of livelihood bore the mark of infamy, contrary to poets. In Macbeth, Shakespeare emphasises the frailty of the “poor player, / Who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more” (5.5.24-26) and he reminds us of the ephemeral quality of performance. In Hamlet, he makes fun of those who overplay or strive to “bellow” their cues (3.2.2), and finds fault with clowns who improvise at the expense of the playtext. He portrays mediocre, imperfect actors overwhelmed by stage fright, who forget their lines and spoil the part, as in Sonnet 23. We know today that a Renaissance actor’s ability to learn his lines was exceptional. Grammar school education particularly cultivated this skill in children from an early age by making them learn by heart whole segments from the classics. Acting styles were steeped in such rhetoric. Speech acts and passions that were played out on stage were associated with a particular rhetorical form and style, providing a whole repertory of speech codes playwrights used and subverted.

While early modern playwrights nowhere claimed that the most competent actor is the one who best keeps his temper, as Diderot later would in France, some of their characters seem to be born actors in full control of the arts of manipulation and illusion. They are hypocrites in the everyday sense as well as the etymological sense of the term — from the Greek term, ὑποκριτής, hupokritếs, which means “stage actor” or “one who recites”.

In spite of the players’ imperfections at which Shakespeare and his contemporaries delighted in poking fun, showing the play’s seams, playwrights also defended those who brought their own worlds to the stage. Actors certainly needed their support at a time when Puritans were beginning to make themselves heard, threatening the profession. In An Apology for Actors (1612), Thomas Heywood praised the dignity of actors in response to the attacks of such critics as John Northbrooke or Stephen Gosson. An actor had to be multi-talented. He had to memorize, play, sing, dance, improvise, and adjust to the changing material conditions of the stage. Despite very limited rehearsal time, early modern actors were able to produce meaning almost instinctively, and a playwright’s success ultimately depended on the players’ ability to perform their plays. Even today, it is mostly up to actors to update the potentialities of the Shakespearean text and to make characters from the past our contemporaries. French actor Denis Podalydès claims that “Shakespeare is every actor’s dream” (“Shakespeare Album,” La Pléiade, Gallimard, 2016). Playing early modern parts allows actors today to reflect on their own acting style. The actor and his text were indeed front and center in the creative process, in the writing, directing and stage business of early modern companies, which constantly needed to adapt to the changing material conditions of the stage. Such practices may help today’s theatrical practitioners explore the multiple possibilities that are offered to them as they move from page to stage, from collaborative writing to collaborative performance.

This conference aims to bring together early modern scholars, theatre historians, actors, directors and filmmakers to discuss the ways in which early modern drama still enriches our understanding of the actor’s profession and place today in a world which sometimes seems to be nothing but a stage.

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The actors’ professionalisation in early modern drama
  • Amateur practices in the early modern period and today
  • The material conditions and organisation of theatrical companies
  • The actors’ apprenticeship
  • The versatility of the actors who performed in public, private, court, and itinerant theatrical forms
  • The praise and condemnation of histrionic arts
  • Protection and patronage circuits
  • The place of the comedy actor in society
  • The rhetorical practices of actors on stage
  • Declamation, voice and gestures
  • The mise en abyme of performance and actor figures in early modern plays
  • Historions and jesters in early modern plays
  • Duplicitous and hypocritical characters in early modern plays
  • Great Shakespearean actors, from the 16th century to the present day
  • The experience of acting an early modern part
  • Early modern playwrights and (collaborative) stage writing
  • The representation of Shakespearean actors in popular culture

Scientific committee

Roberta Barker (Dalhousie University), Yan Brailowsky (Université Paris Nanterre, Société Française Shakespeare), Sophie Chiari (Université Clermont Auvergne), Anne-Valérie Dulac (Sorbonne Université), Sarah Hatchuel (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, Société Française Shakespeare), Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3), Ladan Niayesh (Université Paris-Diderot), Laetitia Sansonetti (Université Paris Nanterre), Chantal Schütz (École Polytechnique, Société Française Shakespeare), Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, Société Française Shakespeare)

Submission procedure

Please send your proposals to contact@societefrancaiseshakespeare.org by 15 May 2019, with a title, an abstract (between 500 and 800 words) and a brief biographical notice. A few words in the abstract should explain in what way(s) your paper intends to address the topic of the conference.

Letters of acceptance will be sent by May 30, 2019. Selected papers are expected to be submitted for publication in the weeks following the conference for our peer-reviewed online series available here: https://journals.openedition.org/shakespeare/32. We accept only proposals which have not been published previously; however, papers initially published by the Société Française Shakespeare may be submitted for publication elsewhere not earlier than 3 months after publication in our online series.

CFP 16th International Congress of Medieval Canon Law

The 16th International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, co-sponsored by ICMAC (Iuris Canonici Medii Aevi Consociatio/International Society of Medieval Canon Law) and Saint Louis University, will take place on the university’s campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, from Sunday, July 19, through Saturday, July 25, 2020.

These quadrennial Congresses, alternating sides of the Atlantic, constitute the premier academic conference in the field of medieval canon law. Traditionally they have drawn scholars from many countries, including not only medievalists and canonists, but also those who study related fields, such as Western jurisprudence and legal norms, Roman law, ecclesiastical and papal history, theology and biblical exegesis, manuscript studies, and the history of culture, society, and ideas.

The Academic Committee welcomes proposals for papers or sessions on any topic touching upon medieval canon law, including, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Texts and Jurisprudence
  • The Influence of the ius commune on the Western Legal Tradition and International Law
  • Canon Law and Local Ecclesiastical History
  • Canon Law, Theology, and Pastoral Care
  • Medieval Law in Comparative Perspective

The chronological focus of the Congress is typically on c. 500 – c. 1500, but select papers or sessions may also be accepted on Early Christian Canon Law and, in light of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s burning of the Corpus iuris canonici, Canon Law and the Reformation.

The Academic Committee invites proposals for individual 20-minute papers or complete sessions of four 20-minute papers. Papers may be delivered in the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. Scholars not presenting in English are encouraged to utilise PowerPoint presentations and/or to provide written English summaries of their papers.

Regular sessions will not feature papers on text-editing projects. Updates on critical editions or other text-editing projects will be showcased in a poster session during the Congress. Scholars who wish to present on such projects may submit two proposals if they desire, one for the text-editing poster session and another for a regular session.

For further information and submission instructions, please visit the conference website: https://icmcl2020.wordpress.com/

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.

CFP Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group Conference

This year’s conference of the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group and the UWA Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies will take place on 19 October, 2019. The conference theme is Mental Health in the Medieval and Early Modern World.

Modern stereotypes abound regarding how mental health was perceived during the medieval and early modern period ranging from mental illness being caused by sin to the idea that the attainment of mental well-being could only be achieved through the balancing of the bodily humours. But mental health was a more complex and expansive subject of discourse throughout the period that was widely explored in medical treatises, religious tracts and sermons, and prominent in art and literature, which speaks to a more subtle understanding of the human mental state.

This conference aims to look at both the changing and continuing perceptions of mental health throughout the medieval and early modern period. We welcome papers from the fields of book culture and manuscript studies, history, material culture, medicine, art, and literature, but not limited to, the following broad headings:

  • Suicide
  • Marginal lives
  • Melancholy / Depression
  • Insanity / Mental disorder
  • Rapture / Ecstasy
  • Bodily humours
  • Addiction
  • Anguish
  • Therapies
  • Meditation / Mindfulness / Well-being
  • Imagination
  • Dreams / Visions / Memory
  • Criminality
  • Self-harm
  • Solitude
  • Natural / Kind / Unnatural

The conference organisers invite proposals for 20-minute papers. Please send a paper title, 250-word abstract, and a short (no more than 100-word) biography to: pmrg.cmems.conference@gmail.com by 31 May 2019.

For further information, see the conference flyer posted below and visit the conference website.

Download (PDF, 5.42MB)

CFP New book series: Premodern Transgressive Literatures

Medieval Institute Publications is inviting proposals for a new book series, Premodern Transgressive Literatures. The Series Editor, Alicia Spencer-Hall, and Editorial Board invite both formal proposals for the series, and more informal queries, from all interested parties.

Premodern Transgressive Literatures takes a decisively political, intersectional, and interdisciplinary approach to medieval and early modern literature. The series supports scholarship which transgresses normative bounds along various axes. This includes the transgression of temporal boundaries which superficially separate the premodern era from our twenty-first century moment.

We aim to show, with insistent urgency, the ways in which the premodern can help us make sense of the modern, and the ways in which cutting-edge modern paradigms can help us better understand established, canonical premodern texts. This series is acutely aware of the role of the scholar in the production of history and the crucial importance of the context of scholarly work: the Academy, with its unique characteristics, both positive and negative. As such, Premodern Transgressive Literatures makes space for provocative discussion about the business of producing—and teaching—transgressive work in the neo-liberalised Academy.

We welcome monographs from established and early career researchers, alongside collections of thematic essays, scholarly editions and translations with substantial introductions and apparatus.

Geographical Scope: Global, including but not limited to: Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia
Chronological Scope: Medieval and early modern world
Keywords: intersectionality, interdisciplinary, literature, culture, medieval, early modern, pedagogy
Editorial Board:
Blake Gutt (University of Michigan), Carissa Harris (Temple University), Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University), Roberta Magnani (Swansea University), Elizabeth Robertson (University of Glasgow)

Full details can be found at: www.wmich.edu/medievalpublications/premodern-transgressive-literatures

If you have any general queries or questions about the series, in the first instance please contact Shannon Cunningham (Acquisitions Editor for Medieval Institute Publications), shannon@smcunningham.com.

Please also feel free to contact the Series Editor, Alicia Spencer-Hall, to discuss the series informally and answer any questions regarding academic fit and so forth: aspencerhall@gmail.com.