CALL FOR PAPERS: Addressing Difficult Aspects of the Medieval (ADAM)

23rd–24th September, 2024 | St John’s College, Oxford
KEYNOTE: Professor Corinne Saunders


The inaugural ADAM workshop will bring together medievalists of all disciplines to discuss the research and teaching of ‘difficult’ or ‘taboo’ topics. We welcome applications for scholars working in any
field that demands sensitivity and resilience from researchers, such as (but not limited to): gender, sexual violence, mental health, disability, and race.


The workshop exists to foster connection and conversation between researchers, to raise some of the key questions of challenging research and to create a reliable network of support. Paper sessions will be linked by group discussions, addressing topics such as: the problems of establishing new terminologies and reworking those that may be problematic; how best to deal with extant scholarship with outdated views; how to approach sensitive topics rigorously within an academic framework.


Besides these methodological aspects, we are eager to discuss pastoral issues: the potential mental toll of research on these themes; the pedagogical demands that these issues place upon tutors and supervisors; how to undertake sound scholarship when personally affected by these issues.


ADAM’s aims are to provoke academic discussion, provide scholarly resources, and to establish a community that can provide support for those working on such topics. The network will provide both a platform and a safe space for uncomfortable conversations, cultivating a greater understanding of the clear and latent difficulties of this research. It is also our intention to produce an edited collection on this topic, to which the workshop speakers will be warmly invited to contribute.


We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers from Early Career Researchers and postgraduates. Please send
abstracts of 300 words to grace.oduffy@sjc.ox.ac.uk by 9th June, 2024.

CfP: Transgression in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

26th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society:
Transgression in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

24th-25th February 2024, Oxford

We are pleased to announce the call for papers for the 26th Annual Oxford University Byzantine Society International Graduate Conference on the 24th – 25th February, 2024. Papers are invited to approach the theme of ‘Transgression’ within the Late Antique and Byzantine world (very broadly defined). For the call for papers, and for details on how to submit an abstract for consideration for the conference, please see below.

‘Seduced by love for you, I went mad, Aquilina … she, smouldering, not any less love-struck than me, would wander throughout the house … love alone became her heart’s obsession … Her tutor chased me. Her grim mother guarded her … they scrutinised our eyes and nods, and colouring that tends to signal thoughts … soon both of us began to seek out times and places to converse with eyebrows and our eyes, to dupe the guards, to put a foot down gingerly, and in the night to run without a sound. Our fiery hearts ignite a doubled frenzied passion, and so an anguish mixed with love rages … Boethius, offering aid, pacifies her parents’ hearts with “gifts” and lures soft touches to my goal with cash. Blind love of money overcomes parental love; they both begin to love their daughter’s guilt. They give us room for secret sins … yet wickedness, when permitted, becomes worthless, and lust for the deed languishes … so a sanctioned license stole my zeal for sinning, and even longing for such things departed. The two of us split up, miserable and dissatisfied in equal measure …’

Maximianus, Elegies, 3 (adapted tr. Juster)

The Late Antique and Byzantine world was a medley of various modes of transgression: orthodoxy and heresy; borders and breakthroughs; laws and outlaws; taxes and tax evaders; praise and polemic; sacred and profane; idealism and pragmatism; rule and riot. Whether amidst the ‘purple’, the pulpits, or the populace, transgression formed an almost unavoidable aspect of daily life for individuals across the empire and its neighbouring regions. The framework of ‘Transgression’ then is very widely applicable, with novel and imaginative approaches to the notion being strongly encouraged. In tandem with seeking as broad a range of relevant papers as possible within Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, some suggestions by the Oxford University Byzantine Society for how this topic might be treated include:

·      The Literary – deviance from established genres, styles or tropes; bold exploration of new artistic territory; penned subversiveness against higher authorities (whether discreetly or openly broadcasted); dissemination of literature beyond expected limits.

·      The Political – usurpers, revolts, breakaway regions, court intrigue, plots and coups; contravention of aristocratic or political hierarchies and their expectations; royal ceremonial and its changes, or imperial self-promotion and propaganda seeking to rupture or distort the truth.

·      The Geopolitical – stepping beyond or breaking through boundaries and borders, including invasions, expeditions, trade (whether in commodities or ideas), movements of peoples and tribes, or even the establishment of settlements and colonies.

·      The Religious and Spiritual – ‘Heresy’, sectarianism, paganism, esotericism, magic, and more; and, in reverse, all discussion of ‘Orthodoxy’, which so defined itself in opposition to that which it considered transgressive; monastic orders and practices (anchoritic and coenobitic) and their associated canons, themselves intertwined and explicative of what was deemed prohibited; holy fools and other individuals perceived as deviant from typical holy men.

·      The Social and Sartorial – gender-based expectations in public and private; the contravention (or enforcement) of status or class boundaries; proscribed or vagrant habits of dress, jewellery, fabrics, etc.

·      The Linguistic – transmission of language elements across regional borders or cultures, including loan words, dialectic and stylistic influences, as well as other topics concerning lingual crossover and interaction.

·      The Artistic and Architectural – the practice of spolia; the spread and mix of architectural styles from differing regions and cultures; cross-confessionalism evident from the layout or architecture of religious edifices; variant depictions of Christ and other holy figures; iconoclasm.

·      The Legal – whether it be examination of imperial law codes and their effectiveness or more localised disputes testified to by preserved papyri, all discussion concerning legal affairs naturally involves assessing transgressive behaviour and how it was viewed and handled.

·      It could even be that your paper’s relevance to ‘Transgression’ consists in its breaking out from scholarly consensus in a notable way!

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, with a short academic biography written in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at byzantine.society@gmail.com by Monday 27th November 2023. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, peer-reviewed by specialists in the field. Submissions should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper, especially if they wish to be considered for inclusion in the edited volume. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

The conference will have a hybrid format, with papers delivered at the Oxford University History Faculty and livestreamed for a remote audience. Accepted speakers should expect to participate in person.

OBS: ‘A Golden Collector of the Golden Age’: Charles Walker Clark (1871-1933) and his library of incunables

When: Thursday 12 October at 5:15 p.m.
Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre
ALL WELCOME!

Our programme of talks for 2023-2024 begins on Thursday, October 12th when William P. Stoneman, formerly Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, will look at incunables from the library of Charles Walker Clarke (1871-1933).

Clark has been described as “a golden collector of the golden age” but because books from his collection contain no bookplate and there was never a public sale, the extent of his collection has been lost from the narrative of institutional collection building. Bill Stoneman has documented 226 fifteenth-century books from Clark’s collection, many of them not previously identified as Clark’s, and this talk will explore this important part of a truly remarkable American library. Bill will also look at the role of Clark’s wife, Celia Tobin Clark (1874-1965), in building up a collection that has had an international impact. 

The talk, which we are hosting jointly with the Bodleian’s Centre for the Study of the Book, will take place at 5.15pm in the Weston’s Lecture Theatre and we look forward to seeing you there. We will also be streaming the talk on Zoom; if you would like me to send you the link, do please get in touch (sarah.cusk@lincoln.ox.ac.uk).

Upcoming meetings:

Thursday 23 November at 5.15 pm (Merton College T. S. Eliot Theatre Hosted jointly with Merton History of the Book Group)
The Bodleian Library and the second-hand book trade in the early seventeenth century
Tamara Atkin (Queen Mary University of London)

Thursday 18 January, 2 pm–4 pm (Jesus College Fellows Library)
Bindings from the Fellows’ Library, Jesus College (a hands-on workshop with limited space; please contact the Secretary to book a place)
Nicholas Pickwoad

Thursday 1 February at 5.15 pm (Trinity College, Garden Room)
Politics, paper, print: reflections on the book history of the Mao era
Matt Wills (Peter Harrington Rare Books)

Thursday 7 March at 5.15 pm (Lincoln College Oakeshott Room)
Greek manuscripts from the collection of Lincoln College
Georgi Parpulov

Thursday 16 May at 5.15 pm (Christ Church, Upper Library)
Title to be confirmed
Lise Jaillant (Loughborough University)

Thursday 6 June at 5.15 pm
(Balliol College, Old Common Room ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Meeting to begin at 4.30 p.m. Lecture to follow at 5.15 after a brief interval for tea)

The art of antiquarian forgery in Georgian Britain
Peter Lindfield (Cardiff University)

Medieval Matters: Week 8

Here we are at the end of the academic year! It seems like just yesterday that I was sending the first email of Michaelmas. Thank you to everyone who has organised seminars and reading groups, given papers, hosted events and conferences, and contributed to our rich community at Oxford. It’s been the busiest OMS year on record, and it’s been so wonderful to see our medievalist community thriving. In the words of Alcuin:

Nihil laudabilis est in homine, quam sapientiae decus et caritatis affectus
[Nothing is more praiseworthy in a person than the glory of wisdom and the goodwill of love, Ep. 290]

According to this, Oxford’s medievalists are very praiseworthy indeed! We would like to celebrate our community in an annual record publication, recounting the highlights of the year. All events included in the newsletters will be included as a matter of course, but if you have published a book, held a special event, or given a special paper, or would just like to send a paragraph about your seminar/reading group, we would love to hear from you! See our blog post for more information. All submissions must be received by August 20th.

We have a bumper list of events this week. For a list of all events taking place after the end of this week, please see the end of the events section:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Celebrating OMS 2022/23: Call for Submissions: The OMS Record will be completed in time for the new academic year, both online and in (limited) print format. We welcome all submissions detailing events or book releases from the academic year 2022/23. Please send submissions to luisa.ostacchini@ell.ox.ac.uk. All submissions must be received by August 20th 2023.
  • CAT – Conversations Across Time: What do horses, medievalists, black hole orbits, boardrooms, and quantum computers have in common? Inspired by the Medieval Mystery Plays, artist in residence at the Physics Department Pam Davis has developed an art-piece ‘Conversations Across Time’ which links medieval theatre, women in science, and Quantum future. Free tickets for the performances in the unique Beecroft Building (Physics) on June 15th, 17:30-18:30, June 16th, 17:30-18:30, June 17th, 14:30-15:30, and June 17th, 17:30-18:30 available via the website https://www.citizensai.com/.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 12th June:

  •  The Byzantine Graduate Seminar will meet at 12:30-14:00 via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Jack Dooley (Royal Holloway, University of London), Between the self and the other: the case of the gasmouloi in Late Byzantium, and the respondent will be Dr Yannis Stouraitis. To register, please contact james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk.   
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford and Andrew Dunning is meeting as usual via Teams from 1-2pm. This term we will read some satirical poetry from a thirteenth-century manuscript, the so-called ‘Bekyngton anthology’ (Bodl. MS. Add. A. 44). Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk for more information.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s theme is The medieval hyena: Emma Campbell, ‘Visualizing the Trans-Animal Body’. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email rowan.wilson@univ.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm at the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Emilia Jamroziak (Leeds), ‘Understanding the cult of saints in the late medieval Cistercian order‘. The seminar will also be available remotely via Teams. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .ox.ac.uk account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum meets online via Zoom at 6pm. Professor Katherine Southwood, Senior Fellow of the Oxford Interfaith Forum, Associate Professor in Old Testament, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, and Tutorial Fellow in Theology and Religion at St John’s College, Oxford, will be leading a session on ‘Metaphor, Illness, and Identity: Psalms 88 and 102‘ as part of the Psalms in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group.To register, please click here.

Tuesday 13th June:

  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at the Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College, with tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker will be Peter Kidd (freelance researcher), ‘Tracing the Provenance of a Medieval Manuscript: from start to finish‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar! As an appetizer, have a look at the latest blog post RECEPTIO Redux.

Wednesday 14th June:

  • The Medieval German Seminar will meet at 11:15-12.45pm at St Edmund Hall Old Library. In Trinity Term, we are continuing to discuss Heinrich von Neustadt’s texts, focussing on ‘Von Gottes Zukunft’. We meet in person in the Old Library of St Edmund Hall, this week with the topic: Apocalypse! Further information and reading recommendations via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email Henrike Lähnemann.
  • The Old High German Reading Group at 11-12 in 41 Wellington Square, 2nd floor (Henrike Lähnemann’s office). This week’s text will be Wessobrunner Gebet. It will be an opportunity to read and analyse some simpler OHG texts and give people the chance to read the oldest form of German if they’ve not been exposed to it before. It will be very informal, and all are welcome. Led by William Thurlwell william.thurlwell@wolfson.ox.ac.uk – contact him for updates.
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm at Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles. This week’s seminar will be a Special OCBR lecture by James Howard-Johnston (emeritus, Corpus Christi), ‘The Last Great War of Antiquity: Course and Consequences’. You can also join the seminar remotely via Teams, click here.

Thursday 15th June:

  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 3-4pm at Lincoln College: meet at the lodge. This week’s theme will be Hierarchies: ecclesiastical, non-ecclesiastical and “alternative” hierarchies of power used and created by medieval women. Please email katherine.smith@lincoln.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list and get texts in advance, or to find out more.
  • The Piers Plowman in Context discussion group will be led by Kantik Ghosh in the Main Quad Boardroom at Univ from 4:30-5:30pm. For this last session we will be discussing Passus XX of the B-text, in relation to some texts by Bonaventura, Aquinas, and Pecock, available online through this link. All welcome! Email Jacob Ridley (jacob.ridley@univ.ox.ac.uk) with any questions.
  • The Invisible East Group is co-hosting a webinar with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies online at 5pm. The speaker will be Prof Geoffrey Khan, University of Cambridge, ‘The Arabic documents from early Islamic Khurasan‘. Registration and more information at this link
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5.15-6.45pm at St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speaker will be Sara Lipton, Stony Brook University: ‘Blood Piety and Anti-Judaism in an Early Fourteenth-century Illuminated Prayer Book from Liège‘. For further information, contact Elena Lichmanova (elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk).
  • WOOPIE (Oxford Old English Work in Progress Seminar) meets at 5.15-6.30pm in the Ferrar Room, Hertford College. This week’s speaker will be Mar Gutiérrez Ortiz (University of Seville), ‘Isidore’s Etymologies, A Source for Boniface’s Classification of Metrical Feet in the Caesurae uersuum‘.
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum meets online via Zoom at 6pm. Professor Matthew Milliner, Senior Fellow of the Oxford Interfaith Forum, and Professor of Art History at Wheaton College, USA, will be leading a session on ‘The Tao of Mary: Images of the Virgin in the Church of the East‘ as part of the ART in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group. To register, please click here.

Friday 16th June:

  • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (instructions how to find it) with presentation of items from the special collections, coffee and the chance to see the view from the 5th floor terrace.
  • Exhibition Launch: Early Modern Monsters At 5pm, History of the Book students from MML and the MSc Digital Scholarship are jointly launching the digital editions and a Monster Exhibition in the Taylor Institution Library, Main Hall (with the exhibition open in the Voltaire Room from now until 26 June). The focus will be on early modern monstruous birth pamphlet but there will also be medieval monsters and their modern successors to marvel at.

SUMMER EVENTS:

Monday 19th June:

  • Distance: Medieval and Modern Languages Conference will take place at 9am-6pm in the Taylor Institution Library. For the full programme, see our blog here.
  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar will meet at 12:30-14:00 via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Rachel Catherine Patt (Princeton University), From Pliny’s Potter to Proclus’ Vision: Tracing the Role of Pothos in Byzantine Visual Culture, and the respondent will be Dr Maria Lidova. To register, please contact james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk.   
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum meets online via Zoom at 6pm. Ilana Tahan OBE, Lead Curator of Hebrew and Christian Orient Collections, The British Library, will be leading a session on ‘British Library Hebrew Treasures Reveal Interfaith Narratives: The Sana’a Pentateuch‘ as part of the International Interfaith Reading Group on Manuscripts in Interfaith Contexts. To register, please click here.

Wednesday 21st June/ Thursday 22nd June:

  • The Joint Oxford-Princeton Conference: State Documents from the Medieval Islamicate World takes place from 21st June 8.45am to 22nd June 5pm at Trinity College, Oxford. For full details, click here. To attend the colloquium, please register using the form at this link. Participation is free of charge, but advanced registration is requested.

Thursday 13th July:

  • WOOPIE (Oxford Old English Work in Progress Seminar) meets at 5.15-6.30pm in the Lange Room, St Cross College. This week’s speaker will be Rachel Burns (Oxford), ‘“I will open my mouth in parables”: A new biblical context for early medieval English riddles’.

For those of you moving on to new things outside Oxford, I’d like to wish you luck in your endeavours on behalf of all of us at OMS. If you would like to stay in contact via the mailing list, please let me know so that I can update your details. For everyone else, I look forward to returning to your inboxes in October – I am remaining in post as communications officer for 2023/24:

Sequenti vero anno certius aliquid de nobis audies vel videbis
[You will see me next year, or hear more definite news of me, Ep. 17]

It has been an honour and a pleasure to be your guide to the year’s medieval happenings. At a time when humanities are in decline, it’s been such a joy to see our community flourishing and thriving. On behalf of everyone at OMS, I’d like to extend a huge thanks to everyone for making this such a wonderful year. Wishing you a restful and productive summer, and I will see you again in October!

[Medievalists sailing off on Summer adventures. Bon voyage, and see you next year!]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 86 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

Ervin Bossányi: Stained Glass Art and Linocut Workshop

Friday, 26 May 2023, 2-4pm in the St Peter’s College Chapel

St Peter’s College is pleased to host a practical art workshop as part of a current display exploring the works of Hungarian artist Ervin Bossányi (1891-1975) in the College collections and Chapel stained glass. His artistic achievements range from paintings and friezes to stained glass windows in prestigious buildings such as Canterbury Cathedral and Washington National Cathedral in the USA.

A guided tour of the display by Dr Alison Ray (College Archivist) will be followed by a linocut workshop led by Dr Eleanor Baker and participants will produce their own linocut designs. Eleanor completed her DPhil in medieval material texts in 2022, and is currently working on a short anthology of book curses. She started linocutting as a lockdown hobby, and is inspired by late medieval woodcuts, folk horror, and the natural world. The afternoon will conclude with refreshments in the Chapel with thanks to the Revd Dr Elizabeth Pitkethly (College Chaplain).

Attendance is free, but booking is required as space is limited. Please contact Alison Ray to reserve a place by email: archives@spc.ox.ac.uk

Dr Eleanor Baker will lead the practical art workshop with a linocut activity

The ‘Ervin Bossányi: Stained Glass Artist’ display is currently running 12-26 May 2023, 10am-5pm (closed Thursdays) in the St Peter’s College Chapel. Admission is free and open to the public.

GLAMorous work: Medievalist Pathways in Archives and Libraries

The Oxford Medieval Studies Trinity Term lecture on Thursday, 4 May was a careers talk with a twist, featuring an exhibition in the St Edmund Hall Old Library as well as coffee and cake! Alison Ray (Archivist, St Peter’s College) and Heather Barr (Graduate Trainee Library Assistant, St Edmund Hall) were delighted to share their experiences of working in archives and libraries to attendees and how they make use of their skills as medievalists in their present roles.

You can watch back the careers talk in the video below and check out the handy list of resources for further information on working in archives, libraries and the wider heritage sector:

GLAMorous Work: Resources

Archives Listserv: Jobs, training, current events and issues, professional discussion

Archives and Records Association (ARA): New Professionals Peer Pals Scheme, training and qualification information

Bodleian Libraries: Our Work: Descriptions of department areas, including conservation, collections management and public engagement

Careers Service: Library and Archives: Information and careers advice

CILIP: The Library and Information Professional Association: Communities, training opportunities, information, qualification information, news

Civil Service: Working in Knowledge and Information Management: Jobs list and career path descriptions

ECLAIR: Community of Library and Information Studies students and new professionals

Guardian Jobs: Heritage sector jobs list via the Guardian

ICON: The Institute of Conservation: Jobs, training, current projects, role descriptions

Information Professional Jobs: Jobs list

JISC LIS Professional Mail List: Jobs, training, current events and issues, professional discussion

JISC LIS Rare Books Mail List: Jobs, training, current events, professional discussion for rare books

Museum Studies Jobs Desk: Jobs list

Museums Association: Current campaigns, jobs, career paths

Twitter: Explore #LISJobs #LibraryJobs #LibraryTwitter #ArchivesJobs #ArchiveTwitter

Medieval Matters: Week 3

Welcome to week 3! We have another exciting programme of events this week. As I write these emails I am always amazed by the wealth of opportunities that we have at Oxford: this week we have offerings ranging from the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia to Mamluk-Venetian relations! So here, courtesy of Alcuin, is a celebration of those who teach, guide, and encourage us with their seminar papers:

Valde mihi placet, quod tantam habetis intentionem lectionis … vos estis decus Britanniae
[I am delighted that you are so keen on encouraging reading … you are the glory of Britain! Ep. 43 ]

Your work organising events and giving papers really does make our community so much richer, so thank you for all of your hard work! A special shout-out to everybody planning to take part as actors or directors in the Medieval Mystery Cycle on 22 April. See below for the workshop coming up on Friday – all curious people invited! There are many more opportunities to be encouraged this week – see below for a full list of events:

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 30th January:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Emma Huig (Universiteit Gent), Stephanites and Ichnelates: recovering the Eugenian recension? To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford and Andrew Dunning is meeting as usual via Teams from 1-2pm. We continue with the Bruges copy of Thomas de Cantimpré’s Natural History about the elephant at fol. 62r. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning
  • The Seminar in Manuscript Studies and Palaeography will take place at 2.15-3.45pm, in the Weston Library, Horton Room. This week’s speaker will be Laura Saetveit Miles (University of Bergen), “The Influence of St. Birgitta of Sweden’s Revelationes in Late-Medieval England“. For further information contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s speaker is Wyn Shaw on Old French courtly romances. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email rowan.wilson@univ.ox.ac.uk.   
  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on Teams (Teams link here). This week’s speaker will be Georg Christ (Manchester), ‘Rogue emporium and universal empire: Rethinking Mamluk-Venetian relations (mid 13th to end of 14th c.)’. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .ox.ac.uk account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk.

Tuesday 31st January:

  • The Governability across the medieval globe Discussion Group meets at 12:00-1.30 in the History Faculty. Everyone welcome, staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This session we will be discussing ‘Water’.
  • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar will take place at 2–3.30pm in the New Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. This week’s speaker will be Luca Zenobi, Cambridge, ‘A Europe of Network States? The View from Italy‘.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford (www.mfo.ac.uk). Drinks at 5pm, presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speakers will be Irina Boeru, Sebastian Dows-Miller, and Jack Nunn, ‘Attributing Authorship’. For more information, to be added to the seminar maillist, or for the Teams link to join a seminar remotely, contact Helen Swift.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm for tea with the paper 5.15pm-6pm in the Charlese Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker will be Susannah Bain (Jesus), ‘Maps, Chronicles and Treaties: defining political connections in late-thirteenth-century northern Italy‘.

Wednesday 1st February:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar will meet at 11:15am in the island room of Oriel College for discussing translations and adaptations of this term’s text, Heinrich von Neustadt’s Apollonius von Tyrland, organised by Anna Wilmore. If you are interested to join, contact Henrike Lähnemann to be added to the teams chat.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar is CANCELLED this week
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.179–233. All welcome to attend any and all sessions. For more details and specific readings each week, or to be added to the mailing list, email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield (michael.stansfield@new.ox.ac.uk) for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles. This week’s speaker will be Kateryna Kovalchuk (Wolfson College), ‘The Diegesis: a Hagiographical Text for Commemoration of the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, followed by a drinks reception. This week’s speaker will be Emily Kesling (University of Oxford), ‘The Early Insular Prayerbooks and the Dream of the Rood Tradition’. All welcome.

Thursday 2nd February:

  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.00pm via Zoom. This is a CAWCS hybrid event in Welsh at the National Library of Wales (with Breton song performance). This week’s speakers will be Brigitte Cloarec, Nigel Ruddock & Mary-Ann Constantine (CAWCS), ‘Canu Cymru–Llydaw ar ŵyl Santes Brîd: Gwerz Berc’hed a Merch y Gof‘. Please contact a.elias@wales.ac.uk for the link.
  • The Oxford Seminars in Cartography meets at 4.30-6pm in Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library and online via Zoom. This week’s talk is Andrew Honey, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and Conservation Inspector to the Mappa Mundi Trust: ‘‘Please use the postcode’: navigating the past, present, and future conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi‘. This talk will examine the conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, chart the effects of some of the historic repairs and cleaning campaigns carried out in the past, explain the ingenious methods used to mount the map, and outline future conservation needs, as well as presenting some discoveries from recent conservation inspections. For more information see here.

Friday 3rd February:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!). This week Julia Brusa (Geneva) will present a group of early modern German ‘Stammbücher’ (album amicorum).
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: stephanie.hathaway@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk or jane.bliss@lmh.oxon.org.
  • Workshop: Staging and Acting in a Medieval Mystery Play takes place at 5–6.30pm, at St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall. Join this workshop for tips and guidance on how to join a group and how to adapt medieval mystery plays for modern performance. The workshop will be led by David Wiles, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and a veteran director of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor or just come along.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5pm at The Royal Oak. Please email Ashley Castelino (ashley.castelino@lincoln.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • CFP: “INVESTIGATIONS INTO ROMANIAN AND EUROPEAN BIBLICAL TRADITIONS” INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 12th Edition: Iaşi, 18-20 May 2023. The Symposium aims to encourage multi- and interdisciplinary debates on the issues raised by the publication, translation, interpretation, dissemination and reception of sacred texts into Romanian and other modern languages. For full details, see the blog post here.
  • Emory University and the Medieval Academy of America are pleased to announce the launch of a Zoom working group on Race & Gender in the Global Middle Ages. The aim is to bring together scholars from various disciplines (history, art history, and literary studies) who work on Europe and the Mediterranean, the Islamic world, Africa, and Asia to discuss works-in-progress that deal with race and gender from 500 CE to 1600 CE. The working group is open to all medievalists, including graduate students.To participate in the working group, please register at https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/raceandgenderglobalmiddleages/

Finally, some more advice from Alcuin on the importance of being encouraged:

‘Discant in adolescentia, ut habeant, quid doceant in senectute
[They must learn in youth in order to be able to teach in age, Ep. 23]

In other words: your work organising seminars and reading groups makes our scholarly community richer not just for the medievalists of the present, but also for the future of our disciplines! May you have a week full of such encouragement.

[A Medievalist gives a stunning seminar paper]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 9 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

ETC seminar – Medieval Commentaries on Vergil

Dear All,

The final session of the Early Text Cultures Seminar on Pre-modern Commentaries will take place on Wednesday 30 November at Corpus Christi College, Seminar Room, 2-3pm. Vittorio Danovi (Oxford) will give a talk titled

Medieval Commentaries on Vergil (Bern scholia and Servius Auctus)

My research is primarily concerned with the commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics known as Bern scholia and with the augmented version of Servius’ commentary on the whole of Vergil known, after its first editor Pierre Daniel, as Seruius Danielis or DS scholia. Both commentaries were probably assembled in seventh-century (Insular?) scriptoria by anonymous compilers who resorted to pre-existing commentaries, but almost all their extant witnesses date back to the Carolingian period. I am currently aiming to analyse the characters of the different versions of the Bern and DS scholia transmitted by each witness and to establish their genealogical relationships. On these grounds, I hope to shed some new light on the Carolingian engagement with the two commentaries.

Please do come in person! But if you cannot, here is a Zoom link to attend remotely:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/94503373094?pwd=RFVCaXpDNlNjN2dROVR0a1lIUS9uUT09

Meeting ID: 945 0337 3094
Passcode: 581504

All best wishes,
ETC Board

Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland

‘Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley Holland’: An exhibition in the Old Library of St Edmund Hall

Open to the public on Monday 24 and Friday 28 October from 10:00-16:00

Or by appointment: Library@seh.ox.ac.uk

This exhibition explores the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland, Honorary Fellow and alumnus of St Edmund Hall, prize-winning children’s author, translator, poet, librettist, editor and professor. Kevin engages creatively with language and poetry, place, history and legend. He captivates us by telling stories deeply rooted in past cultures, which he remakes to be compellingly contemporary and relevant. For this exhibition, Kevin has generously loaned items from his private collection to add to material from St Edmund Hall’s Archives and Special Collections; we gratefully acknowledge his help.

Early in his career, Kevin established himself as a poet and as a translator and re-teller of Old and Middle English poetry, romance, and folklore for all ages, and as an enthusiastic collaborator with composers and visual artists. His Arthur trilogy has sold over one million copies worldwide and is available in twenty-six languages; it has inspired young readers to become medievalists and writers themselves. Recent works, such as Norse Tales: Stories from Across the Rainbow Bridge (2020) demonstrate how Northern European myth and legend continue to beguile him.

Kevin is passionate about how history, landscape and poetic language shape and inform one another. This exhibition explores continuities from Kevin’s childhood in how he sees, interprets, and responds to these creative stimuli. It also reveals how meticulously he researches the past to create his imaginary yet historically accurate worlds, and how carefully he crafts his poetry.

The exhibition is based on and inspired by ‘Poem, Story & Scape in the Work of Kevin Crossley-Holland’ which ran at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds from 29 March— 20 August 2022, curated by Dr Catherine Batt, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Leeds. Many thanks to Sarah Prescott and the University of Leeds for their generous help and support in staging this version.

ETC Research Seminar on Pre-modern Commentaries (MT22)

The Early Text Cultures Research seminar for Michaelmas Term will be on the theme of Pre-modern Commentaries. We hope that the seminar will enable us to denaturalise default definitions of ‘commentary’ and to bring out key similarities and differences across a broad spectrum of pre-modern exegetical and interpretive practices. Speakers will discuss commentary features in Old Norse, Medieval Chinese, Sanskrit and Latin contexts. After a ca. 20-min presentation, there will be ample opportunity for cross-disciplinary discussion.

Programme

The seminar will be held at Corpus Christi College in even weeks, on Wednesdays at 2–3pm.

To join remotely, please register here.

Week 2, 19 October (CCC Seminar Room)

Katherine S. Beard (Oxford): Old Norse

The Chieftain at Reykholt: Snorri Sturluson’s Impact on Old Norse/Icelandic Studies

I’ll be speaking about Icelandic historian and politician Snorri Sturluson (1178/9-1241) and the impact the texts attributed to him have had on studying Old Norse/Icelandic literary culture. I’ll focus primarily on Snorra Edda (sometimes called the Prose Edda), and I will also briefly touch on Heimskringla, Snorri’s book of sagas about the Norwegian kings. Snorra Edda was originally intended as a manual of poetics written to give his contemporary readers background knowledge of Norse mythology enough to understand the intricacies of skaldic poetry. Snorri often uses much older mythological poems as examples, and his references to these poems are often the only surviving place where these poems are preserved. Snorri’s Edda is not only a work that has become important to Old Norse literary scholars, but also to scholars of Mythology and Religion, for Snorra Edda is often the only place where several mythological stories of the gods like Þórr and Óðinn are recorded. However, Snorri was both a Christian and a politician and often took creative license with his source material. Snorri’s motivations aside, there is no denying that Snorra Edda has profoundly impacted the modern view of Old Norse mythology.

Week 4, 2 November (CCC Auditorium)

Peter Smith (Oxford): Medieval Chinese

Lin Xiyi’s Commentary to the Zhuangzi: Historical Context and Literary Analysis

In this seminar I will explore exegesis of the Zhuangzi 莊子 (4th century BCE), a classic of ancient Chinese literature associated with Daoism. Comprised of narratives and dialogues, this text is often humorous and subversive and has inspired a range of responses throughout Chinese history. The presentation will focus on the Song dynasty commentary written by Lin Xiyi 林希逸 (1193–1271), exploring the importance of context and process in his work. Lin was influenced by Neo-Confucian thought, a dominant feature of the times, and also by ongoing debates as to whether literary writings were valuable or harmful to ethical cultivation. Of particular interest will be two questions: (1) how is the commentary arising out of Lin Xiyi’s interaction with previous thinkers as well as his contemporaries, and (2) how is his literary analysis of the Zhuangzi featuring within this matrix?

Week 6, 16 November (CCC Auditorium)

Vishal Sharma (Oxford): Sanskrit

The Process of Commentary: Interpreting a 100,000-verse Epic

This talk will focus on the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata (1st c. BCE) and its commentaries in the late medieval and early modern period (13th-17th c.). I will address the following questions: In what ways do intertextual relations inform the development of written commentary? How can written commentaries ‘import’ meanings into a text from other genres, and how can they also ‘export’ those interpretations into other genres?

Week 8, 30 November (CCC Seminar Room)

Vittorio Danovi (Oxford): Latin

Medieval Commentaries on Virgil (Bern scholia and Servius Auctus)

My research is primarily concerned with the commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics known as Bern scholia and with the augmented version of Servius’ commentary on the whole of Vergil known, after its first editor Pierre Daniel, as Seruius Danielis or DS scholia. Both commentaries were probably assembled in seventh-century (Insular?) scriptoria by anonymous compilers who resorted to pre-existing commentaries, but almost all their extant witnesses date back to the Carolingian period. I am currently aiming to analyse the characters of the different versions of the Bern and DS scholia transmitted by each witness and to establish their genealogical relationships. On these grounds, I hope to shed some new light on the Carolingian engagement with the two commentaries.