Rhiannon Purdie is co-organising a joint Rochester-St Andrews symposium on Older Scots Literature at the University of Rochester with Tom Hahn, 9-10 May 2016. It brings together specialists from the U.S., Canada and Europe — including our own Roger Mason from History, and SAIMS post/recent graduates Caitlin Flynn and Liz Hanna — for two days of papers on 14th to 16th-century literature in Older Scots. Rhiannon has spent Semester 2 at the University of Rochester, NY, as a Fulbright Scottish Studies scholar.
James Palmer has recently returned from being the Lindsay Young Distinguished Visiting Senior Scholar at the MARCO Institute, University of Tennessee Knoxville. The visit built on Palmer’s ongoing research with Prof Jay Rubenstein on medieval ideas of apocalypse, and paved the way for future collaborations between SAIMS and MARCO.
Palmer had a busy time in Knoxville. His visit coincided with the lively 13th Annual Marco Symposium, on ‘Rome: Beyond the Discourse of Renewal’. He led a discussion at a research lunch at the Humanities Center on nineteenth-century views of the Middle Ages, and led a graduate seminar on ideas of otherness for UT Knoxville students. To conclude his visit, he gave a lecture entitled ‘Climates of Crisis: Apocalypse and Nature in the Early Medieval World’.
The visit to UT Knoxville gave Palmer a chance to work on his new book on early medieval hagiography in the John C. Hodges Library and to discuss future plans with Prof Rubenstein, MARCO director Prof Thomas Burman, late antique historian Prof Tina Shepardson, and fellow Carolingianist Prof Matthew Gillis, amongst others. It is hoped that this is just the beginning of a productive relationship between SAIMS and MARCO staff.
In addition to the time spent in Knoxville, Palmer also presented at the Medieval Academy of America annual meeting in Boston, where he caught up with long-time collaborator Prof Matt Gabriele of Virginia Tech. He was also invited to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Prof Brett Whalen, where he led another graduate seminar and gave his ‘Climates of Crisis’ lecture.
Dr Kathryn M. Rudy is on research leave in 2015-16. In the fall, she was a senior fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angels, and in the spring she was the Wanley visiting scholar at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. She led the Hilary Term meeting of the Workshop for Manuscript and Text Cultures at Queen’s College, Oxford, with a presentation titled ‘Touching Skin: Why Medieval Users Rubbed, Kissed, Inscribed, Splattered, Begrimed, and Pricked their Manuscripts’. In January she gave a plenary paper titled ‘Prints (formerly) pasted in Netherlandish manuscripts’ at the conference ‘Unter Druck – Illuminierte Handschriften und Inkunabeln im Zeitalter Gutenbergs’ in Vienna, sponsored by the Austrian Academy of Science. On 6 March 2016 she gave the keynote address at the 36th Annual Conference of The Center for Medieval Studies, Fordham University; her talk was titled ‘Dirty Books: Approaches to Measuring Reader Response in the Middle Ages’. Students voted it ‘best event at the conference’. In April she gave a talk about eating images of the Face of Christ at a conference about the Roman Veronica, held at Madgalene College, Cambridge.
Kathryn published this article: ‘Sewing the Body of Christ: Eucharist Wafer Souvenirs Stitched into Fifteenth-century Manuscripts, Primarily in the Netherlands’, Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art, 8, 1 (Winter 2016), Article 1 (48 pages). Her newest book, The Circular Economy of Manuscripts: Resisting Obsolescence in the Parchment Era, will be published by Open Book Publishers in June 2016. It will be available as a free pdf. This book was made possible by a Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Foundation and a publication grant from St Andrews.
She will give a keynote lecture titled ‘Assembled from Disparate Parts: Medieval Manuscripts, Upcycled and Recycled’ at the upcoming Re//Generate Postgraduate Conference at St Andrews, 6-7 May. Later in 2016 she will give keynote lectures at conferences in Amsterdam (on early printing) and Nijmegen (on the personalisation of manuscript prayerbooks). She also has lectures scheduled in Prague, Vienna, Orleans, Texas and Arkansas. In January 2017 she will be a Fellow at the Institute of Material Culture in Krems (Austria). She is also a fibre artist and has a show of her work opening in January 2017 at the Cambridge University Library foyer titled ‘Woven Manuscripts’. Each soft sculpture will relate to a medieval book or its reception.
Congratulations to Dr Justine Trombley who has won an Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, receiving one of four fellowships offered annually by the Institute. Justine graduated from St Andrews in 2015 with her PhD project entitled ‘The Mirror Broken Anew: The Manuscript Evidence for Opposition to Marguerite Porete’s Latin Mirror of Simple Souls in the Later Middle Ages.’ She will hold this postdoc from September 2016 – June 2017, during which time she will be working on turning her doctoral thesis into a book.
She will be researching the attempted suppression of the early fourteenth-century heretical work ‘The Mirror of Simple Souls’, which was condemned in Paris in 1310, and it’s author, Marguerite Porete, who was burned at the stake for circulating it. Despite this, the ‘Mirror’ continued to circulate anonymously after it was condemned and was translated out of Old French into Latin, Middle English, and Italian. Justine’s work focuses on the fact that, though its vernacular versions had on the whole a very positive reception in late medieval Europe, codicological evidence shows that the Latin version of the ‘Mirror’ continued to encounter opposition and re-condemnation by opponents who had no knowledge of its authorship or its history, showing an ambivalent reception of the ‘Mirror’, rather than one which was strictly ‘heretical’ or ‘orthodox’. Her time at Toronto will involve continued examination of the codicological evidence, as well as adding broader context to the manuscripts by investigating religious controversies in Northern Italy and southern Germany in the 14th and 15th centuries, and investigating the larger theme of textual repression and censorship in late medieval manuscript culture. She will also be starting to prepare a critical edition of a newly re-discovered text which refutes thirty-five errors from a Latin ‘Mirror’.