Category Archives: News

John Coffin Memorial Lecturer: Daniel Wakelin (11 May)

DaniJohn Coffin 2016 poster + bleed_Layout 1_EP reduced size V3el Wakelin (Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography, University of Oxford): ‘Let me slip into something less comfortable’: Gothic/Textualis/by Accident and by Design

Date: 11/05/2016 -17:30-19:00
Institute: Institute of English Studies
Venue: The Chancellor’s Hall, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street,
London WC1E 7HU

Professor Wakelin is a leading expert in the palaeography and reading culture of the later Middle Ages. He is the author of numerous studies, among them Humanism, Reading and English Literature 1430-1530 (2007) and Scribal Correction and Literary Craft: English Manuscripts 1375-1510 (2014), which was joint winner of the DeLong Prize for book history in 2015. His John Coffin Memorial Lecture concerns the supposed ‘decadence’ of late gothic textualis, especially the more formal grades, whether it entailed effort or conscious design, and instances when individuals misunderstood it or slipped.

Download poster here: John Coffin 2016 poster

Medieval into Renaissance: Essays for Helen Cooper

9781843844327A festschrift for Professor Helen Cooper has just been published, edited by Andrew King and Matthew Woodcock.

The borderline between the periods commonly termed “medieval” and “Renaissance”, or “medieval” and “early modern”, is one of the most hotly, energetically and productively contested faultlines in literary history studies. The essays presented in this volume both build upon and respond to the work of Professor Helen Cooper, a scholar who has long been committed to exploring the complex connections and interactions between medieval and Renaissance literature. The contributors re-examine a range of ideas, authors and genres addressed in her work, including pastoral, chivalric romance, early English drama, and the writings of Chaucer, Langland, Spenser and Shakespeare. As a whole, the volume aims to stimulate active debates on the ways in which Renaissance writers used, adapted, and remembered aspects of the medieval.

The volume includes an essay by James Wade, entitled ‘Penitential Romance after the Reformation’.

The other contributors are Joyce Boro, Aisling Byrne, Nandini Das, Mary C. Flannery, Alexandra Gillespie, Andrew King, Megan G. Leitch, R.W. Maslen, Jason Powell, Helen Vincent, Matthew Woodcock.

CFP: Medieval Romance Conference (22 Apr)

Medieval Romance Conference, 14-15 September, 2016
University of Cambridge

With a plenary lecture by Professor Helen Cooper.


This two-day conference, conceived as an alternative for those who cannot attend the biennial romance conference in Vancouver this August, is open to any medievalist working on romance in Britain. As with the regular romance conference, we encourage proposals on any aspect of romance and its contexts in medieval Britain, excluding Chaucer and Arthurian romance (which have their own specialist conferences this year).

Proposals for 20-minute papers or for 90-minute roundtable sessions can be sent to James Wade ( Proposals should include: name, affiliation, email address, title of paper or roundtable, and an abstract of no more than 250 words. If you are proposing a roundtable, please include names, affiliations, and email addresses for all participants. The deadline for proposals is 22 April 2016.

We anticipate the conference will begin around 11am on Wednesday 14 September and run until approximately 4pm on Thursday 15 September. It will be held in the English Faculty at Cambridge. There will be accommodation (with optional breakfast) available at nearby Newnham College, and we plan to hold a conference dinner at Newnham on the evening of Wednesday 14th.

The conference fee will be £25 (£15 student/unwaged). We will also have a buffet lunch available in the Faculty on both days. The cost for lunch will be £12 per day.

Please circulate this message to any colleagues who may be interested.
If you have any questions at this point, please feel free to email James Wade (

The organisers are James Wade (Cambridge) and Elizabeth Archibald (Durham).

International Conference: The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica in the Middle Ages (4-5 April)

This interdisciplinary conference poses questions about the European
fame of the Roman Veronica, the cloth believed to bear the imprint of the face of Christ. By bringing together the perspectives of scholars of history, literature, the liturgy and history of art, it seeks to break new ground in our understanding of the origin, cult, promotion and dissemination of the image in the Middle Ages.
The origin of the cult of the Veronica is explored through such
fundamental texts as the Cura Sanitatis Tiberii, which promulgated information about the Veronica to the West, and through a critical reading of the erudite Latin treatise de sacrosancto sudario Veronicae, in which Giacomo Grimaldi identified all the medieval sources for the relic contained in the pontifical archives, such as the Liber Pontificalis and Liber politicus.
The spread of the cult of the Veronica is examined through a synopsis of
the liturgical texts, the Mass Proper of the Holy Face or of Saint Veronica, and the analysis of their literary form, biblical motives and theological content, as well as more generally within the theme of pilgrimages, whose goal was to see the Holy Face. From a historical viewpoint, the start of the cult of the Veronica during Innocent III’s pontificate and its historical development is considered, with particular attention to the question of indulgences, the role played by the Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Sassia, the destination of the procession with the relic, and the symbolic meaning of the Veronica for the popes.
Within art history, the development of characteristics of the Veronica in iconographic terms is traced, both within England and across Europe, and its inclusion in prayer books belonging to the laity appraised.
Registration: To book your place at the conference, please click here
Further information:

London Medieval Society Colloquium: ‘Treasure in the Middle Ages’ (27 Feb)

A message from the Colloquium Secretary of The London Medieval Society:

Dear Colleagues, Members, and Friends,

Please would you kindly note that our next Colloquium is just a week away – on Saturday 27th February 11-6 on ‘Treasure in the Middle Ages’. We are excited to welcome our speakers: Jenny Stratford(IHR)  on treasure inventories, John Clark (MOL) on treasures of the Thames, Kirstin Kennedy (V&A) on treasure hoards, and Emily Guerry (Kent) on Sainte Chapelle. As I mentioned on the programme, this  Colloquium springs from our 70th Anniversary Conference last May when archaeologists, curators, historians, and medieval literature experts came together to discuss medieval London in a most fruitful collaboration. This Colloquium will probe medieval attitudes to treasure and how we consider and care about medieval material culture today to debate and question medieval and modern perceptions of treasure, whether relic, ritual or royal object, and hoarded, lauded or rubbished.

We also have some exciting news about the Society to share and a report by Jon-Marc Grussenmayer on the Anniversary Conference.

We are very keen to encourage postgraduate students to attend. ​The Colloquium is only £5 for students (and concessions) and £10 for waged people and includes tea and coffee and a wine reception afterwards.

The venue is the Old Anatomy Building in QMUL Charterhouse Square EC1M 6BQ (nearest tube: Barbican). The directions are as follows: with your back to the only exit of this tube station turn left and take the first turning left, walk past the Tesco Metro, into Carthusian Street, cross over this street and bear right as it opens into the Square, walk past the glorious Art Deco apartment block and you will see the wrought iron gates ahead of you, walk through the side entrance and the Old Anatomy Building is immediately on your right, the walk takes about four to five minutes from the tube.

May I request also, if you have not already done so, that you kindly reserve a seat via Eventbrite:

If you have any problems booking please contact me via this email address:  – and I shall be delighted to make the reservation for you.

I look forward to welcoming you to Charterhouse Square on 27th February.​ If you would like to eat supper with us please email me (​) and I shall book a nearby Italian trattoria for an early meal.

Best wishes,


Dr Diane Heath
Assistant Lecturer
Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)
Rutherford College, University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NX
Colloquium Secretary, The London Medieval Society

Medieval Research Seminar (17 Feb)

A reminder that the third Medieval Graduate Research Seminar of the term will be this Wednesday (17th Feb) in the Board Room at the English Faculty, 9 West Road.

Dr Laura Saetveit Miles (Associate Professor, University of Bergen) will be speaking on ‘Mary as Hermeneutic Key’:

“Though their texts are very different, the writings of Julian of Norwich and Christine de Pizan (in her City of Ladies) both feature the Virgin Mary as a powerful figure. This talk will explore how we must turn to the Annunciation scene to unlock the full significance of the Virgin in visionary discourse, and how these two authors, in turn, utilized the conception of Christ in Mary’s womb as an interpretive key that enables them to fully realize their visions’ radical meanings.”

The paper will begin promptly at 5.15, followed by drinks and questions. Cake will be available in the Board Room from 4.45p.m., so please bring along a mug of tea and catch up with fellow medievalists.

After the paper all are welcome to join the speaker for dinner at Sala Thong. If you are a graduate, you are especially welcome, so please do come. Please let Alex da Costa (ad666) know if you would like to come so they can book the right sized table.

Magdalene Medievalists’ Society (23 Feb)

The Shadow of Faux Semblant: Fiction, Truth, and Deception in
Fourteenth-Century Allegorical Poetry (France, England, Italy)’

The Roman de la Rose is not only one of the most influential literary
texts of the later middle ages (surviving in over 300 Manuscripts), but
it is also one of the most problematic and intellectually challenging
texts of the period. Far from being a ‘canonical’ work in the ordinary
sense, the Rose in fact invites its readers to interrogate the very
notion of literary authorship and discursive authority. Rather than
affirming his own identity as author in self-confident fashion, as many
readers of this influential poem assume, Jean de Meun’s attitude towards
his own poetic craft is in fact deeply ambivalent and ironic. This
culminates in the exact centre of the poem, with the appearance of the
character of Faux Semblant, the embodiment of hypocrisy and deception.
As a personification of the liar-paradox, Faux Semblant thus
crystallises a whole range of anxieties concerning the epistemological
status of literary fiction, and this concern comes to play a central
role in later European literature influenced by the Rose, notably in the
work of such figures as Machaut and Deguileville in France, Langland and
Chaucer in England, or Dante and his contemporaries in Italy. In this
paper I propose an initial sketch for a wider study of a European
reception history of the Rose, with particular attention to the ethical
function of poetry, and its problematic, unstable relation to truth and

Dr Marco Nievergelt is currently a EURIAS research fellow at the Paris
Institute for Advanced Studies (2015–16), and is working on a
book-length study entitled Allegory as Epistemology: Dream-Vision Poetry
on Language, Cognition, and Experience. His research interests include
allegorical literature, chivalric literature and culture, Arthurian
literature, Anglo-French cultural relations, and the history of literary
self-representation from the medieval to the early modern period. His
first book is entitled Allegorical Quests from Deguileville to Spenser.

Medieval Graduate Seminar: Change of Speaker

Unfortunately our speaker tonight, Mishtooni Bose, has had to withdraw for significant health reasons.

Professor Richard Beadle will be speaking instead on ‘The Children of the York Plays’.

The paper will begin promptly at 5.15, followed by drinks and questions. Cake will be available in the Board Room from 4.45p.m., so please bring along a mug of tea and catch up with fellow medievalists.

Call for Applications: Cambridge Postgraduate Workshop in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies

THE CAMBRIDGE POSTGRADUATE WORKSHOP IN MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN SLAVONIC STUDIES, presented by Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, a programme of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge, will take place on FRIDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2016, 11.00 – 14.00 in King’s College, Cambridge.

Led by DR OLEKSIY TOLOCHKO, Director of the Center for Kyivan Rus’
Studies at the Institute of Ukrainian History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the workshop will explore the fundamental premise of medieval Slavonic Studies that the Kyivan polity emerged and initially developed in competition and in confrontation with the Khazar Khanate.  Only one source supports this thesis – the _Primary Chronicl_e; no other source documents any significant contact between the Rus’ of Kyiv and the Khazars. Using contemporaneous sources, the workshop will deliberate the nature of the Rus’-Khazar relationship and the root of the historiographical myth of Khazar domination of the Rus’ put forth in the _Primary Chronicle_.

* The workshop will be led in English and all interested postgraduate students and scholars in medieval history and culture are welcome to apply. To apply, please send a brief CV and statement of interest to Miss Olga Płócienniczak, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Cambridge, at [1] by WEDNESDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2016.

For accepted workshop participants, costs for domestic economy train/coach travel to and from Cambridge will be reimbursed, and coffee and lunch provided. Refreshments and a sandwich lunch will be served during the workshop. Please retain your travel receipts so that Miss Olga Płócienniczak can process your travel reimbursement.

For further information, reading list and directions, please see here: Cambridge Postgraduate Workshop in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies further info.

Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (13 Feb)

The Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic will take place in the English Faculty on Saturday 13th February 2016. This year’s theme is ‘Faith and Fabrication’ and the keynote speaker will be Professor Richard Gameson of Durham University, delivering a lecture entitled ‘Faith and Fabrication in the Gospels of St Augustine of Canterbury’.

Please register soon to ensure your place at the event, particularly if you would like to join the speakers for the post-conference dinner in Selwyn College.

You can find the programme and registration information here: CCASNC 2016 Programme and Registration