Category Archives: publication

New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession Launch

The editors of New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession are delighted to announce the launch of our new, on-line, open-access journal: https://escholarship.org/uc/ncs_pedagogyandprofession.

Please join us in raising a glass to toast the launch of the journal and to celebrate the global community of Chaucerians and the Chaucer-interested on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4 AT 1 PM EST/ 6 PM GMT.* Please e-mail us at ncs.pedagogyandprofession@gmail.com in order to receive the Zoom link.

*Find the correct time for your location here: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html.

New member publication: Women’s Patronage and Gendered Cultural Networks in Early Modern Europe

Congratulations to ANZAMEMS member Adelina Modesti on the publication of her new book, Women’s Patronage and Gendered Cultural Networks in Early Modern Europe. Vittoria della Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany (Routledge, 2020).

This book examines the sociocultural networks between the courts of early modern Italy and Europe, focusing on the Florentine Medici court, and the cultural patronage and international gendered networks developed by the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Vittoria della Rovere.

Adelina Modesti uses Grand Duchess Vittoria as an exemplar of pan-European ‘matronage’ and proposes a new matrilineal model of patronage in the early modern period, one in which women become not only the mediators but also the architects of public taste and the transmitters of cultural capital. The book will be the first comprehensive monographic study of this important cultural figure.

This study will be of interest to scholars working in art history, gender studies, Renaissance studies and seventeenth-century Italy.

Please find attached below a promotional flyer which includes a discount code for 20% off the purchase price.

ANZAMEMS members wishing to promote their research through the ANZAMEMS newsletter are invited to email the editor, Lisa Rolston.



New member publication: Treason and Masculinity in Medieval England

Congratulations to ANZAMEMS member Amanda McVitty on the publication of her new book, Treason and Masculinity in Medieval England: Gender, Law and Political Culture (Boydell Press, 2020). This presents the first extended study of treason in later medieval England since the 1970s and it makes significant interventions in the fields of legal and political history.

Drawing on evidence from trial records, legislation and chronicles, Treason and Masculinity in Medieval England illuminates the ways in which cultural ideals of masculinity reinforced or subverted government responses to crises of legitimacy, and demonstrates that gender conditioned understandings of treason in the political arena as well as the definitions embedded in statutes and case law. At the same time, it explores the varied ways men defended themselves from accusations of treason by invoking, and in the process helping to transform, shared beliefs about what it meant to be a man in medieval England.

Please find attached below a promotional flyer which includes a discount code for 35% off the purchase price (enter code BB135 at check-out), valid until 31 December.

ANZAMEMS members wishing to promote their research through the ANZAMEMS newsletter are invited to email the editor, Lisa Rolston.

Parergon 37.1 Preview: Invention’s Mint

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, independent scholar Elizabeth Moran discusses ‘Invention’s Mint: The Currency of Fashion and (Fake) News in Early Modern London’. DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2020.0004

I completed my doctorate at the University of Western Australia in 1999. My thesis centred on satirical and moralizing discourses about fashion in early modern England from the late-sixteenth to the early-seventeenth century. While clothing was perhaps the pre-eminent object of fashionable fascination and condemnation at the time, literary modishness too attracted the ire of satirists. Ben Jonson, eager to claim the timeless literary inheritance of classical forefathers, found it useful to essentialize fashion as a feminine (or effeminate) preoccupation and to distinguish himself, not entirely plausibly, from literary faddishness and the ephemera of textual news.

My interest in Jonson’s play,The Staple of News (1626), sparked again when our own world became preoccupied by populists’ expedient claims of “fake news”, the existence of actual disinformation, and the fear that the very notion of reliable and authoritative news sources has been destroyed by social media. To the modern eye, Jonson’s staple is a cross between a newspaper office and a news agency, operated by a group of pseudo-journalists who, like the playwright’s more famous alchemical conmen, make money by telling incredible stories to credulous people.

On re-reading the play, I was particularly struck by Jonson’s use of coins and currency as figures for what we might nowadays call “fake news”, as well as for sartorial fashion. The protagonist, “Pennyboy Junior”, is a stock satirical heir-about-town who rejoices in his father’s death and squanders his inheritance on modish clothes, an expensive pocket watch, and another novelty that has caught his eye: the production of news. The play set me on a path to consider the manifold affinities between news and fashionable attire as forms of information, ephemera, and social credit. The words “current” and “currency” are shot through with such associations as their meanings range from literal coinage, to social acknowledgement, a sense of the present, and the flow of popular opinion, including news. (The latter survives in our modern-day term, “current affairs”.)

In early modern London, I argue, sartorial fashions and topical information were complementary forms of social credit used to craft modish identities and to claim social currency. This is most evident in the urban spaces where gallants and other aspirants flaunted their attire and sated their appetites for news: St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Exchange, the New Exchange (a high-end indoor shopping mall) and the playhouses, especially of the indoor variety. A modish suit and some credible news were currency suitable to furnish a dining table, assert one’s status as a person “in the know”, or to propel a marginal figure from the Court’s periphery towards its centre. And if true news was in short supply, an aspirant’s powers of invention might be deployed to create attractive, newsworthy fictions (or so satirists suggest). “Fake news”, like fashion, is no novel phenomenon.

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 parergon.org

CFP Languages for Specific Purposes in the Middle-Ages

Further to the international symposium, Languages for Specific Purposes in the Middle-Ages, organised in February 2017 by the Lairdil (University Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III) and the CEMA (University Paris-Sorbonne), as well as the publication of a similar volume by Cambridge Scholars Publishing , two new publications are planned for 2022. The first one is the annual issue of the French Higher Education Society for the Study of Medieval England (AMAES), followed by the publication of a second thematic volume by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) is a relatively recent notion (Galisson and Coste (1976 : 511), Lerat (1995 : 20) or Dubois and al. (2001 : 40)). The field of LSP, or more accurately LSPs, is clearly linked to professionalisation. The creation in 1982 of the Study and Research Group on English for Specific Purposes (GERAS or Groupe d’Études et de Recherche en Anglais de Spécialité), followed in 2006 by the creation of the Study and Research Group on Spanish for Specific Purposes (GERES or Groupe d’Études et de Recherche en Espagnol de Spécialité) and five years later the German-focused group GERALS for German, all show the dynamism of the research in this field.

This notion of languages is, however, not new, but goes back to ancient times. This is nothing surprising if we consider the range of relevant domains and the movements of populations, peaceful or not, which occurred over the centuries. We can easily consider the relations between the Norman language, spoken by the Conqueror, William, and the Saxon language, spoken by the conquered people. Considering the medieval parlier, whose role was to coordinate the architect’s plans and the work of artisans from far-ranging origins at a common cathedral building site, to the specific language needs of merchants, ambassadors and preachers down the centuries, LSP is everywhere. Have these linguistic confrontations, be they peaceful or not, altruist or mercantile, led to the writing of didactic handbooks such as those by Caxton (1415/1422-1492) or Roger Ascham (1515-1568)? Have they led to the production of intercultural books?

These two upcoming publications on LSPs in the Middle Ages will address all aspects of LSPs regardless of geographical concerns. Papers, in English or French, between 5000 to 8000 words, should be sent before January 31st 2022 to Nolwena Monnier (nolwena.monnier@iut-tlse3.fr).

Authors who wish to submit a paper are advised to get in touch and submit a title with a brief description of content as soon as convenient.

For more information please see attached CFP.

Parergon 37.1 preview: Taboo or Magic Practice?

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Andrea Maraschi at the University of Bari, Italy, discusses ‘Taboo or Magic Practice? Cannibalism as Identity Marker for Giants and Human Heroes in Medieval Iceland’. DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2020.0056

My name is Andrea, and I am currently teaching Medieval History at the University of Bari, in Italy. My research career started at the University of Bologna with studies on food habits in medieval times, but I soon realized that I did not want to commit to one field of studies only. My passion for medieval society was growing fast, and when in 2014 I won a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Iceland, I began to examine connections between food and magic practice in the medieval North. This article represents one of the first results of the wonderful working experience I had in Reykjavík, and it is focused on the role of cannibalism in Old Norse literature. Now, cannibalism had long intrigued me as an extreme response to hunger and famine in the Middle Ages, and – as such – I used to associate it with desperation and survival instinct. Reading the Old Norse legendary sagas, however, it struck me that cannibalism was described as a marker of Otherness and as a response to survival instinct only in the case of certain peculiar creatures: trolls, that is, caricatured representations of the uncivilized. However, the human protagonists of the sagas practice cannibalism not for the sake of survival, but to absorb magical powers from the eaten: to them, anthropophagy is a prestigious form of knowledge which is handed down from father to son.

Not all scholars agree as to the usefulness of legendary sagas as sources to understand the mentality and culture of saga writers: after all, fornaldarsögur abound with strange creatures and supernatural elements. This nonetheless, in my article I argue that scenes of cannibalism suggest that there is more than mere fantasy at the heart of such stories. Giants symbolized the idea of “barbarian”: they were huge, awkward, they lived in caves or small huts, they did not know politics, they ate human beings. In other words, they were the antithesis of civilization, but of a historically reliable idea of civilization. Indeed, the Old Norse trolls ate horses as well. Horsemeat was a critical bone of contention at the time of the conversion of Iceland, and the Church often associated its consumption with pagan rituals. The Old Norse trolls may be, then, caricatured representations of the pagan “uncivilized” past, from the perspective of the Christian saga authors. However, there also emerges a “civilized” and dignified version of cannibalism which was practiced by the human élite of the sagas, according to the very ancient principles of “sympathetic magic”. This form of anthropophagy is no less interesting in historical and cultural terms: many historical sources from the late medieval North (handbooks of magic, leechbooks, etc.) show that the notions of sympathy (“like produces like”) were applied in the real world, and not only in the fictional world of the sagas.

This analysis of magical and non-magical cannibalism in fornaldarsögur was one of the triggers that induced me to write a book on the application and circulation of the laws of sympathy in the Middle Ages, between magic, religion and science, which is currently in course of publication: Similia similibus curantur. Cannibalismo, grafofagia, e “magia” simpatetica nel Medioevo (500-1500), Spoleto: Cisam, 2020.

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

Parergon 37.1 preview: Reframing Feminine Modesty, Complaint, and Desire in the More Family

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Kelly Peihopa at the University of Newcastle, Australia, discusses ‘Reframing Feminine Modesty, Complaint, and Desire in the More Family’. DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2020.0003

Kelly Peihopa began this article as her major work for part of her BA degree in the history discipline. This earlier work focused on the education of the women of Thomas More’s immediate circle, and how the More women worked within patriarchal restrictions to further their education and reputations. She became fascinated with how some early modern women overcame certain patriarchal restrictions by working through the channels of patriarchy, which enabled them to continue their education and protect their reputations; something that was unique to the More women during the early 1500s.

Because of a fascination with the More women’s history, Kelly began to work towards an honours thesis in English. She developed her paper into a wider argument to include themes such familial, religious and modesty rhetoric, as well as complaint and petitions, which were specific ways More women used their feminine voice to enable a ‘safe passage’ for their works. This research was extended to include More’s traceable women ancestors with extant literary evidence during the early modern period, which found a literary legacy was sustained by the More women for several generations. Upon earning first class honours, she was encouraged to turn her thesis into an academic paper. Once again, the work was researched anew, refurbished and reframed over several months (and with more editing than she’d like to admit), to eventually become what it is today. Her article establishes how one family of women, through the legacy of their forbear, were able to continue to pursue a humanist education and publish and profess their religion through their works. They successfully performed this under the guise of genres, such as translation, letters and religious works, through exploiting rhetorical arguments and always navigating modesty and familial tropes to frame their work. Her work also found that without the ‘protection’ of a humanist circle, their work diminished. By considering the textual oeuvre of the More women as a chronological whole, something that is not usually considered in Morean women scholarship, the far-reaching literary legacy established by Thomas More can be appreciated as a unique achievement among early modern women’s writing.

Kelly became interested in early modern women’s writing after working as a research assistant for the Early Modern Women Research Network (EMWRN), under Rosalind Smith and Patricia Pender at the University of Newcastle. Her PhD dissertation is titled ‘Tudor Women’s Prison Literature: Reception, Circulation, Attribution’, which focuses on women’s prison writing which has been omitted from the prison canon because of the variety of genres and modes used, and the volume of dubious or contested works. Kelly also works as a research assistant for the Gender Research Network at the University of Newcastle. She has published creative nonfiction articles on domestic violence in Australia in Meanjin (‘The Hands of a Woman,’ Spring 2018) and Sūdō Journal (‘Becoming a Statistic,’ 1: 2019), and in 2020, co-edited a digital edition of Mary Wroth’s Urania manuscript with Paul Salzman on EMWRN’S digital archive, The Material Cultures of Early Modern Women.

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

Parergon 37.1 preview: A Clerical View of Gender in Twelfth-Century Flanders: The Voice of Lambert of Ardres

We asked contributors to the current issue of Parergon to give us some additional insights into their research and the inspirations for their articles. In this post, Yongku Cha, Professor of History at Chung-Ang University, South Korea, discusses ‘A Clerical View of Gender in Twelfth-Century Flanders: The Voice of Lambert of Ardres’. DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2020.0000

I am currently a professor in the Department of History at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea. I earned my PhD in medieval history from the University of Passau, Germany. I have published, among others, “A Case Study of the Conflict between Husbands and Wives in the Twelfth Century: Focusing on Arnold and Beatrice of Guînes-Ardres’’ (Journal of Western Medieval History 32 (2013): 107–134), “The Relationship between Fathers and Sons in the Twelfth Century: Baldwin of Guines and His Eldest Son” (Journal of Family History 39/2 (2014): 87-100), and “Women, Marriage, and Cultural Transmission: The Marriage of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II and the Byzantine Princess Theophano (972)” (The Historical Review of Soong Sil University 37(2017), 391-423). My main research and teaching interests focus on the gender and men’s history in Medieval Europe.

My article published in Parergon 37.1 looks at the twelfth-century view on gender, focusing on the family chronicle of Guînes and Ardres (the Historia comitum Ghisnensium) written by Lambert, who worked as a household chaplain in the church of Ardres. There is still relatively little published scholarship on gender constructions of the secular aristocracy; even though Lambert is relatively well known for offering a richly detailed account of an aristocratic family in twelfth-century Flanders, there has been no research revealing his views on gender and masculinities. His duties and experiences enabled him to have personal interactions with aristocratic women and men. These secular interests and responsibilities provide insight into the aristocratic gender system such as marriage, sex, family life, conjugal relations, or affections. By disclosing Lambert’s ideas about male and female gender categories, this article will contribute to scholarship on the studies of femininities, masculinities, and gender construction in the twelfth century aristocratic family.

I have conducted much of my research by crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries and taking new approaches – these are also Parergon’s aims –, which allow an in-depth understanding of the mutual interactions between family strategies of the aristocracy and gender roles in the twelfth century. Lambert’s depictions of marriage, female and male virtues and moral weaknesses, variations in gender stereotypes, and the performance of masculinities provide interesting clues for understanding clerical ideas of medieval gender identities. Moreover, Lambert emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between men and women; readers would recognize that women have been deeply involved in the process of forming masculinities.

Based on women’s and gender studies, my research will continue to investigate modern political discourses and representations or ‘deliberate’ misrepresentations of medieval women. I intend to publish other papers on this subject, specifically considering the national appropriations of the medieval past which make use of medieval women to support nationalist ideologies in Germany, France, and Italy during the 1920s and the 1930s.

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

Highlights from the Parergon Archives: Words as Weapons

We asked members of Parergon‘s Early Career Committee to tell us about a Parergon article that stood out for them and why they found it valuable for their research. In this post, Francesca Battista discusses Kathleen Neal’s ‘Words as Weapons in the Correspondence of Edward I with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’, Parergon 30.1 (2013), pp. 51-71 [DOI: 10.1353/pgn.2013.0051]

The one-day workshop on Letter Writing in the Middle Ages, held at the Bush House, King’s College London in 2019 and organized by Simon Thomas Parsons, Thomas W. Smith and Anaïs Waag, not only offered a great opportunity to be engaged in interesting debates on medieval epistolary culture, but it also allowed me to meet brilliant scholars and hear about their meaningful work. A stimulating exchange of ideas after the conference with one of the attendees, Amanda McVitty, and the paper presented by Kathleen Neal, introduced me to valuable scholarship on dictamen and related areas of study from Australia and New Zealand, which was unknown to me. Neal’s article that I am going to discuss in this post is part of this story. Her research method represents a great source of inspiration for the dictaminal research I am conducting.

The influence of ars dictaminis on the shaping of chancery style in England was long ago recognized by Kantorowicz, Denholm-Young, and more recently pointed out by Camargo, Richardson, and Grévin, among others. However, the investigation of the ways in which from the thirteenth century dictamen started to be used as a royal political communication tool is still not fully explored.

Neal’s article provides a relevant contribution to the field of investigation, offering a compelling reading of the letters exchanged between Edward I of England and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, during the time period between the Anglo-Welsh wars (1276-77, 1282-83). This correspondence is read drawing attention to its dictaminal shape and interconnected political intent. Furthermore, it also illustrates a method based on the study of the epistolary drafting process for interpreting royal letters, not as “relics of a well-developed medieval bureaucracy,” but rather “as episodes of strategic communication” (p. 52).

The article concentrates on a single letter which is offered as an example of how Edward I’s letters functioned as rhetorical political artifacts in connection to the Anglo-Welsh struggle. It is a royal reply of 1280 to one or two of Llywelyn’s letters which were concerned, above all, with the issue of the possession of Arwystli region. The Treaty of Aberconwy of 1277, which marked the capitulation of Llywelyn to Edward I, left open the Welsh dispute over this land. As a result, rights to it were claimed equally by the Prince of Wales and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, ally of the king. In his letters addressed to the king, Llewelyn complains because the king was not able to settle this dispute in his Parliament. Such criticism resulted in an indirect aggression to the heart of Edward I’s monarchy.

Neal brilliantly shows how Edward’s reply appears to be a rhetorical means of legitimization of the manner of power execution in the hands of the superior party. Accordingly, for example, in the salutatio the address terms of “beloved and faithful”, which were used in line with the Anglo-Norman epistolary practices rather than on the basis of those of the Welsh chancery, stress the Prince of Wales’ subordination to the king and also show who “was willing to conduct their discussion” (p. 61).

Likewise, the hypertrophic narratio would suggest “that a hostile reception was anticipated” and indicates “how important it was in royal and Chancery circles that an English construction of the situation be articulated” (p. 61). It could be also argued that the length of the narratio is an especially significant aspect to be considered as a clear transgression of dictaminal norms. Handbooks of letter writing prescribed that narration had to be brief and concise, and English artes dictandi were not an exception. One of the most relevant merits of this article is its attentive examination of the editorial work involved in the production of this letter. Edward’s letter survives as a draft and all the draft’s changes and deletions represent a conscious use of language which is itself political. Notably, despite the fact that their consideration is necessary for a complete reading of the letter, they had been neglected in previous research. An edition and a translation of the letter, along with the annotation of the deletions and additions in the apparatus, are for the first time provided in the appendix of this article.

In conclusion, as shown by Neal, royal letters extant in the form of draft or not, can be regarded as a fruitful place for the investigation of the monarchy’s dictaminal construction of power. This applies to 13th century Britain, as in the specific case of this paper, but it could be extended to a European level to other royal chanceries. For the richness of its investigation, this article represents a wide range of scholarly interests. It can be especially recommended to historians of medieval Britain and Europe, specialists of dictamen, scholars of political communication and kingship, and researchers of medieval textuality and scribal activity.

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/