Category Archives: publication

CFP Piecing together the past: fragments of medieval and early modern books in Australia and New Zealand

Piecing together the past: fragments of medieval and early modern books in Australia and New Zealand

Editors: Anna Welch (State Library Victoria) and Nicholas Sparks (The University of Sydney)

In the medieval and early modern period, old books were routinely cut up and reused to make new books: the materials involved – whether prepared animal skin or paper – were simply too valuable to discard. Manuscript and printed leaves from dismembered books were reused in the bindings of newer books, either as structural support, fly leaves, or as the outer surface of the binding itself. Parchment could be scraped back to create a new but never entirely blank writing surface. In both types of reuse, layers of palimpsest texts and provenance stories offer scholars a chance to recover otherwise unknown voices and histories. Conceptually, fragments also support new approaches to the interrelated histories of reading and authorship, and to considerations of the reception of books as material objects, both in the past and in the modern era.


The pragmatism of this practice of recycling combined with modern advances in technology and digital connectivity – and the scholarly impetus to study unique physical cultural material in the age of mass digitization – have given rise to a new field of study: fragmentology. Digital humanities initiatives have facilitated entirely new ways to reconstruct fragmentary elements of our medieval and early modern past, and have shown again the potency of collaborative, multidisciplinary research. Fragments present challenges and opportunities for study precisely because of their liminal nature: they sit between manuscript culture and the era of print, and challenge the delineation between traditional the academic categories of palaeography and codicology, conservation, the history of binding, art history, bibliography, provenance research and the history of the book trade.


We are seeking proposals for a collected volume focused on medieval and early modern fragments (both in manuscript and print) in Australian and New Zealand collections: the first volume of its kind for the region. Abstracts are welcomed for scholarly articles of up to 8000 words (including notes) that present new research on any aspect pertaining to fragments. Papers that explore fragments via novel, interesting approaches, such as book history, bibliography, palaeography and codicology, art history, literary history, digital humanities, and curatorial practice, are especially welcomed.

Please send us your expressions of interest, including a title, 250-word abstract, and short biography, by Tuesday 26 January 2021. We will be seeking a contract with an academic press that guarantees a fully refereed process for publication. We will confirm acceptance of your abstract before making our proposal to relevant presses by 28 February 2021, with a view to a publication going to print in 2022.

For more information please see the below flyer.


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/