Recasting the Past: A Conference on Medievalisms


Exeter Medieval Seminar 2010-11

The Centre for Medieval Studies has announced its seminar programme for Term 1.  The seminar meets Wednesdays, 4.00–5.30pm, Queen’s Building, 1H (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 13th October: Dr Alastair Logan (University of Exeter)

‘Constantine, the Liber Pontificalis and the Christian Basilicas of Rome’

Friday 29th October: Professor Barton Palmer (Clemson University, USA)

‘Machaut’s Confort d’Ami: Dialogizing the Great Traditions’ [N.B. Queen’s MR2]


Wednesday 10th November: Steven Biddlecombe (University of Bristol)

‘Baldric of Bourgueil and the Familia Christi

Wednesday 24 November: Prof. Christopher J. Knüsel (University of Exeter)

‘The Identity of the St. Bees Lady (and Man) (Cumbria, UK): A Medieval Osteobiography of a 14th-century Heiress’

Wednesday 8 December: Dr Julia Crick (University of Exeter)

‘The shock of the old: scribal fakery before 1200’

Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Crusading Doctors and Maritime Art: Upcoming talks at Exeter

In addition to the Medieval and Early Modern seminar programmes below, a couple of upcoming events sponsored by other Centres may be of interest to early modernists and medievalists around Exeter:

Friday 29th January, 4:00 to 5:15pm

‘Maritime Affairs: James Thornhill and the art of navigation at Greenwich in the seventeenth century.’

Dr Richard Johns, Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Maritime Museum

Room 128, Amory Building

Contact: Centre for Maritime Historical Studies

Thursday 4th February, 1 – 3pm

‘Physicians in the Crusades’

Piers Mitchell, Imperial College London

Room 115, Amory Building

Contact: Centre for Medical History

Exeter Medieval Seminar programme

The Exeter Medieval Seminar, sponsored by the Centre for Medieval Studies, will meet on Tuesdays, 4–5.30pm, Amory B143. The convenor is Dr Yolanda Plumley (

Jan 26 Uri Smilansky (Centre for Medieval Studies)

‘A Labyrinth of Spaces: Page, Performance and Music in Late Medieval French Culture’

Feb 16 Professor Anthony Musson (Department of Law)

‘Frankenstein’s Monster? Bringing Medieval and Early Tudor Lawyers to Life’

Mar 9 Tamsyn Rose-Steel (Centre for Medieval Studies)

‘From the Horse’s Mouth: the Use of Citation and the Vernacular in some Motets from the Roman de Fauvel’

The Nicholas Orme Lecture 2010

Wednesday, 31 March, Queens LT 1 at 4.30

Professor David D’Avray (UCL)

‘Medieval Marriage: Royal Annulments and Papal Dispensations’

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Updated post: Next Exeter Medieval Seminar

Barbara Mosse’s talk on “The Monk of Farne” scheduled for Tuesday 24 November has unfortunately been cancelled.  The next meeting of the Exeter Medieval Seminar will now take place on Tuesday 8 December, 4-5:30 pm in Queen’s MR3.  Professsor Nigel Morgan (Corpus Christi, Cambridge) will speak on “Exeter Use and Sarum Use.” 

Wine Afterwards.

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Exeter Medieval Seminar programme (Semester 1)

Centre for Medieval Studies


Term 1, 2009–10

Tuesdays 4–5.30 p.m.

Queen’s Building MR3


20 Oct Professor Simon Barton (Dept of History)

The Legend of the Hundred Maidens: Sexual Politics and Religious Identity in Medieval Iberia

10 Nov

Edward Mullins (Dept of History)

Using Cognitive Science to Think about the Twelfth Century: Revisiting the Individual in Twelfth-Century Latin Texts

24 Nov Barbara Mosse (Dept of English)

The Monk of Farne: A Fourteenth-Century Hermit and his Meditations

8 Dec Professor Nigel Morgan (Corpus Christi, Camb.)

Exeter Use and Sarum Use

Wine afterwards

contact: Elliot Kendall

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  

CFP: Early Modern to Postmodern Medievalisms (Exeter, 9/2010)

Recasting the Past: Early Modern to Postmodern Medievalisms

A Conference at the University of Exeter

1-2 September 2010

In 1649, the radical Digger movement called on the people of England to ‘throw down that Norman yoke’; in 1849, at the launch of the periodical the Anglo-Saxon, its British readers were addressed as ‘Anglo-Saxons all’; and in 2009, a cover story for Harpers magazine accused American soldiers in Afghanistan of acting ‘exactly like the crusaders of 1096′.

This conference will draw together research examining how, from the Renaissance to the present, historical narratives about Britain’s ‘medieval’ past have been drawn on to foster communal identities; to fuel, legitimate or oppose social and political change; and to resist or moderate the forces of modernity. Confirmed speakers include Rosemary Hill, author of God’s Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain (2007) and Bruce Holsinger, author of The Premodern Condition: Medievalism and the Making of Theory (2005).

Proposals for individual papers of 20 minutes or 3-paper panels are invited. Possible topics might include:

The formation of regional and national identities

The politics of Pre-Raphaelitism

Gothic architecture

The reception of historical medieval figures – King Alfred, Richard III, the Black Prince, etc

The social/political agendas of translation and editing projects

The uses of chivalry, monasticism, feudalism, etc in post-medieval thought and praxis

The establishment of medieval-inspired institutions and associations

The social uses of King Arthur, Robin Hood and other medieval myths/legends/folklore

Please send proposals of 200-300 words to Dr Joanne Parker, Dr Philip Schwyzer, and Dr Corinna Wagner at by 31st January 2010.

Beyond Medievalism? Exeter Medievalism Network at Leeds IMC

The Leeds International Medieval Congress 2009 gets underway two weeks from today.  The theme of this year’s gathering is “Heresy and Orthodoxy” but, as ever, the congress includes a rich range of thematic strands, including a healthy selection of panels on Medievalism.  One such panel has been organized by the recently founded Exeter Medievalism Network.

The Exeter Medievalism Network has been set up by a group of colleagues who, specializing in different historical periods, have found a common interest in the the phenomenon of medievalism (broadly defined as a fascination with and/or attempt to revive some aspect of medieval culture).  Medievalism has been of increasing fascination to scholars in a range of disciplines, including literary studies, history, art history and archaeology, and to specialists in all historical periods ranging from the Renaissance to the present. For all this, academic approaches to medievalism have tended to be limited in two key respects. Firstly, medievalism has generally been understood as a nostalgic and aesthetic response, with scholars focusing on the revival or reinvention of formal practices (Spenserian diction, pre-Raphaelitism) and/or heroic national legends (King Arthur, Robin Hood). There has been far less attention to how the broader array of medieval social structures and practices have appealed as models or otherwise found representation in subsequent periods. Secondly, individual studies of medievalism have almost always been synchronic, focusing on the vision of middle ages in a given historical period (eg, the Romantic era, the Victorian period, or indeed the present day. What is less common is the diachronic narrative charting how the reputation, image or use of a particular medieval phenomenon changed over time. Our aim as a research network is to encourage the development of such narratives, through our own collaboration and through the sponsorship of events including an international conference at Exeter in 2010 (of which more later). 

Here are details of the EMN session at IMC:

Session: 1625

Title: Imagining Monastic Communities

Date / Time: July 16, 2009 11.15-12.45

Sponsor: University of Exeter Medievalism Network

Organiser: Corinna Wagner, Department of English, University of Exeter

Moderator: Cory James Rushton, Department of English, St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia

Paper 1625-a: ‘It was never merry world since…’: Dissolution, Nostalgia, and the Birth of the Middle Ages

Philip Schwyzer , Department of English, University of Exeter

Paper 1625-b: ‘An habitual propensity to indolence and inactivity, contracted during his confinement in the cloister’: Medieval Kings, Catholicism, and Masculinity in the 19th-Century Novel

Joanne Parker, University of Exeter Medievalism Network, University of Exeter

Paper 1625-c: Medievalism, Community, and the Rise of Modern Political Economy

Corinna Wagner, Department of English, University of Exeter

Abstract: This panel investigates constructions of medieval monasticism in the early modern and modern English imagination. We examine how narratives surrounding monastic society evolved over time: each of the papers will explore the ways in which narratives about monks and pious kings were employed in different political and religious contexts. After their Dissolution, monasteries became – for both Catholics and Protestants – emblems of a lost era of cultural harmony. In the late 18th century, these emblems were used to protest the rise of modern political economy. Then, in the 19th century, monastic heroes were used to promote Catholic Relief and related political initiatives.

On the topic of medievalism, a question has been preying on our minds of late.  What is the term for a specialist in medievalism?  “Medievalist,” alas, is already taken.  Medievalite?  Suggestions in the comments section, please.

Other (genuine) medievalists from Exeter University speaking at IMC include Sarah Hamilton, Naomi Howell, and Anthony Musson.

Accipe et Devora: Conference of the Early Book Society (Exeter, 9-12 July)

‘Accipe et Devora’: Packaging, Presentation and Consumption of Manuscripts and Printed Books, 1350-1550

The Eleventh Biennial Early Book Society conference, hosted by Emma Cayley, Department of French, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Exeter, will be held at Reed Hall, University of Exeter from July 9 to July 12, 2009, with a choice of optional trips to Tintagel or Glastonbury scheduled for July 13. Please consult the EBS website for further information about booking these optional trips.

Plenary Speakers:

Prof. Linne Mooney, University of York, UK

Dr Yolanda Plumley, University of Exeter, UK

Prof. Barbara Shailor, Yale University, US

Prof. Toshiyuki Takamiya, Keio University, Japan

Papers consider aspects of the history of manuscripts and printed books from 1350-1550, including the copying and circulation of models and exemplars, style, illustration, and/or the influence of readers and patrons, artists, scribes, printers. Our particular focus is the ‘packaging’ of medieval manuscripts and early printed books, that is, the separate tasks of putting late medieval and early modern texts together (writing, abstracting, editing, correcting, illustrating, printing, and/or binding) or the repackaging of older texts for contemporary audiences. The term ‘consumption’ is frequently used in the context of luxury manuscripts or printed books produced for wealthy owners and may be read metaphorically to apply to a range of texts or to one text (though there may also be papers on literal consumption, bibliophagia, or consumption by time, worms, fire, censors).

Other papers address the transition from script to print, bibliographic issues, and the movement between French and English texts (or vice versa) and audiences. A section for ten minute papers describing recent discoveries, bibliographic notes or manuscript and rare book collections is also scheduled.

The conference is open to all EBS members. Details of how to join can be found on the EBS website . Full programme and registration details are available on the conference website.

12 May: Naomi Howell on the Tombs of Romance

The last talk in the Exeter Medieval Seminar series for this year will take place on 12 May, 4-5:30pm in MR1, the Queen’s Building.

Naomi Howell (Centre for Medieval Studies) will speak on “‘Tombs in Twelfth-Century Romances of Antiquity: Origins, Ekphrasis, and the Other”

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment