Richard Gyug Publishes His Newest Book

This past 15 August, PIMS published, as part of the Studies and Texts series, Richard Gyug of Fordham’s newest book, Liturgy and Law in a Dalmatian City: The Bishop’s Book of Kotor. Discussing an innovative liturgical compendium written in the mid-twelfth century mostly in Beneventan script, Liturgy and Law explores how the manuscript reveals civic and liturgical developments and interactions.

Richard Gyug, Liturgy and Law in a Dalmatian City: The Bishop’s Book of Kotor (Toronto: PIMS, 2016)

Richard Gyug, Liturgy and Law in a Dalmatian City: The Bishop’s Book of Kotor (Toronto: PIMS, 2016)

The Center for Medieval Studies would like to congratulate Dr. Gyug for his most recent contribution to the field!

Nina Rowe (Dept. of Art History) awarded prestigious NEH and ACLS Fellowships

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Nina Rowe, Ph.D. Photo by Michael Dames.

Dr. Nina Rowe, Chair of Fordham’s Department of Art History and Music, has been awarded year-long fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for her new book project, The World in a Book: Weltchroniken and Society at the End of the Middle Ages. This project, analyzing 22 of the known 56 extant illuminated Weltchroniken, or world chronicles, dating from 1330-1430, seeks to study works typically produced for lower nobility and burghers. This genre of manuscript, with text written in verse in the Middle High German vernacular and richly adorned with extensive illumination cycles, presents events from biblical and ancient history as a seamless narrative. Following in a similar fashion as her previous work on the study of mass-produced ivories intended for a popular market (see below), illuminated Weltchroniken, while by no means indicative of the artistic tastes and sensibilities of the typically silent medieval illiterate majority, do shed light on the more common and wide-spread tastes and desires of the larger segments of the rising middle classes.

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NYPL Spencer MS 038, fol. 20v: Page of text with initial and drawing from a manuscript of the Weltchronik. Bavarian, 15th c. Photo: Digital Scriptorium.

These manuscripts were composed of texts by multiple authors, the best-known of whom is Rudolf von Ems (ca. 1200-1254), but extensive pictoral cycles smooth over the pastiched quality of the text. The genre of Weltchroniken transcends changes in preferences of medium, being found on both parchment and, from 1390, more mass-marketable paper. An example of a paper Weltchronik held in the New York Public Library (Spencer MS 38) inspired Rowe to pursue this line of research. During the NYPL’s 2005 exhibition The Splendor of the Word, this piece came to Rowe’s attention. Captivated by the style of its illustrations, she had to postpone her study of this book and its genre until the completion of the project she was working on at the time. As explained by Rowe, being non-devotional in nature, Weltchroniken are examples that complicate the prevailing assumption that the pious works commissioned by the highest levels of secular and clerical society represent the majority of Germanic high and late medieval book production. Non-devotional genres are deserving of further, more in-depth study as well, and reveal more about medieval society than devotional works alone can provide. This point, understood amongst scholars of literature and history, is still fraught among art historical academic circles, where the dominant narrative is still driven, by and large, by Enlightenment principles of viewing the medieval era as a time in which piety and religiosity defined every aspect of life at every level of society.

This latest project, while a departure from the subject matter of her previous work on sculpture in monumental cathedral facades (see below), certainly does fit with Rowe’s prevailing interests in analyzing how the production, use, and presentation of art challenges our underlying assumptions about medieval social and interfaith dynamics. Neither Christianity nor its rivals and neighbors, at the organizational or devotional levels, were monumental constructs, unified by their opposition to one-another and unyielding or undifferentiated in their hierarchical structures. The farther one looks down the pyramid of medieval society, the more complex the image of that society becomes, and Weltchroniken provide the impetus to look at more than just the pyramid’s pinnacle.

** 

Further Reading:

“Pocket Crucifixions: Jesus, Jews and Ownership in Fourteenth-Century Ivories,” Studies in Iconography

32 (2011): 81-120

The Jew, the Cathedral, and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

 

By Kevin Vogelaar

Dr. Nicholas Paul wins the Medieval Academy of America’s 2016 John Nicholas Brown Book Prize

Nicholas_Paul_headshotFordham medievalist Nicholas Paul has won the Medieval Academy of America’s 2016 John Nicholas Brown Book Prize, awarded annually for a first book on a medieval subject. His monograph, To Follow in their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages, is based on research first completed for his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University.  Further research for the book also took him to Spain and France where he examined family histories, archives, and crusader tombs.

According to the Medieval Academy, To Follow in their Footsteps “offers an original investigation into collective memory in the first crusading century.  Paul draws upon widely-ranging sources (texts and material objects) in family history, anthropology, literary theory and sociology to illuminate the historical context and dynastic narratives of the Crusades.”

The Center for Medieval Studies has been fortunate to work with this award-winning author as an instructor in our program and a collaborator on several digital projects. The Oxford Outremer Map Project is based on a map he first encountered while teaching a graduate course on the Crusader States, which was then developed into a digitally-enhanced interactive version, supplemented with geographic, historical, and archaeological data. As a contributing editor to the French of Outremer website, Dr. Paul has taken a leading role in shaping how scholars understand the wide range of French-language texts produced and circulated in the Crusader States. Dr. Paul offered the following observations concerning the connections between his writing, his teaching, and his work on the digital projects at the Center:

footsteps“Since the publication of my book, my research horizons have expanded in ways that I could not have imagined due entirely to the exciting developments in digital humanities at the Center for Medieval Studies. The projects that Medieval Studies have already sponsored, such as the Oxford Outremer Map Project, the project to edit and translate the legal texts of Outremer, and the new project to aggregate and map data related to independent crusaders, demonstrate perfectly of how digital approaches, tools, and platforms are making possible completely new modes of presentation and analysis.”

Dr. Paul has suggested that these digital projects will form an important part of his work going forward, for several reasons:

“Each of these projects represents a piece of a much larger puzzle that I’m taking on in my current research: attitudes to the eastern crusading frontier in Medieval Europe. But aside from the data that they offer, the projects have acted as fantastic platforms for our graduate students to hone skills using digital tools and exercise creativity. They are also nodes around which new scholarly communities, such as the translation group working on the legal texts or the international team who contributed to our digital map, have coalesced. For all of these reasons, I look forward to the future of digital humanities at Fordham, and in particular with my friends, colleagues, and students at the Center for Medieval Studies.”

We congratulate our colleague on winning such a prestigious award, and look forward to working with Dr. Paul on current and future projects here at the Center for Medieval Studies.

 

By Laura Morreale

 

Laura Morreale and Suzanne Yeager discuss Marco Polo on CBC Radio

Illustration from the "The Travels of Marco Polo" ("Il milione"), by Marco Polo and Rustichello da Pisa, originally published during Polo's lifetime (c. 1254 - January 8, 1324).

Illustration from the “The Travels of Marco Polo” (“Il milione”), by Marco Polo and Rustichello da Pisa, originally published during Polo’s lifetime (c. 1254 – January 8, 1324). (Wikipedia)

The Center for Medieval Studies’ own Laura Morreale and Suzanne Yeager appeared this week in a podcast on CBC Radio entitled “Making Marco Polo.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Andrew Albin

Professor of English Andrew Albin has been awarded a dual appointment in English and Medieval Studies. This distinction recognizes Professor Albin’s scholarship in medieval aurality and literature and honors his contributions to Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies as an instructor since 2012. He has published on Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale, the Chester shepherd’s play, and the medieval mystic Richard Rolle. While at Fordham, he has taught courses on subjects and authors such as early English drama, medieval embodiment, Chaucer, the Pearl poet, and spiritual sensory experience.

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Professor Albin is on leave for the 2015­-2016 academic year to complete a senior fellowship at Yale University’s Institute for Sacred Music, an interdisciplinary center for music history, musicology, theology, music performance, and ministry. During his fellowship, he is translating Richard Rolle’s Melos Amoris, preserving the alliterative patterns and musical prosody of the original text. Not only will this be the first English translation of the Melos Amoris, but Professor Albin plans to supplement it with groundbreaking research on the marginalia and manuscript context of Rolle’s work to shed light on its reception history. Professor Albin has noted that one of the ten manuscript witnesses of the Melos Amoris was bound with a gathering of mid-­15th century sacred polyphonic music by three English composers. Professor Albin will include a recording, diplomatic edition, and analysis of this music in his forthcoming book and will examine the ways in which the link between medieval mysticism and music was perceived by 15th-­ and 16th-­century readers. His multimedia and intertextual presentation of the Melos Amoris will allow modern readers to get a sense of how Rolle’s text was experienced aurally and conversant with musical practice of the period.

 

By Katherine Briant

Associate Director, Dr. Laura Morreale, Participates in Manuscript Studies Conference at Saint Louis University

On October 16 and 17,  Associate Director Laura Morreale participated in the 42nd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, held at Saint Louis University, and hosted by the Special Collections of the Pius XII Memorial Library and the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library.  Dr. Morreale organized a panel entitled “A Good Read: The Production of Vernacular Texts in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy and their Public,” which featured four scholars whose work touches on French-language writing in Italy during this period.

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Folio of Western 24, Courtesy of Columbia University’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

Dr. Morreale’s paper “A Common ‘Artu’, examined the non-élite status of one French-language manuscript created in fourteenth- century Italy, now catalogued as Western 24 of Columbia University’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. This little-studied manuscript offers an example of the varying quality of French-language manuscript production and consumption in Italy, even for texts normally viewed as coming from a courtly context.

One of the highlights of the conference was the plenary lecture by Stella Panayotova, Curator of the Fitzwilliam Collection (Cambridge). The talk, entitled “Manuscript Illumination: Art and Science,” outlined procedures and early results of the Miniare project, which employs non-invasive techniques to uncover methods and materials used by craftsmen, artists, and scribes to create medieval manuscript images and text. Of particular interest to all of those on the French of Italy panel was the assertion that a select number of images from Venetian manuscripts, when analyzed, contained smalt, a type of ground glass. Since the area of Venice, and Murano especially, is known for its glass industry, the linking of the glass industry with manuscript production encouraged a new set of ideas about who might have participated in the creation and circulation of these texts.

Also of interest were two panels that examined current digital initiatives to improve scholarly access to manuscript holdings and information. A team from University of Pennsylvania’s Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies outlined several new projects, including OPenn, which provides high-resolution images of manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania and affiliated institutions; Collation, a project that both deconstructs and reconstructs manuscripts, offering scholars a new way to analyze the production process; and a new version of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, just recently updated by the library. Representatives from Saint Louis University also offered an update on METAscripta, a major initiative to digitize and make openly accessible the over 10,000 microfilms of manuscripts from the Vatican Library now held at the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library.

The conference was a big success and the conference organizers are already preparing for next year. The Call for Papers for the 43rd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies has already been issued, with abstracts due on March 15, 2016.

 

SIMSMiniareSLU

Maryanne Kowaleski Begins Prestigious Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University

This story is cross-blogged from History at Fordham University.

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Last Spring, Maryanne Kowaleski, Joseph Fitzpatrick S.J. Distinguished Professor of History and Medieval Studies was selected to hold a prestigious residential fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advances Studies at Harvard University to pursue her project entitled Living by the Sea: An Ethnography of Maritime Communities in Medieval England. The Radcliffe Institute fellowship competition  is international in scope, and fellowships are awarded to only 3% of applicants. As Professor Kowaleski begins her fellowship year, let’s find out more about her project and the Radcliffe Institute where she will be based. 

According to the fellowship announcement, entitled “Big Thinkers, Big Projects”. The Institute is

dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 leading artists and scholars. Academic Ventures fosters collaborative research projects and sponsors lectures and conferences that engage scholars with the public. The Schlesinger Library documents the lives of American women of the past and present for the future, furthering the Institute’s commitment to women, gender, and society.

Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen said of the 2015 fellows that

“It is an honor to provide these innovative thinkers with time, space, and intellectual stimulation to do their best work in ways that often defy expectations and disciplinary boundaries,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen RI ’02. “As Radcliffe fellows, they are sure to develop unusual collaborations, take unexpected risks, and generate new ideas.”

Professor Kowaleski’s project is entitled Living by the Sea: An Ethnography of Maritime Communities in Medieval England. What follows is from the abstract for her project.

Past human interaction with the sea has become an important issue for many disciplines, spurred on by debates on our responsibility for rising sea levels, the depletion of fish stocks, and global warming. The historical perspective’s contributions to these and other issues, such as rights of access to marine resources, are valued, but rarely focus on the period before the seventeenth century. The emphasis has also been more on people as ecological actors and less on the interaction between humans and marine environments.  My project contributes to these current debates by analyzing the impact of marine environments on the types of work, economic strategies, language, value systems, and family structures of those residing near the sea in medieval England. The study attributes a powerful role to marine ecosystems in promoting a distinctive sub-culture among the inhabitants of coastal villages and small port towns, as well as quayside neighborhoods in larger seaports.

Congratulations to Professor Kowaleski on this major award, and enjoy your year at Harvard!