May 3: Toronto Old English Colloquium

On Friday May 3rd, the Centre hosts the Toronto Old English Colloquium 2013. The speakers include Joyce Hill (Leeds), Andy Orchard, Peter Buchanan, David Wilton, Manish Sharma (Concordia). Please see the program for more details about this upcoming event. The colloquium is organized by Megan Cavell and Fabienne Michelet.

New Book by Claude Evans

Congratulations to Claude Evans! Her book “L’abbaye cistercienne de Bégard des origines à 1476 : histoire et chartes” just came out with Brepols.

For the book description: “Bégard abbey has traditionally been considered as the first Cistercian house in Medieval Brittany. This volume contains 272 documents, mostly edited for the first time, originating from the abbey or pertaining to its history. They have been gathered from a wide variety of sources discovered in France, England and at the Vatican. Put together, they provide the information for a partial reconstruction of the history of the abbey which, at first, might have been an eremitical or Benedictine foundation to be incorporated into the Cistercian order in the early XIIIth century. New insights are given into the relations of the monks with their vassals, with the Breton nobility and with the bishops. The tenures and farming methods used in the Bégard holdings are reconsidered, as well  as the roles played by a number of abbots, especially by Vincent de Kerléau (1444-1476) who was entrusted with high offices by the popes Nicolas V and Callixtus III and by the dukes of Brittany Peter II, Arthur III and Francis II. The texts originating from England give a wealth of details about the chequered history of Begar, the alien priory granted to the abbey shortly after the Conquest. It was located near Richmond, Yorkshire and received revenues from local mills and from Boston Fair in Lincolnshire. The texts are written in a variety of languages – Latin, Middle French, Middle English – but the toponymy and anthroponymy are mostly Celtic.”

For more information go to the publisher’s website.

Annual Meeting of the Celtic Studies Association of North America: April 18-21

The Celtic Studies Association of North America (CSANA) will hold its annual meeting in Toronto on 18-21 April, cohosted by the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael’s College. The conference will feature thirty-five papers by scholars from Canada, the United States, Ireland, and the UK, including two sessions honouring the retirements of Prof. Ann Dooley and Prof. David Klausner. Keynote addresses will be given by Brynley Roberts of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Mairin Ni Dhonnchadha of the National University of Ireland, Galway. Prof. Michael Newton of Cape Breton University will lead a seminar on a late eighteenth-century Scots Gaelic poem written in Glengarry, Ontario.  Further information is contained on the CSANA website.

Suzanne Conklin Akbari New Director of CMS, Starting July 1

akbari2011Congratulations to Professor Suzanne Conklin Akbari who will take over the directorship of the Centre for Medieval Studies from Professor John Magee on July 1. Professor Akbari is a professor of English and Medieval Studies, and was educated at Johns Hopkins and Columbia. Her research focuses on the intersection of English and Comparative Literature with intellectual history and philosophy, ranging from neo-platonism and science in the twelfth century to national identity and religious conflict in the fifteenth century. Professor Akbari has just been awarded the prestigious Faculty Award by U of T’s Alumni Association.

A New Professor for Celtic Languages and Literatures

The Centre is very happy to announce that in July Dr. Brent Miles will take up a new Assistant Professorship in medieval Celtic languages and literatures at CMS and St. Michael’s College. Brent is currently a Visiting Professor and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. Before taking up that position, he held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University College, Cork, and conducted research as a visiting scholar at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. We are all very excited about his rejuvenating the field at the University of Toronto.

New Book by CMS Alumna Martha Carlin

Con15013gratulations to our alumna Martha Carlin (PhD 1985). Her new book “Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250” (co-written with David Crouch, University of Hull) has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Martha Carlin is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

From the book description: “Everyday life in early thirteenth-century England is revealed in vivid detail in this riveting collection of correspondence of people from all classes, from peasants and shopkeepers to bishops and earls. The documents edited here include letters between masters and servants, husbands and wives, neighbors and enemies, and cover a wide range of topics: politics and war, going to fairs and going to law, attending tournaments and stocking a game park, borrowing cash and doing favors for friends, investigating adultery and building a windmill.

While letters by celebrated people have long been known, the correspondence of ordinary people has not survived and has generally been assumed never to have existed in the first place. Martha Carlin and David Crouch, however, have discovered numerous examples of such correspondence hiding in plain sight. The letters can be found in manuscripts called formularies—the collections of form letters and other model documents that for centuries were used to teach the arts of letter-writing and keeping accounts.”