CMS Alumni Lecture 2013: Sian Echard (University of British Columbia)

On Thursday, October 17, 4pm, Prof. Sian Echard will give the CMS Alumni Lecture 2013. Her paper has the title “Mine, mine, mine! Marking Medieval Manuscripts, Then and Now.”

Abstract: “Signatures, ink stamps, and librarians’ notes – features of institutionalized books which modern readers either ignore or find slightly appalling – offer a way into teasing out the competing narratives that structure our encounters with medieval manuscripts. There is a fundamental tension between the fantasy of encountering a pristine “original” object, and the reality of a highly mediated and managed experience, but this tension is not new, as medieval and early modern owners also routinely left their marks on their books. In facing head-on the claim-staking that has from the start taken place on and around the medieval manuscript object, we can perhaps fashion new positions from which to encounter manuscripts and their texts.”

Siân Echard attended Queen’s University at Kingston, graduating in 1984. She then completed her MA and PhD at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and in 1990 took up a position in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia, where she is now Professor of English. Her research interests include Anglo- Latin literature (especially Geoffrey of Monmouth), Arthurian literature, John Gower, and manuscript studies and book history. She is particularly interested in how the presentation of text—on the page, in the archive, in the digital world—affects how text is received and discussed. Her most recent book, Printing the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), is focussed on post-medieval printings of medieval texts.

The talk is open to the public and will be followed by a reception.