Congratulations to recent graduate Bogdan Smarandache

Bogdan Smarandache (PhD 2019) has accepted a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to be held at the Unité mixte de recherche 8167 Orient & Mediterranée in Paris. He will be joining a research team called Islam médiéval within the UMR. His project, “Sovereignty and the Negotiation of Minority Rights in the Medieval Mediterranean, c. 650-1450,” is an extension of his dissertation research, which examines how negotiations over the conditions of religious minorities contributed to Christian and Islamic conceptualizations of sovereignty. He also hopes to contribute to two current projects: “Atlas du monde musulman medieval” and “Les mots de la paix.” His 24-month Fellowship will begin in the fall or early winter. Congratulations, Bogdan!

LMS Interdisciplinary Research Seminar, PIMS, 4 March, 3:10 p.m.

You are cordially invited to attend the first LMS Interdisciplinary Research Seminar at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
3:10 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Room A, PIMS
59 Queen’s Park Crescent East

Policing Sanctuary in Medieval English Cities

Abstract (Duggan)

Presented by:

Dr. Kenneth F. Duggan
Mellon Fellow and LMS Candidate

This paper will discuss the use and abuse of sanctuary in thirteenth-century England, with a particular focus on the cities of London and Lincoln. It will also discuss how those who lived in cities might have felt that policing sanctuaries was more difficult in urban centres than it was in rural England. In doing so, this paper will demonstrate how those who lived in cities expected justices to be more lenient when it came to collective penalties levied against them for failures in peacekeeping duties that related to criminal cases involving fugitives who fled to sanctuary.

J.R. O’Donnell Memorial Lecture with Professor Francesco Stella, 5 March, 4:10 pm

The Centre for Medieval Studies cordially invites you to the 2019-2020 J.R. O’Donnell Memorial Lecture by:

Professor Francesco Stella
University of Siena

The Latin Lives of Mohamed


Thursday, 5 March 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

Centre for Medieval Studies, Room 301
Lillian Massey Building
University of Toronto
125 Queen’s Park, Toronto

Reception to follow.

CANCELLED Lecture by the George Rigg Visitor in Medieval Latin: Professor Mark Vessey, 19 March, 4:10 pm

The Centre for Medieval Studies cordially invites you to a lecture by the George Rigg Visitor in Medieval Latin:

Professor Mark Vessey
Department of English, University of British Columbia
Principal of Green College

Rome’s Empire, Christianity, and the New Latin Book-Mind of the Early Western Middle Ages – Rethinking Literature and Textual Community

Mark Vessey JPEG

Thursday, 19 March 2020 at 4:10 pm

Centre for Medieval Studies, Room 301
Lilian Massey Building
University of Toronto
125 Queen’s Park, Toronto

CANCELLED Toronto Old English Colloquium, 27 March

The Centre for Medieval Studies, the Department of English, and St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, cordially invite you to the Toronto Old English Colloquium:

Toronto Old English Colloquium 2020

Friday, March 27th, 2020

Irina Dumitrescu (Universität Bonn): “Andreas: The Source Awakens”
Chair: Antonette diPaolo Healey (University of Toronto)

Benjamin Saltzman (University of Chicago): “Secrets and Servitude in Riddles and the Law”
Chair: Stephen Pelle (University of Toronto)

Kaitlin Griggs (Carleton University): “Elizabeth Elstob and her Sources: Analyzing Similarities in Elstob’s and Ælfric’s Grammar Texts”
Samuel Cardwell (University of Toronto): “Contracting Marriages in Eleventh-Century England: Be wifmannes beweddung”
Alexandra Bauer (University of Toronto): “Heterotopia and the Old English Mary of Egypt”
Chair: Cameron Laird (University of Toronto)

Gregory Heyworth (University of Rochester): “Scoundrels and Scholars: Textual Science and the Story of the Vercelli Book”
Chair: Deanna Brook’s (University of Toronto)

Reception to follow. All are welcome.

The event will take place at the Centre for Medieval Studies, 125 Queen’s Park, Room 301.

Bravo to Eva Plesnick for her work on the Online American Dante Bibliography

Blake - Beatrice addressing Dante - cropped

The Dante Society of America (DSA) Bibliographic Committee has just announced the online publication of the American Dante Bibliography for 2018. The DSA Bibliographic Committee is grateful to the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, for its generous support of this year’s bibliography, which was compiled by PhD student Eva Plesnik. According to the Committee, Eva did remarkable work.

The committee is composed of our colleague and CMS PhD coordinator Elisa Brilli (Chair of the committee and Bibliographer), William Caferro (Vanderbilt University), Anna Wainwright (University of New Hampshire), and Christian Dupont (Boston College; ex officio, as Secretary-Librarian).

The American Dante Bibliography for 2018 is available in downloadable PDF and Word formats as well as searchable and browsable HTML:

The bibliography is intended to include all publications relating to Dante (books, articles, translations, reviews) published in North America in 2018, including reviews published in North American journals of books published elsewhere.

The entries are also included in the comprehensive Bibliografia Dantesca Internazionale/International Dante Bibliography database, maintained by the Società Dantesca Italiana with the collaboration of the Dante Society of America since 2017. See:

Congratulations to Professor Audrey Walton, Polanyi Prize Winner for 2019

Audrey Walton has won a Polanyi Prize for 2019. These prestigious prizes recognize the innovative and ground-breaking work of five university researchers in Ontario and are awarded in honour of Ontario’s Nobel Prize winner John C. Polanyi, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in chemical kinetics.

Professor Walton’s research examines the rise of vernacular literature in early medieval Europe and explains how the stages of this rise—transitioning from literature in Latin to literature written in local languages—unfolded in the British Isles.

She shows that even as early English speakers recognized the influence of Latin texts, they also promoted the production and preservation of literature in local languages. Owing to this emphasis on multilingualism in early medieval England, vernacular literature developed rapidly during the sixth through the twelfth centuries. Early formations of English vernacular literature in turn gave critical impetus to the spread of vernacular literature occurring throughout Europe.

Professor Walton’s work examines the poetry of the two earliest named poets in English literature, Caedmon and Cynewulf, alongside writings by monk and historian the Venerable Bede (known as the father of English history). She situates this work—alongside the work of many anonymous poets and historians—in the context of a long and dynamic tradition of early medieval English and Latin writing.

The project, under development as a book, shows how this formative period in English literature influenced the trajectory of later literary traditions. This work retraces and explores the varied networks, diverse points of contact, and paths of information that enabled literary conversation across national borders.

Workshops with Professor Irina Dumitrescu, University of Bonn

Registration is now open for Professor Irina Dumitrescu’s workshops:

Charisma and the Saints
Tuesday, 11 February at 10:00 a.m.

What can contemporary celebrity and theatre studies reveal about the rhetoric of medieval hagiography? With the Old English Life of St Mary of Egypt as our main object, we will ask what lends saints and their stories enduring fascination and discuss how competing theories of charisma illuminate medieval narratives.

Charisma and the Saints Poster Resized
Public Writing for Beginners
Tuesday, 25 February at 10:00 a.m.

In this informal workshop we will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of public writing for the scholar. We will cover nitty-gritty questions such as how to find outlets, write a pitch, and compose for a larger audience. We may also discuss larger issues such as the relationship of research to public writing and issues to look out for.

Public Writing Poster Resized
Classroom Performance
Tuesday, 10 March at 10:00 a.m.

In this workshop we will consider Ælfric Bata’s early medieval classroom dialogues as performance texts, asking how they might have been used in context, what they taught (linguistically, ethically, socially), and what they might tell us about performance “before” theatre.

Classroom Performance Poster Resized
These workshops are open to CMS students and to graduate students in other departments. Space is limited. To register, please send an email to indicating your department, area of study, and interest in the workshop.

Congratulations to E. Brilli on the publication of her new book


J. Bartuschat, E. Brilli, D. Carron (eds), Agostino, agostiniani e agostinismi nel Trecento italiano

Publisher: Longo Angelo
Series: Memoria del tempo
Date: December 2019
EAN: 9788893500272
ISBN: 8893500272

This collection of essays examines various aspects of Augustine’s legacy in the Italian Trecento. By discussing historiographical “Augustinianisms,” the contributions focus on the influence of Augustine, either direct and indirect, and via the cultural politics of the OESA. The transition from Late Medieval receptions of Augustine to Renaissance ones constitutes a transversal topic of inquiry. The essays explore various case studies represented by Gregory of Rimini (P. Bermon), Gilles of Rome (F. Papi), Simone Fidati da Cascia (X. Biron-Ouellet), Petrarch (E. Fenzi, L. Marcozzi, E.L. Saak), Roberto de’ Bardi (E.L. Saak), the iconographical propaganda of the OESA (G. Pittiglio), Coluccio Salutati (L. Baggioni), the commentary on Dante’s Commedia by the so-called Falso Boccaccio (A. Martignoni), Luigi Marsili and the unknown Florentine translator of the City of God (E. Brilli and L. Tanzini). The richness of this collection stems from its multi-disciplinary approach as well as from the number of documents here edited for the first time.

J. Bartuschat, E. Brilli, D. Carron, Introduzione

P. Bermon, Cinq tables inédites sur des livres de Saint Augustin attribuées à Grégoire de Rimini

F. Papi, A Non-Augustinian Treatise by an Augustinian Master: Giles of Rome’s De Regimine Principum and its Vernacular Reception

X. Biron-Oullet, Simone Fidati da Cascia’s Spiritual Direction in Fourteenth-Century Italy

E. Fenzi, Alle soglie del mondo moderno, in cerca della felicità: il fondamento agostiniano dell’individualismo petrarchesco

L. Marcozzi, Sulla presenza di Agostino nei Fragmenta di Petrarca: bilanci e prospettive

E.L. Saak, Augustine and Augustinianisms in the Fourteenth Century: The Cases of Petrarch and Robert de Bardis

G. Pittiglio, Invenzioni, “furti” e modulazioni iconografiche nella propaganda eremitana: l’Allegoria di Agostino Maestro di Sapienza (Madrid, BNE, Ms. 197)

L. Baggioni, Salutati et Augustin: le citoyen dans l’histoire

A. Martignoni, «Quatuordeci valentissimi homini romani». Una riscrittura di Agostino nel prologo al Paradiso del commento del Falso Boccaccio (Ms. BNCF II I 47, cc. 184r-189v)

E. Brilli, L. Tanzini, Commentare e volgarizzare il De civitate Dei a Firenze all’alba dello Scisma

Congratulations to Andrew Dunning (CMS 2016), R.W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts


Andrew Dunning has been appointed to the prestigious position of R.W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. This post is named for Richard Hunt, Keeper of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian from 1945 to 1975. Andrew is one of a small team of curators of medieval manuscripts, sharing responsibility for collection items from across Europe and the Byzantine Empire.

Andrew’s research uses evidence for collaboration in manuscripts to reconstruct the relationships between textual communities of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries – producing prose analysis, digital resources, and new editions and translations of source texts. His forthcoming book Two Priors and a Princess: St Frideswide in Twelfth-Century Oxford, in collaboration with Benedicta Ward, reinterprets manuscripts made at St Frideswide’s Priory (now Christ Church) and shows how everyday people in medieval Oxford coped with physical and mental illness.

He writes, ‘By caring for both collections and people, we are ensuring that Oxford’s manuscripts will be here for generations to come, and that future readers will take interest in them. To read a medieval book, one must empathize with someone quite different from oneself – we all need to develop that skill. At a time when we are facing change and loss, preserving cultural heritage is crucial to human resilience. Manuscripts are for everyone.’

Joe Goering, with Alexandra Gillespie and Alexander Andrée, supervised Andrew’s dissertation at the Centre for Medieval Studies, ‘Alexander Neckam’s Manuscripts and the Augustinian Canons of Oxford and Cirencester’. Andrew also completed the Collaborative Program in Editing Medieval Texts, publishing Samuel Presbiter: Notes from the School of William de Montibus (Toronto, 2016). He graduated in 2016 while an RBC Foundation Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Book in Oxford.

For 2016–17, Andrew was Curator of Medieval Historical Manuscripts (1100–1500) at the British Library, contributing to digitization, exhibitions, research, public outreach, and compliance with cultural heritage legislation. He was subsequently a Mellon Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in 2017–18, where he worked with James Carley and taught for the University of St Michael’s College. He was awarded a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2017 to work at the University of Cambridge with Teresa Webber, and was Munby Fellow in Bibliography at Cambridge University Library for 2019–20.