Toronto Old English Colloquium 2014

Thursday, 1 May

2:00-5:00pm: Digital Humanities Workshop with Alexandra Bolintineanu (CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, U of Toronto)
For Call for Participation and more information about this Workshop see here.

Friday, 2 May 2014

9:00am: Session I
Chair: Mary Catherine Davidson (York University)
Stephen Pelle (Mellon Fellow, PIMS): Contextualizing the Anglo-Saxon Composite Homily

10:15am: Break

10:30am: Session II
Chair: James Weldon (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Antonette diPaolo Healey (University of Toronto): Mapping Metaphors

11:45am: Break

12:00pm: Session III
Chair: Alexandra Bolintineanu (CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto)
Digital Humanities Workshop Presentation

12:45-2:15pm: Lunch

2:15pm: Session IV
Chair: Ian McDougall (University of Toronto)
M. J. Toswell (Western University): The genres of the Old English psalms, and their influence on poetry

3:30pm: Break

3:45pm: Session V
Chair: David Townsend (University of Toronto)
Samantha Zacher (Cornell University): The Imaginary Jew in Anglo-Saxon England

All sessions will take place at the Centre for Medieval Studies, Room 301. All are welcome.

For more information, please contact Fabienne Michelet ( or Megan Cavell (

This event is sponsored by the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Department of English, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

To download the program click here.

Congratulations to Niki Hamonic

Congratulations to Nicole Hamonic (PhD 2012). She has just been hired as Assistant Professor of Medieval History and Latin (tenure track) at the University of South Dakota, where she will start in the Fall. Niki is currently an adjunct professor at the Marco Institute at the University of Knoxville, Tennessee. Her dissertation “The Order of St. John of Jerusalem in London and Middlesex c.1128-c.1442: A Social and Economic Study based on the Hospitaller Cartulary, British Library Cotton MS Nero E vi” was supervised by Michael Gervers.

Well done, Niki!! All the best for the start in your new position!

Job Advertisement: Drafting Editors at the Dictionary of Old English

The Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, invites applications for two positions of Drafting Editor at the Dictionary of Old English. This is a grant-funded contractually limited term appointment for three years, with the possibility of renewal, at the rank of Assistant Professor. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2014. 

The successful candidate will have a PhD by time of appointment or shortly thereafter. Applicants must also demonstrate a deep familiarity and expertise with the Corpus of Old English and have excellent research ability. The successful candidate will have teaching experience and will be expected to contribute to teaching in the graduate program in the Centre for Medieval Studies. Knowledge of medieval Latin is essential and proficiency in a cognate Germanic language is desirable. The primary responsibility of the successful candidate will be to draft entries for the Dictionary of Old English.

This position offers a rare opportunity to participate in team research in the humanities, and therefore the ability to work well with other members of the project and to complete entries efficiently and expeditiously so deadline is of paramount importance. The position also involves outreach to the public, so the ability to communicate the project’s research in a dynamic, engaging manner is also essential. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

For details about the positions and the application see here (online ad) or here (downloadable ad).

CMS/PIMS Distinguished Visiting Scholar: Professor Michael Ryan

A warm welcome to Prof. Michael Ryan who is spending the Winter term in the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael’s College and is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Professor Ryan is an archaeologist who served as Director of the Chester Beatty Library from 1992 until his retirement in 2010. He was President of the Royal Irish Academy (2002-2005) and Chair of the Discovery Programme (Ireland’s independent organisation for advanced archaeological research) 2001-2011and served on the boards of various state bodies. He was Keeper of Irish Antiquities in the National Museum of Ireland from 1979-1992. He is a warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin and was Master Warden for the period 2008 – 2009.

His research interests include early-medieval art and archaeology, ancient Christian metalwork, landscape history and early prehistory in Ireland. He is co-author with Frank Mitchell of Reading the Irish Landscape. His collected essays Studies in Medieval Irish Metalwork were published in 2002 by Pindar Press. He is the author of numerous research articles and monographs and editor of several books on archaeological topics and contributor to several exhibition catalogues including Treasures of Ireland, The Work of Angels (edited by Susan Youngs) and Leonardo: The Codex Leicester. His current project is completing a monograph on the Derrynaflan Chalice.

He led the Chester Beatty Library to the awards Irish Museum of the Year (2001) and European Museum of the Year (2002). He has taught in University College and Trinity College, Dublin and in St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. He was appointed Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Government of France in 2009. He was awarded the Frend Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London for contributions to the archaeology of the Christian church and to the defence of the archaeological heritage.

Professor Ryan will give a public lecture on March 27 entitled “Seeking the context of fine metalwork in Early Medieval Ireland: provenance, manufacture and use”.

Congratulations to our recent PhDs

Congratulations to Richard Shaw and Helen Marshall who have successfully defended their PhD dissertations at the end of 2013. Here’s some further information about their work:

Richard Shaw (defended in December), How an Early Medieval Historian Worked: Methodology and Sources in Bede’s Narrative of the Gregorian Mission to Kent.
Supervisor: Alexander Murray; External Examiner: Dr. Alan Thacker, University of London.
This dissertation examines the methods and sources employed by Bede in the construction of his account of the Gregorian mission, thereby providing an insight into how an early medieval historian worked.
In Chapter 1, I begin by setting out the context for this study, through a discussion of previous compositional analyses of Bede’s works and the resulting interpretations of the nature and purpose of his library.
Chapters 2-4 analyze the sources of the narrative of the Gregorian mission in the Historia ecclesiastica. Each of Bede’s statements is interrogated and its basis established, while the ways in which he used his material to frame the story in the light of his preconceptions and agendas are examined.
Chapter 5 collects all the sources identified in the earlier Chapters and organizes them thematically, providing a clearer view of the material Bede was working from. This assessment is then extended in Chapter 6, where I reconstruct, where possible, those ‘lost’ sources used by Bede and consider how the information he used reached him.
In this Chapter, I also examine the implications of Bede’s possession of certain ‘archival’ sources for our understanding of early Anglo-Saxon libraries, suggesting more pragmatic purposes for them, beyond those they have usually been credited with. The Chapter ends with an assessment of Bede’s primary sources for the account of the Gregorian mission and an examination of the reasons he possessed so few.
Finally, in Chapter 7, I discuss those passages of Bede’s account of the ‘mission fathers’, whose origins were not able to be established in Chapters 2-4. Bede’s use of a set of proto-homiletic sources of a hagiographic nature, dedicated to the early bishops of Canterbury and the mission, emerges. The basic outlines of this collection are set out and the context for their composition described.
Throughout, the dissertation is intended not only as end in itself, but as the basis for further investigation both of Bede’s methods and sources, and those of others. In particular, the provision of a more comprehensive awareness of Bede’s resources enables future work to dispense with the narrative Bede has superimposed on his evidence. This thus lays the foundations for re-writing, and not merely re-interpreting, the history of early Christian Kent on a firmer evidential basis than previously possible.

Helen Marshall (defended in November), Literary Codicologies: The Conditions of Middle English Literary Production, c. 1280-1415.
Supervisor: Alexandra Gillespie; External Examiner: Susanna Fein, Kent State University.
This dissertation studies three important textual projects that speak to the conditions of Middle English literary production from 1280-1415: the West Midlands collection of saints’ lives compiled at the end of the thirteenth century known as the South English Legendary; NLS, MS Advocates 19.2.1 (Auchinleck), a compilation of romances, historical and religious texts copied by six scribes in London in the 1330s; and the Prick of Conscience, an anonymous penitential treatise from the north of England and one of the most widely produced Middle English texts of the second half of the fourteenth century. Central to this dissertation is a methodology that connects techniques of bibliographic description including dialect analysis, comparison of layout and booklet structure, and identification of scribal hands with a holistic examination of how texts were produced and circulated. This dissertation argues, firstly, England’s vernacular literary culture was shaped by the relationship between manuscripts and texts; secondly, that the manuscript producing activities of secular and religious manuscript users, and of various institutions (monastic, fraternal, civil), were interpenetrative rather than discrete; thirdly, that the production of Middle English manuscripts was never isolated from other languages and other kinds of textual production including documentary production and the production of religious books; and, fourthly, that England’s vernacular literary culture at the national level depended upon and emerged from local instances of production, the circulation of manuscripts and texts beyond their site of production, and the institutional and cultural ties that facilitated the resulting networks of textual exchange. Although the textual projects under study in this dissertation differ in date, genre, origin and form, they show how certain elements—local resources, the availability of exemplars, the organization and training of scribes, and techniques of book-making—contributed to and sustained the development of a national Middle English literary culture.

2013-14 J.R. O’Donnell Memorial Lecture: John J. Contreni

The Centre for Medieval Studies is pleased to present the 2013-14 J. R. O’Donnell Memorial Lecture in Medieval Latin Studies:

Professor John J. Contreni (Department of History, Purdue University)
“Learning for God: Education in the Carolingian Age”

Friday, 7 February 2014, 4:10 p.m.
Great Hall, Room 312
Lillian Massey Building
125 Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario

Reception to follow in the Laurence K. Shook Common Room, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 59 Queen’s Park Crescent East

The lecture is jointly sponsored by: The Centre for Medieval Studies, Centre for Comparative Literature, Department of Classics, Department of German, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the Journal of Medieval Latin.

Work in Medieval Studies: Winter 2014

The new WIMS (Work in Medieval Studies) schedule for this Winter is out! Mark your calendars!

January 10
Vanina Kopp: The Game of Love: Literary Pastime and the Performance of Poetic Competitions at the French Court: A Talk followed by a Game

January 17
Sarah White: Excommunication and its Effects in Thirteenth-Century England
(This talk will be in the Great Hall)

January 24
Sarah Wilk: ‘They’re Men, Manly Men! They’re Men on Crusade:’ Masculinity in Two Baltic Chronicles

January 31
Jessica Lockhart: ‘Actin’ Funny but I Don’t Know Why:’ Enigmatic Wonder and the Post-Symphosian Riddle Collections

February 7
Ben Durham: Streamlining the Exultet: Reorganization of a Twelfth-Century Lectionary at the University of Toronto

February 14
Jason Brown: Clerical Continence in Western Canon Law: An Unbroken Tradition?

February 21
Reading Week

February 28
William van Geest: Johannes Ciconia’s Nova musica and the Medieval Grammar Tradition

March 7
Bogdan Smarandache: ‘They Speak only Frankish’ Usāma ibn Munqidh’s Observations on the Language Barrier during the Crusades

March 14
Lochin Brouillard: The Obazine Experiment: Women, Children and their Father in the Vita S. Stephani Obazinensis

March 21
Ainoa Castro: The “Making of” a Diplomatic Codex: Beta Versions 1 to 5

March 28
David Welch: Elements of the Exegetical Tradition in the Old English Genesis: Catechesis and the Open Canon

April 4
Caroline Smith: ‘You Will Receive So Many Stab Wounds Here’ – The Role of the Cathedral Chapter in the 1331 Girona Holy Week Riot

All presentations start at 3 pm and are held in LI 310, unless noted otherwise. Check also the posters at the Centre.

WIMS is CMS’s graduate lecture and workshop series, a venue for the graduate students of CMS to develop our professional presentation skills and respond to each other’s ideas, sharing works in progress in an informal but constructive forum.

For inquiries get in touch with Eb Daniels.

In Memoriam: Andrew Hughes (1937–2013)

Born a Leo with a drive to dominate, Andrew Hughes was nevertheless possessed of a warm, deeply humane side that was evident to all who knew him. He once told me the story of how as a small boy he had feared for his life sitting in an underground bomb shelter as German planes thundered overhead. This was around the same time he mentioned the premature death of his father, exactly when I cannot now remember. Hughes’ genuine sympathy for those in need showed up throughout his professorial career; in the patient mentoring of individual students, for example, or in the pages dedicated to the music of the common people in his still original Style and Symbol: Medieval Music 800-1453 (1989). He will be remembered not only as an internationally renowned scholar of medieval music but as a caring teacher and friend to many.

Hughes was fond of relating that he had chosen medieval music at Oxford out of contrariness: it was the only subject left for which none had signed up. His study of the vagaries of prolation and ficta were rewarded with a BA at Oxford in 1960. Four years later at the same institution he completed his doctorate in late medieval English sacred music under the supervision of Irish musicologist Frank Harrison, whom Hughes used to jokingly say he only saw three times during his entire stay at Oxford. Even in the sixties, the path out of Oxbridge to academic employment was not an easy one. Professor Hughes wandered in the wilds of Ireland (Queen’s University, Belfast, 1962-4), the American West (University of Illinois, 1964-7), the South (Chapel Hill, 1967-9) and finally, taking after his advisor Harrison (Queen’s University, Kingston, 1935-45), Canada. He was eagerly hired at the University of Toronto’s fledgling musicology program by Harvey Olnick.

By the time of his hiring at Toronto, Hughes had made evident a leonine appetite for publication, with already a half dozen articles and one book under his belt, not to mention his landmark edition The Old Hall Manuscript (1969) in collaboration with Margaret Bent. For the following three decades, Hughes’ scholarly discipline never let up, yielding over sixty publications, not counting major articles for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, in both the 1980 and 2001 editions. Highlights include two still indispensable works: Medieval Music: The Sixth Liberal Art (1974) and Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to their Terminology and Contents (1982). By the time of the latter publication, Hughes had firmly established himself as an international authority on the late medieval liturgy and the rhymed office in particular. Significantly for our times, beginning in the early 1970s he pioneered the use of computers in the study of the medieval liturgy, eventually yielding Late Medieval Liturgical Offices: Resources for Electronic Research (1994-96). His institutional honours before his reluctant retirement in 2004 included being promoted to University Professor and elected as President of the Medieval Academy of America (2001-2).

To both students and colleagues, Hughes was known as a humour-filled eccentric and an enforcer of Oxbridgian propriety. Even now as I type these words, I slow down at the thought of what the master might have corrected! As a teacher, I can testify that Hughes was absolutely inspiring, standing tall in his academic gown, executing pedagogical antics and speaking with a daunting elocution, impeccable down to the occasional trilled R. Andrew Hughes was the consummate professor, unforgettable in a way that few of us can hope to be.

John Haines

A memorial service for Andrew Hughes will take place at the Trinity College Chapel, University of Toronto (6 Hoskin Avenue), on 11 March 2014, from 7-8 p.m. All are welcome at this celebration of the life of a distinguished scholar and wonderful mentor!

In Memoriam: John Munro (1938–2013)

It is with deep regret that the Centre for Medieval Studies learned of the death 23 December 2013 of John H. A. Munro, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Medieval Studies. To quote Munro’s close friend and colleague Herman van der Wee of the University of Leuven, we mourn the loss of ‘an unrivalled master, a devoted teacher, and a faithful friend.’

John Munro was among the world’s leading authorities on late medieval and early modern monetary, financial, and industrial history, with over 150 publications to his credit during a distinguished career that spanned fifty years.

John Munro was born in Vancouver and took a combined honours BA in Economics and History in 1960 at the University of British Columbia before proceeding to Yale, where he completed a PhD in medieval economic history under the supervision of Roberto Lopez in 1964. After an initial appointment in History and Economics at UBC, he was invited in 1968 to join the Department of Political Economy (from 1982, the Department of Economics) at the University of Toronto, where he was tenured in 1970 and promoted Full Professor in 1973. From the moment of his appointment in Toronto, Munro took a leading role at the Centre for Medieval Studies, supervising or co-supervising over twenty doctoral dissertations, serving as Associate Director from 1976 to 1979, and influencing several generations of students through his legendary graduate seminar on ‘The Dynamics of the European Economy, 1300-1750.’

John Munro was the recipient of many research grants and academic honours. Among the latter, he was proudest of his election in 1999 to the Comitato Scientifico of the Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica ‘Francesco Datini’ in Prato and his appointment four years later to the institute’s executive committee; of the recognition of his pioneering research on the economy of the late medieval Low Countries by election as a Foreign Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in 2000; and of his election in 2011 to a Life-Time Fellowship of the Medieval Academy of America.

In March 2004, several of John Munro’s former doctoral students organized an international workshop at the Centre for Medieval Studies to mark his retirement, the proceedings of which were published as a Festschrift under the title Money, Markets, and Trade in Late Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of John H. A. Munro, L. Armstrong, I. Elbl, and M. Elbl, eds. (Leiden, 2007).

John Munro’s research interests focused mainly on the Low Countries and England, though his publications extend to topics as diverse as the usury prohibition, medieval demographics, and international merchant law. His major publications are: Wool, Cloth and Gold: The Struggle for Bullion in Anglo-Burgundian Trade, ca. 1340-1478 (Brussels and Toronto, 1973); Textiles of the Low Countries in European Economic History, ed. Erik Aerts and John Munro, Studies in Social and Economic History, Vol. 19 (Leuven, 1990); Bullion Flows and Monetary Policies in England and the Low Countries, 1350 – 1500 (London, 1992); Textiles, Towns, and Trade: Essays in the Economic History of Late-Medieval England and the Low Countries (London, 1994); and (as editor and contributor) Money in the Pre-Industrial World: Bullion, Debasements and Coin Substitutes, Financial History Series no. 20 (London, 2012).

Lawrin Armstrong

New Book by CMS Alumnus Dan Nodes

CMS alumnus Daniel J. Nodes (PhD 1983), now chair of the Department of Classics at Baylor University, has just published, together with Daniel T. Lochman, an edition and translation of John Colet’s commentary on Dionysius the Areopagite’s Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Congratulations, Dan!!

From the description: “The commentary of John Colet (1467-1519) on Dionysius the Areopagite’s Ecclesiastical Hierarchy adapts a work widely neglected by medieval theologians to the early sixteenth century. Dionysius’s “apostolic” model allowed Colet to set ecclesiastical corruption against the ideas for re-forming the mind as well as the church. The commentary reveals Colet’s fascination with the Kabbalah and re-emergent Galenism, but it subordinates all to harmonizing Dionysius and his supposed teacher, Paul. This first new edition in almost 150 years and first edition of the complete manuscript is edited critically, translated expertly, and provided with an apparatus that advances historical, theological, and rhetorical contexts. It resituates study of Colet by identifying a coherent center for his theology and agenda for reform in Tudor England.”

For more information see the publisher’s website.