Ulrike Draesner’s Nibelungen . Heimsuchung – Book Launch


How has the Nibelungenlied inspired modern poet Ulrike Draesner’s new book? Stephanie Hathaway attended the book launch this November. 

Tuesday evening, New College, Oxford hosted the book launch for Ulrike Draesner’s latest volume of poetry: Nibelungen . Heimsuchung. The event was organized by Professor Karen Leeder and Mediating Modern Poetry, and attended by students and staff from modern, early-modern and medieval backgrounds. Ulrike Draesner, a visiting fellow of New College, presented and read selections from her new book that marks the advent of a completely new look for Reclam. Draesner explained that Reclam had acquired the rights to the 1908 Nibelungen illustrations by Carl Otto Czeschka, and asked her if she would compose poetry to accompany them. The result is a beautiful hard-cover volume showcasing the Czeschka colour illustrations in their full Jugendstil glory, complete with gold leaf, placed exactly as Draesner wished, to complement her expressive verse.

Hardly a work has been so charged with complexity in meaning and political and cultural undertones as the Nibelungenlied material. Indeed, Czeschka’s illustrations were themselves instrumental in inspiring Austrian director Fritz Lang to create his epic five-hour silent film version in 1924, at a time during which German cinema was at the forefront of the development of motion pictures.

It is through all of this background that Ulrike Draesner’s verse shines a light of perspective both selective and thought-provoking. She talked about how she had studied the Nibelungenlied at university and, as an “honorary medievalist”, how the Middle High German epic had inspired her then, and again upon coming back to it later, always giving new meaning. Her verse is modern, rhythmic and evocative, focussing, as she says, on the individual.  The book treats each of the four heroic figures: Kriemhild, Sigfried, Brünhild and Hagen, giving their feelings and perspectives voice in “lyric monologues” in German, occasionally interspersed with Latin, English and Middle High German, and concluding with 23 short Nibelungen “novels”.

Draesner was in fine form as she read selections, many from the Kriemhild section, and then from the chorus of crows. Showing some of Czeschka’s illustrations, Draesner focussed on the scene in which Kriemhild dreams about her future husband, Sigfried, as a flacon who is attacked by two eagles. The rhythmic, kinetic verse leapt from the page as Draesner read with her emotive, velvet voice, and the interplay between language and senses could be keenly felt. English translations were read by Professor Almut Suerbaum and Karen Leeder, and were equally well-composed to evoke the images and feelings of the figures.

There followed a short discussion of the ways that the Middle High German epic Nibelungenlied was used in this work, and how it inspired Draesner, who said that she had tried to connect with the psychology of the figures, where the epic described only action, inaction and power-play. The evening wrapped up with drinks and lively discussion in one of those rare occasions that modernists and medievalists are met with the same subject matter. Ulrike Draesner’s book is a real treasure for all Germanists from medievalists to post-modernists, and hearing her perform the verses she composed was an absolute pleasure.

Stephanie L Hathaway, University of Oxford, 10 November 2016.

Stephanie’s review will be published in volume 3 of Cerae Journal!


‘Economics of Poetry’ Conference: Rome, April 28-30 2016  

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Used with permission from the ‘Economics of Poetry’ conference organisers.

Tara Auty reflects on the recent ‘Economics of Poetry’ conference at the American University at Rome.

Held on the grounds of the American University at Rome (AUR), from April 28-30 2016, the ‘Economics of Poetry’ conference was an academic gathering to discuss and advance the study of ‘efficient techniques of producing neo-Latin verse.’ Organised by Paul Gwynne of the AUR and Bernhard Schirg of the Freie Universität Berlin, and funded jointly by those institutions, this conference brought international scholars together to share their research into the practices of efficiency that were intrinsic to the production of Latin poetry in the early modern period. This approach ‘analyses the techniques authors employed and developed to reduce the effort of poetic composition, streamline its production, and facilitate its presentation when time was a crucial factor for success.’ What follows is a brief summary of some of the insights that came to light over the course of seventeen varied and dynamic presentations that were particular helpful or novel to me, but the full listing of the abstracts can be found here.

Susanna de Beer launched the conference with her keynote presentation, Reveal, Reuse, Recycle! How Digital Tools Can Help Detect Efficiency in Giannantonio’s Campano’s (1429-1477) Poetry. Dr. de Beer’s paper questioned the very paradigm by which neo-Latin poetry has thus far been judged, and invited the attendees to consider repetition and self-referencing within the corpora of early modern Latin poets not as ‘laziness’ or ‘insincerity,’ but instead as well-developed strategies to meet the demands of the patronage system. One of the major contributions that the concept of ‘economics of poetry’ is making to the field of neo-Latin criticism is that it is encouraging scholars to reassess intratextuality (i.e., self-repetition and self-allusion), which has traditionally been devalued in contrast with intertextuality (i.e., repetitions from and allusions to other authors’ works, usually already well-regarded and known) as a viable and significant practice in literary production.

In a period where competition for patronage could be fierce, and an author’s livelihood depended on their ability to adapt, the capacity to reuse pre-fabricated material was a great benefit and was not necessarily viewed as a lack of originality. Paul Gwynne’s paper, The Economics of Eulogy: Johannes Michael Nagonius (c. 1450-c.1510), highlighted the ways in which Nagonius continuously revised his poetry to reflect developing political situations, with particular reference to a funeral song derived from an original pseudo-Ovidian source that he repeatedly adapted to mourn different significant personages. In Spamming the Council of Milan: Pietro Lazzaroni (c.1420-c1497) Spreading His Poems to Lombardian Patricians, Bernhard Schirg pointed out that these instances of self-repetition can be viewed as variations on a basic template, and allowed the extremely prolific Lazzaroni to engage in ‘cold-calling’ potential patrons by show-casing the kind of work he was capable of adapting to them specifically.

As well as reusing existing models within a given genre, authors also engaged widely in intertextual borrowing across genres and across languages. Elena Dahlberg’s presentation, String Your Lyre Promptly! Magnus Rönnow’s (1665?-1735) Latin Poetry from the Great Northern War, foregrounded the variety of sources used by the Swede neo-Latin poet in his coverage of contemporary military events. Detailed textual comparison showed that Rönnow used printed news sources alongside literary accounts of the conflict, so that his own poetry ‘blurred the boundaries between truth and fiction.’ Authors using these contemporaneous sources had to find linguistic strategies to render their material into neo-Latin, and these strategies in themselves can be viewed as part and parcel of the practice of ‘economics of poetry,’ wherein textual sources are the bare resources of poetic production, subject to the labour of the author to create a viable end-product.

Repetition in and of itself does not necessarily equate to less literary labour, and the genre of the Cento further highlights this complexity. The opening keynote presentation by Dr. de Beer invited attendees to question whether ‘repetition can be both efficient and meaningful,’ and in her paper, Riuso ed Economia Nella Pratica della Poesia ‘Centonaria,’ Maria Teresa Galli showed that repetition, far from being a ‘shortcut,’ in fact adds layers of meaning and can prove to be quite an inefficient practice. Assembled entirely from the fragmented lines of another author’s work, laid out in a new order, Cento poems were acts of ‘literary acrobatics,’ and the writing of them was an exercise undertaken by the learned to showcase their knowledge of classical works and to demonstrate the author’s ability to rework and remould well-known masterpieces. The finished product is a multi-layered puzzle, which simultaneously recalls the original stories from which they have been extracted while piecing together a new story, a feat made all the more impressive by the appearance of effortlessness.

This semblance of effortlessness was also a key feature in the phenomenon of ‘fast composition,’ as discussed by Marc Laureys in The Aesthetics of Mourning: Techniques of Composition in Neo-Latin Funeral Poetry from Germany and the Low Countries (16th and 17th Centuries). Speedy writing had long been associated with improvisation and extemporising, and diametrically opposed to polished sophistry. In this model, the latter was associated with guile and superficiality, while the former was authentic, candid and unpolished. Statius’ Silvae provided the key classical exemplar for this idea of ‘spontaneous’ writing, as Professor Laurey illustrated, and was one of the main literary precedents for early modern authors writing Latin funeral poems (who, naturally, had certain time-pressures on their compositions). Fast, unpolished writing is motivated by intense emotion in the Statian model, and the claims to extraordinary speed embedded in these poems were thus part and parcel of the ‘aesthetics of mourning’ characteristic of this genre.

In the final panel of the conference, Elizabeth Sandis similarly addressed the strategies employed by William Gager (1555-1622) to produce a high-quality piece of work in a very limited time-frame in Playing Virgil on Short Notice. Following the orders of the Chancellor of Oxford University to stage an original performance for a Polish dignitary visiting England in 1538, Gager wrote the 1,300 verse Dido in approximately three weeks. This new composition, partly based on his ‘youthful adaptations of Virgil’s Aeneid,’ was developed to serve a propagandistic purpose and highlight the beneficent generosity of Queen Elizabeth I to the foreign ambassador. One of the most salient points made by Dr. Sandis in this presentation was that the success of this performance relied on a shared knowledge of the story of Dido: by choosing an iconic text as a base model, Gager efficiently creates meaning by drawing on the audience’s assumed collective memory of the original story.

The question of how to detect efficient techniques of poetic production was one that was addressed to varying degrees by some of the papers, but the most practical guidance was given by Dr. de Beer in her keynote speech. Various digital tools have emerged, and are continuously emerging, that allow scholars to not only access Latin texts in their entirety, but also to quickly detect intratextual and intertextual relationships by enabling searches for individual words, phrases and motifs. Two examples are ‘Musisque Deoque’ and Dr. de Beer’s own project, ‘Mapping Visions of Rome.’

This is no doubt only the beginning of what is already proving to be an extremely fruitful and innovative movement to reassess particular features of neo-Latin poetry, and its usefulness in literary criticism and history will surely become evident to scholars working on material in other languages, genres and periods. Under the editorial guidance of Paul Gwynne and Bernhard Schirg, the findings of this conference will be further developed into a collection to be published by Peter Lang in late 2016/early 2017.This will be the largest contribution thus far to the growing body of ‘economics of poetry’ material already published:

Seeing the Greats at the AGNSW


Sybil M. Jack, former Dean of Arts at Sydney University, offers us an insider’s view into the Art Gallery New South Wales’ new exhibition on masterpieces of art from the National Galleries of Scotland.

Those of us who have the advantage of visiting Edinburgh from time to time and so can visit its galleries may have seen some of these painting before but even so The Greats: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland currently on exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery is a remarkable experience. The individual works link together in a variety of ways that makes the whole more than the sum of its parts. No-one taking the time to examine the works carefully could fail to come away without a more nuanced appreciation of the four hundred years of European art it encapsulates.

The exhibition was first displayed in the USA but additional works not included in the original exhibition make this a virtually new presentation. Richard Johnson, the architect who designed the layout, has created an impression of the Edinburgh Gallery’s own primarily octagonal room structure to house the works. The pictures hang against fabric walls or are set at an angle or rest on easels. The walls shift from white in the first room to deep red in the third and sixth.  The forty-one paintings and thirty-three drawings are all of them key examples of the artistic excellence of iconic painters from Italy, France, the Low Countries, Britain and finally the USA. They are deliberately arranged so that the mind does not readily move from one to the next but are hung so that each can be appreciated separately. As only two of them have ever been seen in Australia before this enables the viewer to concentrate on those that interest them most and the categories that they prefer although some things like space and time are present in nearly all the works.

The collection covers the whole period from Botticelli to Braque and gives a sharp impression of developments over that time. They provide a valuable insight into the way from the Renaissance to the present day European artists both adopted and adapted traditional forms and different methods of putting colour in its many forms on various surfaces. Subtly, the European works also illuminate the way in which the talent of the Scottish artists on display was shaped as a distinctive but integral part of European culture.

Each of the paintings has its own sense of place and time, its own way of representing the experience of light and the mystery of texture and touch. Deciphering their meaning, perhaps impossible, will differ from viewer to viewer and the face-to-face experience creates an indelible and very personal impression.

The collection starts with a highlight. The chronologically earliest work, Sandro Botticelli’s Virgin adoring the sleeping Christ Child, here seen for the first time in 169 years outside Britain, marks the epitome of the mimetic tradition of the ideal, heavenly Madonna in medieval art with the delicate representation of the symbolic rose without a thorn. There are one or two other religious works that are very different from this medieval template. Domenichino’s Adoration of the Shepherds develops a much more human image with many bodies pressing near the crib, one of them a dog. The scene is full of movement: Joseph collecting hay and one of the shepherds playing the bagpipes. Van Dyck’s work on the same subject is more restrained, an image of the urgent night.

These contrast in style and approach with the numerous and rarely displayed Leonardo da Vinci sketches, Studies of a Dog’s Paw that are interspersed with the more formal studies.

Titian’s Venus Rising from the Sea with the paint applied as much with his fingers as with the brush is a work of poïesis using contrasting colour and light to shape an idealised but all too human form. This can be viewed against El Greco’s very different management of light and shadow in The Allegory and the contrast gives a sudden insight into the ongoing debate as to whether — and if so how —the painters aim should be reproduction of the actual sights around them.

Realism, or the illusion of reality, is represented by Diego Velazquez’s work An Old Woman Cooking Eggs that exploits differing textures to imply an untold story of tension and sadness. Rembrandt’s A Woman In Bed employs similar techniques to a very different effect while Vermeer’s mastery of light and shade in Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, uses a different perspective.

Topography is a major preoccupation of some of the artists and cannot be necessarily assumed in all cases to be simple representation, taken from life, and not imbued with a sense of identity or a particular purpose. François Boucher’s Pastoral Scenes are rococo presentations of romantic unreality far from the more conscious depiction of Dutch landscapes.  If one compares the Gainsborough River Landscape with a View of a Distant Village with John Constable’s The Vale of Dedham where one’s eyes are constant drawn away from the river to the almost changing clouds above, not only are the different means of creating in impression of luminosity clear, there is a marked difference in the sense of landscape. Seventy years later Claude Monet’s Poplars on the Epte belongs to a different perception of landscape and a fascination with trees and woods as planted by humans and shaped to a rural purpose. Cezanne’s Les Grands Arbres is less a landscape and more an attempt to invent an image that embodies the creation of the essence of a tree as a dynamic structure through the use of particular painting media and techniques.

Another theme that can be followed throughout the exhibition is the portrait in its multiple different forms and intentions. Most are people of good birth, but Frans Hals’ Verdonck, is remarkable because it portrays a man of low birth but strong religious convictions. Gerrit Dou’s An Interior With A Young Viola Player shows the player through his surroundings as does Degas’s 1879 portrait of Florentine critic Diego Martelli in his Paris apartment.  Most impressive perhaps is Jan Lievens’s Young Man in Yellow that stuns by its remarkable use of colour. Other portraits such as Joshua Reynolds’s triple portrait of The Ladies Waldegrave and John Singer Sargent’s enigmatic Lady Agnew of Lochnaw reflect the expectations of society in the time they were painted.

One room collects the works of the major Scottish artists. Showing their perception of portraiture we have Henry Raeburn’s Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry (1771 – 1828) and Allan Ramsay, The Artist’s Wife: Margaret Lindsay of Evelick, alongside David Wilkie’s semi-historical genre works.

My personal passion for images of water was overwhelmed by the final image which is in a space of its own. American Frederic Edwin Church’s gigantic Niagara Falls, from the American Side is water on the move. The angle of view seems to draw the eyes — and after them surely the body — into the maelstrom that is the Falls where the water seems to shift in the image.

For those unable to visit there is a fully-illustrated publication produced by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, available for purchase from the Gallery Shop for $39.95.

Report on the ANZAMEMS 2015 Conference

Conferences can pass in a blur even though they also involve periods of sustained concentration while listening to papers in sessions. So it was for me at ANZAMEMS 2015 at the University of Queensland, which was an experience crammed into one day, the Friday of the conference, the day I delivered my paper and the only day I could attend. That still comprised three lots of sessions, each with three papers, which is a lot of listening.

I’ve attended each ANZAMEMS since 2008 (which actually still makes me a newcomer in terms of the long history of many Australasian scholars with ANZAMEMS and its predecessor organisations) and while it’s good to see the conferences never get any smaller, it’s also interesting to see the themes and ideas get broader. To an extent this growth testifies to the broadening in both medieval and early modern studies, and the way both fields have fruitfully harnessed the methodologies and ideas from other disciplines. For example the final session I attended on Friday comprised papers by Aidan Norrie, Helen Young and Douglas Eacersall on (respectively) portrayals of the Virgin Queen (Elizabeth I) in film, crowd sourcing multimedia productions with medieval settings, and the revival of medieval style martial arts in Australia. Yes, Australia, not normally a setting or subject to be expected in even an Australasian medieval and early modern conference. That is not to say there is any type of artificial division between ‘traditional’ medieval and early modern studies and more contemporary approaches to subject matter, but given how extensively or even exhaustingly researched many aspects of early modern history are (the reformation for example) it seems timely and necessary for other questions and other approaches to develop.

Another aspect of this conference was that even though there are discernible and exciting developments in medieval and early modern studies, the background news that UWA is planning a reduction in majors, including early modern studies. In doing so it joins a trend notable at other ‘sandstones’ but other universities as well in diminishing the space and weight given to particular fields, including the early modern. The sadness is that each successive ANZAMEMS takes place where the enthusiasm of Australasian academics and postgraduate students remains undiminished but where another program or major in European studies may have disappeared. By the next conference what will the attrition be? What momentum can be built at each hosting institution about this subject matter?

Marcus Harmes (University of Southern Queensland)

Revisiting Children’s Literature, Childhood Death, and the Emotions 1500-1800


On December 5-6, 2013, a symposium focusing on the depiction of childhood death in history and in literature took place at the University of Western Australia. Over the course of these two days, several fascinating papers were presented, all of which provided the basis for a lot of intensive discussion and debates about how child-death was conceptualised and coped with in early modern Europe. Furthermore, in an exciting first for the Centre for Human Emotions, two papers were presented via video-link from Newcastle University during the second evening.

The symposium opened with a fascinating paper by Annemarieke Willemsen, from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, who provided a wide-ranging multidisciplinary overview of how childhood and child-deaths were dealt with from ancient Greece to the Victorian period. Her talk provided an invaluable introduction to the topic of childhood and premature mortality, which was then built on by later papers. The primary evidence used throughout the paper was the archaeological record, which complemented perfectly the literature that was the basis of most discussions. Most importantly, it provided a reminder to everybody of the inherently disturbing physical reality of child-death. This provided the perfect complement to the primary focus of the symposium, literature written for and about children, the experience of childhood, and child mortality. A wide range of high quality papers were presented over the course of the two days.

Another paper which provided the basis of a lot of discussion was given by Kim Reynolds, from Newcastle University, who provided an intriguing introduction to an entire genre of children’s stories, about how to experience a ‘good death’. This genre was pioneered by James Janeway (whose name came up several times over the course of the symposium) in a collection entitled A Token for Children (1671-72), and became so popular that it was reprinted and expanded over the course of more than two centuries. These stories were written as eyewitness accounts of the drama surrounding the deaths of children, expounding on the idea that nobody was too young to be called to heaven and saved. There were even board games such as The Mansion of Bliss that emphasised this lesson, where the winner was the person who lived the shortest and most virtuous life. These ideas were later taken further by Asami Akiyama, from the University of Yamanashi in Japan, who examined in detail the conventions in these stories of child-death; specifically, how virtue was constructed and disseminated to a young audience.

Not only was there a range of fascinating papers, but we were also treated to a series of short readings of early modern poems written by parents about the deaths of their children, given by Bob White and Ciara Rawnsley. Although it cannot be forgotten that poems are constructed texts, and as such may not necessarily reflect accurately an immediate emotional reality, it was still striking to be able to listen to these texts where there was a clear struggle between grief and religious comfort.

It was interesting to see throughout the symposium, how each paper added some new insight into the multifaceted topic of childhood and child-death in the early modern period. Over the course of two days, discussions ranged from identifying trends in literary genres, to learning about the experiences of a single family, the Doddridges of Northampton, in a paper presented by Katie Barclay. For such an immense theme, the interplay of ideas was surprisingly focused, and this is bound to make the forthcoming publication of proceedings from this symposium a success. Certainly, by the end of the two days, every single participant emerged with a far greater awareness of early modern childhood.

Fra Mauro in Canberra: Mapping Our World exhibition


The National Library of Australia, external shot featuring Mapping Our World exhibition banner. Photo by Darren Smith, 2013.

The National Library of Australia is treating us Antipodean folk to a very rare opportunity — namely, to see one of the most outstanding surviving mappae mundi from the Renaissance, Fra Mauro’s richly illuminated map of the world that dates back to 1459.

At some two metres in diameter, Fra Mauro’s mappa mundi is the world’s largest extant map from early modern Europe. The map adopts the south orientation used by early Islamic cartographers rather than the traditional Ptolemaic north orientation with which we are much more familiar. Still, Fra Mauro’s work draws on the tradition of medieval mappae mundi. As with the famous Hereford mappa mundi, the map plots out details of lands both familiar and unfamiliar to the early modern European. These include accounts from the journeys of Venetian merchant and traveller, Nicolo de’Conti, as recorded by the Florentine scholar, Poggio Bracciolini.

Usually housed in Venice’s Museo Correr, Fra Mauro’s map has crossed the very seas it set to chart to be included in the National Library’s current exhibition, Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia.

As the name suggests, the exhibition traces the cartographic history of Terra Australis and, eventually, Australia. The journey begins with the world of the ancients and ends with Matthew Flinders’ circumnavigation of the continent he named Australia.

The collection of maps reflects the shifts in European exploration during the early modern period – starting with Italian cartographers such as Fra Mauro, to the Portuguese and Spanish, then the Dutch mapmakers (seemingly responsible for charting much of the Spice Islands and west Australian coast), and finally the English. In this sense, the exhibition is just as much a wonderful odyssey through Europe’s age of exploration, at least how it played out in the region.

Aside from the Fra Mauro map, other highlights include: Abel Tasman’s journal; the Boke of Idrography (presented to Henry VIII); an intricate world map by the Benedictine monk Andreas Walsperger (1448); a fifteenth-century Ptolemy manuscript; magnificent and controversial ‘Dieppe’ charts; and one of only four surviving copies of Mercator’s groundbreaking 1569 projection.

The exhibition is open until 10 March 2014. Entry is free but bookings are essential. The exhibition was very busy when I was there in December, so it’s worth booking online in advance. (While you are there, the nearby National Gallery of Australia also has an exhibition worth seeing – Gold of the Incas. A remarkable collection of artifacts from Peru’s pre-Hispanic cultures.)

For more information on Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia, click here.

Reflections on the CMEMS/PMRG Conference


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This past weekend saw most of the Perth-based Ceræ committee at the CMEMS/PMRG Conference: Textuality, Technology and Materiality in the Medieval and Early Modern World. The conference welcomed both interstate and overseas visitors and offered two days of excellent papers and a friendly atmosphere.

The conference opened with a lecture by Professor Michelle P. Brown on the Luttrell Psalter to a packed lecture theatre of conference attendees, students and the general public. Professor Brown’s lecture was wide-ranging and informative and was based of her own examination of the manuscript as featured in its facsimile edition. A more detailed account is necessary to do the lecture justice, so stay tuned for a future blog post!

The first plenary talk was delivered by Professor Brown and was a fascinating discussion of how to read and understand manuscripts and their makers. The material covered ranged from the Lindisfarne Gospels, to a little-known collection of manuscripts with elements of Latin in the East, to the book trade in fifteenth-century London. Once again, Professor Brown’s ability to read into the multiple layers of evidence in manuscripts and to clearly explain these to her audience was truly inspiring.

The second plenary was given by Professor Tim Fitzpatrick, whose research focuses on early modern performance practice and architecture. The paper began by examining evidence in plays by Shakespeare for two stage doors (rather than the more commonly believed three). Professor Fitzpatrick then moved deftly from literary analysis to architecture, reconstructing the Globe Theatre using the a sketch of 1630s London by Wenzel Hollar and modern computer programming (‘CAD’ – Computer Aided Design). Using the stage layout suggested by this architectural model, Professor Fitzpatrick made further conclusions about performance practice and the use of two stage doors. Later in the afternoon we were watched (and, for some, participated in) a performance workshop demonstrating staging techniques that result from the use of cue scripts and two stage doors.

Other highlights of the conference included Dr Annamarieke Willemsen’s (from the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, NL) examination of the material culture associated with medieval and early modern education (including some extant wax tablets); a paper by Ceræ Reviews Editor Michael Ovens, complete with audience members wielding swords; and Dr Tomas Zahora’s discussion of eschatology, technology and plagiarism, which also discussed medieval theories of authorship. All the papers were of a very high quality and all very relevant to the conference themes, which made choosing which of the parallel sessions to attend very difficult!

The conference was preceded by a Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar (generously sponsored by ANZAMEMS) on Understanding and Using Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts. The seminar was led by Professor Michelle P. Brown and was an intense but inspiring crash-course in palaeography and analysing early books and manuscripts. Professor Brown guided us through the immense amount of technical terminology and then taught us how to recognise and transcribe various scripts. With the assistance of Erin Fraser, Manager of the Special Collections, we were treated to a display of manuscripts, printed books and facsimiles from the UWA Special Collections.

A huge thank you to the CMEMS staff and members of the PMRG who made this conference possible!

Interested in the work of the plenary speakers? Have a look at these links:
The article of Tim Fitzpatrick’s plenary lecture can be found here.
Watch Michelle Brown discuss the Holkam Bible here.