Member Publications

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  • 16 Nov 2017 4:04 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Jennifer Garrison, Challenging Communion:  The Eucharist and Middle English Literature (Ohio State UP, 2017)

    From the publisher:

    “An important book on a subject many medievalists think we already understand but do not.” —Rebecca Krug, University of Minnesota

    In this book, Jennifer Garrison examines literary representations of the central symbol of later medieval religious culture: the Eucharist. In contrast to scholarship that depicts mainstream believers as enthusiastically and simplistically embracing the Eucharist, Challenging Communion: The Eucharist and Middle English Literature identifies a pervasive Middle English literary tradition that rejects simplistic notions of eucharistic promise.

    Through new readings of texts such as Piers Plowman, A Revelation of Love, The Book of Margery Kempe, and John Lydgate’s religious poetry, Garrison shows how writers of Middle English often take advantage of the ways in which eucharistic theology itself contests the boundaries between the material and the spiritual, and how these writers challenge the eucharistic ideal of union between Christ and the community of believers. By troubling the definitions of literal and figurative, Middle English writers respond to and reformulate eucharistic theology in politically challenging and poetically complex ways. Garrison argues that Middle English texts often reject simple eucharistic promises in order to offer what they regard as a better version of the Eucharist, one that is intellectually and spiritually demanding and that invites readers to transform themselves and their communities.

    Jennifer Garrison is Associate Professor at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Canada.

  • 1 Nov 2017 5:47 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Sheryl McDonald Werronen, Popular Romance in Iceland: The Women, Worldviews, and Manuscript Witnesses of Nítíða saga (Amsterdam UP, 2016)


    From the publisher:


    A late medieval Icelandic romance about the maiden-king of France, the Nítíða saga was well received in its day and grew in popularity throughout post-Reformation Iceland. It has not, however, received the comprehensive scholarly analysis it deserves, or that other Icelandic sagas have received. Sheryl McDonald Werronen corrects that here, offering a detailed study of the saga and its presentation of women and the Icelandic worldview, including questions of identity, gender, female solidarity, and the romance genre itself.

    Sheryl McDonald Werronen is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow at the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen, where she is carrying out research on seventeeth-century Icelandic manuscripts, scribes, and patronage.

    For more information, visit: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/P/bo25087000.html

  • 23 Oct 2017 12:39 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    James Bugslag and Ariane Isler-de Jongh, The Stained Glass of the Hosmer Collection, McGill University, Corpus Vitrearum Canada, Volume 1 (McGill-Queen's UP, 2014).


    From the publisher:

    A detailed look at one of the most impressive collections of pre-modern stained glass roundels in North America.

    The Hosmer Collection is one of the most significant collections of secular pre-modern stained glass in North America and the largest in Canada. In contrast to the better-known stained glass works made for churches, these exquisite sixteenth- and seventeenth-century small panels were intended to grace the windows of private residences and other non-religious spaces.

    The first book-length treatment of pre-modern stained glass in Canada, this volume provides new information on the diverse subject matter (ranging from allegories to heraldic displays), provenance (the Low Countries and Switzerland), style, and dating. Each work receives a detailed treatment according to the criteria of the Corpus Vitrearum, the international organization which set the scrupulous standards for modern stained glass research, and is accompanied by photographs. The volume's introduction situates the collection both within the history of the medium and within the context of the architectural history and artistic environment of Montreal.

    Also structured as an on-site guide to the collection, The Stained Glass of the Hosmer Collection, McGill University breaks new ground on collecting practices, architectural design, and the installation of pre-modern stained glass in new buildings.
  • 23 Oct 2017 12:35 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Roisin Cossar, Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy (Harvard UP, 2017)

    From the publisher:

    Roisin Cossar brings a new perspective to the history of the Christian church in fourteenth century Italy by examining how clerics managed efforts to reform their domestic lives in the decades after the arrival of the Black Death.

    Priests at the end of the Middle Ages resembled their lay contemporaries as they entered into domestic relationships with women, fathered children, and took responsibility for managing households, or familiae. Cossar limns a complex portrait of daily life in the medieval clerical familia that traces the phases of its development. Many priests began their vocation as apprentices in the households of older clerics. In middle age, priests fully embraced the traditional role of paterfamilias—patriarchs with authority over their households, including servants and, especially in Venice, slaves. As fathers they endeavored to establish their illegitimate sons in a clerical family trade. They also used their legal knowledge to protect their female companions and children against a church that frowned on such domestic arrangements and actively sought to stamp them out.

    Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy refutes the longstanding charge that the late medieval clergy were corrupt, living licentious lives that failed to uphold priestly obligations. In fashioning a domestic culture that responded flexibly to their own needs, priests tempered the often unrealistic expectations of their superiors. Their response to the rigid demands of church reform allowed the church to maintain itself during a period of crisis and transition in European history.

  • 16 Aug 2017 10:09 AM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    2017 - Levi Roach, Æthelred the Unready. Yale UP, 2016.


      

    From the publisher:

    An imaginative reassessment of Æthelred "the Unready," one of medieval England’s most maligned kings and a major Anglo-Saxon figure 

    The Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred "the Unready" (978–1016) has long been considered to be inscrutable, irrational, and poorly advised. Infamous for his domestic and international failures, Æthelred was unable to fend off successive Viking raids, leading to the notorious St. Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002, during which Danes in England were slaughtered on his orders. Though Æthelred’s posthumous standing is dominated by his unsuccessful military leadership, his seemingly blind trust in disloyal associates, and his harsh treatment of political opponents, Roach suggests that Æthelred has been wrongly maligned. Drawing on extensive research, Roach argues that Æthelred was driven by pious concerns about sin, society, and the anticipated apocalypse. His strategies, in this light, were to honor God and find redemption. Chronologically charting Æthelred’s life, Roach presents a more accessible character than previously available, illuminating his place in England and Europe at the turn of the first millennium.

    Levi Roach is lecturer at the University of Exeter, and formerly a junior research fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. He lives in Exeter, UK.


  • 11 Aug 2017 1:42 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    From the publisher:

    Although few nineteenth-century rural Canadian women could read and write well, Sarah Jameson Craig (1840-1919) was not only literate but eloquent. Unlike many women writers of her time, Craig lived at the bottom of the economic ladder. Nevertheless, she dared to dream the utopian dreams more commonly associated with educated women from the middle and upper classes. Craig vividly documented her attempt to run away at age fifteen, her plans to found a utopian colony based on alternative medicine and women’s dress reform, and her lifelong crusade for women's equality.

    Quoting liberally from Sarah Craig's unpublished diaries and memoir, Seeking Our Eden sets Craig's life writing within the context of her early days in New Brunswick, her later migrations to New Jersey and then westward to Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and the American-based reform and utopian movements that stirred her imagination. Convinced that the tight corsets and long skirts demanded by conventional fashion undermined the fight for women's equality, Craig wore the "reform dress" - a short dress over trousers - despite society's disapproval, and rejected opiate- and alcohol-based medicines in favour of the water cure.

    Even today, when the way women dress remains an issue, and skepticism about conventional medicine still fuels alternative health movements, Sarah Craig's early feminist voice from the margins of Canada continues to be relevant and compelling.


  • 11 Aug 2017 1:42 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    From the publisher:

    The Late Byzantine period (1261–1453) is marked by a paradoxical discrepancy between economic weakness and cultural strength. The apparent enigma can be resolved by recognizing that later Byzantine diplomatic strategies, despite or because of diminishing political advantage, relied on an increasingly desirable cultural and artistic heritage. This book reassesses the role of the visual arts in this era by examining the imperial image and the gift as reconceived in the final two centuries of the Byzantine Empire. In particular it traces a series of luxury objects created specifically for diplomatic exchange with such courts as Genoa, Paris and Moscow alongside key examples of imperial imagery and ritual. By questioning how political decline refigured the visual culture of empire, Dr Hilsdale offers a more nuanced and dynamic account of medieval cultural exchange that considers the temporal dimensions of power and the changing fates of empires.

     

    Cecily J. Hilsdale, McGill University, Montréal

    Cecily J. Hilsdale is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Her research concerns cultural exchange in the medieval Mediterranean, in particular the circulation of Byzantine luxury objects as diplomatic gifts as well as the related dissemination of eastern styles, techniques, and iconographies and ideologies of imperium.


  • 11 Aug 2017 1:41 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    From the publisher:

    How did medieval Europeans use and change their environments, think about the natural world, and try to handle the natural forces affecting their lives? This groundbreaking environmental history examines medieval relationships with the natural world from the perspective of social ecology, viewing human society as a hybrid of the cultural and the natural. Richard Hoffmann's interdisciplinary approach sheds important light on such central topics in medieval history as the decline of Rome, religious doctrine, urbanization and technology, as well as key environmental themes, among them energy use, sustainability, disease and climate change. Revealing the role of natural forces in events previously seen as purely human, the book explores issues including the treatment of animals, the 'tragedy of the commons', agricultural clearances and agrarian economies. By introducing medieval history in the context of social ecology, it brings the natural world into historiography as an agent and object of history itself.

    Richard Hoffmann, York University, Toronto
    Richard Hoffmann is Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at the Department of History, York University, Canada. As a pioneer in the environmental history of pre-industrial Europe, he is widely known for his contributions to medieval studies, environmental studies and historic fisheries.


  • 11 Aug 2017 1:40 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    From the publisher:

    Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia, a groundbreaking study of the intellectual and monastic culture of the Main Valley during the eighth century, looks closely at a group of manuscripts associated with some of the best-known personalities of the European Middle Ages, including Boniface of Mainz and his “beloved,”abbess Leoba of Tauberbischofsheim. This is the first study of these “Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Germany” to delve into the details of their lives by studying the manuscripts that were produced in their scriptoria and used in their communities. The author explores how one group of religious women helped to shape the culture of medieval Europe through the texts they wrote and copied, as well as through their editorial interventions.


    Using compelling manuscript evidence, she argues that the content of the women’s books was overwhelmingly gender-egalitarian and frequently feminist (i.e., resistant to patriarchal ideas). This intriguing book provides unprecedented glimpses into the “feminist consciousness” of the women’s and mixed-sex communities that flourished in the early Middle Ages.

     

    Felice Lifshitz

    Felice Lifshitz is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and of Religious Studies at the University of Alberta.


  • 11 Aug 2017 1:37 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)


    The reappearance of alliterative verse in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries remains one of the most puzzling issues in the literary history of medieval England. In From Lawmen to Plowmen, Stephen M. Yeager offers a fresh, insightful explanation for the alliterative structure of William Langland’s Piers Plowman and the flourishing of alliterative verse satires in late medieval England by observing the similarities between these satires and the legal-homiletical literature of the Anglo-Saxon era.

    Unlike Old English alliterative poetry, Anglo-Saxon legal texts and documents continued to be studied long after the Norman Conquest. By comparing Anglo-Saxon charters, sermons, and law codes with Langland’s Piers Plowman and similar poems, Yeager demonstrates that this legal and homiletical literature had an influential afterlife in the fourteenth-century poetry of William Langland and his imitators. His conclusions establish a new genealogy for medieval England’s vernacular literary tradition and offer a new way of approaching one of Middle English’s literary classics.

    Stephen M. Yeager is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Concordia University. 


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