Member Publications

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  • 8 Mar 2020 2:29 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Shifting ideas about Geoffrey Chaucer's audience have produced radically different readings of Chaucer's work over the course of the past century. Kathy Cawsey, in her book on the changing relationship among Chaucer, critics, and theories of audience, draws on Michel Foucault's concept of the 'author-function' to propose the idea of an 'audience function' which shows the ways critics' concepts of audience affect and condition their criticism. Focusing on six trend-setting Chaucerian scholars, Cawsey identifies the assumptions about Chaucer's audience underpinning each critic's work, arguing these ideas best explain the diversity of interpretation in Chaucer criticism. Further, Cawsey suggests few studies of Chaucer's own understanding of audience have been done, in part because Chaucer criticism has been conditioned by scholars' latent suppositions about Chaucer's own audience. In making sense of the confusing and conflicting mass of modern Chaucer criticism, Cawsey also provides insights into the development of twentieth-century literary criticism and theory.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:22 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    In the medieval period, as in the media culture of the present, learned and popular forms of talk were intermingled everywhere. They were also highly mobile, circulating in speech, writing, and symbol, as performances as well as in material objects. The communication through and between different media we all negotiate in daily life did not develop from a previous separation of orality and writing, but from a communications network not unlike our own, if slower, and similarly shaped by disparities of access. Truth and Tales: Cultural Mobility and Medieval Media, edited by Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson, develops a variety of approaches to the labor of imaginatively reconstructing this network from its extant artifacts. 

    Truth and Tales includes fourteen essays by medieval literary scholars and historians. Some essays focus on written artifacts that convey high or popular learning in unexpected ways. Others address a social problem of concern to all, demonstrating the genres and media through which it was negotiated. Still others are centered on one or more texts, detailing their investments in popular as well as learned knowledge, in performance as well as writing. This collective archaeology of medieval media provides fresh insight for medieval scholars and media theorists alike.
  • 8 Mar 2020 2:20 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    During the Middle Ages, Mary was the most powerful of saints, and the combination of her humanity and her proximity to the divine captured the medieval imagination. Her importance is nowhere more clearly reflected than in the genre of “Miracles of the Virgin,” short narrative accounts of Mary’s miraculous intercessory powers. These stories tend to fit a basic narrative pattern in which Mary saves a devoted believer from spiritual or physical danger—but beneath this surface simplicity, the Miracles frequently evoke fine or revealing theological, social, and cultural distinctions. They are remarkably various in tone, ranging from the darkly serious to the comically scandalous, and many display anti-Semitism to a greater degree or with greater punch than do other medieval genres. Mary herself takes on a variety of characteristics, appearing as dominant and persuasive more often than she appears as gentle and maternal.

    This volume offers a small but representative sampling of what survives of this literature in the English language. The Middle English has been helpfully glossed and annotated, and is lightly modernized for ease of reading; one particularly challenging story is translated in facing-page format. The “In Context” sections provide relevant biblical passages and medieval versions of the Christian prayers frequently evoked in the miracles; additional samples of Marian poetry and medieval illustrations of Marian miracles are also included.
  • 8 Mar 2020 2:18 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:17 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    England has traditionally been understood as a latecomer to the use of forensic medicine in death investigation, lagging nearly two-hundred years behind other European authorities. Using the coroner's inquest as a lens, this book hopes to offer a fresh perspective on the process of death investigation in medieval England. The central premise of this book is that medical practitioners did participate in death investigation – although not in every inquest, or even most, and not necessarily in those investigations where we today would deem their advice most pertinent. The medieval relationship with death and disease, in particular, shaped coroners' and their jurors' understanding of the inquest's medical needs and led them to conclusions that can only be understood in context of the medieval world's holistic approach to health and medicine. Moreover, while the English resisted Southern Europe's penchant for autopsies, at times their findings reveal a solid understanding of internal medicine. By studying cause of death in the coroners' reports, this study sheds new light on subjects such as abortion by assault, bubonic plague, cruentation, epilepsy, insanity, senescence, and unnatural death.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:13 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Pourquoi allait-on chez le notaire au Moyen Âge? La recherche sur le notariat médiéval n'a pas abordé de front cette question, pourtant essentielle à la compréhension d'une institution importante tant par la quantité de documents produits et conservés, que par sa place dans le discours des historiens et des juristes. Cette édition intégrale des notes prises en 1437 par Pierre Christofle, notaire royal d'Orléans, est précédée d'un essai interprétatif qui porte un regard original sur tous les contrats enregistrés par le notaire cette année-là. Le traitement exhaustif d’une année spécifique a permis d’émettre de nouvelles hypothèses sur la fonction de l’institution orléanaise qui, établie par le pouvoir royal, semble avoir porté et servi les prétentions des élites urbaines à assurer l’ordre social. Au-delà du rôle juridique qu’on lui attribue, l’écrit notarié attesterait alors une relation sociale exprimée par un tiers en position d’autorité: les rapports sociaux qu’il expose et les normes dont il joue en faisaient un puissant outil de légitimité, de hiérarchisation et de définition d’une communauté d’intérêts.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:11 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Bringing together scholarship on multilingual and intercultural medieval Britain as never before, The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain comprises over 600 authoritative entries spanning key figures, contexts, and influences in the literatures of Britain from the Saxon invasions of the fifth century to the transition from the Medieval to the Early Modern Period in the sixteenth. Unique in its approach, the Encyclopedia facilitates a fuller understanding of the complex literary landscape of the period by covering all the literatures of the Medieval British Isles and their direct influences, including Old and Middle English, Early Scots, Anglo-Norman, the Norse, Latin, and French of Britain, and the Celtic literature of Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Cornwall. Covering all the important figures, texts, critical debates, methodologies, and cultural and historical contexts, the expertly written entries offer an authoritative yet accessible go-to resource for students and experienced scholars alike.

    The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature is a comprehensive, scholarly, authoritative, and critical overview of literature and theory comprising individual titles covering key literary genres, periods, and sub-disciplines. Available both in print and online, this groundbreaking resource provides students, teachers, and researchers with cutting-edge scholarship in literature and literary studies.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:09 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Adémar de Chabannes (989–1034), monk at the abbey of Saint Cybard in Angoulême, historian, homilist, polemicist and musician extraordinaire, left behind some 451 folios of music with notation written in his own hand. These documents constitute the earliest identifiable musical autographs by several centuries. They provide essential data for musical practices at Saint Martial, where Adémar contributed to their production, and for Adémar’s personal and professional involvement in those practices. They also attest the introduction to the scriptorium at Saint Martial by Adémar of accurately heighting the neumes (symbols of musical notation) above the text to which the melody is sung.  Each pitch, therefore, receives a distinct position along the vertical axis of writing. This procedure shows the exact musical interval between notes, and expedites the reading and learning of the melodies. It remains today the standard convention for indicating pitch in modern Western notation.

    The importance of this technique is impossible to overstate because Western music and its notation place higher importance on pitch than on many other elements, such as rhythm and timbre. Therefore heighting, the device by which notation precisely communicates pitch, holds a central place in the development of the musical language. In contrast, most of the notational dialects that appear in early music manuscripts from the medieval West use, to a greater or lesser degree, the vertical placement of signs to indicate melodic direction rather than pitch. After an overview of Adémar’s biography and musical activities, the study examines in detail the four surviving manuscripts in which Adémar inscribed musical notation, and then the notation itself. The study closes with a consideration of Adémar’s contributions to musical literacy through his introduction of accurate heighting. 

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:06 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    This volume presents editions of two fascinating anonymous and untitled manuscripts of magic produced in Elizabethan England: the Antiphoner Notebook and the Boxgrove Manual. Frank Klaassen uses these texts, which he argues are representative of the overwhelming majority of magical practitioners, to explain how magic changed during this period and why these developments were crucial to the formation of modern magic.

    The Boxgrove Manual is a work of learned ritual magic that synthesizes material from Henry Cornelius Agrippa, the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, Heptameron, and various medieval conjuring works. The Antiphoner Notebook concerns the common magic of treasure hunting, healing, and protection, blending medieval conjuring and charm literature with materials drawn from Reginald Scot’s famous anti-magic work, Discoverie of Witchcraft. Klaassen painstakingly traces how the scribes who created these two manuscripts adapted and transformed their original sources. In so doing, he demonstrates the varied and subtle ways in which the Renaissance, the Reformation, new currents in science, the birth of printing, and vernacularization changed the practice of magic.

    Illuminating the processes by which two sixteenth-century English scribes went about making a book of magic, this volume provides insight into the wider intellectual culture surrounding the practice of magic in the early modern period.

  • 8 Mar 2020 1:51 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Publisher's description:

    Seeking Sanctuary explores a curious aspect of premodern English law: the right of felons to shelter in a church or ecclesiastical precinct, remaining safe from arrest and trial in the king's courts. This is the first volume in more than a century to examine sanctuary in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Looking anew at this subject challenges the prevailing assumptions in the scholarship that this 'medieval' practice had become outmoded and little-used by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Although for decades after 1400 sanctuary-seeking was indeed fairly rare, the evidence in the legal records shows the numbers of felons seeing refuge in churches began to climb again in the late fifteenth century and reached its peak in the period between 1525 and 1535. Sanctuary was not so much a medieval practice accidentally surviving into the early modern era, as it was an organism that had continued to evolve and adapt to new environments and indeed flourished in its adapted state. Sanctuary suited the early Tudor regime: it intersected with rapidly developing ideas about jurisdiction and provided a means of mitigating the harsh capital penalties of the English law of felony that was useful not only to felons but also to the crown and the political elite. Sanctuary's resurgence after 1480 means we need to rethink how sanctuary worked, and to reconsider more broadly the intersections of culture, law, politics, and religion in the years between 1400 and 1550.

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