Member Publications

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  • 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. 


  • 11 Aug 2016 1:43 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)
    Robert Desjardins, Andrew Gow and François Pageau, eds., The Arras Witch Treatises (Penn State UP, 2016).


    Dear Colleagues:

    On behalf of my colleagues Andrew Gow and François Pageau, I'm pleased to announce the publication of our new book, The Arras Witch Treatises.  It presents accessible (and fully annotated) translations of two fifteenth-century texts that offer important insights into the evolution of witch-hunting ideology in late medieval and early modern Europe.

    Based on our recent contacts, we thought that you might be interested in knowing about the text, and in sharing the news with colleagues at your institution.  A more detailed summary from the publisher is presented below, and a summary sheet is attached to this note.  Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions about the volume.

    From the publisher:

    This is the first complete and accessible English translation of two major source texts—Tinctor’s Invectivesand the anonymous Recollectio—that arose from the notorious Arras witch hunts and trials in the mid-fifteenth century in France. These writings, by the “Anonymous of Arras” (believed to be the trial judge Jacques du Bois) and the intellectual Johannes Tinctor, offer valuable eyewitness perspectives on one of the very first mass trials and persecutions of alleged witches in European history. More importantly, they provide a window onto the early development of witchcraft theory and demonology in western Europe during the late medieval period—an entire generation before the infamous Witches’ Hammer appeared.

    Perfect for the classroom, The Arras Witch Treatises includes a reader-friendly introduction situating the treatises and trials in their historical and intellectual contexts. Scholars, students, and others interested in the occult will find these translations invaluable.

    You can find The Arras Witch Treatises on the Penn State University Press web site at this URL: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-07128-2.html

     Be sure to ask for it at your local library and bookstore!

    -- Robert Desjardins

  • 2 Sep 2013 12:49 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Sébastien Rossignol, Aux origines de l’identité urbaine en Europe centrale et nordique: Traditions culturelles, formes d’habitat et différenciation sociale (VIIIe – XIIe siècles) (Brepols, 2013).


    Cette publication étudie les conceptions d’un habitat à caractère urbain dans les territoires de l’Europe centrale et nordique situés à l’extérieur des anciennes provinces romaines avant la période de transformations sociales et démographiques du Moyen Âge central.

    Y a-t-il eu un habitat à caractère urbain dans les territoires de l’Europe centrale et nordique situés à l’extérieur des anciennes provinces romaines avant la période de transformations sociales et démographiques du Moyen Âge central? Bien que cette question ait préoccupé de nombreuses générations de chercheurs, les réponses proposées sont restées ambiguës. Cette étude reprend le dossier en abordant le problème du point de vue des auteurs médiévaux: avait-on, lors des siècles précédant les transformations accompagnant la fondation de villes nouvelles aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, une conception d’un habitat urbain? Avait-on conscience d’une particularité, d’une qualité, d’une identité urbaine? Les recherches archéologiques des dernières décennies invitent à une reconsidération de l’habitat et du mode de vie des populations du haut Moyen Âge. Seule, cependant, une approche interdisciplinaire permet d’illustrer pourquoi le processus d’urbanisation, en tant que phénomène culturel, était le résultat d’interactions constantes entre traditions culturelles, formes d’habitat et différenciation sociale. More...


  • 11 Aug 2013 1:43 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Steven Bednarski, A Poisoned Past: The Life and Times of Margarida de Portu, A Fourteenth-Century Accused Poisoner (U of Toronto P, 2013).


    From the publisher:

    This is the story of Margarida de Portu, a fourteenth-century French medieval woman accused of poisoning her husband to death. As Bednarski points out, the story is important not so much for what it tells us about Margarida but for how it illuminates a past world. Through the depositions and accusations made in court, the reader learns much about medieval women, female agency, kin networks, solidarity, sex, sickness, medicine, and law.

    Unlike most histories, this book does not remove the author from the analysis. Rather, it lays bare the working methods of the historian. Throughout his tale, Bednarski skillfully weaves a second narrative about how historians "do" history, highlighting the rewards and pitfalls of working with primary sources.

    The book opens with a chapter on microhistory as a genre and explains its strengths, weaknesses, and inherent risks. Next is a narrative of Margarida's criminal trial, followed by chapters on the civil suits and appeal and Margarida's eventual fate. The book features a rough copy of a court notary, a notorial act, and a sample of a criminal inquest record in the original Latin. A timeline of Margarida's life, list of characters, and two family trees provide useful information on key people in the story. A map of late medieval Manosque is also provided. More...


  • 2 Sep 2012 1:14 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Cynthia J. Neville and Grant G. Simpson, eds., The Acts of Alexander III King of Scots 1249 -1286: Regesta Regum Scottorum, vol 4, part 1 (Edinburgh UP, 2012)


    This volume contains the full texts of 175 acts issued under the seal of King Alexander III, together with notes on a further 155 'lost acts' that survive only in notices. These acts, many of which have never been published before, have been collected from a variety of archives in Scotland, England, Belgium and France. The Introduction examines the administrative contexts of the later thirteenth century in which the royal chancery drafted and authenticated charters, brieves and other written instruments, and the varied sources from which the collection is compiled. The texts include full Latin transcriptions and detailed English-language summaries of the contents of each act, together with a series of notes and comments on context and significance. By drawing together both original archive sources and widely scattered published sources, the volume offers a unique opportunity to understand how Scottish government and administration operated in the key period before the reign of Robert Bruce. The Regesta Regum Scottorum series has already made available in print a definitive edition of the written acts of several of the medieval kings of Scotland. It remains the standard reference for Scottish, British and European scholars interested in the history of royal chanceries, the evolution of medieval royal government and the growth of literate modes of expression in the Middle Ages. More...

  • 2 Sep 2012 1:05 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Jacqueline Murray, ed., Marriage in Premodern Europe: Italy and Beyond (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, 2012).


    The articles in this volume provide an overview of the issues and complexities that informed marriage in the premodern West. They provide a series of interdisciplinary and multicultural analyses of an institution that was fundamental across societies and cultures, but manifested in diverse practices and beliefs. Focusing, in particular, on the Italian peninsula, the articles move outward to include the distant worlds of England and Scotland. Studies of endogamy and exogamy reveal how complex marriage strategies functioned, often in contrast to their intended goals. The articles move from the highest reaches of society, royalty and papacy, to burghers and town dwellers. The richness of sources for the premodern world is explored including legal records, letters, paintings, and literature. Together the articles provide a window onto marriage as a social institution and as a lived experience, at once profoundly other yet curiously familiar.



  • 2 Sep 2012 12:57 PM | CSM Webmaster (Administrator)

    Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Maidie Hilmo, and Linda Olson, Opening Up Middle English Manuscripts: Literary and Visual Approaches (Cornell UP, 2012).


    This deeply informed and lavishly illustrated book is a comprehensive introduction to the modern study of Middle English manuscripts. It is intended for students and scholars who are familiar with some of the major Middle English literary works, such as The Canterbury TalesGawain and the Green KnightPiers Plowman, and the romances, mystical works or cycle plays, but who may not know much about the surviving manuscripts. The book approaches these texts in a way that takes into account the whole manuscript or codex—its textual and visual contents, physical state, readership, and cultural history. Opening Up Middle English Manuscripts also explores the function of illustrations in fashioning audience response to particular authors and their texts over the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. More...


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