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Isidore of Seville and a Copyist, from Etymologies
France (southern Fr?), c.1250 (Schoenberg MS ljs184, f.1r)

Medieval Events      2014-2015



*During the 2014-2015 academic year, unless stated otherwise, all meetings will be at 5PM in the Graduate Student Lounge (Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 330).*


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First meeting of the Medieval-Renaissance Seminar Wednesday, October 15 at 5 PM.

Carissa Harris (Assistant Professor of English, Temple University) will discuss her paper " ‘All medons be war’: Rape Resistance, and Sexual Education in the Middle English Pastourelle." Her paper is attached to this email and available via a PennKey-protected link on the Med-Ren website. We would be happy to provide hard copies upon request.

Carissa writes:

This is a work in progress which is part of a new chapter I am developing for my current book project, tentatively entitled .Teaching Tikel-tails: Gender, Obscenity, and Sexual Education in Late Medieval Britain. This piece, which focuses on the distinctive features of the Middle English pastourelle and argues for its potential as a means of rape awareness and education, is part of a longer chapter in which I also explore the workings of women’s desire, consent, and obscenity in the Middle Scots pastourelle, arguing that there is a relationship between female-articulated obscenity and enthusiastic consent in these literary encounters. If the piece seems somewhat unfinished, it is because I have not included the chapter’s final section on female-voiced obscenity in Middle Scots pastourelles. I’d particularly appreciate your thoughts on the final two poems I examine here, as I’m still working out the finer points of my analysis. This is very much a work in progress, so I gladly welcome all comments, questions, suggestions, or leads.  I look forward to our discussion.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gail McMurray Gibson (William R. Kenan Professor of English and Humanities at Davidson College and NEH-Folger Fellow 2014-2015 at The Folger Library) will discuss her paper “Medieval Drama in Afterlife: The Croxton Play of the Sacrament in Ireland.”


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Nicolette Zeeman, Fellow in English, King's College Cambridge


Spring 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2014

Phyllis Rackin, Lecture to be given by Ann R. Jones, Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature, Smith College 

Wednesday, March 4, 2014

Eric Song, Assistant Professor at Swarthmore College


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Professor Peter Mack (University of Warwick and the Warburg Institute, London) will be speaking in the Classics Colloquium series at University of Pennsylvania at 4.30 PM in room 201 Cohen Hall. His topic will be “How Renaissance Rhetoric Transforms the Classical Tradition.”


Paleography Group @ Penn

Fall Semester 2014

Unless otherwise stated, all meetings are held on Wednesdays5-6.30pm in The Cusack Room in the The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts (Van Pelt Library, 6th Floor).

Meeting I10 September ~ Introductions & Alexander Devine, “Searching for the Manipulus florum in a medieval library catalog” (Mf. Ms: Penn Ms. Codex 1640 / Dover Priory’s 1389 library catalog: Bodleian Library, Ms. Bodley 920)

 II24 September ~ Alan Niles, “Scottish Sonnets by Elizabeth Douglas and William Fowler at the Court of James VI.”

III8 October ~ Angela Cosey, “Deciphering French handwriting in a 17th Cent. Swiss book from The Cosey Collection”.

IV22 October ~ Daniel Davies, “How to Solve a problem Like an Unreadable Manuscript: Penn Ms. Codex 196” (Middle English & Latin Religious Poems: England, ca. 1400)

V12 November ~ Jessie Dummer on Penn Ms. Codex 909Le Livre des Eneydes/ French trans. of Virgil’s Aeneid (France, ca. 1450-1510)

VI4 December (Thurs.) ~ Isabella Reinhardt, SIMS Fellow Project on Penn Ms. LJS 225: Michael Zopello, Litterarum simulationis liber (Rome, 1455-8)


¶ Special EventThurs. 4 DecemberNoon-to-Midnight: The Pavilion, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts

Transcribing the Renaissance“:  Folger/Penn Transcribe-a-thon

A “transcribathon” in conjunction with

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s new EMMO  Project (Early Modern Manuscripts Online) (Cf. here)

On December 4th, staff from the Folger Shakespeare Library's Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) Project ( and the University of Pennsylvania Library's Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts ( will be on hand to introduce participants (and anyone who happens to wander by) to the art of transcribing English manuscripts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

Transcribathon website:


For a later date:

Alexander Devine, “Deciphering Scripts, Dating Materials & Identifying Texts: Premodern Sleuthing in Medieval Pastedowns & Flyleaves from UPenn & The Rosenbach Museum & Library.”



Workshop in the History of Material Texts About the Workshop

The workshop in the History of Material Texts will celebrate its 22nd year in 2014-15. Participants (including faculty, librarians, graduate students, booksellers and anyone else interested) come from a very wide range of disciplines; all are welcome to attend. The usual format of the seminar is a presentation of approximately thirty minutes, followed by discussion, based if possible on handouts or other visual materials. Unless noted otherwise, meetings will be held on Mondays at 5:15 in the Class of '78 Pavilion, in the Kislak Center for Special Collections on the 6th floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. If you would like to receive announcements about upcoming meetings, please sign up for our listserv using this link. For more information, please contact Marie Turner, 2014-15 Brizdle-Schoenberg Fellow in the History of Material Texts, at mturn at sas dot upenn dot edu.

Schedule Fall 2014:

Monday, 8 SeptemberAnnette Yoshiko Reed (UPenn, Religious Studies)
"From Didactic List to Long-Duration Literature"

Monday, 15 September           
Eva Del Soldato (UPenn, Romance Languages)
"Printer, Translator, Philosopher, Spy: The World of Antonio Brucioli (1498-1566)" 

Monday, 22 September
Megan Cook (Colby College, English)
"Chaucer’s Genealogies"

Monday, 29 September
Matthew Collins (University of York)
"Manuscripts: The Archaeolozoology of Animal Skin"

Monday, 6 October
Shreve Simpson (UPenn, History of Art)
"Who’s Hiding Here? Artists and their Signatures in Persian Manuscripts of the Early Modern Period"

Monday, 13 October
Lee Humphreys (Cornell University, Communications)
"The Qualified Self: Social Media and the Cataloging of Everyday Life"

Monday, 20 October           
Benjamin Fleming (UPenn, Religious Studies)
"Form vs Function: Aesthetics, Ritual, and Religion in South Asian Manuscript Traditions" 

Monday, 27 October
Josh Calhoun (University of Wisconsin, English)
"Fixing History: Blots, Erasures, and Ecologies of Recordation in Renaissance England" 

Monday, 3 November                       
Kevin Platt (UPenn, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory)
"How to Read Samizdat: The Case of Alexander Nekrich’s 1941 (1965)"

Monday, 10 November
Anne Coldiron (Florida State University, English and History of Text Technologies)
"The Printer, the Translator, the Scribe, and the Slave Girl (Or, the Strange Textual History of England’s First Doxography)"

Monday, 17 November
Charles Rosenberg (Harvard University, History of Science)
"Health in the Classroom: Textbooks on Hygiene & Physiology, 1830-1900" 

Monday, 24 November
No Seminar

Monday, 1 December
Paul Freedman (Yale University, History)
"Restaurant Menus: Text, Rhetoric and Food"

Monday, 8 December
Paul St. Amour (UPenn, English) 


Medieval Studies Lecture Series All events will take place in the Kislak Center, on the 6th Floor of Van Pelt Library, at the University of Pennsylvania.    Welcome Back Reception; Panel on "Why the Middle Ages Matter" (speakers tba) September 16th, 5-7 PM (cosponsored by the Library, Medieval Studies, and the Center for Ancient Studies)             

Professor Dallas Denery (Bowdoin College, History), October 23rd, 5-7 PM    

Professor Adam Kosto (Columbia, History), January 29th, 5-7 PM, Class of '55 Room, Van Pelt Library 

The early history of safe conduct has principally been studied as a question of protection—of merchants, students, ambassadors, soldiers, pilgrims, and other travelers in “foreign” jurisdictions.  It is also a question, however, of information: how did officials know that a particular person had been granted safe conduct?  Documents of safe conduct—less proto-passports than proto-visas—demonstrate the possibilities and problems of information processing in the premodern world.

Professor Marina Rustow (Johns Hopkins, History), April 2nd, 5-7 PM


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts for Cataloging Conflict,” one of a series of Archives Month Philly events celebrating archives and special collections in Philadelphia cultural institutions. “Cataloging Conflict” will be held at 5:30 pm in the Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion of the Kislak Center.

Inspired by the centenary of the start of World War I, Penn’s archivists and rare book catalogers have combed the Kislak Center special collections for a wide variety of materials documenting war and conflict through the ages. Their favorite finds, which will be on display for this special event, include war propaganda printed on toilet paper, engravings of the Trojan War sold by subscription to fund the 1660 printing of Homer’s Iliad, a spectacular manuscript roll depicting major figures in England’s Wars of the Roses, indulgences sold to raise money for papal armies, 16th-century woodcuts  of bizarre inventions for siege-craft and underwater warfare, escape maps and blood chits, soldiers’ songs performed by Marian Anderson, hand-colored illustrations of war elephants, letters to and from soldiers in World Wars I and II, the diary of an American Civil War draft dodger and … Penn’s famous Rocket Cats!

The Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion is located in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts on the 6th floor of the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library (3420 Walnut St, Philadelphia Pa. 19104). The event is free and open to the public. Please bring a photo ID to enter the building. Registration for this talk is appreciated but not required.




November 6-8, 2014 

7th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

Collecting Histories

In partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the 7th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age. This year's symposium highlights the work of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts by bringing together scholars and digital humanists whose work concerns the study of provenance and the history of collecting pre-modern manuscripts. The life of a manuscript book only just begins when the scribe lays down his pen. What happens from that moment to the present day can reveal a wealth of information about readership and reception across time, about the values of societies, institutions, and individuals who create, conserve, and disperse manuscript collections for a variety of reasons, and about the changing role of manuscripts across time, from simple vehicles of textual transmission to revered objects of collectors' desires. The study of provenance is the study of the histories of the book.!


The program will feature papers and workshops that delve into these histories through both traditional and digital means. Speakers include:

  • Toby Burrows, King's College London
  • Katharine C. Chandler, Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Megan Cook, Colby College
  • Alexander Devine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Derick Dreher, Rosenbach Museum and Library
  • Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Academy of America
  • James N. Green, Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Scott Gwara, University of South Carolina
  • Peter Kidd, Independent Scholar
  • William Noel, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
  • Nigel Ramsay, University College London
  • William Stoneman, Harvard University
  • Julia Verkholantsev, University of Pennsylvania

Four workshops will offer hands-on exploration of problems and issues related to provenance research in the digital age. They are:

Mining and Visualizing Manuscript Provenance Data at a Large Scale 
Leader: Mitch Fraas, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

The Bibale Database: A digital tool for researching historic collections and manuscript provenance (Background, Structure, Developments, Context)
Leader: Hanno Wijsman, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT-CNRS) & Bibale

Provenance that POPs Workshop 
Leader: Laura Aydelotte, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

The Butcher's Bill: What the Schoenberg Database Can Reveal about the Trade in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Fragments
Leaders: Scott Gwara, University of South Carolina, and Eric Johnson, Ohio State University

Special exhibitions of manuscripts will be on view at both institutions.

For more information and to register online, go to



La Querelle des Femmes: Women Writers from 15th- & 16th- century France

A Colloquium Sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages with the co-sponsorship of the Departments of Classics, English, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, as well as the Programs in Comparative Literature and Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies

Saturday, November 8, 2014, 9AM - 6PM

University of Pennsylvannia

Cherpack Seminar Room, 521 Williams Hall


BREAKFAST, 8:15-9:00 AM

PANEL # 1: Gendered Discourses: Polemics, Dialogue, Codes 9:00-11:00 AM

Katherine Kong: “Between meretrix and pute: the polemical uses of gender in the querelle du Roman de la Rose”

Reinier Leushuis: “Marguerite de Navarre’s Rewriting of the Courtly Dialogue: Speaking of Love in La Coche”

Nancy Frelick: “Mirroring Discourses of Difference: Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron and the Querelle des femmes”


PANEL #2: Authority, Authorship, and Auctoritates 11:15 AM – 1:15 PM

Julie Singer: “Set in stone? Epitaphs and the specter of authorial responsibility in the debates on the Roman de la Rose and the Belle Dame sans mercy”

Ana Pairet: "Shades of Circe: Ovidian Myth in Christine de Pizan’s Fictions"

Scott Francis: “The Comédie des quatre femmes: Marguerite de Navarre, the Querelle des Amyes, and Courtly Love Literature as Prognostication”


LUNCH, 1:15-2:15 PM


PANEL #3: Positioning the Female Author 2:30-4:30 PM

Lucas Wood: “Love’s Illusions: Le Livre du Duc des vrais amants and La Chastelaine de Vergi”

Kevin Brownlee: “Dialectics of Marriage and Authorship in the Advision Cristine”

Daisy Delogu: “A Fair Lady takes on “Maistre Allain”: Anne de Graville’s Belle Dame sans mercy”


RECEPTION, 4:30-6:00 



A Book Launch and Discussion: Plotting Premodern Biography with PAUL STROHM and moderated by DAVID WALLACE

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Friday, Nov. 14th | 12:00pm | Arts Café
Kelly Writers House | 3805 Locust Walk
RSVP to or call 215-746-POEM

Please join us at a lunchtime book-launch for PAUL STROHM’s  Medievalist Penn professor DAVID WALLACE will be here with Paul to discuss that crucial year that led Chaucer to THE CANTERBURY TALES. Come and help us celebrate a book that Terry Jones has called “an imaginative re-creation of everything you ever wanted to know” about the Father of English Literature. We’d love to have you here!





Call for Papers

7th Annual Medievalists @ Penn Graduate Conference: The Medieval Archive 2/27/15

Keynote Address: Jessica Brantley, Associate Professor of English, Yale

Abstract deadline: January 5, 2015

Please submit abstracts as attachments to

Topics for papers may include but are not limited to:

- The creation, curation, and authority of archives

- Discoveries in the archive

- Non-textual archives of the medieval (images and artifacts)

- Temporalities of the archive

- Minotirized/alternative archives

- Digitizing and disseminatin medieval manuscripts

- Medieval organizations of knowledge

- Lost archives.

More info here:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Daniel Davies, Mariah Min, and Samantha Pious at