All posts by Martha

Update: EBS at Kalamazoo 2021

While nearly all speakers scheduled for May 2020, the cancelled conference, have said they wish to return in May 2021, there are still spaces available. The EBS sessions for 2021 are the same as for 2020. These are listed below. We will also have to see what happens with international travel before May 2021, but all previously accepted speakers are encouraged to reapply. All previously accepted speakers must reapply through the portal. Please see the instructions here:
The sessions needing more papers are Copying, Editing and Correction, and What makes an English Book English? If there is another session that interests you, you might submit an abstract and see what happens.

 ‘What’s Past Is Prologue’: Transition of Literary Works from MS to Print 
Presider: Patricia Stoop, University of Antwerp
“Translating the Past: Antonio de Nebrija Rewrites the Catholic Monarchs”
— Bretton Rodriguez, University of Nevada, Reno
“An Early Modern/Medieval Book”
— Catherine E. Corder, University of Texas—Arlington
“Printing the Past? Seeking ‘Authenticity’ in an Icelandic Proverb Collection”
— Christine Schott, Erskine College

Bi- and Tri-Lingual Manuscripts and Early Printed Books 
Presider: Martha W. Driver 
“English Women’s Bilingual Manuscripts: Latin AND (not OR) the Vernacular”
— Caitlin Branum Thrash, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
“Multi-lingual Apocalypses in Late Medieval England”
— Karen Gross, Lewis & Clark College
“‘Bremschet Scripcit’- A Multilingual Female(?) Annotator of Stephen Scrope’s Letter of Othea”
— Sarah Wilma Watson, Haverford College

Migrating Manuscripts and Peripatetic Texts 
Presider: Sarah Wilma Watson
“Travelling scholars and manuscripts: the influence of the Paris university book trade on English intellectual life and visual art”
— Alison Ray, Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library
“Total Oblivion? Wycliffite Gospel Commentaries and their Textual Afterlives”
— David Lavinsky, Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University
“Short Migrations with Long Consequences: Loan Chests and Book Movement in Late Medieval Oxford”
— Jenny Adams, University of Massachusetts—Amherst

Visual and Verbal Portraits in Manuscripts and Printed Books 
Presider: Jill C. Havens, Texas-Christian University 
“Imagining the ‘Best Knight’ in the World: Sir Lancelot in the Old French Vulgate and in the Images of the Yale 229 Lancelot Codex”
— Elizabeth Willingham, Baylor University
“Jean de Vignay at the Heart of the Early Valois Court: The Portrait of the Translator in the Jeu des échecs moralisé (Morgan G. 52)” 
— Lisa Daugherty Iacobellis, Special Collections, The Ohio State University Libraries
“‘Marie our Maistresse’: A Verbal Portrait of Queen Mary I at her Accession”
— Valerie Schutte, independent scholar

Copying, Editing and Correction: How Accurate Is It? 
Presider: S. C. Kaplan, Rice University 
“Remaking Old Texts New Again”
— Lori Jones, Carleton University, University of Ottawa
“Multiple Copies, One Source? 15c Redactions of John of Tynemouth’s Sanctilogium in Cotton, Tiberius E. I”
— Virginia Blanton, University of Missouri-Kansas City

What Makes an English Book English? 
Presider: Neil B. Weijer, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida 
“Decorating to Anglicize the Book”
— J. R. Mattison, University of Toronto
“A Greek Lectionary in New Zealand”
— Alexandra Gillespie, University of Toronto

New book by EBS member Daniel Sawyer ~

Daniel Sawyer’s book Reading English Verse in Manuscript c.1350–c.1500 is out!

Here’s the description from the Oxford University Press website:
Reading English Verse in Manuscript, c.1350-c.1500 is the first book-length history of reading for later Middle English poetry. While much past work in the history of reading has revolved around marginalia, this book consults a wider range of evidence, from the weights of books in medieval bindings to relationships between rhyme and syntax. It combines literary-critical close readings, detailed case studies of particular surviving codices, and systematic manuscript surveys drawing on continental European traditions of quantitative codicology to demonstrate the variety, vitality, and formal concerns visible in the reading of verse in this period.

The small- and large-scale formal features of poetry affected reading subtly but extensively, determining how readers might move through books and even shaping physical books themselves. Readers’ responses to one formal feature, rhyme, meanwhile, evince a habitual but therefore deep-rooted formalism which can support and enhance close readings today. Reading English Verse in Manuscript sheds fresh light on poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and Thomas Hoccleve, but also shows how their works were read in manuscript in the context of a much larger mass of anonymous poems that influenced canonical poems, in a pattern of mutual influence.

Find out more here.

In Memoriam: Richard Sharpe

If any scholar could bring back to life the holy men and scholars of the Middle Ages it was Richard Sharpe. Richard, professor of diplomatic at Oxford University since 1998, who has died aged 66 of heart failure, was a man of abundant energy, which he poured into writing and editing a torrent of books and articles that threw light on all aspects of these men – saints and sinners alike. He was equally energetic outside his study – his gym sessions were so strenuous that he once broke a leg without at first realising it. He served as an Oxford University proctor and a Lib Dem member of Oxford city council. Read entire obituary here.

Whittington’s Gift: Reconstructing the Lost Common Library of London’s Guildhall

This three-year project, led by Dr Ryan Perry at the University of Kent and Dr Stephen Kelly at Queen’s University Belfast, has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£367,000) and will appoint two postdoctoral research assistants, one to be located at each institution.

On the project: Whittington’s Gift aims to demonstrate that London citizens created new programmes of religious education for both the City’s clergy and for literate lay communities that have hitherto gone largely unnoticed by scholarship. Thanks to the legacy of Richard Whittington (d. 1423), perhaps London’s most storied mayor, an extraordinary resource for religious education emerged under the auspices of Whittington’s innovative executor, John Carpenter, common clerk of London’s Guildhall. By tracking the transmission of texts that the applicants contend were sourced from the Guildhall Library, we aim to radically complicate understanding of fifteenth century literary culture in the capital and beyond.

Candidates must have excellent palaeographical and codicological skills, and have a research focus on fourteenth and fifteenth century English devotional literature and culture.  

The PDRA based at Kent will work closely with Dr Ryan Perry on the codicological assessment of the project’s corpus, with a view to identifying codices the project team believe were either produced or copied from exemplars originally held at the London Guildhall Library.

The PDRA based at Queen’s will have responsibility for producing diplomatic transcriptions of the project’s textual corpus, for inclusion in one of the project’s main outputs, Meke Reverence and Devocyon: A Research Anthology of Late Medieval English Religious Writing (the first since Hortsmann in the 19th century). Familiarity with the protocols of contemporary textual scholarship will be a benefit.

It is hoped that posts will be advertised in the summer with the PDRAs hopefully commencing in late September (current circumstances allowing).

CFP: The Medieval Translator 2020

Fragmentation and Inclusion: Medieval Translation In-Between
To be hosted by the Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna Italy, 23 – 26 June 2020

The conference will focus on linguistic fragmentation as a means of cultural inclusion. In the passage from late antiquity to the high Middle Ages, a number of written translations in various vernaculars and dialects already appear – suffice it to think of the first attempts at translating the Bible, of the effect of Carolingian culture, or of King Alfred’s cultural policy, aimed at making vernaculars the vehicle of faith and knowledge. As we move towards the late Middle Ages, translation becomes an essential instrument for the transmission of literature, religion and science. The proliferation of translations, through the linguistic fragmentation represented by target languages, allowed the transferral of texts to an ever-wider audience. Translation thus appears to have divided linguistically, but culturally united and shared what belonged to one language.

We should not omit case studies reflecting on the phenomena mentioned above, offering different (and possibly opposite) instantiations of the same phenomenon. The spreading of literacy corresponded to an increasing fragmentation of written production, occasionally isolated by its own vernacular. Consequently, ideas, forms of knowledge, and literary texts risked not being shared. A koinè language was the only means of circulation. It is thus worth reflecting upon translation into a koinè language, such as Latin, as a means of overcoming cultural fragmentation. Within a wider reflection on the relationship between inclusion, fragmentation and translation, some specific case studies might be:
– The vernacular circulation of religious texts (translation of the Bible, of hagiographic or homiletic texts, etc.).
– The circulation, thanks to translation, of literary texts (e.g., the translation of epic-chivalric cycles).
– The circulation in translation of scientific writing, manuals, encyclopedias.

- The translation from a koinè language to another language and back.
– The translation from a vernacular language to a koinè language.
– Translational exchanges between languages (e.g., Latin and Greek).
– The relation between the choice of the target language and the socio-cultural context.

Papers may be given in English, French or Italian, and should be twenty minutes long. Please send a 500-word abstract, an essential bibliography and a brief curriculum vitae by 31 October 2019 to:
– Davide Bertagnolli
Alessandro Zironi

For further information:

Following previous practice, it is planned to publish a book of selected papers in the peer-reviewed Medieval Translator series (Brepols) following the conference.

MT 2020 is realised in collaboration with ERC-2014- StG 637533 – BIFLOW – Bilingualism in Florentine and Tuscan Works (ca. 1260-ca.1430)

The Early Book Society at Kalamazoo 2020

EBS has six sessions to fill for Kalamazoo 2020 (May 7 to 10). Please send abstracts by Sept 15 or before, along with any a-v requirements you might have. Please send to Martha Driver at with Kazoo 2020, your surname and the session in which you wish to participate in the subject line. See also below.

The sessions are these:
Bi- and Tri-Lingual Manuscripts and Early Printed Books
Copying, Editing and Correction: How Accurate Is It? (1 accepted)
Visual and Verbal Portraits in Manuscripts and Printed Books (1 accepted)
Migrating Manuscripts and Peripatetic Texts
“What’s Past Is Prologue”: The Transition of Literary Works from Manuscript to Print
What Makes an English Book English?

Martha W. Driver
Pace Univ. Dept. of English
41 Park Row New York, NY 10038
Phone: (212) 346-1676 Fax: (212) 346-1754

Each speaker must include a Participation Information Form with an abstract, which are available at

A Symposium on Fragments

Symposium on Fragments (manuscript and print) will take place in University College Dublin, 17th October 2019. Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy of America and writer of the Manuscript Road Trip) and Christoph Flueler (University de Fribourg and Director of the Fragmentarium Project) are among the confirmed speakers for the day. The purpose of the Symposium is to raise awareness of the research value of medieval fragments, and to explore contemporary curatorial solutions to describe manuscript fragments and promote their accessibility. The workshop will involve an audience of academics and manuscript librarians and archivists. The Symposium is funded by the College of Arts and Humanities, UCD. For further details, contact Dr. Niamh Pattwell (School of English, Drama and Film, UCD) at or Dr. Elizabeth Mullins (School of History and Archives UCD) at Further details will be published later in the Summer. Registration for the conference will open September 1st 2019

Brut in New Troy 2020

Brut in New Troy 2020, a conference devoted to discussions of the Brut tradition in all of its variety and the first scholarly conference about the Brut tradition as a whole, will take place at the University of Notre Dame’s London Centre in Trafalgar Square from 26 to 29 June 2020. In the heart of New Troy, we seek to provide a forum for comparative, multilingual, cross-period, and cross-disciplinary discussion of Brut-related texts and manuscripts, both canonical and less familiar, and by no means limited to ‘legendary’ material. The event will feature a keynote address by Professor Jane Roberts. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 October 2019. Full information is available on the conference website: