Women’s Visions, Visionary Women

liz-photo-amd-140-q90Congratulations to Professor Liz Herbert McAvoy, on her well-attended inaugural lecture ‘Women’s Visions, Visionary Women’. Delivered at Swansea on Thursday 29 January as part of the RIAH Public Lecture Series, this lecture blended autobiography with close reading and contextualisation of medieval visionary literature, and explored not only the significance and interconnectedness of women’s visionary writing from the thirteenth century to the end of the Middle Ages, but also how such literature can continue to speak to us today.

More information on the lecture can be found here; we at MEMO Swansea just want to say, to one of our own: congratulations, Liz, on your well-deserved Chair!

Scenes from the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea

At the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History & Literature, MEMO members and guests enjoyed 20 talks on topics connected with medieval warfare. Particular highlights were the two plenary lectures on  key medieval battles with a major anniversary this year: the Battle of Bouvines (27 July 1214), and the Battle of Bannockburn (24 June 1314). Professor Matthew Strickland (Glasgow University) spoke on ‘Bouvines, 1214: chroniclers, historians, and the writing of battle’; his lecture was supported by the Society for the Study of French History. Dr Michael Brown (University of St. Andrews) gave a public lecture titled ‘ “Putting his hopes in the Lord”: Bannockburn and the judgement of battle in medieval warfare’, offered in conjunction with the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association and with additional support from The Learned Society of Wales.

The theme of the 8th Annual Symposium was chosen not only with the anniversaries of Bouvines and Bannockburn in mind, but also to honour Swansea’s distinguished Professor Emeritus John France. At the close of the main conference, Professor France was presented with the proof text of Crusading and Warfare in the Middle Ages: Realities and Representations. Essays in Honour of John France (Ashgate, 2014). This Festschrift, which will appear later in 2014, contains several contributions by participants in the 8th Annual Symposium, and has been edited by two historians with Swansea connections: Simon John (Oxford), who completed his doctoral studies at Swansea in 2012, and Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), who was a lecturer here in 2008-2009.

Symposium by the Sea 2014

Some of the speakers and participants in the 8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History & Literature (19-20 June 2014)

Top: Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), Michael Fulton (Cardiff), Simon John (Oxford)

Upper middle: Kenny Parsons (Leeds), Rabei Khamisy (Cardiff)

Lower middle: Andrew Ayton (Hull), Matthew Bennett (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst), Matthew Strickland (Glasgow), Michael Livingston (The Citadel Military College, South Carolina), Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis (Leeds), Alexander Hodgkins (Leeds), Alan Murray (Leeds)

Bottom: Michael Brown (St. Andrews), Irina Metzler (Swansea), John France (Swansea), Kelly DeVries (Loyola University, Maryland), Trevor Smith (Leeds), Helen Nicholson (Cardiff), Daniel Power (Swansea)

8th Annual Symposium by the Sea: The Face of Battle in Medieval History and Literature

Thursday 19 – Friday 20 June 2014

Provisional programme

In recent years there has been a revolution in the study of medieval warfare. Traditional paradigms that emphasised pitched battles and the charge of heavily armed mounted knights have given way to a focus upon sieges and raids, as well as a more nuanced understanding of medieval generalship and of the place of war within medieval society. Yet much remains to be discovered about the place of battles in medieval warfare, and about their representation in contemporary historical and literary texts.

The Face of Battle in Medieval History and Literature will be a two-day conference held by Swansea University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO) on Thursday 19 June and Friday 20 June 2014 to discuss the significance of the medieval battle. The year 2014 includes significant anniversaries of two epoch-making medieval encounters: the 800th anniversary of the French royal victory over Imperial, Flemish and English forces at Bouvines (27 July 1214), and the 700th anniversary of the Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn (24 June 1314). Plenary papers will be given by Matthew Strickland (Glasgow) concerning Bouvines and Michael Brown (St Andrews) concerning Bannockburn: other speakers include Andrew Ayton (Hull), Matthew Bennett (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst), Alan Murray (Leeds) and Kelly DeVries (Loyola University, Maryland). The symposium will be held in honour of Professor John France, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Swansea University, to celebrate his many contributions to the history of warfare. It will begin with a free Postgraduate Symposium on the morning of Thursday 19 June.

Booking forms for the symposium will be available soon.

This conference is organised with the generous support of the Society for the Study of French History, the Swansea branch of the Historical Association, and the Learned Society of Wales.

MEMO Workshop: Viking Swansea – Fact or Fable?

Thursday 10 April 2014

Registration form/programme

The Swansea Millennium Research Project has been set up by Swansea University’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO), to research the origins of the city and to see what light this might shed on Wales’s place in the world before the Norman Conquest.

It has long been recognised that Swansea’s foundation presents an intriguing gap in Welsh history. Whereas so many Welsh towns can trace their origins to the establishment of Roman settlements, it seems likely that Swansea is a later creation, albeit not one recognised in surviving early medieval material in Welsh. The particularity of the city’s name, not obviously derived from Welsh, Latin or Old English, encouraged the theory that Swansea was derived from two words from Old Norse or Old Danish, representing the personal name Sweyn and ey – generally translated as island. In the eleventh century the most prominent Danish magnate active in Britain, and therefore, perhaps, most likely to lend his name to a settlement or trading post, was Sweyn Forkbeard, who first united the crowns of Denmark and England in 1013. Sweyn died in the spring of 1014, and his death provides the terminus ante quem for the suggestion that Swansea should be celebrating its millennium.

This research workshop will concentrate on the support provided by the archaeological evidence – not in Swansea itself, where, so far, no significant evidence has emerged, but from the evidence uncovered elsewhere in Wales and in Southwest England, which support theories of Scandinavian contact with England, Wales and Ireland. It is hoped that the workshop will begin raising questions which can then be addressed more fully at a conference in July 2015.

This workshop is being organised in association with, and with the support, of The Learned Society of Wales and the Research Institute of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University (through its Research Initiatives Fund).

Research Seminar: Fragments of a Forgotten Archive

An English department research seminar will be held this coming Wednesday April 17th at 4pm in KH216.

Professor Diane Watt, Surrey University, ‘Fragments of a Forgotten Archive: Migratory Feelings in Early Anglo-Saxon Women’s Letters’.

Abstract:

‘In this paper I read the poetry and letters of early Anglo-Saxon women found in the collection that has come to be known as the Boniface correspondence alongside the more famous Old English elegies. Taken together these poems and letters comprise what I call, drawing on Ann Cvetkovich’s title An Archive of Feelings (Duke University Press, 2003), an archive of migratory feelings. While the Anglo-Saxon elegies are familiar to readers beyond the confines of academic scholarship through modern translations and lyrical re-writing, the women’s letters, which represent the earliest surviving writing unquestionably attributable to named Anglo-Saxon women, are less widely known, even to those studying women’s writing, and in that sense they represent a forgotten archive. This article examines the epistolary explorations of emotions and memories of these early Anglo-Saxon nuns, including, but not only, women missionaries who migrated to Europe in order to convert others to their beliefs; emotions that are particular to their own time, but that nevertheless still resonate today.’

IMEMS seminar, April 16th 2013

Two of Swansea University’s medievalists will be presenting on their research at the next IMEMS video-linked seminar this April:

Liz Cox: “Cyning sceal mid ceape cwene gebicgan, bunum ond beagum [A king has to procure a queen with a payment, with goblets and with rings]”: The Commodification of Women in Old English Poetry.
Kathryn Loveridge: A Wicked Merchant and a Monstrous Christ: a Girardian Reading of a sermon from John Mirk’s Festial.
 
5.15pm on Tuesday 16 April 2013, James Callaghan Building video conference suite (room 222.)
All are welcome!

MEMO trip to Hereford

Message from Professor Dan Power about this year’s MEMO trip to Hereford:

Each year, there is a MEMO trip to Hereford for a workshop in the cathedral archives and library.  It is an excellent chance to have some “hands-on” experience with the cathedral’s splendid collection of medieval manuscripts and early printed books. The trip includes free entry to the Mappa Mundi exhibition (to see the world-famous Hereford World Map) and to the unique Chained Library. There will be the chance to visit the cathedral itself as well.

 There are 15 places available for the workshop, which will take place on Friday 24 May. Please contact D.J.Power@swansea.ac.uk for details or to express interest.