By Karen Cherewatuk
Arthuriana, Vol. 19.3 (2009)
Introduction: My title affectionately bows in the direction of Bonnie Wheeler as editor. In addition to editing Arthuriana since 1994, Bonnie has collaborated on a dozen collections of essays since 1996. These include three festschrifts which honor other scholars: Vinaver’s—and maybe even Malory’s—heir apparent, Peter Field (Arthurian Studies in Honour of P.J.C. Field, 2004); her own beloved teacher, Elizabeth Kirk (Mindful Spirit in Late Medieval Literature: Essays in Honor of Elizabeth D. Kirk, 2006); and an honored scholar of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society, the late Maureen Fries (On Arthurian Women, 2001). The remaining volumes, many appearing in Palgrave’s New Middle Ages series, revolve around the three areas of Medieval Studies in which Bonnie herself works: Arthurian literature (The Malory Debate: Essays on the Texts of Le Morte Darthur, 2000); gender studies (Medieval Mothering, 1996; Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, 1997); and historic women (Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc, 1996; Listening to Heloise: The Voice of a Twelfth-Century Woman, 2000; Joan of Arc and Spirituality, 2003; Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady, 2003). Returning to Bonnie’s editorial work ad fontes, I take inspiration in this essay from her 1997 collection, Becoming Male, as well as her volume of the previous year, Medieval Mothering. Both collections shaped a decade of scholarship and in approach are truly interdisciplinary, as the best medieval scholarship always has been and as the rest of the academy now is becoming. Bonnie as editor and scholar is always precise, exacting, and cutting edge—not in the sense of being trendy, but in the better sense of having her finger on the pulse of the best scholarship.