Ibn Sa,di on Truth-Blindness

In his biographical dictionary, the well-known Andalusian scholar al-Humaydi gives an account of the unhappy experience of an earlier compatriot of his, Abu ‘Umar Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sa,di, in the theological debating societies of Baghdad.

Emotional memory and medieval autobiography: King James I of Aragon (r. 1213–76)’s Llibre dels fets

This study examines the role that emotional memories – memories connected to or describing emotions – played in the recollection of events, while also becoming powerful rhetorical and didactic tools in the process of history-writing.

Reading the Exeter Book Riddles as Life-Writing

The recent explosion of interest in the theory and practice of ‘life-writing’ provides a valuable new opportunity to reassess these texts with new critical tools at hand.

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga Hilda Radzin (St. John’s University) Literary Onomastics Studies: Volume 5, Article 7 (1978) Abstract In the Old Norse language the word saga denoted any kind of story or history in prose, whether written or oral. Used in this sense, the word saga […]

An aspect of Alcuin: ‘Tuus Albinus’ – peevish egotist? or parrhesiast?

In over 270 letters from about a decade and a half, alcuin of york (†804) informed, advised, consoled and admonished contemporaries, reacted to current events, and maintained a circle of friends and partners in reciprocal prayer that extended from Jerusalem to Ireland and from rome to salzburg. Alcuin left york in the 780s to become a friend and chief advisor to Charlemagne.

CONFERENCES: Arnold Fitz Thedmar: an Early London chronicler

Another fascinating paper given at the Institute for Historical Research in central London. For those of you interested in chronicles, urban history and London, this paper was definitely for you. Ian Stone discussed his dissertation about thirteenth century London through the eyes of wealthy Alderman, Arnold Fitz Thedmar.

BOOKS:Medieval Celebrities!

They may not have won any Oscars, but they were definitely medieval celebrities! Here are some great reads about some of the most famous faces of the Middle Ages

St. Ninian of Whithorn

My interest here is in finding usable information regarding the centuries before Bede and in the way in which new data, especially the outstanding recent archaeological discoveries at Whithom in Wigtownshire (which is certainly the site of Candida Casal. might support and add to his picture of St. Ninian and the importance of his church at Candida Casa.

The Queen and her consort : succession, politics and partnership in the kingdom of Navarre, 1274-1512

This thesis draws attention to an exceptional group of sovereigns and demonstrates the important role that these women and their spouses played in the political history of Western Europe during the Late Middle Ages. It also highlights the particular challenges of female rule and offers new modes of analysis by focusing on unique areas of investigation which have not been previously examined

The Chaste Erotics of Marie d’Oignies and Jacques de Vitry

The Chaste Erotics of Marie d’Oignies and Jacques de Vitry Jennifer Brown (Marymount Manhattan College) Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 19, No. 1, January (2010) Abstract IN JACQUES DE VITRY’S THIRTEENTH-CENTURY vita of Marie d’Oignies, the hagiographer, or author of a sacred biography, implicates himself in his knowledge of a priest’s surprising reaction […]

To Take Care of the Monks, Take Care of Christina: Christina of Markyate and the Medieval Spiritual/Material Market

In this essay I will delineate two of these emphases: (1) Christina’s powerful interaction with boundaries and the spaces they demarcate, and (2) the material/spiritual economy that develops between Christina and Geoffrey, the Abbot of the St. Albans Monastery. I will then argue that these emphases together form a message that might have been aimed at The Life’s monastic (and to some extent aristocratic) audience, perhaps even the abbots who succeeded Geoffrey.

Singing the Self: the Autobiography of the fifteenth-century German singer and composer Johannes von Soest

Johannes von Soest (also referred to as Steinwart or Steinwert) was a German singer, composer and poet. He is the author of a vernacular autobiography in couplets which is not only one of the few examples of late medieval German autobiography but also one of the very few surviving autobiographical documents written by a musician in this period.

Language and Legend in the Fantasy Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien

There was something so real in the languages that he created, and critics wanted to find the inspirations behind Tolkien‘s worlds. Elves, dwarves, men, hobbits, and various other creatures occupied the pages of his books, but the languages he created were complex and had real elements in them. Examples of his invented languages were those spoken by the Elves, Sindarin and Quenya.

Love and Saint Francis of Assisi: A Performer in the Middle Ages

In “spending most of his life out of doors, in all seasons” Francis defies the basis of what we call civilized existence; if history is about progress in terms of making human life secure from nature’s vagaries, Francis rejects such a conception of history, along with its false sense of security, in order to situate human life in and as the natural world.

Organa doctorum: Gerbert of Aurillac, organbuilder?

He was born a peasant. Yet, through intelligence, political skill and uncommon good luck he came to be one of the most influential people in the Europe of his time…Pope Sylvester II.

“Doulce chose est que mariage”: Exemplarity and Advice in the Works of Christine de Pizan

I first examine the autobiographical elements of Christine’s works that highlight her personal marital experience. Christine draws authority from her first-hand knowledge of marriage, which supersedes the flawed assumptions of scholars lacking this life experience.

The reception of Copernicus as reflected in biographies

The reception of Copernicus as reflected in biographies Kühne, Andreas Proceedings of the 2nd ICESHS (Kraków, Poland, September 6–9, 2006) Abstract Problems of the early modern Copernicus biographies The biographer of a person who was living in the 19th or 20th century is usually confronted with an abundance of material that he has to choose, sort […]

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