Monday, 22 April 2013

CFP: Anchorites in their Communities

The 5th International Anchoritic Society conference, in association with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO), Swansea University
April 22-24, 2014
Greygnog Hall, Newtown, Powys, Wales

Keynote Speakers:

Diane Watt (Surrey)
Tom Licence (UEA)
Eddie Jones (Exeter)

Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Manuscript workshop:

Eddie Jones (Exeter)
Bella Millett (Southampton)

Much of the work undertaken in the field of medieval anchoritism, particularly within an English context, has concentrated on the vocation’s role within the history of Christian spirituality, its function as a locus of (gendered) sacred space and its extensive ideological cultural work. Indeed, in the hundred years since Rotha Mary Clay’s foundational 1914 study of English anchoritism, The Hermits and Anchorites of England (1914), only sporadic attention has been given to the English anchorite as part of a community – whether social, intellectual, spiritual or religious – and as part of a widespread ‘virtual’ community of other anchorites and religious or ‘semi-religious’ figures spread across England and beyond.

In its focus on anchorites within their multifarious communities, this conference seeks papers attempting to unpick the paradox of the ‘communal anchorite’ and the central role often played by her/him within local and (inter)national political contexts, and within the arenas of church ideology, critique and reform. It also seeks contributions for a Roundtable discussion on any aspect of Mary Rotha Clay’s work, its lasting legacies and the debt to her scholarship owed by new generations of scholars in the twenty-first century.

Offers of 20-minute papers are sought on any aspect of medieval anchorites in their communities including (but not restricted to):

Spiritual circles
Communities of discourse
Anchoritic/lay interaction
Anchorites and church reform
Networks of patronage
Networks of anchorites
Anchorite case studies
Anchoritic friendship groups
Book ownership/ borrowing/ lending/ circulation
Communities of texts: ‘anchoritic’ miscellanies/ textual travelling companions
Textual translation, circulation and mouvance
Non-insular influence
Gendered communities

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to Dr Liz Herbert McAvoy by Friday, August 30th 2013

Evening Talks in May and June (run by Lancashire Archives)

Two upcoming evening talks run by Lancashire Archives. All welcome.

Tuesday 14 May, 6.30pm-7.30pm
Dr Sarah Peverley, Director of Graduate Studies, School of English, University of Liverpool
The Use and Abuse of Genealogy in the Middle Ages
We welcome Sarah back to look at some of our stunning medieval documents and uncover how and why the humble family tree was manipulated to 'prove' a descent from God.

Tuesday 18 June, 6.30pm-7.30pm
Margaret Lynch
Justice in Lancashire in the 13th Century evidenced from the Lancashire Plea Roll of 1292
In April 1292 and Eyre, or court, was sent to Lancashire to hear a backlog of cases, the fines from which would conveniently top up Edward I's coffers. This talk exposes the local disputes and official malpractice recorded in the resulting Plea Roll.

Lancashire Archives Lancashire Record Office Bow Lane Preston PR1 2RE

The First Biennial Blake Lecture (University of Sheffield)

Professor Simon Horobin, ‘Chaucer’s Language and the “well of English undefiled”’

5.15pm-6.45pm, Tuesday 21st May 2013

Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY

All welcome; to reserve your free ticket, please register on the event website.


Norman Blake, Professor of English Language at the University of Sheffield from 1973, was a prolific and influential scholar whose work ranged from Old Norse to modern Irish drama. The key strands of his research, however, focused on the history of the English language and on Chaucer, particularly the complicated manuscript history of The Canterbury Tales. Professor Blake died in 2012, and the School of English has established this biennial lecture series in his honour.

Simon Horobin is Professor of English Language and Literature and a Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is the author of a number of books, including Studying the History of Early English (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Chaucer’s Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). His most recent research, on the history and role of English spelling, is the subject of his forthcoming monograph, Does Spelling Matter? (Oxford University Press).