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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Fellows 2015-16

1 June - 26 June, 2015

Sarah McKeon is as a postdoctoral research assistant to Professor Elisabeth Salter at the University of Hull. Her recent research has explored the relevance of theories of cognition to the development of a particular literary aesthetic during the late fourteenth century in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. Of late her attentions have turned increasingly to the work of John Wyclif and the Wycliffite writers as she explores the relevance of prose writing and translation works in the make-up of this literary aesthetic. Her work with Professor Salter deals with late medieval and early modern texts of religious instruction. Thus, her research project at Durham, entitled, ‘Instructing the Senses’ brings these research interests together. She will be working with a manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and using it comparatively to carry out research on the interesting relationship between intellectual ideas and the materiality of the manuscript page. Furthermore, she will examine several manuscripts related to religious instruction, paying particular attention to allusions to the senses and the important place of the sense of sight to the process of literary religious instruction in the late medieval and early modern period.

Research interests: the history of ideas – particularly Boethianism, the late fourteenth century literary aesthetic, theories of cognition, religiosity and religious instruction in the late medieval and early modern period, John Wyclif and the Wycliffite movement, the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower.

Read Dr Sarah McKeon's end-of-fellowship report

28 June - 31 July, 2015

Anne T. Thayer is the Paul and Minnie Diefenderfer Professor of Mercersburg and Ecumenical Theology and Church History at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on early printed resources for pastors, such as model sermon collections and pastoral manuals, and their usage in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Europe. She has published Penitence in the Age of Reformations (edited with Katharine Jackson Lualdi, Ashgate, 2000); Penitence, Preaching and the Coming of the Reformation (Ashgate, 2002); and Handbook for Curates: A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry (a translation of Guido of Monte Rochen’s Manipulus Curatorum, introduction with Katharine Jackson Lualdi, Catholic University of America Press, 2011).

During her time at Durham, she will be studying the marginalia of Dr. Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham (1483-1539). Swalwell annotated a number of books from the Durham Priory Library as well as many of his own books. These offer a case study of the use of theological and pastoral resources, indicating the pastoral work of this conscientious monk during a time of significant religious fluidity. Dr. Thayer will focus on Swalwell’s theological education and his practice of copying significant passages from one book into another, bringing texts into conversation with one another.

Read Prof. Anne Thayer's end-of-fellowship report

2 November - 30 November, 2015

Magdolna Szilágyi obtained a PhD in Medieval Studies from the Central European University in 2013. Her book On the Road. The History and Archaeology of Medieval Communication Networks in East-Central Europe based on her doctoral research was published by Archaeolingua in 2014. Prior to her doctoral studies, she obtained MA degrees in English Language and Literature (2003), Medieval Studies (2004), and Archaeology (2005). She was awarded several fellowships and grants at the Central European University in Budapest, at Collegium Hungaricum in Vienna, at the University of Göttingen (DAAD Research Grant), and also at the University of Durham (Hungarian State Eötvös Fellowship; IMEMS Library Fellowship).

Dr. Szilágyi’s research interests are in the areas of medieval archaeology and historical geography. She specialises in historic routes research (dromography) including the archaeology of ancient Roman and medieval roads and bridges, medieval trade and religious travel, transhumance, and spatial networks. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research activities were mainly focused on some regions in Central and East-Central Europe. In the 2015-2016 academic year, she also starts investigating into medieval communication networks in North-East England as a visiting fellow at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham University. Holding a Library Fellowship, she is exploring the construction, maintenance, and use of roads and places of river crossing (bridges, ferry ports, and fords) in medieval England. Furthermore, she is analysing the function, proprietorship, hierarchy, and physical properties of medieval roads as attested by primary sources preserved in the Special Collections of the Palace Green Library.

Read Dr Magdolna Szilágyi's end-of-fellowship report

18 January - 19 February, 2016

Anne McLaughlin's thesis is on the illuminated manuscripts of Pierre Bersuire's Ovidius Moralizatus, a fourteenth century Latin commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses under the supervision of Professor Charles Burnett and Dr. Rembrandt Duits. This study focuses on seven central illuminated manuscripts, seeking to place each within its cultural and intellectual context while examining the development, evolution, and use of both the text and its accompanying images throughout the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her research interests broadly lie in the fields of cultural and intellectual history, with a specific focus on manuscript studies, palaeography, the history of the book, and the development and role of medieval libraries. Prior to embarking on her PhD, she received her degree in Art History with minors in Mathematics and Spanish from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland USA, and completed a MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Dr. Martin Kauffmann.

While at Durham, she wishes to examine, in essence, how medieval thinkers studied, how they accessed and ordered information, how these methods can inform our understanding of the past, and how these ideas changed and evolved throughout the medieval period. As such, her research at Durham Cathedral Library will focus not on a specific set of manuscripts or texts within the collection, but instead upon the medieval documentation and catalogues related to the collecting, ordering, storage and use of books related to, in the broadest sense, Durham Priory. She seeks to investigate how these catalogues, book lists, and other documents describe the storing and ordering of the books as a means of examining the larger ideas surrounding the retrieval, use, and development of knowledge in the medieval period. Furthermore, as Durham Cathedral Library has one of the most intact and thoroughly documented medieval book collections, it will be the ideal place to begin a project which she hopes to expand into looking at the development of other medieval libraries, both domestically and in Europe. She believes that in understanding how the books were stored, what determined their placement and order, and how the location of a book was related to its function in either a collegiate or monastic environment, it will be possible to gain a greater understanding of how those who used these manuscripts in their medieval setting approached and viewed the knowledge contained within the codices themselves.

Read Dr Anne McLaughlin's end-of-fellowship report

1 March -29 April, 2016

David Burke completed his PhD in History at Durham in 2015; his research investigated the interaction between the secular and clerical worlds of early medieval Ireland through the provision of penance, focusing specifically on the sin of bloodshed, and how this impacted on ideas of legitimate and illegitimate violence.

As part of the IMEMS Library fellowship, David will be examining the fourteenth-century Durham copy of the Liber de ordine creaturarm, a seventh-century Irish text which describes the universe from creation to conclusion, to discern evidence of use or alteration. This is part of a broader project which hopes to examine the family of late copies of this text made at Oxford and Cambridge (12th-15th centuries) to discover, among other things, how and why an early medieval Irish cosmological text remained relevant and popular long after it had been superseded by later works, indicative, perhaps, of a renewed interest in 'scientific' works in this later period.

Read Dr David Burke's end-of-fellowship report

9 May - 10 June, 2016

Natasha Constantinidou is a Lecturer in Early Modern European History at the University of Cyprus. She is a consultant on the St Andrews Universal Short Title Catalogue Project, and her research interests lie in the intellectual and cultural milieu of late sixteenth-early seventeenth-century Europe. Her first book, Responses to religious divisions, c. 1580–1620 is to be published by Ashgate in 2015.

The research to be undertaken during the IMEMS Library Fellowship is associated with the project 'Publishing and Marketing the Classics in the Sixteenth Century' which aims to investigate and assess the publishing and the marketing of texts by Greek Classical authors (in Greek) during the sixteenth century. It proposes to examine the rationale behind the publication of these texts in Western Europe, the uses that these were put in, their distribution and popularity and chart the development of these trends throughout the sixteenth century. The proliferation of classical texts during the sixteenth century is considered as given in the scholarship. This project will contribute to aspects of this field that still remain unclear, namely the relationship between humanism and the new editions of classics, as well as their specific output and market.

Read Natasha Constantinidou's end-of-fellowship report

15 June - 15 July 2016

John Kuhn did his undergraduate work at the University of Kansas before moving to Columbia University for his English doctorate. His dissertation, Making Pagans: Non-Abrahamic Religions on London's Stages from Marlowe to Southerne, turns to material performance history to examine the theater's contributions to ideas about radical religious difference in Stuart England. In addition to his work on drama, he has published two pieces on the poetry of George Herbert and the politics of the early 1630s, one forthcoming in English Literary Renaissance and the other in a collection entitled Prophecy and Eschatology in the Transatlantic World, 1500-1700.

At Durham, he will be working with Hunter MS 27, which contains a unique contemporary Latin translation of George Herbert's "The Church Militant," as part of a larger project on the relationship between the early Stuart colonial project and theories of the apocalypse.

Read John Kuhn's end-of-fellowship report