Meetings 2016

Seminar: 5 December 2016, 7-9 pm, St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • Members' Night Presentations

Seminar: 14 November 2016, 7-9 pm St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • ASA MITTMAN, Professor CSU-Chico: Curating Monsters in Medieval Manuscripts.

  • A discussion of research on manuscript monsters and his upcoming exhibit at the Morgan Library. Showcasing the three types of monsters—terrors, aliens and wonders—found in medieval manuscripts.

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 19 October 2016, 7:30pm, Stanford

  • DAVID WALLACE: Chaucer, Our Contemporary: Poetry and Performance. Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400) lies in Westminster Abbey, in Poets’ Corner, and has long been considered foundational to English national tradition. His range of writing dazzles, extending from ancient Trojan epic to bedroom farce, animal fable to feminist manifesto, dream vision to stark realism, astrology to medicine and science. His poetry comes alive when read aloud, and many barriers to understanding and enjoying Chaucer fall away when he is properly performed. Shakespeare, for one, saw great dramatic possibilities in Chaucer. Modern poets, performers, and rap artists, from British Columbia and London to Norway to Iran, are finding great creative inspiration in Chaucer. In this lecture, David Wallace presents Chaucer as a poet for our time, a brilliant original who reminds us that English, from day to day, from place to place, never ceases to change.

  • David Wallace, Judith Rodin Professor of English; Former Chair of the Department of English; Former President of the New Chaucer Society, University of Pennsylvania David Wallace is the author of Europe: A Literary History, 1348–1418. He is currently writing Chaucer: A Very Short Introductionfor Oxford University Press. He has taught at Penn since 1996, where he has received multiple teaching awards, but he first taught Chaucer at Stanford in 1984. In 2018, he will become the president of the Medieval Academy of America. He received a PhD from St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge.

Potluck: September 17 2016, the Kriegh's home, Los Altos

Special Collections visit: 17 May 2016, 7-9 pm at Stanford Green Library

  • JOHN MUSTAIN (Special Collections Librarian): Medieval Treasures and Other Delights Hosted by librarians John Mustain and Peter Whidden, members had the opportunity to peruse treasures from Special Collections that John had selected for our enjoyment.

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 20 April 2016, 7:30pm, Stanford

  • KELLY DEVRIES: 1066 and All That: Enduring English and French Rivalry During the Middle Ages Enduring English and French Strategic Rivalry During the Middle Ages. By all historical logic, England, a nation that occupies much of a large island off the northwest coast of Europe, should not have had the influence it did during any period of history, let alone the Middle Ages. In this talk, Kelly deVries will discuss how medieval England’s unlikely prominence came about because of its strategic decisions, in particular those concerning France from 1066 to 1453. These, as he will demonstrate, were based on three criteria. The first was politics, or, what is now a rather outdated term, feudalism—an obligation to one’s lord. The second was economics, which, in medieval England’s case, principally meant the wool trade. The third was geopolitics, the desire to achieve a European identity rather than an identity as a fringe or frontier state.

  • Kelly DeVries, Professor of History, Loyola University Maryland; Honorary Historical Consultant, Royal Armouries, United Kingdom Kelly DeVries specializes in medieval military history and technology. He is the co-author of Medieval Military Technology, Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, and Rhodes Besieged: A New History. He received a PhD in medieval studies from the University of Toronto.

Seminar: 7 Mar 2016, 7-9 pm St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, CA

  • NICOLA COLDSTREAM: Medieval festivals and pageants, who sponsored them and why Nicola Coldstream, who spoke to us on the Eleanor Crosses, several years ago, talked to us about how medieval entertainments were organized. We were fortunate that Dr. Coldstream, who was flying from England to Texas to give a talk, was willing to extend her journey on to California in order to be with us.

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 17 Feb 2016, Stanford

  • FIONA GRIFFITHS: Brides of Christ and Lords of Men: Medieval Women and Spiritual Authority. In 1817, Jane Austen dismissed “History” in a few sentences, rejecting it as an account of quarrels, wars, and pestilences—with “hardly any women at all.” Almost two hundred years later, history is less one-sided. But the idea that the past was a place of reflexively male authority and privilege remains largely intact. The medieval world, in particular, has an almost unshakeable reputation for misogyny, many still agreeing with the second-century church father Tertullian, who called Woman the “devil’s gateway.” Yet, as Fiona Griffiths shows, medieval women could also be celebrated as spiritual leaders, as “apostles,” and as intercessors whose prayers were highly sought. Tracing a tradition of female spiritual authority within the medieval church, Griffiths will offer an alternate vantage point from which to consider the interplay of gender and power in the medieval world. This analysis of gender, politics, and power will seem especially pertinent at a time when the United States presidential election will be in full swing.

  • Fiona Griffiths, Professor of History, Stanford Fiona Griffiths’ research focuses on 12th-century intellectual and religious culture, with a particular emphasis on the intersection of gender, spirituality, and intellectual engagement. She is the author of The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century. Her book Nuns’ Priests’ Tales: Gender, Authority, and Apologetics in the Medieval Monastery, 400–1200 is forthcoming.

Seminar: 25 Jan 2016, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • CHET van DUZER: An introduction to medieval and renaissance maps. Chet Van Duzer, an independent scholar, gave us a wonderful introduction to medieval and renaissance maps. Chet spoke to us a few years ago on the depiction of sea monsters on medieval maps and it was a pleasure to welcome him back.

Potluck + singers' reunion: 9 Jan 2016 Jones's house, Los Altos Hills