Meetings 2019

Seminar: 5 December 2019, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • Members' Night presentations.

Seminar: 4 November 2019, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • PATRICK HUNT: The Medieval Stave Churches of Norway Professor of history and archaeology Patrick Hunt of Stanford University gave an illustrated lecture on the style, development, construction and general history of the uniquely Scandinavian wooden stave churches.

Seminar: 7 October 2019, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • BOB NYDEN and DICK JONES: The Fire at Notre-Dame Paris of 15 April 2019. Sarum Seminar members Bob Nyden and Dick Jones gave two presentations spurred by the recent catastrophic fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Bob detailed the timeline of the fire and showed efforts thus far to stabilize the bulding, along with proposals for reconstruction. Dick discussed some non-traditional possibilities for the roof configuration and some reasons for perhaps not replicating the historic roof style.

Potluck: 14 September 2019 Kriegh's house, Los Altos

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 22 May 2019, 7:30pm, Stanford

  • BRUCE HOLSINGER: Yes, Your Majesty: Historical Fiction and the Anachronistic Style

  • When we read a work of historical fiction, are we encountering the real truth about the past—or are we working through a series of lies designed to deceive us in new ways? According to the writer Hilary Mantel, “you don’t become a novelist to become a spinner of entertaining lies: you become a novelist so you can tell the truth.” But what is “truth” in a historical novel—and what are “facts”? How do writers, readers, scholars, and critics understand the suspension of disbelief required if we are to immerse ourselves in a past world, even as our own world challenges us to separate fact from fiction, truth from lies, in ever more demanding and creative ways?

  • Drawing on his dual experiences as a historical novelist and a scholar of medieval literature, University of Virginia professor Bruce Holsinger will explore the changing nature of historical fiction in an era of alternative facts and political mendacity.

  • Bruce Holsinger is the author of five books, including A Burnable Book, which received the John Hurt Fisher Prize; and The Invention of Fire, which imagined the beginnings of gun violence in the Western world. His academic books have received major prizes from the Modern Language Association, the Medieval Academy of America, and the American Musicological Society. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Potluck: 18 May 2019 at the Grindley's house, Los Altos

Special Collections visit: 28 March 2019, 7-9 pm at Stanford Green Library

  • JOHN MUSTAIN (Special Collections Librarian): Medieval Treasures and Other Delights John Mustain and Peter Whidden, along with Benjamin Albritton, hosted a private showing of some of the treasures housed in Stanford's Special Collections. There was an emphasis this year on their medieval manuscript music holdings. This event was held in Green Library on the Stanford campus.

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: 21 Feb 2019, Stanford

  • PAUL FREEDMAN: Medieval and Modern Ideas of Diet and Health This talk was held on the Stanford campus, given by Paul Freedman of Yale University. He focused on how in both medieval and modern cultures food has been considered primarily in relation to “wellness", a condition far richer and more positive than mere freedom from sickness. As food enthusiast and medieval historian Paul Freedman explained in this engaging lecture, the opposite of “wellness" is not just “illness.” The quest for wellness thus typically involves not simply diet, but also regimens founded on spiritual exercises: yoga in the modern world or prayer in the medieval one.

Seminar: 14 Jan 2019, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • ALLAN LANGDALE: The Hippodrome of Constantinople: Art, Architecture, History. Allan Langdale of UCSB and UCSC, who spoke to us last year on the Hagia Sophia, returned to talk about the hippodrome of Constantinople, which was once one of the world's greatest buildings. Sitting in the heart of the capital of a vast empire, it hosted chariot races under the gazes of both emperors and common people. This lecture revealed the fascinating past of this remarkable structure and the centrality of chariot racing in Byzantine culture. Both art and architecture were important components of the structure, as the hippodrome was also profusely decorated with works of art. Some tantalizing samples survive to us and tell tales of the great building's history.