Meetings 2012

Seminar: Monday, December 3, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park (6-7 brown-bag)

  • SHARON KINOSHITA, Professor of Literature, UC Santa Cruz & Co-Director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies, on her new research on Re-Orientations: The World of Marco Polo.
  • The text commonly known as The Travels resulted from the jailhouse collaboration between the Venetian merchant Marco Polo and the Arthurian romance writer Rustichello of Pisa. Originally composed in Franco-Italian (the language of choice for non-clerical Italian writers seeking a broad international audience) the text was quickly translated and retranslated into French, Latin, Tuscan, Venetian, and a spate of other European languages. Typically for the Middle Ages, no two versions were the same, and early manuscripts circulated under three different titles: Le Devisement du monde (The Description of the World), Le Livre du Grand Caam (The Book of the Great Khan), or Le Livre des merveilles (The Book of Marvels). Arguably, the text did not become “The Travels” until the mid-sixteenth century, when the Venetian humanist Giovanni Battista Ramusio published an Italian print translation (1559), augmented with many passages found in no other version, as part of his series, Delle navigationi et viaggi.
  • Based on my current project -- an annotated translation of the earliest surviving manuscript (Paris BNF fr. 1116) -- my talk takes Marco Polo’s text as a lens through which to bring into focus the economic, political, and cultural interconnectedness of his world.

Medieval Matters Public Lecture: Thursday, November 1, 7-9 pm at Geology Corner Bldg 320, room 105, Stanford UniversityR.

  • HOWARD BLOCH, Sterling Professor of French and Chair of the Humanities Program, Yale University. Medieval Books and Buildings in the Making of Modern France: Viollet-le-Duc and Gaston Paris
  • Unfortunately, hurricane Sandy prevented the speaker for this talk from making it to the West Coast.
  • In the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and beginning with the July Monarchy of 1830, the makers of modern France turned to the Middle Ages to create a uniquely French identity, in an effort to counter the nationalist claims of its rivals the English and the Germans. This involved restoring cathedrals -- transforming them from religious shrines into national architectural monuments -- as well as locating and editing medieval literary and historical works.
  • The two most prominent figures in this movement were Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, who had a hand in the remaking of every major religious edifice from the eleventh-hour rescue of the Vézelay Abbey in 1836, to the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris between 1843 and 1864, and Gaston Paris, the founding father of Medieval Studies in France.

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

  • BOB NYDEN and CYNDY AINSWORTH, Living in the Shadow of Medieval Italian Towers, on their year living and learning in Bologna, Rome and Florence. (See more at their blog:

Seminar: May 31, 2012 at St Bede's Episcopal Church, Menlo Park

  • KERRY McCARTHY (Musicologist, Duke University and early Sarum Seminar member): From the library of William Byrd.
  • William Byrd (c. 1540-1623) was a contemporary of Shakespeare and one of the great composers of the English Renaissance. He was also an avid collector of books. Kerry McCarthy will talk about his newly discovered library and what it tells us about his life.
  • KERRY McCARTHY, Associate Professor of Music at Duke University, earned her Ph.D. at Stanford in 2003. During her graduate student years she sang with Bill Mahrt's choirs and participated in several of our trips to Salisbury. SInce joining the Duke faculty she has published 16 journal articles and book chapters, as well as numerous conference papers and book reviews. Her second book on William Byrd will be published next year by Oxford University Press.
[Bloch medieval books flyer]

Medieval Matters public lecture: Wednesday May 2, 2012, 7-9pm at Geology 105, Building 320, Stanford. Free and open to the public. Co-sponsored with Stanford Continuing Studies and other departments. [flyer]

  • MICHELLE BROWN (Manuscript archivist, British Library / University of London): Imagining the exotic: British and Irish attitudes to the cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East in the early Middle Ages.

Seminar: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • DEBORAH LOFT (Art historian, College of Marin): Cross-cultural artistic interchange in medieval Toledo

Special Collections visit: Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 7-9 pm at Stanford Green Library

  • JOHN MUSTAIN (Special Collections Librarian): Medieval Treasures and Other Delights

Medieval Matters public lecture: Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7-9 pm at Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building, 435 Lausen Mall, Stanford University. Free and open to the public. (Members-only reception 5:15-6:30 at Memorial Church Round Room.) Co-sponsored with Stanford Continuing Studies and other departments. [flyer]

  • Robert M. Durling (Emeritus Professor of Italian & English Literature, UC Santa Cruz): Dante now - rescheduled from last May.
  • In English, there is no poet of Dante's stature except Shakespeare, and in Italy, he is regarded as so unapproachably supreme that he is referred to simply as 'The Poet'—no qualifiers are necessary. In this talk, Robert Durling will discuss the challenges—and the exhilaration—of bringing the work of such a vast, intimidating, and luminous poet into English, and how reading him, six hundred years after he wrote, can transfix us and even change our lives.
  • Robert Durling is one of the preeminent translators of Dante into English, and a scholar who has spent more than fifty years crafting versions of the Divine Comedy that bring this superlative 14th-century Florentine poet into conversation with contemporary Americans. Durling is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and three books on Italian Renaissance literature. In 1996, his eagerly-awaited translation of Dante's Inferno was published by Oxford University Press, followed by Purgatorio in 2003 and Paradiso in 2010. Stanford colleague Michael Wyatt says Durling's translations are "marvelous, in the richest medieval sense of the term."
[Durling Dante flyer]

Seminar: Monday, January 9, 2012, 7-9 pm at St. Bede's Episcopal Church: 2650 Sandhill Road, Menlo Park, In the Great Hall (6-7 brown-bag). Members night: presentations by our own SARUM SEMINAR MEMBERS

  • WILLIAM MAHRT (Professor of Music, Stanford) presents his paper on The Role of Melisma in Early Music -- "lots of notes on one syllable"
  • VIRGINIA JANSEN (Professor of Art History Emerita, UC Santa Cruz) with an update on the Chapter House project at Vina, California, which she visited this Fall with Tim & Yoshio
  • J. FRASER MUIRHEAD (Opthalmologist) tells us about medieval cities in Russia
  • LINDA PAPANICOLOU (Art historian & art teacher) describes visiting the bell foundry in Loughborough, England -- "my encounter with a 14th century bell"
  • PLUS A BOOK SWAP/SALE before and after -- Bring duplicate or surplus books that others in the group might like to inherit or buy from you