Sunday, March 27, 2016

Unfortunately Simon Doubleday's talk [described below] is postponed until some time next year.
Regrets and apologies for any inconvenience.

Those too eager to wait until next year can attend Simon's talk at  the Hispanic Society of America on April 9.

"The Wise King's Nightmare
Simon Doubleday, Professor of History, Hofstra University
Friday April 1, 7:30PM [POSTPONED]
365 5th Ave (btw 34th and 35th Streets)
English Studies Conference Room (4406)
Among the Cantigas de Santa María of Alfonso X, el Sabio (1252-84), one song to the Virgin describes a scene in which the king himself experiences a nightmarish vision while taking a siesta in his palace in the city of Seville, recently conquered from its Muslim rulers. The king dreams he sees the Virgin Mary, crying out in the castle chapel. In her arms, she is carrying a small child, and she running desperately to the chapel door, for the chapel is on fire. Alfonso dreams that she calls out to him to rescue her child, even if she must die. This talk will attempt to unpack the meanings of this nightmare, in the context of a tense colonial occupation, asking whether it can be read as having psychological as well as theological significance, and how, more broadly, we might use the Cantigas de Santa María, as evidence for the history of emotions in medieval Spain. Might the Wise King's nightmare even provide a glimpse of a repressed horror of thirteenth-century war, and its impact on civilian populations?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Chaucer and the Matter of Troy
Reading the Blank Spaces in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 61
Marilynn Desmond
Distinguished Professor, English Department, SUNY Binghamton
Friday, March 4 2016
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave (btw 34th and 35th Streets) 
English Studies Conference Room (4406)
The only illustrated manuscript of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde--Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 6--contains an elaborate frontispiece as well as 90 blanks spaces for images that were never produced. These blank spaces paradoxically represent an intertextual and even inter-visual dialogue with the matter of Troy in the tradition of universal history known as the Histoire ancienne jusq’à César. Situating Chaucer’s Troilus in relation to the pan-European dissemination of the matter of Troy in the Histoire ancienne illustrates the resilient materiality of the book as artefact, the non-human agent responsible for the survival and itineraries of pre-modern texts.