CFP: The Medieval Brain

CFP – The Medieval Brain Workshop, University of York, UK, March 10th and 11th, 2017

Deadline for submissions:  October 21, 2016



Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of two types of Golgi-stained neurons from the cerebellum of a pigeon

As we research aspects of the medieval brain, we encounter complications generated by medieval thought and twenty-first century medicine and neurology alike. Our understanding of modern-day neurology, psychiatry, disability studies, and psychology rests on shifting sands. Not only do we struggle with medieval terminology concerning the brain, but we have to connect it with a constantly-moving target of modern understanding. Though we strive to avoid interpreting the past using presentist terms, it is difficult – or impossible – to work independently of the framework of our own modern understanding. This makes research into the medieval brain and ways of thinking both challenging and exciting. As we strive to know more about specifically medieval experiences, while simultaneously widening our understanding of the brain today, we much negotiate a great deal of complexity.

In this two-day workshop, to be held at the University of York on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th March 2017 under the auspices of the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, we will explore the topic of ‘the medieval brain’ in the widest possible sense. The ultimate aim is to provide a forum for discussion, stimulating new collaborations from a multitude of voices on, and approaches to, the theme.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

Carole Rawcliffe (University of East Anglia)

Corinne Saunders (Durham University)

Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)

This call is for papers to comprise a series of themed sessions of papers and/or roundtables that approach the subject from a range of different, or an interweaving of, disciplines. Potential topics of discussion might include, but are not restricted to:

Mental health
The history of emotions
Disability and impairment
Terminology and the brain
Ageing and thinking
Retrospective diagnosis and the Middle Ages
Interdisciplinary practice and the brain
The care of the sick
Herbals and medieval medical texts
Research that grapples with terminology, combines unconventional disciplinary approaches, and/or sparks debates around the themes is particularly welcome. We will be encouraging diversity, and welcome speakers from all backgrounds, including those from outside of traditional academia. All efforts will be made to ensure that the conference is made accessible to those who are not able to attend through live-tweeting and through this blog.

Please send abstracts of up to 250 words for independent papers, or expressions of interest for roundtable topics/themed paper panels, by Friday 21st October, to Deborah Thorpe at: or visit the Workshop website at:

CFP: Shakespeare 401: What’s Next?

CFP: Shakespeare 401: What’s Next?

2017 Shakespearean Theatre Conference
University of Waterloo with the Stratford Festival: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (June 22-24, 2017)
Due: 31 January 2017


An 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown depicting the play’s famous balcony scene

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, full sessions, and workshops for the second Shakespearean Theatre Conference, to be held June 22-24, 2017. All approaches to Tudor-Stuart drama and its afterlives are welcome. In the wake of the Shakespeare quatercentenary, we especially encourage papers that think broadly and creatively about the future of this drama. How can old plays best speak to the diversity of contemporary identities? What new critical and creative directions seem particularly promising? Which established practices remained indispensable? What — or who — is due for a revival?

Plenary speakers:
Sarah Beckwith (Duke University)
Martha Henry (Stratford Festival)
Peter Holland (University of Notre Dame)
Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine)

The conference is a joint venture of the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Festival, and will bring together scholars and practitioners to talk about how performance influences scholarship and vice versa. Paper sessions will be held at the University of Waterloo’s Stratford campus, with plays and special events hosted by the Stratford Festival. The 2017 season at Stratford will include productions ofTwelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, The Changeling, Tartuffe, The School for Scandal, and The Bakkhai.

By January 31, 2017, please send proposals to


CFP: Teaching Chaucer’s Tales with Visuals.

Call for papers for the Chaucer MetaPage session at the International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, in May 2017

Beyond the Portraits: Teaching Chaucer’s Tales with Visuals

Deadline for Submission: September 15, 2016 

Chaucer MetaPage


The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 is mentioned in the Tales.CBeyond the Portraits: 

Teaching Chaucer’s Tales with Visuals.

For this session, we seek papers that explore the possibilities of using visual materials to teach the Canterbury Tales, going beyond the Ellesmere portraits and similar highly familiar resources. These resources could be online or off (e.g. photos, underexplored book illustrations, ephemera). The session will emphasize the pedagogical value of these materials.

Poetry at the Post: Reading Poetry in Alphabetical Order or “C” Is For Christian Campbell

by Christian Campbell


I am the first of my family 
to go to Buckingham Palace.
I had the flu, I nearly stayed home;…

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Buckingham Palace in London, April 1, 2009.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Buckingham Palace in London, April 1, 2009.

*From Running the Dusk by Christian Campbell, Peepal Tree Press Ltd., 2010. Running the Dusk gives us a  new voice for Caribbean arts and letters…(Yusef Komunyakaa)

Christian Campbell

Poetry at the Post: John Dryden Translation Competition

Mac Flecknoe

A Satire upon the True-blue Protestant Poet T.S.

All human things are subject to decay,
And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey:
This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call’d to empire, and had govern’d long:
In prose and verse, was own’d, without dispute
Through all the realms of Non-sense, absolute.

(c) National Portrait Gallery, London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Portrait Gallery, London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation



The British Comparative Literature Association organises a translation competition in memory of the first British poet laureate John Dryden (1631–1700), who was a literary critic, translator, and playwright as well as a poet. Sponsored jointly with the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, the John Dryden Translation Competition awards prizes for unpublished literary translations from any language into English. Literary translation includes poetry, prose, or drama from any period. There are three prizes of £350, £200, and £100; other entries may receive commendations. All three prizes also include one-year BCLA membership.

Prize-winners are announced in the summer on the BCLA website and prizes are presented thereafter every year at the BCLA ‘AGM and Colloquy’. Winning entries are eligible to be published in full on the website, and extracts from winning entries are also eligible for publication in Comparative Critical Studies.

Assisted by competent bilingual readers specialising in the literatures for which entries are received, the judges are selected from the following:

Dr Glyn Hambrook (Senior Lecturer, University of Wolverhampton and Editor, Comparative Critical Studies)

Dr Maike Oergel (Associate Professor, University of Nottingham and Editor, Comparative Critical Studies)

Dr Stuart Gillespie (Reader, University of Glasgow and Founding Editor, Translation and Literature)

Martin Sorrell (Translator)

Robert Chandler (Translator)

For conditions of entry and further details download the John Dryden Translation Competition 2015-2016 Entry Form. The closing date for receipt of entries for 2015-2016 is 16 February 2016.

Entries, each consisting of source text, your translation, an entry form, and the entry fee, should be sent to:

Dr Karen Seago
John Dryden Translation Competition
Department of Culture and Creative Industries
School of Arts and Social Sciences, City University London
London, EC1V 0HB, UK

You may be eligible to submit an entry free of charge; please see the John Dryden Translation Competition 2015-2016 Entry Form for details. Contact for more information.

Poetry at the Post: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in 101 tweets by Eric Weiskott

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as translated by A.S. Kline

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (from original manuscript, artist unknown)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (from original manuscript, artist unknown)

Soon as the siege and assault had ceased at Troy,
the burg broken and burnt to brands and ashes,
the traitor who trammels of treason there wrought
was tried for his treachery, the foulest on earth.

Last year while reading Beowulf and googling everything I could find on the topic, I landed on a “tweet translation” by Stanford medievalist (and “text technologies”) researcher Elaine Treharne, who neatly compressed Beowulf into 100 tweets( #BEOW100)  as a way of engaging her students in a look at “Beowulf from Then ’til Now.”

Intrigued by Treharne’s endeavor, I attempted to replicate her task by tweeting Song of Roland in 291 tweets (#SOR291). It was tedious and half way through, I almost gave up. I was constantly frustrated by forcing meaty text into 140 characters yet the process gave me an inside look into this medieval classic and made me understand how difficult it is to create a “really good translation.”

So, I thought I was done with all of this “tweeting the classics stuff,”  but via the marvels of the small world over the net, I was connected with medieval specialist Eric Weiskott who now plans to continue the “tweetization’ of medieval texts with his “translation” of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Look for #SG101 in the very near future.

Lady Bertilak at Gawain's bed (from original manuscript, artist unknown)
Lady Bertilak at Gawain’s bed (from original manuscript, artist unknown)

Having never read this 14th century chivalric romance. I’ll be adding Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to the reading list in The Global Reading Group. Send me a note if you’d like to join. And, yes, we will be looking at Weiskott’s translation along with A. S. Kline’s and others. It should be a fun read!

And when this Britain was built by this baron rich,
bold men were bred therein, of battle beloved,
in many a troubled time turmoil that wrought.

Poetry at the Post: Farewell to Bath, Hello Susa!

Farewell to Bath

(15 May 1689 – 21 August 1762)

To all you ladies now at Bath,
And eke, ye beaux, to you,
With aching heart, and wat’ry eyes,
I bid my last adieu.

Lady Montagu in Turkish dress by Jean-Étienne Liotard, ca. 1756, Palace on the Water in Warsaw
Lady Montagu in Turkish dress by Jean-Étienne Liotard, ca. 1756, Palace on the Water in Warsaw

Having just read Northanger Abbey, England, I was pleased to discover “Farewell to Bath” by Lady Montagu, a poem that captures my own feelings as I say farewell to Jane Austen’s Bath.

This poem was fun to read but I wanted to know more about the poet behind the poem. Who was Lady Montagu?

 Pope makes love to Lady Mary Montagu, 1852. Print from oil on canvas original at Auckland City Art Gallery
Pope makes love to Lady Mary Montagu, 1852. Print from oil on canvas original at Auckland City Art Gallery

Born in an aristocratic family in London, Lady Montagu educated herself via her father’s extensive library. Although she considered herself a poet, Lady Montagu is best remembered for her Letters from Turkey, written while living in Istanbul with her husband, the British Ambassador Edward Wortley Montagu. Given access to the private quarters of Islamic women, Lady Montagu was able to offer her readers a fuller—and quite interesting—picture of 18th century Turkey.

Lady Montagu was witty, intelligent, and quite outspoken. She rejected Alexander Pope’s romantic advances; openly took Jonathan Swift to task for his poetry; and introduced smallpox inoculation to England from Turkey.

A propos of distempers, I am going to tell you a thing, that will make you wish yourself here. The small-pox, so fatal, and so general amongst us, is here entirely harmless, by the invention of engrafting, which is the term they give it. There is a set of old women, who make it their business to perform the operation, every autumn, in the month of September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the small-pox; they make parties for this purpose, and when they are met (commonly fifteen or sixteen together) the old woman comes with a nut-shell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox, and asks what vein you please to have opened. She immediately rips open that you offer to her, with a large needle (which gives you no more pain than a common scratch) and puts into the vein as much matter as can lie upon the head of her needle , and after that, binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell, and in this manner opens four or five veins. (From Letters from Turkey)

Eventually she abandoned England—and her husband—to live abroad..and…well… I am digressing from Bath.

Now is the time to say goodbye to society balls, carriage rides and waters “Hot reeking from the pumps” as we travel back to ancient Persia and Greece.

Our next read in the virtual literary salon is The Persians by Aeschylus. Pride, grief and the folly of vengeance—all rolled up in a script of a mere 23 pages. We begin DECEMBER 1, 2014. Send a message to to join. Free and open to all.

We have a great group of worldwide readers and although we meet online, at times there are surprising personal encounters. Two readers recently met for the first time at a book fair in Scotland while just last Sunday my neighbor—and also a Northanger Abbey reader—stopped by with this nice note a la Jane Austen.

jane austin 1jane austen 2

My heart is full I can no more—
John, bid the coachman drive.

Good-bye Bath, Hello Susa!

Poetry at the Post: Life in a Roman Villa, The Seuso Treasure

“The Roman Villa” by Mervyn Lagden

Not only sheepmen, weavers, craftsmen
Lie under the Cotswald turf…

Seuso Hunting Plate in the  Hungarian Parliament Building Photo by Derzsi Elekes Andor - Own work CC by SA 3.0
Seuso Hunting Plate in the Hungarian Parliament Building
Photo by Derzsi Elekes Andor – Own work CC by SA 3.0

The story behind the Seuso Treasure, fourteen Roman-era silver worth perhaps as much as $200 million, is prime material for a blockbuster movie. Discovered more than 30 years ago, this treasure has been involved in a series of sales and acquisitions, illegal intrigue and possibly three murders.

Lake Balaton, July 2014
Lake Balaton, July 2014

When Sotheby’s put this treasure up for sale in New York in 1990, three countries came forward to claim ownership: Croatia, Hungary, and Lebanon.

Archeological features, however, indicate that the silver most likely was part of a 4th century Roman Villa in the Balaton region of modern day Hungary. (“Contributions to the Archeology of the Seuso Treasure” by Zsolt Visy)

Part now of the upland the the tools they used…

Roman Ruins Lake Balaton Region, July 2014
Roman Ruins Lake Balaton Region, July 2014

Early this year, seven pieces of this ancient Roman silver treasure were repatriated to Budapest with the logistical help of the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Center.

Penates and coloured pavements, ivory pins
And fingers that held them—warm brown mesh
Under the roots and the rabbit gins,