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About the Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Sasmars aims to promote scholarly interest and research in Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Southern Africa and further afield. Its biennial conferences provide a forum for academics and senior students to present their work in congenial surroundings. The Society's journal, The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, is a peer-reviewed publication which is accredited for South African research subsidy purposes. The SASMARS Newsletter has grown beyond our wildest expectations and has attracted the attention of scholars from all over the world. As a result, our 20th biennial conference in 2010 attracted the largest group of international delegates ever and served to forge important links between international scholars and their Southern African counterparts.

It has become a tradition to invite the keynote speakers at our conferences to become Corresponding Fellows of the Society and we are proud to acknowledge the following in that capacity:

Professors Jerry Brotton, Gordon Campbell, Sheila Delany, Roberta Frank, Helen Fulton, Alexandra Johnston, Susannah Monta, Edward Muir, Chris Wickham, and Henry Woudhuysen.

The latest addition to this list is Professor Carolyn Dinshaw, who was the keynote speaker at the 23nd biennial conference held at Mont Fleur in August 2016.


Number 1, 2010


Conference Announcement: SASMARS 2010
Calls for Papers
Scholarly Associations
News Snippets
On the Lighter Side


Afterlives: Survival and Revival
SASMARS 2010, Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2-5 September
The 20th Biennial Conference of the Southern African Society of Medieval and Renaissance Studies will be held at Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch, South Africa, on 2-5 September 2010.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Alexandra F. Johnston, Ph.D., FRSC, Past President of the Academy of the Royal Society of Canada.
The theme of the Conference is "Afterlives: Survival and Revival". The conference theme is designed to promote reflection on appropriations, adaptations and continuities in cultural production. A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published in a special issue of The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (accredited for South African research subsidy purposes).
A pleasing array of proposals has been received from a variety of disciplines. More information and the provisional programme will be announced soon.
SASMARS President and conference convenor: Professor M Bratchel, Department of History, University of the Witwatersrand, JOHANNESBURG 2050, South Africa.


Deadline 3 September 2010
We wish to invite proposals for papers and panels for ANZAMEMS 2011.
We would like to encourage papers and panels in the broadly-defined academic disciplines of medieval and early modern studies, including but not limited to history, literary studies, music, art history, theology and religious studies, cultural studies, philosophy, science, medicine, maritime studies, performance studies, gender studies. We particularly welcome and encourage papers from graduate students and early career researchers.
Proposals for full panels are very welcome. These should include three proposed speakers, and, if possible, a chair and/or a respondent.
Individual papers will be grouped with two others. Parallel sessions will last an hour and a half, which means that papers should be no longer than 20 minutes each to leave sufficient time for discussion.
The final deadline for proposals is 3 September 2010, but early submissions are encouraged. Proposals should contain a title, an abstract of your paper (200 words), and your name, contact details, and institutional affiliation.
Participants who need to make travel arrangements are welcome to submit their proposals early and the convenors will assess their abstracts promptly. Proposals should be sent to: Further information may be sought from the convenors: Dr Simone Celine Marshall Dr Judith Collard Professor Peter Anstey
or from our website:

The Wooden O Symposium Shakespeare, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
August 9-11, 2010
Deadline for proposals: April 1, 2010

Cedar City, Utah, USA Sherratt Library - College of Visual and Performing Arts - Utah Shakespearean Festival Southern Utah University
The 2010 Wooden O Symposium will be held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association Conference (RMMRA) at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, from August 9-11. The Wooden O Symposium, sponsored by the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Southern Utah University's College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Gerald Sherratt Library, and the Department of English, is a cross-disciplinary conference focusing on the text and performance of Shakespeare's plays. Please note that in support of SUU's mission to promote undergraduate research, the Wooden O Symposium regularly includes at least one undergraduate panel as part of their program.
Conference Priorities -- The Wooden O Symposium invites papers on any topic related to Shakespeare and early modern drama, but gives priority to those relating to the Utah Shakespearean Festival's 2010 summer season: The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth.
Additionally, RMMRA invites panel and paper proposals on their conference's special topic, "Politics and Performance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance." Scholars attending the conference will have the unique opportunity of immersing themselves in research, text, and performance in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the western U.S.
Selected papers from the symposium are published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Wooden O Symposium.
Submission -- Conference co-chairs are Jessica Tvordi, Department of English, Southern Utah University and Michael Don Bahr, Education Director, Utah Shakespearean Festival.
Deadline for proposals is April 1, 2010. For more information see the WOS website. _______________________________________________

Montreal 2010 Conference, 14-17 October 2010
Deadline 15 March 2010
The Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC) is now accepting proposals for individual papers and complete sessions for its annual conference, to be held at the Hilton Bonaventure in Montreal, Canada, 14-17 October 2010. The SCSC, founded to promote scholarship on the early modern era (ca. 1450 – ca. 1660), actively encourages the participation of international scholars as well as the integration of younger colleagues into the academic community. We also welcome proposals for roundtables sponsored by scholarly societies that are affiliated with the SCSC.
In honor of our bilingual host city, proposals are encouraged in either English or French. Abstracts (up to 250 words in length) for papers and sessions may be submitted online at:
The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2010. Within four weeks after the deadline, the Program Committee will notify all those who submitted proposals.
The SCSC, a not-for-profit scholarly organization, receives no governmental or institutional funding. In order to participate in this conference, delegates or their sponsoring institution/organization will need to fund their own travel and lodging expenses in addition to a $155 per delegate registration fee ($93 student fee). The registration fee is used to pay for conference facilities and general events. By paying the fee, delegates become members in the SCSC and receive the Sixteenth Century Journal.

Formulas in Medieval Culture
Nancy (France)
November 5-6, 2010
Languages: English and French
Abstract submission deadline: February 28, 2010
The GRENDEL, the medieval section of the IDEA research group (Nancy University), invites proposals for an international and interdisciplinary conference devoted to the study of formulas in Medieval Culture, to take place on November 5-6, 2010. The conference is a follow-up to the successful 2008 Conference on Formulas in Medieval England.
Medieval modes of thinking and representation rely heavily on formulas, that is to say on the expected return of recognizable devices. The omnipresence of formulas in all aspects of medieval culture generates productive tensions between individual expression and collective norms, change and continuity, innovations and rituals.
The aim of the conference is to systematically explore these tensions through presentations devoted to various areas of the Medieval World and of Medieval Thought.

Papers are welcome on, but not limited to:

  • Religious and political rituals

  • Oral-formulaic theory

  • Legal formulas

  • Topoi and generic conventions

  • Politeness and ritualized interaction

  • Conventional motifs in visual arts
Papers may be given in English or French and should be 20 minutes long. Selected papers will be published in the proceedings of the conference.
Please email a brief CV and an abstract of no more than 400 words to Colette Stévanovitch ( by February 28, 2010. Please include the title of your paper, name, affiliation and email address.
Inquiries: Colette Stévanovitch ( ) and Elise Louviot ( )
IDEA (Interdisciplinarity in Anglophone Studies)
23, bd Albert 1er BP 3397
54015 Nancy Cedex

Renaissance English Text Society
invites abstracts for sessions on
"Manuscript, Print, and Problems of Attribution in Early Modern Texts"
at the following conferences:
Renaissance Society of America, 24-26 March 2011 in Montreal
(Abstracts due no later than 1 May 2010)
Medieval Congress, 12-15 May 2011, Kalamazoo, MI
(Abstracts due no later than 1 September 2010)
Please send abstracts to:
Arthur Marotti at

CFP: SCMLA Conference October 28-30, 2010, Fort Worth, TX.
Deadline for Submissions is March 26, 2010
The SCMLA Old and Middle English Session welcomes submissions on any topic related to Old or Middle English studies including gender, environment, ethnicity/national identity, history, culture, and (of course) literature. The general conference theme is "New Frontiers," but the session topic is open. Please send papers or 500 word abstracts to on or before the March 26 deadline. E-mailed submissions are preferred, but regular mail submissions will be accepted. Submissions made by regular mail must be postmarked by the deadline.
English Department Coordinator
Dallas Baptist University

Various CFPs for sessions at the 2011 MLA Annual Convention

1. Call for papers for a session at the 2011 MLA Convention in Los Angeles
"Spenser and Marlowe": The International Spenser Society and the Marlowe Society of America jointly propose a session to encourage innovative discussion of the ways that Spenser and Marlowe intersect:
poetics, narrative modes, character and allegory, tradition and innovation, prosody, and politics.
Abstracts: 200 words
Due: 15 March 2010
Send abstracts and inquiries to both
Kenneth Gross, Department of English, University of Rochester
and Roslyn Knutson, President, Marlowe Society,
2. An additional call for papers for a session sponsored by the International Spenser Society for the 2011 MLA Convention in Los Angeles:
The Poet's Poet: A Spenser Roundtable
Edmund Spenser is often referred to as the poet's poet. So what do poets read him for? Roundtable discussion of lessons in the art of poetry.
Abstracts to Jeff Dolven, Princeton University, by March 1.

3. Call for Papers: Emotion at the Renaissance Court
Deadline for abstracts : 2 March 2010
Proposed special session for MLA 2011 (Los Angeles; January 6-9) seeks papers considering emotion and affect in the early modern courtly sphere. The emotional life of a courtier, emotional displays at court, depictions of courtly emotion, emotion in courtly literature, etc.
Abstracts to Bradley J. Irish


Call for Articles: A Special Thematic Issue of the South African Journal of Art History, volume 25, number 3, 2010
Deadline: 31 August 2010

The third 2010 issue of the South African Journal of Art History will be a special thematic issue dealing with the following theme: The visual arts and the sciences The focus of the research should be on the integration, interdependence and mutual enhancement of the visual arts and the sciences.

 You may deal with the subject according to your special interest. However, it is suggested that you consider themes such as the following: Art and science are both problem-solving activities. Our specialised scholarship seems to suffer from a dearth of meaningful connections.

The closing date for the receipt of articles: 31 August 2010.

Send articles by e-mail to the editor: Estelle A. Maré. ( If the article exceeds 30MB send two hard copies to the following postal address: Prof EA Maré 431 Farenden Street Clydesdale 0002 Pretoria South Africa

SHAKESPEARE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA (Journal of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa)
Editor: Christopher Thurman
Volume 22 will be out in June of this year, and Volume 23 (2011) will be a special edition guest edited by Tony Voss.

Details are as follows:
I write to invite you to contribute to a special issue on: "Banishment, xenophobia, home and exile in Shakespeare and the Renaissance" In the light of recent South African experience, the choice of topic suggests opportunism, but the general theme offers many ways into the literature and the period, and, if any explicit link were needed, connects Shakespeare’s time with our own. It may be inclusive to the point of amorphousness, but these are some of the possibilities:
  • Codes and invented languages
  • Diaspora
  • The foreign
  • Gypsies
  • Homelessness
  • Hospitality
  • Masterless men
  • Neologism
  • The outcast
  • The outlaw
  • The strange and the stranger
  • The uncanny
  • The wanderer
The aim is to invite contributions both from scholars resident in the country and from South Africans and others living and working abroad. Please pass this invitation on to anyone you think may be interested, departmental colleagues or fellow members of professional associations.

Please let me have a proposal before the end of February if you should consider submitting. Complete papers would need to be with me by the end of November 2010, for publication of a first special issue in June 2011. Tony Voss

The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies
Special Call For Papers for 2009 Issue on
Monsters and Monstrosities in the Middle Ages
Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies is a refereed journal devoted to the literature and cultures of the medieval world. Published electronically once a year, its mission is to present a forum in which graduate students from around the globe may share their ideas. For further information please visit our website at Our upcoming issue will be devoted to representations and interpretations of monsters and monstrosities in art, chronicles, letters, literature, and music from the Middle Ages. We are also interested in book reviews on foundational works that would be helpful for graduate students exploring medieval monsters and monstrosities for the first time, such as Asa Sim Mittman, Maps And Monsters In Medieval England, (2008) and Karin E. Olsen, L. A. J. R. Houwen, eds., Monsters and the monstrous in medieval northwest Europe (2001). Article submissions may address but are not limited to:
  • Bestiaries and manuscript illuminations of monstrosities
  • Classical and Eastern transmissions and receptions of monsters
  • Desires and sins of the flesh that degrade humans into monstrosities in allegories, commentaries, exempla, hagiography, miracle collections, and sermons
  • The Green Man, the Owl Man, the Wild Man and the Wild Woman
  • Medical accounts of monstrous births and the ‘monstrous’ female, intersexed, or male body
  • Monsters and monstrosities in epics, exempla, fables, lais, and romances
  • Monsters and monstrosities in chronicles and travel literature
  • Purgatorial and demonic monsters and monstrosities in Visionary literature
  • The racial ‘other’ as a monstrosity
  • Saints as and/or versus monsters and monstrosities in vitae and legends
  • Transformations of humans into animals and vice versa
The 2009 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies will be published in May of 2010. All graduate students are welcome to submit their articles and book reviews or send their queries via email to by March 1 2010. _______________________________________________

Call for Papers:

Articles, books for review, images should be sent to the editors and cc to . All material submitted for consideration must comply with the Anglistica guidelines available at

Deadline: 30 June 2010
Title: Shakespeare in the Media: Old and New

Editors: Anna Maria Cimitile ( and Katherine Rowe (
Description: We especially welcome articles on less known, more radical or experimental Shakespearean re-visions in the fields of cinema, new media and the visual arts. Issues for analysis might include: The old and the new, fixed categories? Is cinema, whose essence was montage for Eisenstein, image-time and image-movement for Deleuze, a new or old medium? / From painting to stage photography and the fragments of footage material from the plays' mises en scene, what is the cultural politics of representing representations of Shakespeare? / The long history of media convergence and intermedial effects: plays within the film, videos within the play, etc. / Between 'deep attention' and 'hyperattention', how do the transformative possibilities of new media affect the way we process Shakespearean texts? / Shakespeare, new media and philosophy. New media and new subjectivities. Intercultural Shakespeare in new media. Shakespeare and diagrammatic knowledge. GIS, mapping and topological Shakespeare.
Prof Anna Maria Cimitile Dipartimento degli Studi Letterari e Linguistici dell'Europa Universita degli Studi di Napoli 'L'Orientale' Via Duomo 219 80138 Napoli Italy _______________________________________________

Vol 4 Now in Print!
Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal is pleased to announce that Volume 4 is now in print and available for purchase.
Volume 4 includes essays by Joanne H. Wright, Peter Matheson, Holly Hurlburt, and Amber Youell in addition to a forum on early modern women and material culture. As usual, the volume includes book reviews and an art exhibition review.
We now process payment online in addition to accepting check payment.
Please visit our website: for subscription forms or other information about the journal. _______________________________________________

Call for Papers
Deadline: Feb. 15, 2010
Early English Studies Journal is accepting articles that are concerned with any aspect of medieval or early modern green/environmental topics for the 2010 issue, “Green Thoughts in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds.” We welcome articles between 20 and 30 pages (including notes) that interrogate ecological or environmental questions that arise in literary and historical texts approximately between the years 1400 and 1700. We are looking for a wide variety of theoretical and historical approaches to the idea of the “green,” which could include but is not limited to investigations of interior and exterior landscapes, the conception of the pastoral, gardens in literature, the effects of pollution, literary celebration of country-house poems, scientific writings and treatises, and journals that record weather or other effects on the land and sea.
Early English Studies (EES) is an online journal under the auspices of the University of Texas, Arlington English Department and is devoted to literary and cultural topics of study in the medieval and early modern periods. EES is published annually, peer-reviewed, and is open to general submission. Please include a brief bio and 200-word abstract with your electronic submission, all in Word documents (.doc not .docx). Visit the website at for more specific submission guidelines and to read past issues. Send submissions to: Amy L. Tigner,


A special issue of EMLS has been posted. As usual, it is available for download free and without subscription at the following web address:
Embodying Shakespeare
Edited by David McInnis and Brett D. Hirsch
Articles: Embodying Shakespeare: Introduction. [1] David McInnis (University of Melbourne) and Brett D. Hirsch (University of Victoria). How Should One Read a Shakespeare Sonnet? [2] Bruce R. Smith (University of Southern California). Tragicomic Transformations: Passion, Politics, and the ‘Art to Turn’ in Fletcher’s The Island Princess. [3] Jean E. Feerick (Brown University). Counterfeit Professions: Jewish Daughters and the Drama of Failed Conversion in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. [4] Brett D. Hirsch (University of Victoria). Perceiving Shakespeare: A Study of Sight, Sound, and Stage. [5] Jennifer Rae McDermott (University of Toronto). Horticulture of the Head: The Vegetable Life of Hair in Early Modern English Thought. [6] Edward J. Geisweidt (University of Alabama). Mind-Travelling, Ideal Presence and the Imagination in Early Modern England. [7] David McInnis (University of Melbourne). ‘O die a rare example’: Beheading the Body on the Jacobean Stage. [8] Fiona Martin (University of Waikato). ‘A nature but infected’: Plague and Embodied Transformation in Timon of Athens. [9] Darryl Chalk (University of Southern Queensland). ‘Enamoured of thy parts:’ Dismemberment and Domesticity in Romeo and Juliet. [10] Ariane M. Balizet (Texas Christian University). Antony’s Body. [11] Joyce Green MacDonald (University of Kentucky).
Shorter Articles: Hamlet, the Pirate’s Son. [12] Mary Floyd-Wilson (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Is There Life After Sex?: Macbeth and Post-Sexuality. [13] Helen Ostovich (McMaster University).
Review Essay: Differing Returns: On History, Bodies and Early Modern Lives. [14] Laurie Johnson (University of Southern Queensland).
Review: Amanda Bailey. Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2007. [15] Jason Freddi (University of Melbourne). _______________________________________________

Spanish Society for Mediaeval English Language and Literature
Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval
We are pleased to announce that Issue 15 of SELIM (the journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature) is already available in hardcopy and will be available online in due time.
Detailed table of contents below:
ARTICLES Ruth Carroll (University of Turku): Historical English phraseology and the extender tag. Carmen Maíz Arévalo (Complutense University of Madrid): ‘What sholde I make a lenger tale of this?’: Linguistic and stylistic analysis of rhetorical questions in the Canterbury Tales. Jennifer F. Scammell (University of Glasgow): Domesticating the Virgin: ‘Holy labore’ and the late medieval household. Marcelle Cole (University of Seville): What is the Northern Subject Rule? The resilience of a medieval constraint in Tyneside English.
NOTES William Sayers (Cornell University): King Alfred’s timbers. Javier Ruano-García (University of Salamanca): On the origins of sike ‘such’: a revision in the light of LAEME and LALME.
REVIEWS and NOTICES Laura Esteban Segura (University of Murcia): An interview with Sally Mapstone. Juan Camilo Conde Silvestre (University of Murcia): Smith, Jeremy 2007: Sound Change and the History of English. Mariano González Campo (University of Murcia-University of Bergen): Tolkien, J. R. R. 2009: The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún. Fátima Faya (University of Santiago de Compostela): Taavitsainen, Irma & Jucker, Andreas H. 2008: Speech Acts in the History of English. Editors’ note Selim Stylesheet & publications policy Selim publishes articles, notes, reviews, book notes and other scientific papers that contribute to the advancement of Mediaeval English Studies and Comparative Medieval Studies.

Originals submitted for possible publication will be subject to peer reviewing, and should not have been sent to other journals or means of publications. Contributions are to be sent to the Editors ( ). Please find Stylesheet and other relevant information in .

All correspondence should be sent to: Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval (c/o Trinidad Guzmán) Departamento de Filología Moderna: Inglés Facultad de Filosofía y Letras-Universidad de Léon 24071 León – Spain




Weyward Macbeth
Intersections of Race and Performance
Edited by Scott L. Newstok and Ayanna Thompson
This volume of entirely new essays provides innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to the various ways Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been adapted and appropriated within the context of American racial constructions. Comprehensive in its scope, this collection addresses the enduringly fraught history of Macbeth in the United States, from its appearance as the first Shakespearean play documented in the American colonies to a proposed Hollywood film version with a black diasporic cast. Over two dozen contributions explore Macbeth’s haunting presence in American drama, poetry, film, music, history, politics, acting, and directing—all through the intersections of race and performance.
Palgrave Macmillan, December 2009
ISBN: 978-0-230-61642-4, ISBN10: 0-230-61642-9, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 308 pages

For more information, please see:

Scott Newstok is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Rhodes College.

Ayanna Thompson is Associate Professor in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University.

Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of "the Middle Ages" Outside Europe edited by Kathleen Davis and Nadia Altschul

This fascinating study explores the intersection of postcolonial theory and medievalism. While the latter has traditionally been defined primarily in terms of European nationalism, the essays in this volume discuss medievalism in regions as wide-ranging as the United States, India, Latin America, and Africa. This innovative approach demonstrates the ways alternative conceptions of medieval and modern history can provide new insights into the idea of the Middle Ages and the origins and legacy of colonialism. Through diverse and thought-provoking essays, the contributors demonstrate that writing the Middle Ages has been key in colonial and postcolonial struggles over racial, ethnic, and territorial identity. They also argue that colonial medievalisms are crucial to understanding the history of entrenched temporal and political partitions, such as medieval/modern and East/West.
The essays are divided into four sections that address a set of related questions raised by the literary and political intersections of medievalism and colonialism. Each section is followed by a response—two are by postcolonial theorists and two by medievalists—that carefully considers the essay's arguments and comments on its implications for the respondent’s field of study.
This volume is the first to bring medievalists and postcolonial scholars into conversation about the shared histories of their fields and the potential for mutual endeavor.
Kathleen Davis teaches medieval literature at the University of Rhode Island and is the author of Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time and Deconstruction and Translation. Nadia Altschul teaches medieval and Latin American studies at the Johns Hopkins University and is author of La literatura, el autor y la crítica textual.

Victor Houliston contributed the piece on Medievalism and the Voice of Conscience in 20th-century South Africa to this volume.

Click here for more information.


Norman Holland's new book, Literature and the Brain, will interest those who wish to learn how the latest research into the brain affects our understanding of literature. His book raises the most fundamental issues about the hows and whys of reading and then provides, with the help of brain research, tentative answers to more specific questions like why we become “absorbed” in literature, why we like certain texts and dislike others, and why and how reading is different from other activities. More than any other theorist, Holland is building bridges between neuropsychology and cognitive psychology, on the one hand, and literary studies, on the other. —Jeffrey Berman, author of Death in the Classroom: Writing about Love and Loss This book is the culmination of fifty years of pathbreaking work in psychology and literature. It shows that Holland remains preeminent in the field. Across a remarkable range of topics, the book shows vast learning about brain science and humane sensitivity to art. Moreover, it is written in a lucid and engaging prose. Among its many signal contributions is the rigorous and insightful synthesis of neuroscience and psychoanalysis. It is a book from which everyone can learn a great deal—whether they are artists or neurologists, professional literary theorists or undergraduates, clinicians or empirical psychologists. —Patrick Colm Hogan, Editor, Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Sciences More information:
All profits from this book will go to support the PsyArt Foundation and the psychological study of the arts.

Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia and Cyberspace edited by Alexander C.Y. Huang and Charles S. Ross, has been published by Purdue University Press, 2009. 297 pages.
Contributors include: David Bevington, Peter Holland, Richard Burt, Christy Desmet, Sujata Iyengar, and others.
ISBN: 978-1557535290
Recent decades have witnessed diverse incarnations and bold sequences of Shakespeare on screen and stage. Hollywood films and a century of Asian readings of plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth are now conjoining in cyberspace, making a world of difference to how we experience Shakespeare. The result is a new creativity that finds expression in different cultural and virtual locations, including recent films and MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games). Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia and Cyberspace examines how ideas of Asia operate in Shakespeare performances and how Asian and Anglo-European forms of cultural production combine to transcend the mode of inquiry that focuses on fidelity. The Introduction and 22 papers in the volume examine how Shakespeare became a signifier against which Asian and Western cultures defined -- and continue to define -- themselves.

Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
With Additional Material from A Thesaurus of Old English
Edited by Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels and Irene Wotherspoon
ISBN13: 9780199208999
ISBN10: 0199208999
Hardback, 3952 pages
Oct 2009,
Winner of the National Library of Scotland/Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award
A 40-year project in the making, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is the first historical thesaurus to include almost the entire vocabulary of English, from Old English to the present day. Conceived and compiled by the Department of English Language of the University of Glasgow, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a groundbreaking analysis of the historical inventory of English, allowing users to find words connected in meaning throughout the history of the language.
· The largest thesaurus resource in the world, covering more than 920,000 words and meanings, based on the Oxford English Dictionary
· The very first historical thesaurus to be compiled for any of the world's languages
· Synonyms listed with dates of first recorded use in English, in chronological order, with earliest synonyms first
· For obsolete words, the Thesaurus also includes last recorded use of word
· Uses a specially devised thematic system of classification
· Comprehensive index enables complete cross-referencing of nearly one million words and meanings
· Contains a comprehensive sense inventory of Old English
· Includes a free fold-out color chart which shows the top levels of the classification structure
· Made up of two volumes: The main text, comprising numbers sections for semantic categories, and the index, comprising a full A-Z look up of nearly one million lexical items.
The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a unique resource for word-lovers of all types-linguists and language specialists, historians, literary commentators, among others-as well as being a fascinating resource for everyone with an interest in the English language and its historical development. It is a perfect complement to the OED itself, allowing the words in the OED to be cross-referenced and viewed in wholly new ways.
"I am one of those who is intrigued by the way in which language evolves. To see the development of the English language set out in this way will bring endless pleasure to any lover of words. This work is, quite simply, fascinating." - Alexander McCall Smith, Author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

"I've been waiting nearly all my life for a book like this -- as it turns out, literally! I am thrilled that the Historical Thesaurus is now a reality. The only problem is that I may dive in and never come out again. This is a word lover's dream." - Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
"Here is a work in which you can lose yourself and find your language. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is so thorough and readable that it resembles other thesauri in name only. Finally the OED has a worthy counterpart." - Ammon Shea, Author of Reading the OED

"Every line generates fresh insights. It is at once awe-inspiring, humbling, motivating, moving. It actually made me gasp with amazement - and I mean out loud - several times, and I can't recall lexicology doing that to me before! It's amazing how these entries make you feel so much closer to the history of the language than was previously possible. The OED gave us individual trees, but never a sight of the whole forest or helpful pathways through it. The thesaurus does precisely that. It heralds a new era in the historical study of English." - David Crystal, author of Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

"The HTOED is truly a monumental work of scholarship and is certain to be the thesaurus by which all others are judged. It's a browser's joy, and writers of all stripes are sure to find it indispensable!" - Erin McKean, author of Totally Weird and Wonderful Words

"The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary will be outstanding & indispensable & so much fun! Who would have thought that 'Smacker' (one who gives loud kisses) came in in 1611! At the same time as the first St James Bible." - Melvyn Bragg, author of The Adventure of English

"A treasure-trove for anyone intrigued by word histories. Those browsing through this fascinating storehouse will discover the (sometimes surprising) first dates of many well-known words and phrases. They will also find a stockpile of enticing words which have faded out of use. An addictive hoard for those who love words." - Jean Aitchison, Emeritus Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication Oxford University

"One-of-a-kind...this is a landmark achievement that all academics and large research libraries should own." --Library Journal

"The world's most comprehensive thesaurus." --Poets and Writers

"This is a extraordinary work." --Michael Quinion, World Wide Words

"No words of mine can express the magnificence of this monument to our huge and often beautiful language." --Elspeth Barker, Literary Review

"The ultimate volume for the word-fetishist." --New Yorker "Book Bench" 

"An astounding intellectual achievement." Daily News

About the Authors
Professor Christian Kay, MA, AM, DipGenLing
Professor Jane Roberts, MA, DPhil, DLitt
Professor Michael Samuels, MA, DLitt, FRSE
Irené Wotherspoon, MA, MLitt

Prince of Peace
Bernard Gert (Dartmouth College)
Thomas Hobbes was the first great English political philosopher. His work excited intense controversy among his contemporaries and continues to do so in our own time. In this masterly introduction to his work, Bernard Gert provides the first account of Hobbes’s political and moral philosophy that makes it clear why he is regarded as one of the best philosophers of all time in both of these fields. In a succinct and engaging analysis the book illustrates that the commonly accepted view of Hobbes as holding psychological egoism is not only incompatible with his account of human nature but is also incompatible with the moral and political theories that he puts forward. It also explains why Hobbes’s contemporaries did not accept his explicit claim to be providing a natural law account of morality.
Gert shows that for Hobbes, civil society is established by a free-gift of their right of nature by the citizens; it does not involve a mutual contract between citizens and sovereign. As injustice involves breaking a contract, the sovereign cannot be unjust; however, the sovereign can be guilty of ingratitude, which is immoral. This distinction between injustice and immorality is part of a sophisticated and nuanced political theory that is in stark contrast to the reading often incorrectly attributed to Hobbes that “might makes right”. It illustrates how Hobbes’s goal of avoiding civil war provides the key to understanding his moral and political philosophy.
Hobbes: Prince of Peace is likely to become the classic introduction to the work of Thomas Hobbes and will be a valuable resource for scholars and students seeking to understand the importance and relevance of his work today.

Interfaces between Language and Culture in Medieval England

A Festschrift for Matti Kilpiö

Edited by Alaric Hall, Olga Timofeeva, Ágnes Kiricsi and Bethany Fox

The twelve articles in this volume promote the growing contacts between historical linguistics and medieval cultural studies. They fall into two groups. One examines the interrelation in Anglo-Saxon England between Latin and vernacular language and culture, investigating language-contact between Old English and Latin, the extent of Latinity in early medieval Britain, Anglo-Saxons’ attitudes to Classical culture, and relationships between Anglo-Saxon and Continental Christian thought. Another group uses historical linguistics as a method in the wider cultural study of medieval England, examining syntactic change, dialect, translation and semantics to give us access to politeness, demography, and cultural constructions of colour, thought and time. The volume will be of particular interest to scholars of Anglo-Saxon culture and Middle English language.

Contributors are Olga Timofeeva, Alaric Hall, Seppo Heikkinen, Jesse Keskiaho, John Blair, Kathryn A. Lowe, Antonette DiPaolo Healey, Lilla Kopár, C. P. Biggam, Ágnes Kiricsi, Alexandra Fodor and Mari Pakkala-Weckström.

More information here. 

ESRA Announcement
Between 19 and 22 November 2009, the University of Pisa hosted a highly successful Shakespeare and Conflict conference. Members from many European countries but also from Asia and the US agreed that the conference - organised by Carla Dente and Sara Soncini of the University of Pisa - was a truly memorable event, in terms of the papers given, the lively seminars in which many of us participated, and the social programme. During the general meeting on the last day of the conference, the President of the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, Andreas Höfele, proposed to have the next ESRA conference coincide with the 2011 conference of the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, to be held in Weimar (Germany), in April 2011. The members of ESRA accepted the proposal. The theme of the conference that the German Shakespeare Society and ESRA will be preparing together over the next eighteen months will be "Shakespeare's Shipwrecks." At the Pisa gathering, the members of ESRA elected a new board: Board Members: Ton Hoenselaars, Chair (Utrecht University) Clara Calvo, Conference (University of Murcia) Marta Gibinska, Treasurer (University of Cracow) Keith Gregor, Secretary (University of Murcia) Michael Dobson (Birkbeck, University of London) Boika Sokolova (University of Notre Dame in London) Sara Soncini (University of Pisa) Andreas Höfele (University of Munich) More information about the Weimar conference will soon be available on the website of the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft (
With best wishes for the new year, on behalf of the entire board,
Ton Hoenselaars
We hope to welcome many of you as members of our new Association, online at the Discussion Group, and at our future conferences.
Register with us at the website If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us via the Secretary, Keith Gregor (

FMRSI is intended to act as a resource for teachers, researchers and students of early and Early Modern literature, language, history, and culture; who are on this island; to bring people together in the spirit of community and collaboration. Through this, our new website, we hope to promote Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland and enhance the profile of our activities – and those of our members – and to enhance it both nationally and internationally. We intend to highlight activities and events (colloquia and conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures and talks, exhibitions, concerts, launches, etc.) through our website, bringing these to the wider public notice and encouraging the involvement of interested parties outside of the “academy.” More at



 Laurence Wright, Director of Rhodes University's Institute for the Study of English in Africa, has been awarded the Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Senior Researcher's Award for 2009. He has also been elected to the South African Academy of Science.
David Schalkwyk (English Department, University of Cape Town) assumed the position of Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. in July 2009, after holding a long-term Mellon Fellowship at the library for the previous nine months. David is working on the concept of love in Shakespeare. The Folger Shakespeare Library, founded in 1932 by Henry Clay Folger, is on capitol Hill, a block away from the U.S. Capitol. It has the third-largest holdings of early modern printed books (after the British Library and Oxford's Bodleian Library), an extensive collection of manuscripts, and the largest holdings of material relating to Shakespeare in the world. It is also home to the Shakespeare Quarterly, which David now edits. One of David's responsibilities is for the Folger's extensive programme of research fellowships, both short and long-term, which seek to enable scholars from all over the world to make use of the Folger collections and be part of its lively academic community. One of David's aims is to extend the reach of the Folger beyond North America, Europe and Australasia, and establish contact with the scholarly community in South America, Asia and Africa. He invites anyone who is interested in taking part in this endevour to contact him at .
Information about the Folger's programmes, collections, and extensive web teaching materials is available at .

The picture above shows David accepting the English Academy's Thomas Pringle award in 2008.




From The Times December 1, 2009
Rachel Campbell-Johnston
The Medieval and
Renaissance Galleries at the V and A
Flooded with light, full of sophisticated treasures, the new galleries are a revelation — and to think that they call it the Dark Ages.
It has been a massive undertaking. An entire wing of the Victoria and Albert Museum has been requisitioned. A suite of ten galleries has been completely overhauled. More than £30 million has been spent. But now, at last, the first phase of the V&A’s much-vaunted “future plan” reaches its grand finale. The new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries open this week.

For the full story and a delightful video clip, go to

Tomb of the Saxon Queen: Discovered, Alfred's granddaughter
Last updated at 11:24 AM on 20th January 2010
By David Derbyshire

The crumbling remains of Alfred the Great's granddaughter - a Saxon princess who married one of the most powerful men in Europe - have been unearthed more than 1,000 years after her death. The almost intact bones of Queen Eadgyth - the early English form of Edith - were discovered wrapped in silk, inside a lead coffin in a German cathedral. Eadgyth - one of the oldest members of the English royal family - was given in marriage to the influential Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and lived in Germany until her death in 946AD, aged 36. Click here for the full article.

Campaign to keep Anglo-Saxon gold hoard in Midlands
Historian Dr David Starkey has launched a campaign so that the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever unearthed may remain where it was found.

The appeal, launched at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, aims to raise £3.3m to buy the Staffordshire Hoard which was discovered last July.

Claire Marshall reports.

READ MORE: Campaign to keep treasure hoard



Chaucer class
Brian Lee
(who recently delighted readers on Chaucernet with this masterpiece
after a long discussion about the more bawdy side of The Miller's Tale)

An ancient gnof
Now don’t nod off!
A grumbling, grousing, poorish, boorish, mannerless churl
But married, alas! to oh such a winsome girl!
Had business in Oseney
So cold there he froze a knee
That’s not in the tale but it might well be

Once he was gone his lodger
Are you listening, Roger?
A smart-alec, not Alec! called Nicky,
Born I believe in Billericay
Don’t write that down the point’s a bit tricky

Made a gross grab at the wife of his host
As sweet as a nut and plainly no ghost
OK Joan there’s no need to groan
No disrespect meant you for which to atone
Perhaps you should read on just on your own

We’ll skip the next bit and get to the part
Where Nicky exploded a — Bart,
Sit down, it’s too soon to depart

Her lover went out on the viritoot,
To be later repaid with a privy toot,
And to stumble away on a smithy route
Where a lawyer would have filed a civvy suit —
I’ll explain, so you won’t forget, Margaret
Don’t fret, Antoinette, you haven’t flunked yet

Where was I? Ah, yes! Let me see,
Her lover came spruced up to drop in for tea,
But Nick was there first with a fait accompli
So she chortled “Tehee”
And slammed the shot-window — No,
I don’t know who shot it, Joe

What had happened was this:
His savoury silly-ass kiss
Bussed the cheeky Ms (Mrs) amiss,
When he’d hit the wrong cheek
He was too mad to speak,
Consumed with revulsion
He used earth emulsion
To detox by expulsion
Of taint on compulsion
And begged from Gervase Smith
A ploughshare to avenge him with
All right, a coulter then, Edith

Meanwhile, Nick’s tricks weren’t far behind
Too near behind, as both would find,
(The scorched-earth Bonnacon was of his kind —
That’s what’s called a Learned Allusion,
Meant to cause major confusion,
Like Bohemian Bill here, when he’s got shoes on)

With a thunderous backfire unkind
Nick struck the poor lover half-blind,
Who went up like tinder,
Pay attention, Belinda

Butt me no butts, he burnt to a cinder
A handbreadth of skin that Nick used to sit in
And his yell reached the rafter
And the gnof came tumbling after.

Your assignment’s to study the text
Cheer up and don’t look vexed.
The impotent Reeve’s tale’s the most highly sexed,
So that’s what we’ll deal with on Monday next.

The illustration is one of Russell Flint's paintings to accompany the Medici Society edition of the Canterbury Tales (1913). It stresses the classic fabliau formation of the young wife and the old husband; it is unusual in the period because it was much more common to treat the Miller's Tale as something of an embarrassment, particularly in the many adaptations for children. In 1878, for example, Francis Storr and Hawes Turner explained to the readers of their Canterbury Chimes that they have skipped the tales of the Miller and the Reeve, for "The tales were good of their kind, but not such as you would care to hear, so I will leave them out." In the 1914 revision, Storr is a little more expansive:

"I must now skip several tales that you will read when you are older. They are all worth reading, for they show us more vividly than any history book can what the English people were like in Chaucer's day; not only the kings and nobles who fought and made laws and levied taxes, but the common folk you meet every day– the parson, the lawyer, the squire, the farmer, the labourer, the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker. Chaucer, too, was a poet who saw with clearer eyes than other men. To him nothing was common or unclean. He drew men as he saw them, good and bad alike. Most of the badness you would fortunately not understand, and till you are older it is better for you not to understand it."