Last Call…

for papers.

Together with Orietta DaRold and Philip Shaw at Leicester, we will be running a small conference in Bergen in early June entitled Writing Europe before 1450. It builds on the successes of two ‘Writing England’ conferences held in Leicester in 2007 and 2010. In broadening the geography, the scope has perhaps outstripped the allotted days, but I’m quite optimistic that this will be all the more engaging as a result. Because none of us will be expert in the traditions and histories of the various parts of Europe, we all stand to gain a fair amount from other speakers. The hope is that similar dispositions to different areas of study will lead to further and lasting co-operation between medievalists of various national traditions.

I am excited about the speakers who have agreed to come–they promise some great discussions about the nature of pre-modern reading and writing from a range of representative perspectives be it literary, documentary, medievalist, classicist, palaeographic, diplomatic, linguistic, historical and so on–and the abstracts that have already come in! So without further ado, the entire text of the call:

Writing Europe before 1450

The increasingly widespread recognition that print entered a world already characterized by a sophisticated market for the production, exchange and sale of written texts suggests that explorations of this textual culture can fruitfully elucidate the prolonged and varied processes through which Europe and its constituent localities entered into modern reading, writing and communicative practices. Writing Europe: A Colloquium aims to draw on a range of approaches and perspectives to exchange ideas about manuscript studies, material culture, multilingualism in texts and books, book history, readers, audience and scribes across the medieval period and beyond.

How did local writers, compilers and readers use writing to inscribe regional identity within broader conventions or, on the other hand, impress ‘universal’ practices and constructs on local populations? In what way did the spread of sacred writing from the Mediterranean to the northern and eastern edges of Europe contribute to or reflect the creations of (both material and cultural) peripheries and centers? What were the different markets for books; can we characterize their developments and differences? How do the dynamics (e.g. the production, consumption and regulation) of this textual culture in the Latin West compare with those found in other places and periods?  What new or existing methodologies can be employed to map the geographies of written words across Europe? Finally, to what extent does the examination of these issues support or undermine temporal and geographical bifurcations of the world into modern and ‘not’.

Plenary speakers

  • William Johnson (Duke University)
  • Kathryn A. Lowe (University of Glasgow)
  • Marilena Maniaci (Università di Cassino)
  • Call for Papers

    Building on the success of the Writing England conference held at the University of Leicester in 2010, we welcome proposals from scholars working on writers, book production and use, and responses to texts in any language up to 1450. Abstracts (300 words or less) for papers (20 minutes) should be submitted on-line using the form provided. Please follow this link to submit your proposal.

    Places are limited to allow us to subsidise costs, including registration, accommodation and meals. Please send your abstract by 31 January 2012. For further information please contact one of the organisers at the e-mail below.


    To encourage participation from a range of individuals and institutions, a limited number of bursaries will be available to assist in covering travel expenses for participants with limited institutional support. Those who wish to be considered should include an additional statement in the relevant section of the abstract submission form. Selection will be based on need and on the relevance of the workshop to the participant’s research, and the statement should therefore address these criteria.


    Writing Europe is a collaboration between the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bergen and the School of English at the University of Leicester, and is generously subsidised by the Centre for Medieval Studies and by the School of English.

    Organising Committee

    Dr Aidan Conti, University of Bergen, Dr Orietta Da Rold and Dr Philip Shaw , University of Leicester.

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