Early Europe Research Forum

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Kelmscott Press, 1896.
Illustration by Edward Burne-Jones
for Book Two of 'Troilus and Criseyde',
in The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer,
Kelmscott Press, 1896.

Special Collections, Baillieu Library

The University of Melbourne, Thursday 13-Friday 14 December 2007

Venue: Theatre D, Old Arts (Building 149)

Supported by the ARC Network for Early European Research (NEER)


The aims of the Forum are to draw together those researching various aspects of "Early Europe" (5th to early 19th century) in the city and region of Melbourne; to inform each other and reflect on ongoing research activities across different disciplines and in different institutions in the Melbourne region; to promote a climate for networking, exploiting our resources more effectively and exploring collaboration.

Professor Lyndal Roper of the University of Oxford, co-editor of Past and   Present, also a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne, will   participate as a commentator and deliver a public lecture on the evening of  Thursday 13 December titled 'The Fat Doctor: Martin Luther and Biography'   (co-sponsored by the School of Historical Studies).

There is  the opportunity for those who cannot attend to post short statements describing their research, or information about ongoing seminars and publication projects in the Melbourne region. If you would like to take up this opportunity, please email Jenny Spinks (jspinks@unimelb.edu.au) a one-page document suitable for printing out in black and white and pinning on a noticeboard.

There will be a nominal registration fee for the Forum at a per-day rate of $10 unwaged and $20 waged, payable on arrival at the Forum. This will cover morning and afternoon tea and a light lunch.

A dinner will be held at Café Italia in Carlton on the evening of Thursday 13, after the public lecture by Lyndal Roper. The cost will be under $40 per head, excluding wine. Please  let Anne Brumley (annebrumley@yahoo.com.au) know if you plan to   attend.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Forum in December. Please forward these details to all those who might be interested.

Charles Zika
Stephanie Trigg
Jenny Spinks
(Forum Convenors)


William Anderson

PhD candidate, Classics and Archaeology, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Medieval Pilgrimage and Modern Metal Detecting

At saints' shrines across medieval Europe, metal badges, tokens, ampullae, and other trinkets were produced, sold and collected in vast quantities. Pilgrim souvenirs are a prevalent and idiosyncratic survival of late medieval society: many hundreds are found each year in England alone, mostly by metal detectorists, who scour fields and along waterways, looking for treasure. These are now starting to be more consistently documented, thanks to regional and national reporting schemes, particularly the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a central finds database introduced as part of the Treasure Act 1996. This new material tells us a great deal about travel, religion, devotional customs and other aspects of life in medieval England. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on how developments in the retrieval and reporting of archaeological finds influence current historical interpretation.

Heather Gaye Dalton

PhD candidate, School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Roger Barlow, Tudor Trade and the Atlantic World

My research to date has concentrated on Roger Barlow, an English merchant who traded from Seville, explored the River Plate with Sebastian Cabot, supported Cromwell’s cause in Wales and presented Henry VIII with a cosmography in 1541. As well as containing the first first-hand description of the New World in English, the cosmography included a plea for funding to explore the Northwest Passage. Although overt support was not forthcoming, Barlow remained involved in trade and exploration until his death in 1553. In my paper I discuss the opportunities and difficulties inherent in exploring the early sixteenth century Atlantic world through the prism of biography.

John N. Crossley

Emeritus Professor, Monash University

Spain and the Philippines in the Sixteenth Century

Spain's conquest of the Philippines was one of faith rather than of arms. A key player was Hernando de los Ríos Coronel who went to the Philippines in 1588 and died in Spain after 1621. A great advocate for the indigenous Filipinos, a mathematician, astronomer and navigator, he later became a priest. Recently 25 of his books have been discovered revealing his interests. This is the first library known in detail from this period and country. It reveals his interests - both religious and scientific - and throws light on the impact of the reformation, the counter-reformation and the Spanish Inquisition.

David McInnis

The University of Melbourne

Staging Exoticism: Representations of Travel and the Exotic on the Early Modern English Stage

What constituted 'exoticism' and the 'exotic' for seventeenth-century England and how did attitudes to the exotic differ from attitudes to the foreign or the racial Other? How is it that the exotic could function simultaneously as a source of allure and of fear, drawing some English to marvellous new possibilities and leading others to resolutely affirm their Englishness? How did these attitudes find artistic expression and to what end were representations of the exotic used in entertainment? My research is restricted to the period spanning 1580-1700, an age of widespread exploration and colonisation for the English and a period which provides significant contrasts and developments in artistic representations owing to the richness of the Renaissance repertory theatre, the interruption of the interregnum period with the successful closure of the playhouses and the subsequent revival of playing (with radically different aesthetic sensibilities) during the Restoration and Neoclassical periods.

Dolly MacKinnon

Fellow and lecturer, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

'Persons that were...earwitnesses of matters of fact': Hearing Early Modern Soundscapes

As an interdisciplinary scholar my research projects reflect my interests and diversity. My work focuses on understanding how people construct and understand the mental and physical landscapes in which they live. My research projects span a number of different areas including early modern British cultural history, medical history and the history of psychiatry, women’s studies and musicology. My current work is a sensual history of the early modern world that shifts historical enquiry beyond just the visual, to include and explore the significance of sound in the social relations of the past and the present.

Clare Monagle

Monash University

Christological Controversy in the Twelfth Century

My doctoral dissertation was defended at the Johns Hopkins University in February 2007 and was titled 'Christological Nihilism in the Twelfth Century: The Contested Reception of Peter Lombard's Sententiae. I am under contract with Brepols to publish a revised version in 2008. Peter Lombard was accused of minimising Christ's humanity, to the point of implying that "in as much as Christ is a man he is nothing." In letters, treatises and at papal councils throughout the latter half of the twelfth century the orthodoxy of Peter Lombard's Christology - the way he defined the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures - was vigorously debated. In spite of the rapid reception of his Sententiae as the preferred textbook throughout the schools of theology in Paris and beyond, its Christological legacy remained contested for many years. It was not until the Lateran Council of 1215 that Peter Lombard's Sententiae was entirely cleared of heretical content, a ruling that endorsed the text and enabled it to take its pre-eminent place in theological studies.

The forthcoming monograph will contextualise these theological debates within their discursive and institutional frameworks. I will trace the genealogy of the modes of thinking Christologically in this period, and locate each protagonist in terms of their intellectual forebears. In addition, I will relate the ideas to the places from which they emerged, charting the factionalsed intellectual world of twelfth-century Paris.

Rina Lahav

PhD Candidate, Monash University

Religion, Gender and Politics in the Age of Philip IV (1285-1314)

There are two distinct traditions of research in the period of reign of Philip the Fair, 1285-1314. One deals with high politics of the monarchy, especially in the context of the confrontation between church and state. Another concentrates on women and their struggles with the church. The battle of Philip the Fair against Boniface VIII and the changes the French Church underwent were never counterpoised to the history of the religious women in France. My project aims to look at the way Philip the Fair addressed the question of female behaviour in his kingdom.

Richard Blandford

Doctoral candidate, Melbourne College of Divinity

The Early Career of Hugh Latimer (c. 1492 -1555): Preacher, Evangelical Reformer, Bishop of Worcester, Protestant Martyr

Five decades have elapsed since the most recent, significant biographies of Latimer. New ideas have rendered these and the broader Latimer historiography inadequate. While recent thematic studies have partly remedied this, Latimer's early career remains to be charted in detail. Research so directed, however, is providing fresh insights which compel examination of the period from a national perspective. Latimer emerges early as a 'located, but not localised,' preacher of the realm, impelled by a vocational self-perception as a divinely chosen and sent minister verbi. This stands to challenge the nature and moment of apostolicity traditionally ascribed to Latimer. A sense of being located but not localised subsequently characterises Latimer's episcopate. National concerns shape his diocesan activities and reforms. Equally, when government policy impacts upon his see, Latimer seeks the good that might come of it, not just for the diocese, but for the country as a whole - the suppression of the monasteries thus spawns his national education and welfare plans. Images of Latimer as a national bishop stand to modulate the enduringly programmatic portraiture that has informed and directed scholarship to this day.

Elizabeth Murray

MA candidate, Melbourne College of Divinity

The Changing Environment of English Worship

The ideological changes during the English Reformation in the sixteenth century had tangible outcomes in the parish churches. The analysis of material culture in North Shropshire congregations demonstrates that full Roman Catholic paraphernalia was less common outside the town of Shrewsbury. All parishes had objects removed from their regular worship as a result of national actions of Reformation. The environment of worship changed while most of the parish clergy remained in their cure. The church personnel during the Reformation in Shropshire was stable as the decorations inside the church were altered to reflect the religious ideology of each monarch's regime.

Leigh Penman

PhD candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Chiliastic Underground in the Holy Roman Empire and Beyond

My research at the moment focuses on networks of communication established by dissidents in the Holy Roman Empire (and beyond) during the 17th century. For the most part, this research involves charting the often unexpected personal links (of correspondents, friends, patrons, etc.) between disparate Rosicrucian, chiliastic and other heterodox personalities in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Silesia etc. My research so far has turned up surprising connections between Jakob Boehme's circle and Hungarian alchemists, as well as with dissidents in Sweden and Thuringia. One outcome of this research (in addition to articles and my PhD) might be an electronic database prepared in collaboration with some colleagues in Germany and Estonia.

Julianna Grigg

PhD Candidate, Department of History, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Transition, Development and Nationhood in Early 8th-century Pictland

My thesis argues that in the early eighth century, particularly during the reign of Nechton filius Derilei (706-c.729), Pictland underwent a major political transition in the development of a cohesive identity and the effective power of kingship. The early eighth century in Pictland was a crucible for new ideas of kingship, governance and identity that was self-consciously promulgated by the king and was lent moral accreditation by increasingly influential ecclesiastics. Research into this period of Pictland has been stifled by a paucity of documentary evidence and a view of the Picts as sui generis. I seek to combine the historical documents with material evidence and topographic analysis in order to illuminate the transition in Pictland to an autonomous confederated kingdom.

Dr Dianne Hall

ARC Post-doctoral fellow, School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Reading Rape in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland

A key difficulty for historians studying rape in the medieval and early modern periods is that legal records are often of limited value, with few prosecutions or convictions. Examination though of both the limited statements from victims and the uses of the trope of rape in popular literature allows deeper analysis of the meanings attached to rape in this period. In this section of our much larger project on 'Gender, violence and the Irish' we analyse the legal and moral definitions of rape in the Irish context with case studies that delve into the heterogeneous meanings of rape that circulated between in the late medieval and early modern periods in Ireland.

Kathleen Neal

The University of Melbourne

Lay Literacy and the Letters of Eleanor of Provence

Medieval letters are important sources for examining changing attitudes towards lay literacy and bureaucratic writing. They prompt such questions as: What matters were considered appropriate to consign to writing? When and why did this differ? How was trustworthiness guaranteed? To what extent were letters personal or formulaic? Was the choice of Latin/vernacular systematic? I am proposing a doctoral study of the 160 surviving letters of Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III, from this perspective. Eleanor lived through the flowering of lay literacy and she is the first queen of England of whom any substantial body of correspondence survives.

Stephanie Trigg

The University of Melbourne

Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory

This collaborative project aims to study the influence of medievalism - the imaginative reconstruction of the middle ages - on Australian literature and culture. Detailed examinations of archives, texts, artefacts and public records from 1800 to the present will trace Australia's transformation of its European medieval legacy, with reference to literary, public, academic and popular modes of writing and cultural production in four major cultural fields. This paper will outline the first stages of our research, and try and formulate our first research questions.

Professor Emeritus Margaret Manion

School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Report on Research Cluster for Manuscript Studies and Proposed Directions

The Research Cluster for Manuscript Studies based at Melbourne University has had a productive year with publications and projects issuing on several fronts. Plans are also in place for advancing international contacts, especially during the exhibition to be held at the State Library of Victoria, 28 March to 17 June 2008. Some 91 manuscripts will be on display, from the eighth to the sixteenth century. Half the manuscripts are from Cambridge University Colleges and the Fitzwilliam Museum and half from Australian and New Zealand collections. Several international scholars will be visiting Melbourne during the course of the exhibition and related conference 29 -31 May. These activities are by no means restricted to the discipline of art history. I should like to canvas possible proposals and directions.

Anna Welch

PhD candidate, Melbourne College of Divinity

My research is on a 13th century Franciscan missal originally from Perugia and now owned by the Australian Franciscans (and kept at the SLV). My thesis aims to study this missal as a performance text, using art history, liturgical history, codicology & paleography and ritual & performance theory in order to place it within its context in the first century of the Franciscan Order's existence and to draw out a deeper understanding of the spirituality such a missal reflects.

Professor Wallace Kirsop

Centre for the Book; School of English, Communications and Performance Studies Monash University

Research Activities at the Centre for the Book at Monash University

This talk will describe some of the activities currently being undertaken at the Centre for the Book. These include:
(1) the earliest printing done in Australia, before 1821
(2) Scribal culture in seventeenth-century Britain
(3) the printing of English bibles in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
(4) subscription publishing in eighteenth-century France
(5) discount bookselling in Europe between 1750 and 1850
(6) the printing of the works of Walter Scott
(7) the printing of plays in seventeenth-century France
(8) circulating libraries before 1850
(9) B.S. Nayler as bookseller and publisher in Amsterdam 1820-48
(10) Civil War pamphlets

Peter Sherlock

ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, the University of Melbourne

The Monuments of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is home to some six hundred monuments, from the tombs of the saint-king Edward the Confessor and his royal progeny, through military and cultural icons, to the recent statues of twelve twentieth-century martyrs. This paper will introduce my new project: the first attempt to produce a history of the Abbey monuments. Since 1600 antiquaries have produced catalogues of the tombs, but none of these analyses what kinds of people are buried there, who organised their commemoration, and what their monuments attempt to communicate. My key concern is to examine how the expression of memory shapes and is shaped by conceptions of national identity and destiny, and how such expressions develop over an entire millennium. A secondary concern is the nature of cultural tourism from the sixteenth century onwards.

Eric Parisot

PhD Candidate, School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne

Graveyard Poetry and the Aesthetics of the Poetic Condition

My current research examines early to mid-eighteenth century British graveyard poetry as a historically defined tradition or genre, situated within and reflecting a precise intersection in the history of British religious practice, literature and aesthetics. As a distinctly devotional poetic, this revision reads graveyard poetry alongside changing religious and reading practices, as well as contemporary theological debates centred upon scriptural authority, providence versus individual will and deferred divine justice. Not only does this allow further investigation into the ways in which these factors come to determine the production and composition of graveyard poetry, but also how they are secularized and translated poetically into a mid-century re-consideration of poetic creation, authority, death and afterlife.

Dr Joanna Cruickshank

Senior Research Associate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Mary Bosanquet and the Women of Early Methodism

My current research examines friendships among the network of women that formed around Mary Bosanquet Fletcher, a leading early English Methodist. Although Bosanquet Fletcher was active throughout her life as a preacher, leader, spiritual director and head of a large household and orphanage, no single scholarly study has analysed her significance to the movement. While thousands of her papers - including her correspondence, diaries written by her and her female companions, and sermons - have been preserved, few have been published and some remain uncatalogued. These papers are invaluable, not only for what they reveal about Bosanquet Fletcher, but also as a window on the language, practices and interactions of Methodist women.

Darius von Guttner

Crusade, Holy War and the Aftermath of Conquest in Medieval Prussia

In my research I would like to investigate personal, social and cultural consequences of war. Specifically, I will consider experiences (and responses) of medieval inhabitants of Prussia (indigenous Prussians) after the Polish conquest in 1147, and will critically analyse the Prussian response to holy war before 1309. I will also critically analyse holy war as a meaningful historical category. I hope that my research will culminate in the first history of holy war waged in the 12th and early 13th century against the Prussians.

Ken Courtis

MA Candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Saltpetre as an Imperative for Government Decision Making

Gunpowder played an increasingly important role in the warfare and trade of early modern Europe. Saltpetre, the major component of gunpowder, was also the most difficult to obtain. Its availability became critical to all governments. The efforts of governments to procure saltpetre created problems for their subjects, their economies and their bureaucracies. Imposition of the necessary industrial methods resulted in disadvantages to the populace, which was exacerbated by new opportunities for corruption. Such situations persisted despite governments’ awareness of them. My study investigates why, in early Stuart England, government policy did not ameliorate the disadvantageous aspects of the industry.

Claudia Catherine Guli

PhD Candidate, the University of Melbourne

The Legitimacy of the Trial of Charles I: Historical Precedent, the Right of Revolt and the Roots of Political Power in England

My current research examines the contemporary justifications that were offered for the trial of Charles I and traces the antecedents of those concepts in medieval and early modern political thought. Some of the ideas I am looking at are: the notion that the English king did not have an inalienable right to the crown; that while the law is above the king, the people are above the law; that the people have an inherent right to rebel against tyrannical rule and finally the ideas of blood guilt and providence.

Helen Louise Merritt

PhD Candidate, the University of Melbourne

The Yorkshire Plot 1678-82

In 1679 Sir Thomas Gascoigne, a wealthy Catholic landowner from Yorkshire, was implicated in the Popish Plot by two of his former servants. The trials and the circumstances in which they were held raise important questions over the nature of popular participation and representation, in politics and law enforcement, in late seventeenth-century England. It provides an opportunity to investigate notions about power, authority, social rank, fear and credibility in late seventeenth-century England. Taking an approach that goes beyond the straightforward narrative, I intend to explore the personal and conceptual streams that fed into this story.

Anna Drummond

Doctoral Candidate, Art History, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne

Mariology and Matrimony: Representations of the Marriage of the Virgin in Italian Art 1305-1523

The Virgin Mary's marriage to Joseph is amongst the most intriguing events from her life. It was first represented in Italian art by Cimabue and Giotto, whose iconography was perpetuated for several centuries. In the Trecento and Quattrocento the Marriage was represented on predella panels and in fresco cycles of the life of the Virgin. Raphael's (1504) altarpiece of the Marriage, the iconography of which was derived from a Perugino painting, influenced all subsequent representations of the theme. This research considers representations of the Marriage of the Virgin in light of the critical importance of weddings to Renaissance social and business structures in early modern Italy. It examines the subject's alleged use as ecclesiastical propaganda, and its close relationship to contemporary ritual.

Hugh Hudson

Honorary Research Fellow, Art History, the University of Melbourne

Connections Between Panel Painters and Illuminators in Early Renaissance Florence

Art historians have long believed that the leading early Netherlandish panel painters, such as Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, also practiced the art of illumination. Even their Florentine contemporaries, whose art is distinguished by its monumental sensibility, had close connections with miniatures. Most famously, Fra Angelico worked on choirbooks for the convent of San Marco. It has also been discovered that Masaccio shared workshop premises with an illuminator early in his career, and here the question is posed whether Uccello might have studied illuminations in the early decades of the fifteenth century.

Jenny Ceppellini

MA candidate, School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Inquisitor, the Witch and the Devil: An Early Modern Italian Witchcraft Narrative

In my research I am exploring a late-sixteenth-century Italian witchcraft trial. I want to propose that while this narrative is replete with stereotypical motifs, these should not be dismissed as merely empty and regurgitated concepts, with little to tell us, but instead read and explored as joint fantasies and imaginings that, within this local context, placed the body and sexuality as unresolved and fluid concerns. I'm interested in establishing the importance of place to this trial, how local tensions and concerns within the early modern community of San Miniato and its region might have given rise to a particular type of imagining and anxiety about the body and the devil. This will then lead to an exploration of how this trial was in part driven and shaped by and through Gostanza's (the accused witch) identity as healer, a fluid identity that involved a complex and problematic relationship with bodies and witchcraft. Finally I will explore how Gostanza's intensely 'experiential' relationship with 'her' devil was mediated though her body, how this caused a tension within the narrative and posit that this had at its core sexual identity itself.

Adelina Modesti

Honorary Research Associate, School of Historical and European Studies History Program, La Trobe University

Mapping Matrons: Women's Cultural Patronage Networks in Seventeenth-century Northern Italy

Matronage is my focus: the social agendas and politico-diplomatic motivations of elite women's cultural patronage. This ARC project will examine the cultural activities and networks of dynastic women in early-modern Northern Italy. Studies of female influence and agency shift traditional (patronage) understandings of (elite male) power in the realm of public taste and the agenda-setting culture of Baroque Italy. Like the literary salons, societies of seventeenth-century noble matrons in Italy helped shape the spirit and sensibility of European art and culture. Historical precedents show how female networks and agency contribute to the community and public sector. Women's networks of taste shaped human creativity then and now. This study will illuminate how our culture (and democracy) emerged in gendered networks of cultural exchange and adds an important historical dimension to contemporary debates concerning social capital and female leadership.

Associate Professor David R. Marshall FAHA

Art History Discipline, School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne

A Cardinal and His Villa: Villa Life in Eighteenth-Century Rome

This paper will describe a project that focuses on a now long-destroyed villa that nevertheless left behind traces in the documentary record that have not hitherto been exploited, which this project exploits in novel ways to write a hidden chapter in the history of early modern cultural life. The project brings together documentary sources in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano, including letters, inventories and building accounts, as well as visual sources. It employs a methodology that ranges from the art historical analysis of images, architectural history, the history of family structures, environmental history and an 'archaeological' method of graphic reconstruction based on written and graphic sources.

Julie Davies

PhD candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Question of Ancients vs. Moderns: Science and the Belief in Witchcraft in the Glanvill-Webster Debate

My current research focuses on the question of the existence of witchcraft as debated in England between 1650 and 1685 and exemplified by the Glanvill-Webster debate. I am particularly interested in how the scientific frameworks of each author influenced their interpretation of phenomena commonly labelled witchcraft and how these views interconnected with their political and religious beliefs. I would also like to explore how the study of this debate can enhance our understanding of the relationship between the development of science and the decline of witch-hunting and occult science.

Dr Kate Cregan

School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne

Staging Death and Embodying Life in Early Modern London

My recent work has involved a threefold investigation of understandings of embodiment as displayed in the playhouses, courthouses and anatomy theatres of London between 1540 and 1696. These dates mark the waxing and waning of the Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons' domination of the practice of dissection in London. In 1540 Henry VIII gave them his approval and encouragement but by 1696 Edward Ravenscroft's The Anatomist: Or the Sham Doctor staged their loss of power. This loss of power is symptomatic of a major shift in the concept of embodiment. The three fields of drama, law and medicine are intimately interconnected in that process.

Anne Brumley

PhD Candidate, the University of Melbourne

The Fat Man in History: Pathologies and Rhetorics

Historians have argued that fear of fat was a cruel twentieth-century invention. If this approach were unconditionally acceptable, however, we ought to find fat early modern people and characters seeming to feel that their fat was unimportant, or even good. Such was rarely, if ever, the case. How far, then, can we trust our own, modern ideas about the social currency of changing medical pathologies, or even about what fat has been thought to be or mean? What issues have concerned fat people? How did they lose, or gain, rhetorical weight when speaking about their fat? Most importantly, what historically contingent fears and assumptions do we hold about fat, and how can we benefit from trying to read without them?

Anne McKendry

Master's candidate, the University of Melbourne

'Tales of best sentence and moost solaas': The Pleasure in the Medieval from the Middle Ages to Now

My research is going to explore the idea of pleasure in the medieval. Louise Fradenburg has applied Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to medieval texts and it is through her framework of pleasure and desire that I wish to tease out the dialogic (or double-voiced) discourse of both medieval and medievalist texts. Starting in the middle ages, an analysis of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's A Knight's Tale will demonstrate the medieval concern with imbedding a moral lesson into a pleasurable tale, as well as the importance of aurality (reading aloud to one or more people) as a method of reception. Since the close of the middle ages, medieval culture has been consistently reimagined. Spenser's The Faerie Queene makes political capital out of a reinvented Arthurian romance, while Walter Scott and Tennyson both embrace the Victorian convention of the middle ages in order to derive nostalgic pleasure, as well as to create space to confront contemporary political concerns. Today, the medieval has been infiltrated by postmodern irony and an analysis of crime fiction will not only demonstrate how this irony operates, but also show how these medievalist texts retain the dialogic discourse of 'sentence' and 'solaas'. An important part of this project will be Roland Barthes' notion of the death of the author and birth of the reader, and the subsequent post-structuralist assertion that the text can be just as validly interpreted through the cultural context of the reader, as through the cultural context of the author. Common themes that weave themselves through these disparate temporalities include romance, chivalry and the construction of the English nation.

Kate Riley

University of Western Australia

Texts and Persons: New Approaches to the History of an Early Modern Family

My doctoral project on the Ferrar family of Little Gidding had two principal objects: first, to interrogate and revise the problematic traditional history of the Ferrars; and second, to demonstrate that applying different priorities and methods to the sources for that history could reveal new insights into the lived experiences of family members, such as the nature of interpersonal relationships, and the construction of individual and collective identities. By sharing some thoughts on these aspects of my work, touching on the relationship between seventeenth-century texts and the persons' lives to which they pertain, I hope to encourage reflection on the business of writing early modern history.

Elise Grosser

PhD Candidate, School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Fickle Face of Fame: Italian Fifteenth-century Depictions of Fame in Triumph

This paper offers a brief entrée into a key interest of my thesis- the problem of fame in Renaissance Italy. The most accessible way into the problematic of fame is through the examination of fifteenth-century images of Petrarch's 'Fame in Triumph'. By analysing the variety of definitive attributes of the allegory of fame, and those deemed worthy to be in her company, an obvious struggle of values emerges that reflects the thinking of the time.

Tim Ould

The University of Melbourne

Reading Vasari's Lives Through Jacopo Zucchi's Palazzo Ruspoli Frescoes

This paper will focus on recent research toward a PhD thesis in Art History on Jacopo Zucchi's frescoes in the Gallery of the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome, painted around 1585. As Zucchi was an important assistant to Giorgio Vasari, this fresco cycle can be usefully interpreted through the text of Vasari's Lives of the Artists, the second definitive edition of which was published in 1568. An Annunciation by Andrea del Sarto, mentioned in the Lives and used as a visual source by Zucchi, will be considered in these contexts. This approach yields information about Zucchi's artistic education and the different functions of Vasari's canon-defining work.

Spiridoula Demetriou

The University of Melbourne

The Creation of Modern Greece: Mesologgi, Art and Philhellenism in the 19th Century

The 14th century onwards saw interest in Greece's classical past; literature and philosophy steadily increase throughout Europe and across the globe. This thesis will principally be concerned with the political function of art that displayed interest in Greece and culminated in the Philhellenic movement that advocated an end to Turkish imperialist claims over Greece and a rise in nationalism within the country. A move away from picturesque images created for architectural purposes to figurative works signified the increased politicisation of Philhellene art. Scientific rationalism and the Enlightenment were pivotal to the outset of modernity in 19th century Europe. Modern Greece could not have been created if political ideas pertaining to liberalism and nationalism had not been circulating in the west at this time. Philhellene art was subjective, at times didactic and its political agency resided in its ability to engage the viewer's eye, emotions and mind. It was the ability of these works to convince the viewer to take a stance in favour of the Greek cause that this art acquired potency. Therefore the relationship between political ideas and emotional engagement can be said to have been at the core of the most subjective Philhellene works.

The thesis examines works of art that supported the Greek War of Independence, with a focus on works that chose Mesologgi to convey this message and their influence on Greek national consciousness. The historical narratives in works of art pertaining to the town of Mesologgi and the Greek War of Independence will be examined on the basis of my perception that these images continue to act as a cultural and historical narrative on a regional and national level in Greece today. The issue involves how communities and national identities are built. Therefore, I will be arguing that the Mesologgi narrative in art has played a large role in the intellectual construction of Modern Greece.

Ruth Pullin

The University of Melbourne

Vienna - Rome - Naples - Düsseldorf - Melbourne:How Europe Shaped vonGuérard's Vision of the Australian Landscape

Eugène von Guérard (1811-1901) arrived in Australia in 1852 as an experienced and well-travelled forty-one-year-old artist. My research into his early life in Vienna, his formative experiences with the community of German artists in Rome, his years in Naples painting with the avant-garde School of Posillipo in Naples and the many facets of his life in Düsseldorf reveals the extent to which von Guérard's European experiences informed his response to nature. In each of these centres von Guérard engaged with individual artists who had an enduring impact on his painting. However, his vision of the role and meaning of landscape painting emerged from his deep commitment to the ideas of the scientist Alexander von Humboldt and the artist, physician and theorist Carl Gustav Carus. The environmental implications of his scientifically-informed vision are becoming increasingly evident today.

Associate Professor Roger Scott

Principal Fellow in Classics & Archaeology, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Byzantine Chronicles and Good Stories

Good stories are a significant part of Byzantine culture and of the narrative in Byzantine chronicles. Rulers exploited this by spreading propaganda stories which became incorporated in chronicles. The popularity of good stories results in their being accepted as true history and so necessarily being repeated from chronicle to chronicle. Chroniclers show an awareness that, however they interpret the stories, their narrative must respect what their audience accept as being true stories from their national history and so must operate within the limitations of that tradition. This accounts for much of their supposed plagiarism.

Natasha Elisabeth Klos

MA candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Epistolary World of Thomas Wolsey: 1511-1516

My postgraduate research investigates Thomas Wolsey's early career through an examination of his correspondence from 1511-1516. These letters will reveal that in his early career Wolsey maintained amicable relations with a range of figures traditionally considered to be his enemies, or at conflict between themselves. A more detailed consideration of Wolsey's correspondence with Thomas Spinelly in particular demonstrates the co-operative nature of Wolsey's exercise of power. Rather than ignoring other royal servants, Wolsey used his correspondence to cultivate a large network of potential supporters.

Lucy Potter

The University of Adelaide

Catharsis and Ecphrasis

In the course of researching the early plays of Christopher Marlowe, I have discovered what I think is a link between the performance of catharsis and one of the ecphrases in Virgil's Aeneid - Aeneas' description of the mural in the temple to Juno at Carthage in Book 1. The Marlovian focus is Aeneas' narrative about the fall of Troy in Act 2 of Dido, and Zenocrate's lament for the sacked Damascus in Act 5 of 1 Tamburlaine. My initial research has led me to suggest that what Marlowe does in these passages may be a model for later experiments with ecphrasis, in particular by Shakespeare in The Rape of Lucrece. In future research, I wish to further explore the relationship between catharsis and ecphrasis in early modern texts and what this can tell us about the literary theorising of the period and about the uses to which the Aeneid was put.

Dr Patrick Spedding

Monash University

The Dissemination and Control of Erotica in England 1695-1774

My ARC project is concerned with the distribution of erotica in England between 1695 and 1774. The literary underworld of the eighteenth century has become the focus of serious academic attention internationally by literary historians, historians of sex and sexuality, philosophers and feminists. My investigation is based on the examination of printed and manuscript material and uses the latest computer-based resources, both for the construction of the most complete bibliography yet of eighteenth-century British erotica and for my detailed study of the nature and extent of the erotic book trade. My research will comprise a series of detailed high-point studies on such subjects as the participation of women in the composition, publication and distribution of erotic literature, the relationship between literary, political and religious erotica, the extent to which erotica was openly published and available in the eighteenth century and the legal and moral response to the rapid growth of this contentious dimension of the book trade.

John Burke

Senior Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Digitising an Illuminated Medieval Manuscript

The sole extant illustrated Byzantine Greek chronicle is the 12th-century Matritensis Graecus Vitr.26-2. With 575 miniatures, it is possibly Europe's first illustrated history book. Its origins are a hot issue but the discussion - and the proper evaluation of the manuscript's significance - has been marred by poor reproductions, flawed descriptions, observations taken out of context, unexamined assumptions and imperfect communication between art historians and palaeographers. An expensive but disappointing print facsimile underscored the need for a comprehensive multi-disciplinary study supported by a high-quality reproduction and a panoply of scholarly aids. As work progresses on the Digital Madrid Skylitzes we face an embarrassment of riches offered by the electronic medium to enhance both training and scholarship.

Megan Cassidy-Welch

School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

The Aftermath of War: Displacement and Memory in Southern France, 1229-c.1300

My current research deals with the aftermath of the Albigensian crusade. I am particularly interested in the experience of local people who were displaced as a result of this war against heresy. One of the many consequences of this singular crusade was the forced exile, relocation, dispossession and displacement of individuals and communities from the Languedoc region. I aim to explore ways in which these groups of people understood, responded to and narrated their experiences of displacement, either as refugees or victims of war. I also aim to interrogate the ways in which political and cultural solutions were formulated in response to the displacement of peoples in this region.

Jenny Spinks

School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Humanism and the Disordered Natural World: Monstrosity and Astrology During the Reign of Maximilian I (1493-1519)

I am currently working on humanist understandings of monstrous births during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1493 -1519). In particular, I am examining a group of manuscripts and printed broadsheets that present astrological theories about the causes and meanings of monstrous births, often interpreted at this time as signs of coming disorder in natural, political and religious contexts. This study builds upon my PhD research into monstrous births in early modern Germany and is thematically connected to a larger planned collaborative project intended to survey dramatic natural signs and their religious interpretation in early modern northern Europe.

Charles Zika

School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Power and Identity in Accessing, Exploiting and Controlling the Spirit World

The research projects I am pursuing at present focus on different aspects of spirits and the worlds they are thought to inhabit. My particular interest is in understanding of these worlds and the attempts to communicate with and access them, to exploit and control them and what such individual and communal efforts tell us about social and cultural identity, structure and power. These projects are:

  • a long history of communication with the dead and its prohibition through medieval and early modern Europe
  • the role of exorcism in the Austrian shrine of Mariazell - within a seventeenth-century context of struggle over religious identity;
  • the visual representation of witchcraft as a cultural resource in the religious, intellectual and political debates of the last five centuries
  • natural disasters as supernatural signs in the cultural economy of early modern Europe

Karen O'Brien

Senior Consultant, UTS

Macer's Herbal and Popular Medicine in Early Modern England

It is understood that most knowledge of medicine was inherited from ancient Greece, with the Materia Medica being the most influential manuscript. Whilst not under-estimating the importance of such a source, it is significant that communities throughout the British Isles have a unique and distinctive history of the practice of popular medicine of their own. Early practitioners of medicine were aware of the European traditions and they often practiced these alongside those of English origin. Many surviving manuscripts tell of ancient local practices and customs that have not yet been explored. These sources acquaint us with the realities of popular therapeutic methods of the past. The archives of the British Isles are rich in such manuscript sources which provide an understanding of the early history of popular medicine and this paper investigates one of these manuscripts.

An important feature of early local medicine was the emphasis placed on 'cunning'. The wisdom of those expert in this calling was recorded in several manuscripts of local origin. Macer's Herbal is one such manuscript. Macer was considered to be a knowledgeable practitioner of medicine by the local population of fifteenth-century Cheshire. His manuscript, Macer's Herbal, is not known in the modern world yet, in his time, he made an interesting and significant contribution to community medicine. Macer’s Herbal is a meticulous exploration of the 'virtues' of forty-two herbs. It contains a summary of diseases and the means to cure them. It contains a catalogue of decoctions, ointments, applications, 'plaisters', beverages, tinctures and herbal solutions. Macer also suggests alternative cures for the complaints that were common in late medieval Cheshire. Ancient Greek cultural traditions were well-respected by Macer, and this paper will highlight the ways in which Macer's knowledge drew on the Greek classical tradition.

Liam Connell

The University of Melbourne

'The Nightmare of a Religion': Witchcraft, Folk Magic and the Occult in Seventeenth-century New England

The broader context of my research is the society and culture of seventeenth-century New England, primarily between 1648 and 1692 and involving the first two to three generations to settle in this new English colony. The people that I am focusing primarily on are those who engaged with folk magic, often put under the general term 'cunning folk'. Research into the cultural space that folk magic occupied within the larger phenomenon of witchcraft persecution and the role their practitioners played in seventeenth-century New England society is just beginning. This research investigates the inter-relationship and contrasts between folk magic, popular religion and witchcraft, in the eyes of both religious elites and among the broader population of early New England. Ultimately, this is an investigation of the way that seventeenth-century New Englanders articulated their experience of the supernatural and the practices that structured such experiences.

Bernard Mees

The University of Melbourne

Early Medieval Orality: Between Prose and Poetry

My recent research has focused largely around the performative, pragmatic and especially metrical features of a range of early medieval vernacular texts from northern and western Europe. From charms, prayers and poems to rhythmic legal language, I have studied a range of Celtic and Germanic texts composed in styles which range from mannered prose to reflections of formal court poetry. Most studies of early medieval poetics treat less obviously regular metrical texts in a casual, dismissive manner. Beyond this largely elitist understanding of early Celtic and Germanic poetics, however, lies the opportunity to explain a range of difficult aspects of early medieval oral practice and the recorded pragmatics and aesthetics of performative, vernacular language.

Grantley McDonald

Josquin's Musical Cricket: El Grillo and Humanist Parody

The frottola El Grillo by 'Josquin Dascanio' is one of the most famous vocal pieces from the late fifteenth century. Much of the humour of the piece has traditionally been considered as lying in the musical imitation of cricket-song, but a closer examination of the text reveals a number of further levels, including a number of intertextual references to Greek epic and lyric that progressively open up further levels of understanding. These links help to illuminate a number of aspects of the culture of court literature and music in the North Italian renaissance.

Mark Shepheard

PhD Candidate, Art History, School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne

Medici Musicians and their Portraits

During the mid-1680s Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici commissioned from the painter Antonio Domenico Gabbiani a series of group portraits of various musicians at his court. Hitherto, these paintings have been studied solely as evidence for the size and composition of Ferdinando's musical establishment; the fundamental art historical questions of why these works were painted and for what purpose have never been asked. This paper will briefly explore these issues and they way in which they reflect the need for a genuinely inter-disciplinary approach to the study of musician portraits.

Caitlyn Lehmann

PhD Candidate, School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne

Fashionable Society and the Ballet of the King's Theatre, 1770-1800

During the final decades of the eighteenth century, the art of ballet enjoyed unprecedented popularity at London's opera house, known as the King's Theatre. A succession of European dance stars, including Auguste Vestris, Marie-Madeleine Guimard and Jean-Georges Noverre, visited the city during this period, capturing the attention of fashionable, aristocratic audiences. The success that ballet enjoyed transformed its position within English culture. Once regarded as a minor art of French extraction, ballet was naturalised into the culture of the British social elite. This study examines how ballet was subsumed into London's fashionable milieu. In particular, it explores the role which women's patronage played in facilitating ballet's acceptance in Britain and considers how representations of dancers and their patrons were shaped by the social and political concerns of the period.

Dr Sue Cole

Executive Officer, Faculty of Music, the University of Melbourne

The Tudor Church Music Revival

English church music underwent a dramatic stylistic change at the time of the Reformation, with simple chordal music replacing the ornate Latin polyphony composed for the older rite. A small core of these newer compositions remained in the cathedral repertory for the next 300 years, but the works in the older style languished unsung until the late nineteenth century. I have recently been awarded an APD to investigate the revival of this music that took place around the turn of the 20th century, paying particular attention to the religious and nationalist agendas associated with these two distinct bodies of music.

Celia Scott

PhD Candidate & Gerry Higgins Scholar, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the University of Melbourne

Sanctity and Gender in Early Irish Hagiography

There are only extant Latin vitae for 4 female saints in the early Irish period, those of Brigit, Ita, Monenna and Samthann, yet these vitae have remained under-utilised in the greater scheme of hagiographic tradition. Largely ignored both by studies of female sanctity on the continent and by general studies of Christian belief in Ireland, the female Irish saints are yet to take their place and make their mark on the historiography of Christian hagiography. I aim to determine both the continental and Irish aspects of these vitae and from this find which events are unique to the Irish vitae, which to the Irish women and which to the individual saint.

Julie Robarts

MA Candidate, Italian Studies, School of Languages and Linguistics, the University of Melbourne

Arcangela Tarabotti and Dante Alighieri: Crafting an Ethics in a Libertine Community

My current research centres on Venetian Arcangela Tarabotti (1604-1652), a writer of political and religious works and an enclosed Benedictine nun. Several of her works about convent life and the social and political conditions that led women to be placed in convents against their will drew heavily on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. Identifying the ways that she used Dante can assist in situating her works in their intellectual and political context and suggest how she established a position distinct from the prevailing scepticism and atheism of the libertine Academia degli Incogniti to which her principal supporters belonged.

Karen Green

Monash University

The Moral and Political Consciousness of European Women 1300-1800

Scholarly rediscovery of the writings of many philosophically inspired and politically conscious women from the late medieval to enlightenment period has been rapidly expanding during the past twenty years. In a series of interconnected research projects I have been attempting, with collaborators, to exploit this growth in scholarship in order to provide an overview of the history of women's ideas in Europe, with particular emphasis on their political thought. Slowly the outlines of a real and 'imaginary' female intellectual community stretching from the medieval to the enlightenment period is emerging from this work.

Stephen Kolsky FAHA

Associate Professor and Reader, Convenor, Italian program, the University of Melbourne

Italian Renaissance Literature and Critical Editions

The importance of producing critical editions of rare but significant texts would appear to be self-evident. And in some quarters it is. However, not for the ARC. Building on the analysis of a number of key texts on women written in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and in collaboration with the Roman publisher Vecchiarelli, critical editions will appear in a new series. As a result of work on one of the texts (Equicola, De mulieribus) came a new research project concerning the uses of scepticism in the Renaissance. Equicola employs a sceptical methodology to demolish arguments about the 'natural' roles of women.