Law and Literature, c. 1150-1550
This intensive seminar introduces MA and PhD students to law and literature in medieval and early modern England. Students will be given hands-on experience with manuscripts and rare books, including historical records at the National Archives and books of canon law at the British Library. Instructors will also guide students through scholarly criticism in the field of law and literature, navigating such topics as marriage, insurgency and treason, witnessing, homicide, personhood, disability, and property.
Students will be expected to develop a topic throughout the week and present it on the final day of the seminar in front of a panel of leading experts in the field.
Emily Steiner received her BA from Brown University and her PhD from Yale. She is the author of two books, Documentary Culture and the Making of Medieval English Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Reading 'Piers Plowman' (Cambridge University Press, 2013). She has co-edited several collection of essays, The Letter of the Law: Legal Practice and Literary Production in Medieval England (Cornell University Press, 2002), with Candace Barrington, Thinking Historically About Historicism (a special issue of the Chaucer Review, 2014), and, with Lynn Ransom, Taxonomies of Knowledge: Information and Order in Medieval Manuscripts (forthcoming, 2015). Her articles have appeared in The Yearbook of Langland Studies, New Medieval Literatures, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Representations, and Exemplaria, among other journals. She is presently completing a book on medieval macrogenres called John Trevisa's Information Age: Knowledge and the Pursuit of Literature, c.1400.. She is also editing, with Jen Jahner and Elizabeth Tyler, the forthcoming Cambridge History of History Writing: England and the British Isles, 500-1500. Her research interests extend to Lollard literature, medieval drama and ritual erformance, and Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle Ages. Her teaching interests also include Old English literature, Chaucer, and poetry of all periods.
Sebastian Sobecki is Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture at the University of Groningen. His research concentrates on literature from the fourteenth century to the Reformation, especially scribes, archives, and manuscripts; ideas of authorship and literary culture; and law, travel, and politics in literature. He is the author of Unwritten Verities: The Making of England's Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015) and The Sea and Medieval English Literature (D.S. Brewer, 2008). His other books include Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology (OUP, 2019), edited with Anthony Bale; A Critical Companion to John Skelton (D.S. Brewer, 2018), with John Scattergood; and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Law and Literature, edited with Candace Barrington. His forthcoming books are Last Words: The Public Self and the Social Author in Late Medieval England (OUP, 2019) and the first two volumes of Oxford's 14-volume edition of Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations (2020). He is preparing Medieval Travel Writing: A Global History for Cambridge, and he edits the journal Studies in the Age of Chaucer. He is currently working on identifying the hands of fifteenth-century privy seal and signet clerks.
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