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Byron's Letters and Journals with Richard Lansdown
Byron's Letters and Journals with Richard Lansdown

Interview with Prof. Richard Lansdown on Irish radio

Professor Richard Lansdown’s Byron’s Letters and Journals: A New Selection was published by Oxford University Press in 2015; a paperback was issued in 2017, and in January 2018 he recorded an interview with the Irish Radio programme, Newstalk, which ranges broadly over the great poet’s life and work. The interview was broadcast in the European summer this year, see the following link.

Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses
Publishing in Joyce's Ulysses

Tekla Mecsnóber's co-edited collection on Joyce's Ulysesses has just appeared with Brill.

Appearing in an era of rapid change in the printing and publishing industries, James Joyce’s Ulysses exploited and exemplified those industries to the degree that the book can be seen as a virtual museum of 1904 media. Publishing in Joyce's “Ulysses”: Newspapers, Advertising and Printing, edited by William S. Brockman, Tekla Mecsnóber and Sabrina Alonso, gathers twelve essays by Joyce scholars exploring facets of those trades that pervade the substance of the book. Essays explore the book’s incorporation of mass-market weekly magazines, contemporary advertising slogans, newspaper clippings, the “Aeolus” episode’s printing office and the varied typographic styles of successive editions of Ulysses. Placing Joyce’s work in its historical milieu, the collection offers a fresh perspective on modern print culture.

Literature and Truth: Imaginative Writing as a Medium for Ideas by Richard Lansdown
Literature and Truth: Imaginative Writing as a Medium for Ideas by Richard Lansdown

Literature and Truth: Imaginative Writing as a Medium for Ideas by Richard Lansdown

Richard Lansdown's new book has appeared with Brill.

In Literature and Truth Richard Lansdown continues a discussion concerning the truth-bearing status of imaginative literature that pre-dates Plato. The book opens with a general survey of contemporary approaches in philosophical aesthetics, and a discussion of the contribution to the question made by British philosopher R. G. Collingwood in particular, in his Speculum Mentis. It then offers six case-studies from the Romantic era to the contemporary one as to how imaginative authors have variously dealt with bodies of discursive thought such as Stoicism, Christianity, evolution, humanism, and socialism. It concludes with a reading going in the other direction, in which the diary of Bronislaw Malinowski is seen in terms of the anthropologist’s reading habits during his legendary Trobriander fieldwork.


25 April

New book: Karin Olsen's study of Viking, Old English, and Early Irish poetry published
Karin Olsen's book provides the first comparative analysis to explore conceptions of conflict and otherness in the literary and cultural contexts of the early North Sea world by investigating the use of metaphor in Old English, Old Norse, and Early Irish poetry. Applying Conceptual Metaphor Theory together with literary and anthropological analysis, the study examines metaphors of conflict and alterity in a range of (pseudo-)mythological, heroic, and occasional poetry, including Beowulf, Old Norse skaldic and eddic verse, and poems from the celebrated ‘Ulster Cycle’.


13 December

Marjolijn Verspoor interviewed by Transfer magazine
The latest issue of Transfer features an interview with Marjolijn Verspoor, Professor of English Language and Chair of our Department. Prof. Verspoor discusses the growth of English in Dutch society and, specifically, in higher education contexts. Transfer is published by Nuffic, the leading Dutch organisation for fostering international cooperation among universities. You can read the interview (in Dutch) on pages 8-10 here:

6 December

Corey Gibson wins the Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature at the University of Virginia
The Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature supports research in the literary works of authors resident in what is now the United States. The Fellowship is based at the University of Virginia Library. Dr Gibson will be studying materials belonging to the American novelist John Dos Passos.

27 October

Fruits of Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages , ed. Rolf H. Bremmer Jr and Kees Dekker, Mediaevalia Groningana n.s. 21 (Peeters: Leuven, 2016, 418pp.).

4 May

Prof. Sebeastian Sobecki receives the John Hurt Fisher Prize for 2016
The John Gower Society, dedicated to the study of the leading medieval poet of the same name, has awarded prof. Sebastian Sobecki the John Hurt Fisher Prize for 2016. The Society describes the Award as follows: 'The Society's highest honor, the Fisher Prize for "significant contribution to the field of John Gower Studies" is awarded annually at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan.' Read more information.

26 April

English student Gemma Scott features in Volkskrant article
Our BA student Gemma Scott was interviewed for an article in the Volkskrant on the growing number of UK students at Groningen. You can read the full article here:


17 November

Dr Corey Gibson's book shortlisted by the Saltire Society for Book of the Year
The Saltire Society (est. 1936) seeks to promote Scottish cultural heritage and its connexions with European and International cultures. Through their annual Literary Awards, the Society recognises excellence in published works by Scottish authors, or, those concerned with subject-matter of particular relevance to Scotland. This year, The Voice of the People (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) by Corey Gibson of the English Department here at the RUG, has been shortlisted for the 'Research Book of the Year' award. Gibson's book examines the cultural politics of folklorist, war poet, song-writer and political activist, Hamish Henderson (1919-2002). The judging for the Research Award is done in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland. The winner of this award will also be automatically shortlisted for the 'Book of the Year' award. The results will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 26th November.

23 October

Sebastian Sobecki identifies autograph hand of poet John Gower

Sebastian Sobecki, Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture, has discovered the autograph hand of one of medieval England’s best-known poets: John Gower. His findings appear in the article ‘Ecce patet tensus: The Trentham Manuscript, In Praise of Peace, and John Gower’s Autograph Hand’ which is published in the latest issue of Speculum , the leading periodical for medieval studies. Read more

15 October

NWO Alfa Meerwaarde Grant for Dr Joanne van der Woude
Mark Thompson (American Studies) and Joanne van der Woude (English) have won an NWO Alfa Meerwaarde Grant to support public-private partnership in the humanities. This grant funds the development of their Digital Humanities project, Amerigo, a software application that explores Groningen’s place in Atlantic networks of trade and ideas. As users of Amerigo move through the modern city, they can interact with maps, movies, and texts on their phones or tablets to learn about Groningen’s historical connections to Europe, West Africa, and the Americas. Our corporate partner Jimbo/Knowlogy will contribute both funding and programming expertise.

10 August

Hans Jansen on Dutch radio show 'Met het Oog op Morgen'
On Monday 10 August Hans Jansen gave his expert opinion on William Shakespeare as a cannabis user on Dutch radio show "Met het Oog op Morgen".  Find out if the bard was stoned when he wrote his works:  from 38:32

8 May

Important archive find prof. Sebastian Sobecki published in the Guardian
Today UK's second-biggest newspaper The Guardian publishes an article on an important archive find of professor Sebastian Sobecki.
Read more.

30 April

The Skelton Project hosted by the Royal Dutch Academy for the Sciences (KNAWI)

Floor Kuiper, Nadine Kuipers, and Hiske Feenstra  - otherwise known as The Skelton Project - have been invited to the 'Vergeten schrijvers' [Forgotten writers] symposium on 30 April, hosted by the Royal Dutch Academy for the Sciences. You can find the details here.

24 March

Dr. Joanne van der Woude appointed Charles H. Watts fellow at John Carter Brown Library, Providence, Rhode Island
Dr. Joanne van der Woude has been appointed as a Charles H. Watts fellow at the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, Rhode Island for the duration of two months this summer. During this time, she will search for English, Dutch, and Spanish poetry about heroes in pre-1800 America. This research is part of her NWO VIDI-project on the same topic.

The John Carter Brown Library collection of 50,000 rare books (printed before ca. 1825), manuscripts, and 16,000 reference books and secondary sources (printed after ca. 1825) is distinguished in many subject areas. Most well-known, perhaps, are the Library’s extensive holdings in the literature of European exploration and travel in the Western Hemisphere, from the first Latin edition of the Columbus letter of 1493, through nearly all of the contemporary narratives of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English discovery, exploration, and settlement.

Sebastian Sobecki, Unwritten Verities: The Making of England’s Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463–1549 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2015).

In Unwritten Verities: The Making of England’s Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549, Sebastian Sobecki argues that the commitment by English common law to an unwritten tradition, along with its association with Lancastrian political ideas of consensual government, generated a vernacular legal culture on the eve of the Reformation that challenged the centralizing ambitions of Tudor monarchs, the scriptural literalism of ardent Protestants, and the Latinity of English humanists.

17 March

Prof. Sobecki appointed Andrew W. Mellow Foundation Fellow at Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Prof. Sebastian Sobecki has been appointed an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, for the duration of one month this summer. During this time, he will edit Miles Huggarde's religious poem Mirour of Miserie(1557) and work on a number of medieval manuscripts and early modern printed books.

12 January

Spot on Shakespeare

Hans Jansen is offering a course on William Shakespeare in the Groningen Stadsschouwburg. Spot on Shakespeare deals with Shakespeare and his work, and in four evenings, Hans covers background, sources, style, reception and influence, and discusses four plays which are subsequently produced in the theatre (Hamlet, As You Lie It, Romeo and Juliet and Koningin Lear). The course is sold out, with 75 people enrolling. See


Sebastian Sobecki, Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture at the University of Groningen, will be a Fellow of All Souls College from January to March 2016. He will conduct research for a monograph, studying manuscripts and the politics of Lancastrian England in relation to his new book project: Material Politics: Literature, Manuscripts, and Power in Late Medieval England.

26 November

Samuel van Kiel wins the Audience Award at the Instructor of the Year Competition

19 November

New book by John Flood: The Works of Walter Quin, An Irishman at the Stuart Courts

Walter Quin

John Flood, The Works of Walter Quin, An Irishman at the Stuart Courts. Published by Four Courts Press. 294pp; ills. November 2014; ISBN: 978-1-84682-504-0.

The Dubliner Walter Quin first came to prominence at the court of James VI, where he wrote poetry in support of the Stuart succession to Elizabeth I’s throne. Thus began a career in royal service that brought Quin to London, where he continued to produce occasional verse in praise of his patrons and fellow writers as well as biographical texts on the soldier Bernard Stuart (d. 1508) and King Henri IV and a neo-Stoic handbook. Quinwas one of the earliest Irish writers to leave a substantial body of creative work in modern English (in addition to his texts in Latin, French and Italian) and part of his reward for this included land and privileges in his native country. He can also be claimed for Scottish and English literature, since his work illuminates the life of the Stuart courts as well as the literary fashions of his time. This is the first edition of Quin’s work and it includes a biographical introduction as well as translations of his non-English texts.

10 October

Middle English video goes viral and triggers BBC

A video by University of Groningen staff has gone viral on the internet and has even attracted the interest of the BBC. Sebastian Sobecki, Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture, and three of his students have recorded an old poem in Middle English, Speke Parrot by John Skelton. The video was watched over 120,000 times on YouTube within two days of being uploaded. In addition, the video has got the highest-ever rating for a history video on Reddit.

The video was made by three students on the Research Master’s in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Floor Kuiper, Hiske Feenstra, and Nadine Kuipers. The video includes animations and you can read along with the text. Sebastian Sobecki reads the poem aloud in Middle English and also pronounces a number of the embedded languages, for example Flemish, Spanish, Latin and German, as they would have sounded at the time.

The video has given rise to a lot of discussion about how English would have sounded in the past, including at the BBC.

BBC article

Last modified:05 November 2018 1.19 p.m.