Prof. Sobecki was speaking about the travels of Sir John Mandeville on BBC Radio 4 on Monday night. The episode is available as a download at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003tdk
From the BBC site:
At a moment when Brexit and our carbon footprints are prompting us to reassess what it means to move around the world, Sarah Dunant looks at the long history of travel and the ways it has enchanted and alarmed us across the centuries.
The anxieties over young Tudor travellers returning radicalised from Catholic Europe was a phenomenon that gripped England after the break with Rome. Nandini Das argues that fears over travel helped to define a nation.
Professor Eric Zuelow shows how the Nazi regime turned travel into a highly sophisticated propaganda tool, organising tours and trips specifically designed to cement ideas of racial superiority and national identity.
In the Middle Ages, travel is seen to be a startlingly tolerant and cosmopolitan experience, as the naturally curious medieval mind seeks to expand the borders of its world in a spirit of generosity. Whether the fantastical journeys of Sir John Mandeville or the diplomatic missions of Dominican Friars to Mongol Kings, Sebastian Sobecki explains how new discoveries were always understood through their existing religious and cultural lenses.
Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology, edited by Sebastian Sobecki (Groningen) and Anthony Bale (Birkbeck, London) has just been published by Oxford University Press.
Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology is a comprehensive volume that consists of three sections: concise introductory essays written by leading specialists; an anthology of important and less well-known texts, grouped by destination; and a selection of supporting bibliographies organised by type of voyage. This anthology presents some texts for the first time in a modern edition. (Publisher’s description)
Trinity College Dublin is running a free online course based around its most famous manuscript, The Book of Kells. It runs for four weeks beginning on 8 October 2018.
will use the Book of Kells as a window through which to explore the landscape, history, faith, theology, and politics of early medieval Ireland. You will also consider how the manuscript was made, its extended biography and how it has affected different areas of the contemporary world.
‘Hooked: Art and Attachment’ by Professor Rita Felski (Department of English, University of Virginia). Friday 8 June, 11:30-13:00, Heymanszaal, Academy Building. Professor Felski is an expert in literary theory.
‘The Matter of Touching: Interpreting Signs of Wear in Late Medieval Manuscripts’ by Professor Kathryn Rudy (University of St. Andrews). Monday 18th June, 16:00-18:00, A2 Academy Building.
Prof. Sobecki has recently been appointed co-editor of Studies in the Age of Chaucer, the yearbook of the New Chaucer Society and one of the leading journals for medieval literature. Studies has been in print since 1979 and features articles by some of the most prominent medievalists working today.
Monday, June 22nd, 16:00-18:00, Courtroom, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) is one of the most noted mystics in Christian history and was declared the first female doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Teresa’s teaching on contemplation and union with God, especially as set forth in her Life and The Interior Castle, remains extremely influential. What is sometimes neglected is that Teresa was also an active reformer of the Carmelite Order, who established seventeen reformed houses in the period between 1562 and 1582. Her own active life led her to reflect on the issue of the relation of contemplation and action, a major theme in Christian mysticism, and to work out a new theory of how to be a contemplative in action, as is evident in her masterpiece The Interior Castle.
Bernard McGinn is Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He has written extensively in the areas of the history of apocalyptic thought and, most recently, in the areas of spirituality and mysticism. His current long-range project is a seven-volume history of Christian mysticism in the West under the general title The Presence of God, four volumes of which have appeared: The Origins of Mysticism; The Growth of Mysticism; The Flowering of Mysticism; and The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany.
Margery Kempe, well-known to many students of the BA programme, is a figure whose extraordinary autobiography stands out in readers’ minds. The borderline between fact and fiction in her Book has often been disputed. Prof. Sobecki’s discovery of a letter by her son sheds new light on this matter. See the report in The Guardian.
Today, the coffin of King Richard III left the University of Leicester for Leicester Cathedral where it will lie until it is buried on Thursday. Since the bones were discovered under a car park in Leicester in 2012 they have been the subject of a good deal of controversy. In 1485 Richard lost the Battle of Bosworth to the man who would become Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch. At the same time he also lost his reputation as writers of the Tudor period (including Shakespeare) presented him as a wicked, hunch-backed king, a monarch who deserved to lose his throne.
The bones of English monarchs have been reinterred in the past, often to make a political point (they could be reburied in a more or less prestigious place); however, there’s usually not a 500 year gap between burials. Richard’s first burial was an obscure and irreverent one but this time around everyone wanted him and the cities of Leicester (near the battlefield at Bosworth) and York (the home of the king’s family) claimed him. Another quirk of the half-millenium gap is that the bones are being interred in an Anglican cathedral whereas the king had, of necessity, been a Roman Catholic, and perhaps a fairly pious one. Wisely, the Christian churches avoided squabbling over Richard’s remains and ministers of both denominations will have input into the final ceremonies. In the meantime, any internet search will provide you with video footage of one of the most unusual royal funerals in British history (Queen Elizabeth will not be attending, although she has sent a message to be read out), one in which even the mounted, armoured knights accompanying the hearse do not seem out-of-place: Richard’s fate was to live as much in story as in fact.