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Newsletter 3

2 January, 2003

The Future of the Medieval Chronicle Conferences

Like its two predecessors the 3rd international conference on the Medieval Chronicle was financially supported by Utrecht University as well as by the Research Institute of its Faculty of Arts. But in the letters informing me of the decision that they would once again fill the gaps in the budget both institutions also made it quite clear that this would be the last time. In other words, if the conferences were to have a future after this summer, one or more new sponsors were needed. However, what made the prospects rather gloomy was the certainty that chances to find new resources in the Netherlands were minimal. I should add here that the conference had also been given a generous grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, but even if this grant would be continued it would still have to be supplemented by additional funding to obtain sufficient financial security for the organisation of more than just one other conference.

To my great relief, a proposal from the University of Reading was brought to the conference by professor Peter Noble, and it seemed most promising. The proposal was discussed at the General Meeting (see below).

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Minutes of the General Meeting, Doorn 16 July 2002 (Letty ten Harkel)

General Meeting: The Future of the Medieval Chronicle

At the end of the third international conference on the Medieval Chronicle (12-17 July 2002), a plenary session was held. Erik Kooper chaired this meeting. The main point of discussion was the future of the Medieval Chronicle conferences, or rather the question whether there would be a next conference at all. The following report is a brief summary of the problems, suggestions and conclusions of this session.

Erik Kooper opened the meeting by explaining that Utrecht University could not host the Chronicle conference a fourth time. The University has done so three times now, but no more funding is available for a continuation of the series. Unfortunately it was not possible to find adequate financial support elsewhere in the Netherlands, and therefore it was necessary to look for alternatives to ensure that the third Chronicle conference would not end up being the last of these conferences. For this reason Erik sent out a cry for help amongst his colleagues. A promising response came from Peter Noble of the University of Reading, offering to organise the next three conferences in Reading, UK.


As Peter Noble himself was absent, Peter Ainsworth (University of Sheffield) explained Reading’s proposal in more depth. The Chronicle conferences have become an important series within the field of medieval studies, not only because of their interdisciplinary character, but also because they have brought together a wide range of scholars from different nationalities, levels of experience and interests. Especially the great number of young people present at all three conferences deserves a special note. Peter Noble realises that all these aspects should be maintained, and he believes that the University of Reading has the ability to achieve this aim.

The Departments of French and History, and the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Reading, would jointly host the next three conferences. Various members of staff, including Professor Anne Curry, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, as well as present and former graduate students are willing to help with the organisation. A number of colleagues from other universities in the UK, such as Peter Ainsworth himself, have also promised their support.

Professor Curry is also Editor of the Journal of Medieval History, which will financially support the organisation in return for a display at the conference. Hopefully the University of Reading itself will also subsidize the conferences as part of its encouragement policy for new research. Such subsidies would probably at least cover the costs for the plenary speakers and the hire of the rooms. Besides that, the special subsidies that were available at the preceding conferences will still be available thanks to a fund of the British Academy, and while different prices for different kinds of accomodation will also help.

The University of Utrecht, and in particular Erik Kooper and his staff, greatly appreciate Peter Noble’s offer, and are willing to share all their experience of the last three conferences with the University of Reading to ensure that the series will continue, and that the original aims and high standards will be maintained. Likewise the Medieval Chronicle Society is greatly indebted to the University of Reading for providing a future for both the Society itself, and their conferences. It was therefore unanimously agreed that the University of Reading is invited to provide a more detailed plan for the continuation of the Medieval Chronicle conferences.

Peter Noble’s offer was not the only proposal that was presented at the general meeting. The next proposal was from Rodopi, the publisher who has published the Proceedings of the first two conferences. Prof. David Dumville (University of Cambridge) presented Rodopi’s plan. Rather than publishing only one volume after each conference, Rodopi wanted to turn the Proceedings into an annual periodical because of its great success and the high quality of its articles. As the conferences take place every three years this would mean that there would be three volumes of approximately 150 pages after each conference instead of one. As a result participants would have a much better chance of getting their papers published, while in addition other articles on the subject of Chronicles could be included as well. However, papers that were presented at the conference would still take preference over other articles.

Erik Kooper, the editor of the first two volumes of Proceedings, offered to become the general editor of the next three volumes. David Dumville emphasised that being the editor of a periodical is a heavy burden, and invited anyone interested in becoming a member of the editorial board to contact Erik Kooper (and many have meanwhile done so).

Like Peter Noble’s proposal, Rodopi’s offer was unanimously accepted.

Peter Ainsworth ended the meeting by expressing his acknowledgements to Erik Kooper for organising three equally successful and enjoyable Chronicle conferences, and his hope that the future conferences would maintain the same high standards.

Je demande pardon aux collègues francophones de ne pas donner une version française avec ce bulletin d’information. La prochaine fois je essayerais à faire mieux que ça.

Ich bitte meine Deutschsprachigen Kollegen um Verzeihung wegen der Sprache dieser Nachrichten. Nächstes Mal werde ich versuchen jedenfalls eine Zusammenfassung auf Deutsch hinzuzufügen.

Erik Kooper

Short Notices

Research Projects Reports

At the conference there were reports on four research projects (two of these found their origin in one of the previous conferences):

  • Dan Embree, “The Repertorium Chronicarum: A Bibliography of the Manuscripts of Medieval Latin Chronicles” (www.chronica.msstate.edu). This database now lists over 8000 manuscripts, comprising some 1800 different texts.
  • Peter Ainsworth, Godfried Croenen et al., “The Jean Froissart Project” (http://www.shef.ac.uk/french/research/froissart.html). The first volume of the Chroniques appeared in 2001: Jean Froissart, Chroniques. Livre I (première partie, 1325-1350) et Livre II. Ed. Peter F. Ainsworth and George T. Diller. Le Livre de Poche, Collection “Lettres gothiques” (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 2001). 1246 pages.
  • Paul Trio, Janick Appelmans, Pieter-Jan De Grieck and Steven Vanderputten, “Narrative Sources from the Southern Low Countries 600-1500” (http://www.narrative-sources.be)
  • Renée Nip, Suzan Folkerts, Jelma Hoekstra et al., “Narrative Sources from the Northern Low Countries” (http://odur.let.rug.nl/narrative-sources)

Edition of the Vitas fratrum

The reverend Dr Simon Tugwell, OP (participant in 1996), informs me that the first of his projected two-volume edition of the Vitas fratrum is nearing completion; it will contain the text prepared by Gerald de Frachet in 1258 and 1259, including his cronica ordinis, both as it was originally attached to the cronica universalis and as Gerald adapted it for the Vitas fratrum.

Reprint of The Medieval Chronicle I ?

Rodopi Editions will take a reprint of the proceedings of the first Chronicle Conference (published in 1999) into serious consideration if enough orders are received; they are thinking of at least 50. The price would be approximately the same as of the original volume, i.e. ca. € 50. So, if you have not been able to acquire a copy yourself, or if your library still has not got a copy, fill out the form below and send it to me as soon as possible!

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I am interested in a reprint of :

The Medieval Chronicle. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle, Driebergen/Utrecht, 13-16 July 1996. Ed. Erik Kooper. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Pp. 299. (Costerus New Series 120)

Name: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Affiliation: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

City + Code: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Country: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

E-mail address: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Proceedings of the 1999 Conference

In November 2002 the proceedings of the 2nd Chronicle Conference appeared. Its full title is: The Medieval Chronicle. II. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle. Driebergen/Utrecht 16-21 July 1999. Edited by Erik Kooper. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002. 280 pages.

Rodopi Editions, Amsterdam, offer a special discount to members of the International Chronicle Society (see separate sheet).

The contents are as follows:

  • p1 – David Dumville: What is a Chronicle?
  • p28 – Michael Agnew: The Fact of Fiction as Fact in the Crónica sarracina and its Implications in Fifteenth Century Castile
  • p41 – Brigitte Burrichter: Historisches Berichten und literarisches Erzählen in Geffrei Gaimars Estoire des Engleis
  • p56 – Xavier Dectot: ‘E las cayssas hubrir, e las vertutz ostar’: Les déprédations dans la cathédrale de Pampelune pendant la prise de la Navar­rería selon les chroniques de l’époque
  • p65 – Henk Dragstra: ‘This myghti William’: Why did Lydgate write his ‘Verses on the Kings of England since William the Conqueror’?
  • p78 – Olivier Ellena: Temps, représentation, identité: l’image de la guerre dans les Chroniques de Froissart (ms. fr. 2643 à 2646 de la B.N.F., Paris)
  • p90 – Isabelle Guyot-Bachy: La diffusion du Roman des roys avant la Guerre de Cent Ans: le manuscrit de Pierre Honoré, serviteur de Charles de Valois
  • p103 – Reinhard Härtel: Echte Chroniken in unechten Urkunden
  • p117 – Joachim Knape: Historiography as Rhetoric
  • p130 – Sjoerd Levelt: ‘This book, attractively composed to form a consecutive and orderly narrative’: The Ambiguity of Geoffrey of Mon­mouths Historia regum Britannie
  • p144 – Purificación Martínez: The Exaltation of the King in the Chronicle of Alfonso XI
  • p156 – Giedrė Mickūnaitė: From Pamphlet to Origin Theory: The Establishment of Lithuanian Dynastic Tradition
  • p166 – Jennifer Neville: Making their own Sweet Time: The Scribes of Anglo-Saxon Chronicle A
  • p178 – Peter Noble: Eyewitnesses of the Fourth Crusade: the Reign of Alexius V
  • p190 – Gerrit J. Reinink: Paideia: God’s Design in World History according to the East Syrian Monk John bar Penkaye
  • p199 – Francesco Salvestrini: Giovanni Villani and the Aetiological Myth of Tuscan Cities
  • p212 – Georg Scheibelreiter: Gegenwart und Vergangenheit in der Sicht Fredegars
  • p223 – Ralf Schlechtweg-Jahn: Monologisches und dialogisches Erzählen in deutschsprachigen Alexandertexten des Mittelalters
  • p238 – Huguette Taviani-Carozzi: Mythe et Histoire dans les Chroniques d’Italie du Sud (IXe-XIIe Siècles)
  • p250 – Iliana Tschekova: Genese und kommunikative Funktion der altrussischen Nestor­chronik
  • p268 – John Ward: From Chronicle and History to Satire, Travelogue and Sermo: the Decline of the Monastic Chronicle in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Europe

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Download Newsletter 3 in PDF format: Newsletter 3 – Jan 2003
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