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From: Essays in Medieval Studies
Volume 28, 2012
pp. v-vii | 10.1353/ems.2012.0000

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The Illinois Medieval Association held its 29th annual meeting on February 17 and 18, 2012, at Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, with the theme "Re-Making the Classical." Dale Kinney, Eugenia Chase Guild Professor in the Humanities Emeritus of Bryn Mawr College, gave the keynote address, "The Past As Property." Thirty-one presenters gave papers at the meeting; the six essays here were chosen from those submitted for publication. All are expanded and revised from conference presentations. The speakers ranged from graduate students to full professors, from five states in addition to Illinois and from as far away as Cambridge, UK.

The Executive Committee of the IMA met on February 18, 2012. The officers for 2012-13 are Valerie L. Garver, Northern Illinois University, President; Karen Christianson, the Newberry Library, Vice-President; and Mark Johnston, De Paul University, Executive Secretary. Bill Fahrenbach of De Paul University became Past-President. Counsellors for 2012-13 are Nicole Clifton, Northern Illinois University; Mickey Sweeney, Dominican University; Edward Wheatley, Loyola University-Chicago; Francine McGregor, Eastern Illinois University; Dolly Weber, University of Illinois-Chicago; David Wagner, Northern Illinois University; Bill Fahrenbach, De Paul University.

The 2012 meeting was generously funded by following divisions of Northern Illinois University: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Graduate School Colloquium Program; the Art History Division's Elizabeth Allen Visiting Lectures in Art History Fund; the Department of English; the Department of History. The IMA appreciates the support of the following individuals at NIU: Dean Chris McCord, Dean Bradley Bond, Professor Phil Eubanks, Professor Beatrix Hoffman, Professor Rebecca Houze, and Professor Ann van Dijk. The organizers are grateful to NIU's CLAS External Programming, particularly Anne Petty Johnson and Lise Schlosser, for their help with logistics. [End Page v]

The members of the 2012 Editorial Board included Jason Aleksander, St. Xavier University; David Coleman, Eastern Kentucky University; Joseph J. Duggan, Professor Emeritus, University of California-Berkeley; Lisa Mahoney, DePaul University; Scott Montgomery, University of Denver; Christopher Nissen, Northern Illinois University; Lia Schwartz, CUNY; Molly Sturdevant, St. Xavier University; Ann van Dijk, Northern Illinois University; and the anonymous readers. The editors are grateful to Hilary Attfield of West Virginia University Press for her help and advice.

The papers gathered in this collection deal with the recycling and re-use of the classical and medieval past—and sometimes its reduction, in the culinary sense of concentrating an essence—by medieval and early modern writers and artists. "Everybody knows" that the Middle Ages were built on the ruins of the Roman Empire, and medieval thinkers, following Bernard of Chartres, often wrote of themselves as "dwarves on the shoulders of giants." Fourteenth-century depictions of Alexander the Great's armies dressed in up-to-date armor, ready to joust, may strike a modern sensibility as comical or odd. Such mixed elements can separate our era from the Middle Ages. Yet we can learn much about the past by querying the historical chimerae that result from such juxtapositions. Our sense of what the classical had to offer the medieval and, indeed, the early modern, has shifted. Studying the medieval re-use of the classical has begun to reinvigorate our understanding of classical art, literature, and history as well as to highlight medieval creativity and intellectual thought. Medieval writers, artists, and philosophers did not simply copy or appropriate the past; they transformed it for their own purposes and on their own terms.

The essays in this volume closely study various re-visions of the past, or in some cases, enact their own transformations of it. Dale Kinney considers modern as well as medieval appropriations of artifacts, their adaptation into artistic constructs, and the cultural, intellectual, and legal fallout over such use of the past. Also analyzing the medieval and the modern is Andrew LaZella who uses Gilles Deleuze to re-examine two concepts from the philosophy of John Duns Scotus, to see how univocity and virtual communality might be appropriated via present-day philosophical theories. On the other end of our chronological spectrum, William Kynan-Wilson studies the reports of an Anglo-Latin writer on Roman ruins in the north of England, showing that the attitude of William of Malmesbury toward the past in...

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