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  • In memoriamPhilippa Maddern 1952–2014
  • Christopher Wortham, Stephanie Tarbin, Susan Broomhall, and Andrew Lynch

Remembering Pip

A young woman in an elegant white chiffon dress with lace trimmings strolled cheerily across the lawn to us and introduced herself to the small group of younger academics. Her name was Philippa, she said, Philippa Maddern, ‘but everyone calls me Pip’. It was a sunny afternoon in the summer of 1978 and we were standing around a little nervously. The event was something like an English garden party, its purpose to welcome the hundred or so of us who had gathered at Macquarie University for a conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ANZAMRS).

In those days, most of the younger group were enthusiastic conferencegoers and over the next decade or so we had many opportunities to meet. I would see Pip again in Auckland, in Melbourne, in Canberra, and in Perth. She was often to be seen and heard at gatherings for ANZAMRS or the other association in whose membership we shared, the Australian Historians of Medieval and Early Modern Europe (AHMEME). Indeed much of the membership overlapped and in another decade or so the two would merge to form the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS).

I didn’t see Pip during the years when she was in Oxford, writing her DPhil thesis, though I had news of her progress from time to time. So it was with great delight that, in 1989, I learnt she was coming to UWA as Lecturer in History. A day or two after her arrival, we met on the stairs of the Arts Block, as she breathlessly lugged one parcel of books after another up to her new study on the top floor. She paused to tell me how excited she was to have this first really substantial academic position: she had been tutoring at Monash for a while, but financial necessity had made her venture outside academe into the world of computing in order to make a living. And now she was returning to academic life with a full-time job at last!

Within a very short space of time, Pip became a central figure at UWA. She was enthusiastic and eloquent in her desire to share her research with others, adding a fresh boost to the lives of those of us whose interests intersected with hers. Her arrival was opportune. Not long after the Macquarie [End Page xiii] experience, I had come back to WA determined to start a society akin to the Sydney Medieval and Renaissance Group, which had been at the core of the ANZAMRS conference. I called together all those I thought might be keen to form a discussion group and proposed that we call it the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group. PMRG was well established by the time Pip arrived, but she added fresh vitality to this thriving cluster of scholars whose expertise was beginning to spread across the old traditional disciplinary boundaries. It was a time when many academic sceptics of the older generation still believed that one should not stray out of the safely demarcated ground of one’s own discipline and that all those who dared to cross boundaries were mere dilettanti.

As medievalists in the fields of English Literature and History respectively, Andrew Lynch and Pip formed a collaboration that would generate intellectual energy at UWA for another twenty-five years. In the time from 1989 to Pip’s sad death in 2014 they shared productive initiatives that would lead to great things. The first fruit of their cooperative work was the volume of essays entitled Venus and Mars: Engendering Love and War in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (UWA Press, 1995). In his time as President of PMRG, Andrew founded the themed annual conference that was to lead to many wonderful achievements: Venus and Mars was one of them. From that time on, some fine publications would emerge from PMRG annual conferences and, in the gathering of most of these collections of essays, Pip would play a leading role. Through PMRG, the UWA group became famed across Australia and New Zealand...


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