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Associate Professor of Comparative LiteratureResidential College
812 East Washington Street Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1275
Office Location(s): 4002 MLB
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I study and think about early medieval Iberian visual and textual cultures, medieval Iberian Romance and Latin literatures, language technologies and thought.
From an initial focus on the Central Middle Ages in Spain and France (explored in my book Contrary Things: Exegesis, Dialectic, and the Poetics of Didacticism (Stanford U. P., 1998 and articles on the Libro de Buen Amor, the Arçipreste de Talavera, Marie de France, and Abelard and Heloise), my interest has shifted to the earlier Middle Ages and to transhistorical theoretical questions of the inter-relationships of language technologies and thought.
My current book, Remember the Hand: Bodies and Bookmaking in Early Medieval Spain studies the self-representation of scribal activity in illuminated manuscripts produced in the so-called “Mozarabic” communities of the Iberian peninsula in the 10th and 11th centuries.
The manuscripts themselves are stunningly beautiful, alive with intense color and vividly abstracted human, animal, and floral forms. Equally exciting is the explicit protagonism they grant to the people who made them, scribes and painters who often feature prominently—not only in remarkably detailed colophons, but also in numerous textual interventions, subscriptions, and visual representations.
From these scribal interventions and self-representations emerges an embodied theory and practice of reading and writing that has much to offer contemporary debates about the relation between technology and intellectual life.
Portions of this project have recently appeared in “Remember the Hand: Bodies and Bookmaking in Early Medieval Spain” (Word and Image 27.3 : 262-278 and “Love Letters from Beatus of Liébana to Modern Philologists” (Modern Philology 106.4 : 579-600). I explored some of the theoretical implications of manuscript study in a digital world in “Manuscript Thinking” postmedieval 2.3 (2011): 350–368.
Recent and Selected Publications:
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