Thanks to the Nedbook Northwest Europe award for 2004, Rob
Kusmer of Notre Dame was able to attend the Leipziger
Buchmesse held in March, while Sem Sutter of the University
of Chicago will be flying to the Göteborg Book Fair to be held
in Gothenburg this coming fall.
Sarah How has a new office at Cornell, an office space occasioned, brought about, and equipped with paper clips by way of her transfer to a new department. Still, she does frighten us somewhat with her evocation of administrator-speak when she reports that her responsibilities are unchanged in an “agile, responsive sort of way in keeping with the digital transformation/reinvention of the Cornell University Library.” Now Sarah will report through the Reference Services Department as a Reference & Collection Development Librarian. We have it on good (i.e., non-governmental) intelligence sources that this is a great place to be, that she has terrific colleagues, and that she’s very happy with this latest development.
Move over, Joyce Carol Oates: your reign as literary queen of Baltimore is coming to a screeching thud, halt, stop. Sue Waterman of Johns Hopkins has been awarded an artist's grant from the Maryland State Arts Council for fiction writing. It's a substantial sum, and she can use it any way she wants to further her “creative work.” Maybe she’ll just stay on in Paris for a few months after the WESS conference, listening to accordion music très legato et vivace at outdoor cafés, watching the human condition unfold, and sipping on whatever might invite the Muses onto her written page. In the equally Romantic regions of professional assignment, she has been appointed Lecturer in the Romance Languages Department and has been asked to teach a research methods seminar on an annual basis. The German Department signed on for the same treatment this year. So now she teaches all first year grad students (two-semester courses) in each of the departments. Sue would love to compare notes with other WESS members who teach symptomatically similar seminars.
John Dillon, European Humanities Bibliographer in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's General Library System, authored several entries in Christopher Kleinhenz, ed., Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia (Routledge, 2003; 2 vols., released last December). His entries ranged alphabetically from "Aristippus, Henry" to "William III" with intermediate stops in such cities as Lucca, Matera, and Viterbo, in such towns as Spoleto, Venosa, and Rossano, in many a teeming metropolis such as Palermo and Milan, and even in such familiar sounding locales as Eboli (the Protagonist in a Mel Gibson film would have stopped there) and Cerami (possibly named after Keramikos, the Hellenistic home of crackpots), hobnobbing with literary authors and a few governmental bigwigs from the Italian Middle Ages. His favorite article, however, was on "Greek Language and Literature," an area of medieval Italian culture not often treated in English. Further WESS authors in this encyclopedia are Tom Izbicki of Johns Hopkins (see also: the following Izbickian blurb on the improprieties and improvised pieties of Pius II) and Richard Ring of Kansas. John, no relation to Matt Dillon, continues to serve on the Programming Committee of the annual International Medieval Congress at Leeds (West Yorkshire), where he coordinates the Latin Writing strand (which is a reinforced collection of Latin Writing threads). This is a smaller -- and in John's view in some respects more pleasant -- version of the similarly named congress held annually at Kalamazoo (Michigan). Plus it is a handier venue for Yorkshire Pudding. WESS members with scholarly interests in Europe from the fourth through the fifteenth centuries CE are encouraged to attend.
If you haven’t kept up with the burgeoning scholarship of our incoming – and often outgoing – WESS chair, Tom Izbicki, Collection Development Coordinator at Johns Hopkins, now is the time to tap into your local catalog and to consult your various medieval indexes and religious indices, where you will find the product list under his authorship to be professional and prolific and prodigious. While you’re at it, since we have your attention, you might check out his latest contribution: “’Reject Aeneas’: Pius II on the Errors of His Youth,” in Pius II ‘El più expeditivo pontefice’: Selected Studies on Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1405-1464), edited By Zweder von Martels and Arjo Vanderjagt (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003), pp. 187-203. Readers without much scholarly background might assume, as I do from the etymologically redundant etymology within the name Piccolomini – “piccolo” is the Italian word for “small” and “mini” is obviously a redundant to “small”– that Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini was a rambunctious and youthful alter ego to Pius II in the manner of Austin Power’s “Mini-Me.”
On September 12 of last year, Tom Kilton delivered a lecture, "Emblematica Online: The User's Perspective," at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. The occasion was a working group conference: "Emblem Literature: Digital Modeling of the Interrelationships between Texts and Images" sponsored by the Herzog August Bibliothek and the University of Illinois. Tom's paper is to be published online (and in a patently progressive parallel paper format) by "DIGIcult," a European Web site that discusses the “digiculties” of technology in academia at http://www.digicult.info/pages/index.php. The University of Illinois Library and German Department's project Web site "Digital Emblematica" can be visited at: http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/emblems/. Up until now, the interrelationships between texts and images have been harmonious, and this conference was designed as a preemptive move to keep them that way. Tom's paper examines the navigational structure of emblem web sites world-wide (realizable even without the use of handheld GPS devices). He also recommends a set of standards for elucidating the nature of emblems to uninitiated users: this might be called “Emblems for Dummies.”
A final note of Illini interest: Lynne Thomas has left the wilds of Ivy Connecticut (Yale) to take a position as the Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois (I hear the state is *not* pronounced “ill-uh-NWA” by locals). With her new job, she’ll be in a position to search through the NIU rare holdings to determine if the old legend is true: was the city of DeKalb really named by a German-American stockman searching for his “calf?”