Upcoming Talk: Medieval Libraries and the Construction of Knowledge

Join Dr. Luke Sunderland this Friday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. for a discussion of the different methods of organizing knowledge, presented in a case study of the Burgundian library of 1404. Drawing inspiration from the writings of Michel Foucault, Sunderland’s paper offers a synchronic reading of the collection as a place where different modes of organizing knowledge meet. The collection is dominated by compilations, cycles, mirrors, summae, histories, and encyclopaedias, as well as by literary texts that play across the boundaries between various types of knowledge. Its key texts, then, either gather all that can be known within one tradition or provide an interface between traditions. The paper will argue that reading across the collection can therefore increase our understanding of the individual texts, the relationships between them, and the structures of knowledge that gave shape to medieval book collections.

Luke Sunderland teaches in the School of Modern Languages & Cultures at Durham University, and is currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. He trained at King’s College London and was previously research fellow at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. Author of Old French Narrative Cycles: Heroism between Ethics and Morality (2010) and of articles on the chansons de geste, the troubadours, and hybrid languages and translation, Luke is currently pursuing projects on rebellion in the Middle Ages, and on medieval libraries.

The event will take place in 106 Folwell Hall and is sponsored by the French & Italian Department, the James Ford Bell Library, and the Center for Medieval Studies.