Category Archives: MEMS Events

Prof. Barbara Bombi FBA to be the 2023 Anselm Lecturer

The Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies is pleased to invite you to the final of the four public annual lectures that it organises. These lectures, which range across the wide area covered by MEMS, are intended to celebrate the vitality of scholarship by bringing internationally renowned experts to Canterbury to share and discuss their research. For the 2023 Anselm Lecture, we are able to look to our own community for a scholar of such standing. We are delighted that MEMS’s own Prof. Barbara Bombi will be giving this year’s Anselm Lecture at 5pm on 8th June in the Templeman Lecture Theatre.

Prof. Barbara Bombi

In the summer of 2022, Prof. Bombi was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. That election is a reflection of the high standing she has within Britain’s academic world, and beyond. Her reputation has had material benefit to the University of Kent, attracting both funding and students to its campus. As well as an outstanding historian with several important monographs to her name, she is an excellent academic citizen: in her role as the School of History’s Director of Research, she was instrumental in co-ordinating the submission to the Research Excellence Framework that saw the University of Kent achieving the accolade of having the top-ranked history department in the UK. Prof. Bombi has always been a stalwart supporter of MEMS, its work and its scholars.

Prof. Bombi’s lecture is entitled ‘Memories of Italian merchants in fourteenth-century England: A tale of Fortune and Misfortune’. Below you will find an abstract for the lecture.

The lecture will be followed by a reception, to which you are also invited. If you cannot attend in present and so want to join online, do contact the Centre.


Italian merchants became an essential tool of funding for the English Crown between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They were instrumental in funding the Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-French wars and moving cash and goods between northern Europe and Italy via Flanders and France. However, many Italian merchant companies that embarked on these commercial enterprises faced bankruptcy owing to lack of liquidity and because of the challenges faced by the English Crown vis-à-vis its creditors. This paper will investigate the rise and fall of the Frescobaldi company in England at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the paper will not only investigate financial accounts and correspondence, but also how the bankruptcy of the Frescobaldi was recorded in some contemporary literary sources and sonnets produced in the context of the dolce stil novo.

Ann Blair to give 2023 MEMS Renaissance Lecture

MEMS is delighted to be able to invite you to this year’s Renaissance Lecture. We are very honoured to be hosting Prof. Ann Blair, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard University as our Renaissance Lecturer for 2023. She is one of the world’s leading scholars of the intellectual life of the Renaissance world. Her work, for instance Too Much to Know (2010), often has striking contemporary resonances. At 5:30pm on Friday 26th May in the University of Kent’s Templeman Lecture Theatre, she will be sharing with us her new research on ‘The appeal of composite books for learned printers and authors in the Renaissance’.

Prof. Ann Blair, MEMS’s Renaissance Lecturer for 2023.

Prof. Blair explains her topic:

A number of learned books in the Renaissance were composite, by which I mean that they comprised multiple texts, by one or more authors. Famous works like Erasmus’s Praise of Folly or Thomas More’s Utopia for example were not first published in standalone editions as we encounter them today, but rather in composite volumes, alongside other unrelated texts. In this talk I’ll ponder some of the reasons for the appeal of publishing multiple texts together in composite volumes. My main case study will focus on Conrad Gessner of Zurich (1516-1565), who published more than sixty books, among them his well-known folio volumes of natural history and bibliography. I draw on the printing histories and abundant paratexts in this corpus to suggest some of the reasons why he and his printers favored composite volumes, notably: to justify a new edition of a text already published by other printers, to add name recognition, to produce a book of sufficient heft, to avoid leaving pages blank at the end of a quire. I propose that these findings could apply to other author-printer relationships, in cases where we do not have good evidence for what motivated composite volumes.

You are welcome to join us in person but if you cannot travel to the campus, please contact the Co-Directors of MEMS, Drs Rory Loughnane and David Rundle, for a Zoom link.

Constables, Charters and Kent: a MEMS collaboration with Kent Archives

Kent Archives U269/O342

Maidstone: Kent Archives, U269/O342 – the rights of the Constable of Dover

MEMS is delighted be collaborating with Kent Archives in organising an exciting event on 22nd and 23rd May 2023 to welcome significant new additions to the Archives’ collections.

In 2022, Kent Archives received some ‘new’ medieval material with shared early modern provenance, reflecting on the history of Kent and of its study in the seventeenth century. This mini-conference is the first time these items will be on display in their new home and that they will have received scholarly discussion. On Monday 22nd May, from noon, we will be in Maidstone and on the morning of Tuesday 23rd May in Canterbury when we will also be seeing related material in both our own Special Collections and in Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Speakers will include MEMS’s own Prof. Kenneth Fincham, Dr Ryan Perry and Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh.

The event is free and open to all but spaces are limited so do reserve yours by contacting the email addresses listed on the flyer.