Guest Historian Discusses "Disturbing, Provocative" Images in Chaucer Lecture

March 5, 2010

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Guest historian, Dr. Judith Bennett from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, will discuss maidens being memorialized by Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries in "Death and the Maiden in Chaucer's England" as part of the history department's lecture series.

The Charles Edmondson Historical Lectures Series will host Bennett at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 16, and 3:30 p.m., and Wednesday, March 17, in Morrison Hall Room 100.

"European cultures have nurtured a darkly erotic link between death and maidenhood," Bennett said. "This connection between the horror of death and the allure of virginity was particularly charged during Geoffrey Chaucer's time, when Europeans first began to cope with the social, economic and cultural challenges posed by large numbers of unmarried women in their midst."

Bennett, with the use of visuals, will discuss how Chaucer and his contemporaries imagined the deaths of maidens, how they were memorialized and how these themes come through to contemporary culture.

"This is a subject rich with images: sculptures, drawings, paintings, tombs and the like," Bennett said. "There will be lots to look at. Some of the images are disturbing, some provocative and all entertaining."

Bennett earned her Artium Baccalaureatus in history from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass., and her master's and doctorate in medieval history from University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

She has published eight books, including Medieval Europe: A Short History; History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism; Medieval Women in Modern Perspective,/i>; and Singlewomen in the European Past, 1250-1800.

"Judith Bennett's name has become synonomous with the study of medieval women's history," said Dr. Allison Barr, assistant professor of European women's history. "It is indeed an honor to host a scholar of such high academic caliber."

The lectures are hosted by Baylor's history department and made possible by an endowment established by Dr. E. Bud Edmondson to honor his father, Charles S.B. Edmondson.

This is the 32nd Charles Edmondson Historical Lectures Series. The first was in spring of 1978.

The lecture series was endowed in order to bring scholars who are in the forefront of their respective fields to the Baylor community and share the fruits of their research, said K.R. Jones, assistant professor of history and classics.

For more information on Dr. Judith Bennett, click here "

Both lectures will take place in Morrison Room 100. Morrison Hall is located 1410 S. Fifth St. on Baylor's campus.

by Colton Wright, student news writer, (254) 710-6805

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