A collaboration of the University of Bristol, The University of Oslo, Middlebury College, and New York University. A series of lectures on topics in medieval studies, one hosted by each institution, to take place during the 2014-15 academic year.
Professor E.A.R. Brown, in her talk "Searching for Marguerite Porete," will be explaining why Marguerite Porete burned in Paris in 1310 had nothing to do with the Mirror of Simple Souls which has been attributed to her.
Abstract: I have been searching for Marguerite Porete for five years. My quest began at a conference in Paris, held on 31 May and 1 June 2010 to commemorate the burning on 1 June 1310 at the Place de Grève of Marguerite Porete, alleged author of a heretical book on the soul’s relationship to God. Just one contemporary chronicler recorded her execution, presenting it with the burning the same day of a relapsed converted Jew convicted of spitting on images of the Virgin and the harsh punishment of Marguerite’s companion Guiard de Cressonessart, who called himself the Angel of Philadelphia. Since 1944, owing to the scholar Romana Guarnieri, Marguerite has been acclaimed as the author of the mystical treatise, The Book of Simple Souls, which since at least 1911 had been known to scholars (and attributed to a male author). Intrigued by Lydia Wegener’s challenge at the conference to consider Marguerite apart from this work, I have spent the intervening years looking at every scrap of evidence that survives – which turns out to be the six acts now preserved in a carton (with documents relating to the Albigensians) at the Archives nationales in Paris. Having published articles challenging the usefulness to understanding Marguerite of remarks made by the English Carmelite John Baconthorpe († 1347) and Jean Gerson (1363-1429), I am continuing my search for Marguerite Porete – and her companion Guiard de Cressonessart, too often overlooked but the subject of equal attention in the documents. In the seminar I will describe the approaches I am using, which include using the tools of integral paleography described by Leonard Boyle and deconstructing chronicle sources to establish their biases and perspectives. In the seminar, through dialogue with other scholars interested in Marguerite and her work, I will try to explain why I consider the search worthwhile and why I have no intention of abandoning it.
3 Washington Square Village, Suite 1M, Conference Room 104