Join Fordham University for a conversation celebrating the publication of Nina Rowe’s new book, The Illuminated World Chronicle: Tales from the Late Medieval City (Yale UP, 2020). This multidisciplinary study examines a curious genre of illustrated book that gained popularity among the newly emergent middle class of late medieval cities. These illuminated World Chronicles, produced in the Bavarian and Austrian regions from around 1330 to 1430, were the popular histories of their day, telling tales from the Bible, ancient mythology, and the lives of emperors in animated, vernacular verse, enhanced by dynamic images.
The World Chronicle stories recast stories of the past to meet the interests of late medieval urban dwellers and include surprising narratives – the devil sneaks aboard Noah’s Ark and cons a couple into having a forbidden tryst; Achilles engages in combat like a medieval knight; and Charlemagne becomes romantically enraptured with his deceased wife. Among the lively anecdotes is a suite of episodes about Moses, which explore the patriarch’s Jewishness and marriage to an African princess.
Rowe will explore the images and texts that recount these spirited tales in a conversation with Ephraim Shoham-Steiner, an expert on urban life in Europe in the late Middle Ages.
Nina Rowe is Professor of Art History at Fordham University. Previous publications include The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge, 2011) and Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age: Recovery and Reconstruction (co-author, 2001). Nina Rowe’s research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2016-17), the American Council of Learned Societies (2016-17), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007-8). She is currently President of the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), 2020-23.
Ephraim Shoham-Steiner is Professor of Medieval Jewish History at the Department of Jewish History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the author of On the Margins of a Minority: Leprosy, Madness, and Disability among the Jews of Medieval Europe (2014) and Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe (Wayne State, 2020).
Nina Rowe’s book, The Illuminated World Chronicle: Tales from the Late Medieval City is available for purchase from Yale University Press with a 30% discount code: YAC89.
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