Professor Alexander Broadie FRSE
‘He that all our comford was’? Robert the Bruce in Scottish Sources before Barbour’s BruceAudio
Tuesday 16 November 2010, 6.00pm Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ as part of the British Academy's 'Medieval Week'
‘The Middle Ages – A Distant Mirror’: Medieval life and death and through the centuriesAudio
Wednesday 17 November 2010, 6.00pm Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ as part of the British Academy's 'Medieval Week'
Personifications of Old Age in Medieval PoetryAudio
Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Ad Putter, on 21 October 2010 (venue: University of Bristol). This lecture was repeated on 17 November 2010, as part of the British Academy's 'Medieval Week'. Medieval poets were fond of personification allegory for reasons that modern readers do not always find easy to appreciate. This lecture explores some of the advantages of the allegorical mode by focusing on personifications of Old Age in some of the finest medieval English and French poets: John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland and Charles d’Orléans. Each poet in his own way shows why Old Age is suited to personification. Growing old may be a gradual process objectively, but writers from all periods confirm the subjective experience that medieval allegories bring to life, i.e. psychologically, the awareness that we have aged takes us by surprise. These personifications of Old Age are also sensitive to the social dimension of ageing, to its indignities and humiliations. By imagining Old Age as a person with whom we have to interact socially, medieval poets were able to capture the bewilderments and embarrassments of the ageing process.