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Anticipated Directions for Future Work

I am currently planning a book project with Anna Waymack, stemming from our work on our article in The Medieval Globe on John Mandeville’s text and mapping.  The book will more broadly examine the connections between medieval memory and reproductions of space. We have recently submitted a proposal  to Brill for inclusion in their “Maps, Spaces, Culture” series. The series editors have expressed enthusiasm and support for the monograph and asked for additional chapters within the next year. Anna and I  have been invited to speak on one of these chapter in October at Stanford’s David Rumsey Map Center. I have an additional book project in the works examining the maps and histories of the 13th Century monk Matthew Paris, based on work that I began in my masters thesis.

At present, I have several specific projects that are still in the planning stage.  Following from the continuing work of David Harrison, Bruce Watson, and Peter McKeague cataloging medieval bridge chapels, I am interested in investigating the symbolic role of space in bridge chantries, and in the post-Reformation life of the structures. I am working out the details of compiling a digital multi-text of Mandeville’s Travels, using TEI to mark up as many of the text’s variants as possible to allow for convenient cross-textual comparison.  And I am looking into the requirements of creating a guided pilgrimage tour using Matthew Paris’s itinerary maps as a visual framework, linking to information from various itinerary texts.

More broadly, I see my research as continuing along two main tracks, both related to investigating the role that space and geography played in the medieval European experience.  I anticipate that I will continue to experiment with ways that we might combine artifacts from what are generally considered discrete modes of spatial expression in order to better understand them individually.  This is the approach that I have taken in my work with Mandeville’s Travels, “The Wife’s Lament,” and other sources, and it has produced both useful pedagogical tools and productive modes of thinking about the texts.  Further, I expect that I will remain active in examining archival cartographic resources as a means of finding direction for investigation.  Importantly, these two modes of forward progress are not necessarily independent of each other; the context for mapped elements often only becomes clear when they are counterpoised with, and by, other kinds of source materials. Lastly, I have begun sketching out ideas for a further book project on the history of darkness as a place and an actor in medieval history and literature.