The January 2012 issue of Speculum (87.1) has now been published. The current issue includes five articles and 69 reviews. The articles cover a good range of geographical and disciplinary approaches and include Elizabeth A.R. (Peggy) Brown’s revised presidential address, “Moral Imperatives and Conundrums of Conscience: Reflections on Philip the Fair of France,” a close analysis of conscience and its effect (or not) on royal policy and action, with a fascinating and compelling analysis of Guillaume de Nogaret. Two articles discuss well-known linguistic histories and perceptions. Julia Verkholantsev’s “St. Jerome, Apostle to the Slavs, and the Roman Slavonic Rite” brings us through the history and cultural impact of the Glagolitic tradition from its uncertain and nearly mythical origins into its later official life in Bohemia, Silesia, Poland and the “Slavic Oikumene”; while Tim William Machan’s “Chaucer and the History of English” focuses on the issue of Chaucer’s language as paradigmatic – or not – of Middle English and its later descendants. Both shed new light on the role of language as culturally determinative and self-reflective. Erin L. Jordan’s “Gender Concerns: Monks, Nuns, and Patronage of the Cistercian Order in Thirteenth-Century Flanders and Hainaut” reexamines the assumptions underlying our received view of women’s monastic life – its relative poverty, marginalization, and lack of patronage – and demonstrates from close archival readings that, at least for these northern Cistercian houses, the situation was far more varied and complex than the historiography has allowed and that material conditions did not necessarily equate with prestige, influence, or spiritual impact in the medieval mind.
Further to the south, Ronald B. Herzman and William A. Stephany’s “Dante and the Frescoes at Santi Quattro Coronati” takes a fresh look at all the paintings and episodes in the famous Constantine cycle in Rome as a deep contextualization for Dante’s critique of the papacy and its temporal ambitions.
As we move forward, our next issues will offer even more articles with, we hope, an even greater mix of disciplines, methodologies, periods, and regions.
Perhaps the biggest news to report regarding Speculum, however, is what has transpired behind the scenes at the Medieval Academy itself. We are saddened to report the resignations of the twin pillars of Speculum. Both Doctors Jacqueline (Jackie) Brown and Mary-Jo Arn have left the Medieval Academy as of 31 January 2012. While we have been able to find successors (two PhDs with extensive editorial experience) for both our associate editors – and have taken on two new editorial assistants to pick up much of the day-to-day slack – Jackie and Mary-Jo’s long experience, high editorial standards, and genial relations with authors, reviewers, and MAA members will be sorely missed. We are sure that all members of the MAA will join us in congratulating Jackie and Mary-Jo for their many achievements and years of service and in wishing them well in the future. Together our editors emeritae helped make Speculum the premier journal in medieval studies and one of the most prestigious in the humanities. We will make every effort to live up to their legacy. We are certain that members of the MAA will be hearing more of Jackie and Mary-Jo soon.