On Friday 4 May 2012 the Deputy Director of the Bodleian, Dr Richard Ovenden, launched the Early Modern Festival Books Database in the Divinity School in Oxford. The database is a freely available online resource to enable researchers to access more than three thousand descriptions in twelve languages of early modern festivals at courts and cities throughout Europe (http://festivals.mml.ox.ac.uk).
These works are often splendidly illustrated accounts of coronations, christenings and weddings, of tournaments, ballets, and operas and are a vital source of information for art historians, musicologists and historians of the period. Dr Ovenden commented: ‘How wonderful to be standing in a 15th century building, launching a 21st century research tool that will enable scholars to use 16th, 17th and 18th printed books!’
Fortunately Marie Antoinette and Maria Amalia, Queen of Naples (Charlotte Marshall of St Catherine’s and Nicola Deboys of Pembroke, both Second Year students of German sole, were able to attend.
Congratulations to Dr Francesco Manzini, Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College, who has won the ‘Forum for Modern Languages Studies Essay Prize for 2012’.
The 2012 Forum Prize competition was on the subject of Literature and Hunger and Francesco Manzini wrote the winning essay: ‘Nutrition, Hunger and Fasting: Spiritual and Material Naturalism in Zola and Huysmans’.
Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly is Chair of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and a fellow of Exeter College, specialising in German literature and culture in the period 1450-1750. She has worked extensively on the culture of the European courts, on writing by women and on the representation of women in German literature from 1500 to the present.
Sir Adam Roberts, President of the Academy said: “The new Fellows, who come from 23 institutions across the UK, have outstanding expertise across the board – from social policy and government, to sign language and music. Our Fellows play a vital role in sustaining the Academy’s activities — from identifying excellence to be supported by research awards, to contributing to policy reports and speaking at the Academy’s public events. Their presence in the Academy will help it to sustain its support for research across the humanities and social sciences, and to inspire public interest in these disciplines.”
Registration is now open for the Sir Robert Taylor Society’s annual conference which provides a unique forum for interaction between Oxford’s Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty and teachers of MFL in secondary schools and colleges. This year’s conference will take place at St Hilda’s College.
The latest annual data from the University has shown once again the benefits of a Modern Languages degree in boosting graduate prospects. The Faculty’s graduating students of summer 2010 have a higher percentage in employment or further study than the University average (93% > 87%), and an even smaller figure in unemployment. National data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency indicate, furthermore, that Modern Languages graduates have one of the highest rates of employment across all subject areas, exceeded only by medical disciplines and law.
A new bursary has been established to provide financial assistance for undergraduates to attend a course in a South Slavonic language in the relevant country before taking it as a final-year option. The bursary is in memory of Anne Pennington who made invaluable contributions to Russian and Slavonic Studies at Oxford. More information about the bursary can be found here:
The network is an initiative of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, with the support of the Founding Partners Jesus College, Oxford, Magdalen College School, Oxford, and BMW Group Plant Oxford. It is designed to encourage and promote the study and enjoyment of German-language culture in the Oxford area and beyond, and will work closely with schools of all types as well as university departments, organisations and companies at a local and national level.
Alongside the website, the network’s core activities will include facilitating workshops and events for learners of German and running a national competition: the Oxford German Olympiad.
Professor Patrick McGuinness has the won the 2012 Writers Guild Award for Best Fiction for his book The Last Hundred Days.
Miss Amy Cowan (Hertford College) has won the 2012 R.H. Gapper Undergraduate Essay Prize for her essay on the topic: ‘A la recherche du temps perdu has been described as an epistemological quest. Explain and exemplify what this might mean.’ The essay was judged outstanding by both the initial readers in the first round, and by the second round panel of judges.
The prize is awarded by the Society for French Studies for an essay in English or French, of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, on any subject within the scope of French studies. The award is for outstanding academic merit at undergraduate level, and the judges are a subcommittee of the Trustees of the Society for French Studies.
Miss Jessica Benhamou (St Hugh’s College), must also be congratulated as being among the shortlist of six considered in the second round.