I am a historian of mobility, travel, archives, and the Catholic Reformation. My research uses the case of the dispersed English and Dutch Catholic minorities as a means to reconsider the geographical, thematic, and chronological confines of scholarship on the European Catholic Church in the early modern period. I develop cross-border research in my first book, Confessional Mobility and English Catholics in Counter-Reformation Europe, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. This monograph questions the assumed territoriality of most studies of pre-modern Europe and straddles national boundaries in historiography. It proposes a new interpretative model of ‘confessional mobility’. Using the case of the English Catholic dispersed community, Confessional Mobility encourages scholarship on travel, migration, and exile to adopt a more flexible interpretation of movement and its implications for belonging to communities. Furthermore, my attention to movement and mission in the self-understanding of Catholics incorporates minority Catholics alongside extra-European missions and reinforces current moves to decentre Counter-Reformation scholarship. By bringing minority Catholics from the margins to the centre of our analysis, our broader understanding of the Counter-Reformation changes. My next project further develops the approach to Catholic minorities by comparing Dutch and English Catholics. I investigate these minorities’ communal belonging through a focus on the role of commemoration. Studying minorities adds a crucial qualifier to our understanding of the past. The monopolisation of archives and commemoration by a dominant group has flattened the record and created the impression that this one group is the standard. Moreover, comparing allows me to study commemoration not as an abstract ideal but concretely rooted in their social, cultural, and legal lives. The differences and similarities in commemoration between these two Catholic minorities shed light on the ways in which commemoration and the resulting narratives and sources were shaped by and in turn shaped the lives of Catholics. By consequence, the collections upon which historians rely to study the past were not an abstract reflection of their recent past, but historical practices which played an active part in constructing these communities. I have taught at the University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Reading, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Oxford. I am also actively involved in organising conferences and seminars, primarily related to record keeping or about early modern Catholic history. I currently am the book reviews editor for British Catholic History, the preeminent journal for the history of Catholicism in Britain and Ireland published with Cambridge University Press.
Old English/Anglo-Saxon Old Norse-Icelandic Old French Old Saxon Germanic Philology Historiography Linguistics Philology
Gavin Schwartz-Leeper is a transdisciplinary researcher and higher education specialist with interests in aspects of representation and perception from the sixteenth century to the modern day. He has published and taught on a range of topics, including Renaissance politics, religion, and literature; historiography and genre; and liberal education pedagogies. Gavin has held fellowships at the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Early Modern Studies, the University of Warwick’s Centre for the Study of the Renaissance and Humanities Research Centre, the Warwick International Higher Education Academy, the Newberry Library, the Johns Hopkins University, and from the European Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS). Gavin’s first book (From Princes to Pages: The Literary Lives of Cardinal Wolsey, Tudor England’s ‘Other King’) was published in 2016 by Brill. He is currently working on his second monograph, The Art of Richard Grafton: The Cultural Networks of a Mid-Tudor Printer (Brill, 2019).
In my first book, I traced and analyzed the German legend of the Red Jews, an imaginary conflation of the Ten Tribes of Israel with Gog and Magog, the apocalyptic destroyers featured in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. My publications since 2000 on the ‘Protestant paradigm’ regarding vernacular Bible translations and editions in the later Middle Ages contributed to a new field of research and debate, with a research cluster at the University of Groningen and a number of conferences and conference panels devoted to the topic. This project addressed late medieval vernacular Bibles, their readership, their dissemination and their cultural effects — which includes contributing to the conditions under which the Protestant Reformation ‘caught fire’ so quickly: e.g., Luther’s Bible translation was a hit because burghers had been reading vernacular Bibles and biblical texts for so long, not because they had been denied access to the Bible. The wide distribution and availability of German and other vernacular Bible translations in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with 22 printed full Bible translations into German/Low German/Netherlandish appearing before Luther’s famous Bible translation, has been known to scholars since at least the early eighteenth century, when various works on German Bibles before the Reformation began to appear. However, the existence of such translations did not guarantee that scholars, especially church historians and historians of the Reformation took such Bible translations seriously. My findings also demonstrate how central modes of history-writing participate in myth-making — sometimes even under the guise of source analysis. In 2003, my former student Dr. Lara Apps and I co-published Male Witches in Early Modern Europe (Manchester UP), which was based in part on her M.A. thesis. Since 2005, my former student Dr. Robert Desjardins (Ph.D. 2008) and I, along with François Pageau and a number of other graduate students, have been working on the witch trials at Arras in 1459-60 — possibly the very first mass witch-trials that took the classic form under which we know them, a snowball phenomenon driven by torture and sponsored by the authorities — after coming across a hitherto unknown manuscript of a treatise written to justify the trials in their gruesome aftermath. This princely manuscript had been lurking in the UofA library system’s Bruce Peel Special Collections since it was donated to the university by Dr. John Lunn in 1989, but its existence was unknown to scholarship — a 1999 edition of the text relied on manuscripts held at Paris, Brussels and Oxford, but the UofA manuscript is probably the oldest and the best of them. This text anticipates the much better known Witches’ Hammer (Malleus Maleficarum) by a quarter century, and already contains all the elements that the later text would so famously disseminate. Our critical edition of the UofA ms., collated against the other known manuscripts and the 1475 incunabulum printed by Colard Mansion, is in preparation. Our translation of the text, the first into English, and of another treatise written at the same time and in the same place, in collaboration with my Ph.D. student François Pageau and my former student Dr. Robert Desjardins, appeared with Penn State University Press in 2016: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-07128-2.html. The Bruce Peel Special Collections Library and Archives produced and hosts a digital exhibition on this manuscript: https://omeka.library.ualberta.ca/exhibits/show/tinctor/imagining. We have finished and hope to publish in 2019 with the collaboration of Dr. Jessica Roussanov our complete translation of the voluminous Middle French records of the appeal of the Arras convictions to the Parlement (royal court) of Paris spanning the years 1461 to 1467, with brief postludes up to the final resolution of the appeals in 1491, together with translations of the many late-medieval chronicle entries and other sources relating to these trials from the dawn of the European witch-craze. Demonology and witch-hunting: for more about my recent research, please see this one-minute presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_dezXYIMew
I am currently serving as the Acting Chair of German Literature at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, while on leave from my position as Akademische Oberrätin (untenured) at LMU Munich. Between 2016 and 2018 I served as Acting Chair of German Philology at the German Department of Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, focussing on the teacher training program (Literaturdidaktik) and collaborating intensely with colleagues from Linguistics to design an introductory lecture for students preparing to become German teachers. My research interests span the cosmos of European literatures from the early modern era to the 19th century (and occasional adventures into the realm of contemporary authors). I am a currently a member of the research network »Lutheran Orthodoxy Revisited« (https://luthorth.hypotheses.org/), working on a subbproject on the poetic popularization of erudite Lutheran discourses. In 2015 I finished my habilitation thesis (i.e. my second major monograph) »Erzählgeheimnisse: Funktionen unzugänglichen und vorenthaltenen Wissens in der Erzählliteratur des mittleren 19. Jahrhunderts« (»Narrated Secrets – Narrative Secrets: Functions of withheld and inaccessible knowledge in mid-19th-Century Prose Fiction«), which I am currently preparing for its print publication. Another project I have been juggling in my mind for quite some time and recently returned to is a major paper on the connections between the fictional, factual and autobiographical writings of Per Olov Enquist, which follows the genealogy of his autobiography through his entire oeuvre and along a long tradition of critical self-examination that dates back to the Moravian Church, Bunyan’s »A Pilgrim’s Progress« and beyond. Apart from such interactions between literature and spirituality, books for children and young adults have been an interest of mine for many years. In 2016 and 2017 I served in the jury for Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, the most renowned German awards in the area of children’s and young adult literature, organised by the German branch of IBBY. I have co-organised conferences on hybrid literary genres and »geographic non-fiction« in 2014 and remain fascinated by the recently booming genre of geographic wimmelbooks (Städte-Wimmelbücher, Bymyldrebøker, …) and its implications for the presentation of encylopedic knowledge. Between 2009 and 2017 I was a member of the board of LMU’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and have been affiliated both with the Collaborative Research Center 573 (»Pluralisation and Authority in the Early Modern Period«) and the international research project Eurolab (Dynamik der Volkssprachigkeit im Europa der Renaissance/Dynamique des langues vernaculaires dans l’Europe de la renaissance). Besides, I regularly serve on the selection committee for the German National Merit Foundation and the Elite Network of Bavaria (Max Weber Programme). My teaching covers the area of German literature from the Reformation era to the 21th century. I have been the first academic teacher ever to earn the Bavarian Certificate of Academic Teaching (»Zertifikat Hochschullehre Bayern«) at my home university.
Renaissance/Early Modern Literature, Shakespeare, Early drama
John Milton, Early Modern, Renaissance, Deism
Early modern English poetry, Milton, Spenser, early modern women writers, renaissance poetry, poetic theory, digital humanities.