MRDS Newsletter: Annual Awards Fall 2007
Annual Awards Fall 2007
MRDS Annual Awards
The David Bevington Award, May 2007
Awarded to Pamela King for The York Mystery Cycle and the Worship of the City. Woodbridge, UK; New York: D.S. Brewer, 2006.
Barbara D. Palmer, Presenter
It is an enormous honor - and a personal pleasure - to present the 2007 David Bevington Award for the best new monograph in early modern drama studies to Professor Pamela M. King. I am especially grateful for her own cogent summary of her prize text, The York Mystery Cycle and the Worship of the City, at yesterday's session "Why Everything We Thought We Knew about English Medieval Drama Is Wrong."
In The York Mystery Cycle, Pamela argues that the York Cycle "evolved as a celebration of Corpus Christi Day" (16), reading the Cycle "not simply as dramatized biblical narrative produced as an adjunct to the feast of Corpus Christi, but as a customized celebratory event" (28). In this richly detailed, documented, and textured study, she identifies the dominant organizational principle of the York Cycle as not biblical but sacramental, not a historical narrative but a calendrical sequence of liturgical readings. For once and for all, I hope, she has settled the issue of why the episodes in the York Old Testament sequence and the less-standard episodes of the New Testament ministry were chosen; and she has clearly demonstrated the formative relation between the York Missal readings and the Cycle episodes from Epiphany to Palm Sunday.
The book is a treasure, as has been Professor King's generous service to the profession. Although she now is Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bristol, and recently has placed her professorial posterior in Bristol's newly-constructed Chair in Medieval Studies, I find her earlier title - "Head of the School of Culture, Media, and the Environment" - at St. Martin's College, Lancaster, more expressive of her talents. She has published widely and influentially on Chaucer, the Coventry plays, the York plays, early theatre in performance (both English and Continental), iconography (particularly her work on cadaver tombs), civic and social history, confraternities, and lay piety. Co-director since its inception of the York Domesday Project, a large-scale, multi-media computing project on mystery plays, Professor King also is a past president of SITM; European Council member of the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society; and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Education, and Industry.
Memorable as these many achievements may seem, however, they pale in comparison to what many of us think of as Pam's finest academic moment, when she strutted and fretted her hour upon the 1998 York Symposium stage in Toronto. In a room filled with such York Cycle luminaries as Johnston, Rogerson, Beckwith, Beadle, Twycross, and, of course, King, one rather expected epiphanic wisdom. Instead, one got Pam and Meg as two Yorkshire housewives doing a Monty Pythonesque critique of the butcher's son's performance (and physique) as Christ in the Crucifixion pageant - "oooh, don't he look skinnier than last year, luv" was one memorable bit of dramatic criticism.
Pam, for both this lovely book and for your many, many contributions to the field of medieval studies, I am happy to present you with this award of $150, which is practically worthless given the exchange rate, and with a two-year complimentary membership in the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.
The Martin Stevens Award, May 2007
Awarded to Noah D. Guynn for A Justice to Come: The Role of Ethics in La Farce de Maistre Pierre Pathelin. Theatre Survey 47.1 (2006): 13-31.
Max R. Harris, Presenter; Jody Enders, Author of Citation
In a deft new reading of the beloved medieval Farce de Maistre Pierre Pathelin, Noah Guynn brings together two disciplines that should never have been separated: ethics and theatre studies. Beyond offering an unprecedented synthesis of aspects of the play that have long resisted critical analysis (from Pathelins celebrated linguistic delirium, to the legal delirium of the courtroom, to the frustratingly ambiguous ending of the play), he argues eloquently that Farce is a highly unstable, parodic, and self-parodic genre that affirms the possibility of a more ethical and just future precisely by disrupting the conventional language of moral and legal reckoning. As he moves beyond the persistent polarities of Augustinian caritas vs. concupiscientia and learned vs. popular culture, Guynn thus demonstrates the true meaning of the critical commonplace that humor is transgressive, all the while situating such humor within the ethical world of agency from which theatre itself is never immune.
The Alexandra Johnston Award was not given for 2007.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - MRDS ANNUAL AWARDS 2008
The Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society seeks nominations for its annual awards;
1. The David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama
($150 and two years membership in MRDS)
2. The Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama
($100 and one year membership in MRDS)
3. The Alexandra Johnston Award for Best New Conference Paper in
Early Drama Studies by a Graduate Student
($100 and one year membership in MRDS)
February 1, 2008.
All MRDS members and non-members.
For each category, two MRDS Executive Council members and one non-council member of MRDS.
For the Bevington and Stevens Awards: Any book or essay published within 18 months of the deadline and judged by the committee to be of outstanding quality. Publishers, please limit submissions for the Bevington Award to 2 books per year.
For the Johnston Award: Any conference paper delivered by a graduate student within 12 months of the deadline and judged by the committee to be of outstanding quality. Entries for the Johnston Award should not exceed 5,000 words, excluding notes, and should include the name and date of the conference at which the paper was delivered and, where appropriate, the title and sponsor of the panel.
Send one copy of each book or three copies of each essay or paper to:
Richard K. Emmerson
Professor and Chair
Department of Art History
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1151
Awards announcement and presentation will take place during the annual MRDS business meeting in May 2008, at the 43rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
If you have questions about these awards, email MRDS Vice-President Richard K. Emmerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.