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Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts Vernacular Literature and Learning in the Rhineland and the Low Countries (ca. 1300-1550)

Final Report Summary - MITT (Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts Vernacular Literature and Learning in the Rhineland and the Low Countries (ca. 1300-1550))

The Initial Training Network Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts (MITT) has brought together a group of twelve Early Stage Researchers divided over the five universities of Antwerp (Belgium), Freiburg (Germany), Lecce (Italy), Leiden (Netherlands) and Oxford (UK). From each of these partner institutions specialists in the field of late medieval intellectual history, philosophy, literature, religious studies and manuscript studies provided supervisors to the project.
MITT focused on the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth century dynamics of intellectual life and literature in the Rhineland and the Low Countries, nowadays stretching out over five countries (Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) but one cultural region in the later Middle Ages. This region witnessed the emergence and flourishing of a very rich tradition of religious literature. Mystical preachers and authors like Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler or Jan van Ruusbroec produced sophisticated oeuvres that were being read all over the German and Dutch speaking regions and are still being studied by many scholars but also outside academia. MITT has developed new perspectives on the works of these late medieval authors by focusing on the intellectual and textual culture in the Low Countries and the Rhineland, looking at the readership, appropriation and circulation of religious and philosophical literature.
Each of the Early Stage Researchers, working on individual research projects, studied forms of transmission within one of the three theme-clusters:
Philosophy in the vernacular (on the cultural translation of academic knowledge from the universities and ecclesiastical institutions to wider audiences that could be reached through vernacular literature)
Religious literature and text exchange in the Rhineland and the Low Countries (on the transnational circulation of texts)
Reinventions and Reshaping of the Mystical Tradition (on the continued reception of fourteenth century literature)

All projects focused on case studies or work packages (texts, manuscripts, text collections), that involved concrete work on editing, identifying and contextualizing texts, but also asked for a much broader multidisciplinary approach (combining manuscript studies and editorial work with literary history, religious and intellectual history or philosophy). Each work package was split up in a number of deliverables that together could provide the material for a dissertation. Ten of the twelve projects will actually result in dissertations that cover the field of transnational circulation of literature and the interaction of literature, thought and theology in the later Middle Ages. The two other projects have been done by ESR’s that work on another topic for their dissertations. One of them obtained her PhD in July 2013.
At this moment the deliverables of one work package have been turned into a dissertation that already has been published, three other ESR’s have finished the work on their dissertation, six ESR’s have been given additional contracts by their hosting universities to turn their deliverables into dissertations.
The general scientific results of the project concern new views on the interconnectedness of intellectual cultures (artistic, religious and academic) in communities of discourse that cross categories still being used in research (university, city, monastery/national, international) but do not help to understand the medieval dynamics from which crucial elements of modern culture have emerged: university, academic culture, religious groups, the interaction of art, religion and knowledge, gender issues). Collaborative projects like joint publications and conferences, a virtual exhibition or lecture series on the MITT-themes demonstrate the strength of the MITT-topic.
The training programme, directly connected to the research project, could focus on interdisciplinary approaches in medieval studies thanks to the expertise of the supervisors and their teams and their rich research environments at the partner-universities in combination with the additional expertise of the associated partners: the Huygens Institute for Textual Scholarship and Intellectual History and the Société pour l’Étude de Philosophie Médiévale. Invited speakers and other guests at the regular network meetings (eight in total) provided courses in additional expertise and general skills, including digital humanities, grant writing, poster presentations and editing and introductions to related fields of work). One of the network meetings hosted a panel discussion on the future of the Historical Humanities in the Horizon 2020-agenda between the ESR’s and stakeholders (LERU-universities, HERA, National Research Schools).

Over the years of the project MITT attracted a number of PhD-students and postdocs, some of which were fully integrated in the network. MITT started a new collaborative with GEMCA (Group for Early Modern Cultural Analysis), an interdisciplinary research team based at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). In this way MITT expanded its field of interest to the Early Modern Period and also incorporated art-historical expertise.

Resulting from the project a new book series of peer reviewed monographs has been established: “Manuscripts Ideas Culture” , published by the Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura (Rome). First two volumes have been published in 2013. The editorial board is formed by the supervisors of MITT. Currently a volume “Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts” is edited by the ESR’s. The volume consists of ten articles by various members of MITT.


"Mobility of Ideas and Transmission of Texts. Vernacular Literature in the Rhineland and the Low Countries (ca. 1300-1500)"

http://www.mitt-itn.eu/


Contact coordinator:
Geert Warnar
Opleiding Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur
Universiteit Leiden
Postbus 9515
2300 RA Leiden
tel. ++ 31 (0)71 5272158
g.warnar@hum.leidenuniv.nl