Updates on recent events: Montreal

It has been a busy month or so for the Ordered Universe, as we come to the end of October, and, almost a full year since the award of major AHRC funding for the project. Work is proceeding apace on the first volume from the project which will comprise the edition, translation and analysis of the De artibus liberalibus, the De generatione sonorum and the Middle English treatise On the Seven Liberal Arts. In addition a more scientific analysis of aspects from the De generatione sonorum is nearing completion – news and updates in due course. In the meantime, Giles Gasper gave two lecture in late September and early October: the first at McGill University, the second the annual Grosseteste Day lecture at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.

The lecture at McGill, by very kind courtesy of the Mellon Foundation, organised by Faith Wallis and Alice Sharp, took as its topic the first treatise, De artibus liberalibus. Contextualising the treatise in light of Grosseteste’s early career, his years at Hereford, and in particular the interest of the treatise in astronomy/astrology/alchemy, it explored the different intellectual traditions within which Grosseteste’s thought would have developed in the 12th century. To consider the impact of new learning translated from Arabic on astronomy and astrology in particular offers a range of different insights onto the treatise and its purpose. Some of the originality of Grosseteste’s positions is brought to the fore as a result. The questions from the audience – McGill Medievalists and friends and colleagues from Montreal – were very stimulating, with a lively discussion.

It was a super opportunity to foreground the Ordered Universe at McGill – we will be back in 2018 for a full-blown symposium. The city was full of surprises, including a glass sculpture of the sun by Dale Chihuly outside the Museum of Fine Arts. Given the work with the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland, this summer, and the subject of the lecture, this seemed a very appropriate find.


It was a wonderful occasion, in excellent company, and with lots more under development, especially with the 12th century background to Grosseteste’s early works. Thank you very much indeed to all of the Montreal colleagues! And from Montreal, to Lincoln and the treatise on the Generation of Sounds…in the next post!

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