Kalamazoo, like Timbuktu, sounds as if it belongs in the Myths & Fables corner of the atlas – Shangri-La, Seventh Heaven, the Land of Nod, and so on. In fact it’s a small town which is home to Western Michigan University and a liberal arts college, a snowmobile trail (this is the northeast of America we’re talking about), and an airport. Dr Gemma Briggs is just back from a trip representing Legenda in Kalamazoo, and this photograph shows just what an exotic, untamed Eden she found, birds of paradise fluttering past the jade pagodas:
Legenda was there because Kalamazoo is to Medieval Studies what Wimbledon is to tennis: the premier event on the annual circuit, a conference which more than 3000 medievalists attend. This year’s was the 47th, so it’s been a fixture for the whole careers of almost everybody in the field today. Any burgher from medieval Europe would recognise one of its functions at once: it’s a hiring fair for apprentices, or as we say today, Assistant Professors. But it’s also a celebration of the size and diversity of modern research on the medieval. The timetable alone is a bound 300pp book.
Though Legenda is probably better-known for books on European culture from the Renaissance onwards, we nevertheless publish many titles in Medieval studies, and would like to do more: proposals are very welcome. We exhibited at the Conference partly to show off our books – a quick plug here for Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages, if you’ll forgive the interruption – but the best reason for coming to these events is to meet with authors, past and future. So we’d like to thank everybody who came to talk to us, and the organisers at Kalamazoo for making this impossibly complex event run so smoothly.
(You can just see our new paper catalogue on the rack in the top right, in the process of going like hot cakes.)