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Conference

‘Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxonists’: A symposium in honour of Rolf H. Bremmer Jr

Date
29 January 2016
Time
Address
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Room
Vossiuszaal

On Friday, 29 January 2016, a symposium is organised on the occasion of the retirement of Rolf H. Bremmer Jr as professor of English Philology at the University of Leiden. It brings together papers devoted to the culture, literature and language of early medieval England, and the scholars that studied these topics. The event is sponsored by LUCAS, LUCL and the English Department of Leiden University.

Rolf H. Bremmer Jr.

Rolf Bremmer’s career spans nearly forty years and he is known as a specialist in the fields of Old and Middle English language and literature, and Frisian language and literature. He received his master’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Groningen in 1977. He then taught English at Gomarus College, Groningen from 1977 to 1979, and Old and Middle English and historical linguistics at Radboud University Nijmegen from 1979 to 1986. From this university he also received his Ph.D. with a dissertation on a late Middle English treatise on the five senses. Since 1986, he has been a staff member at the department of English at Leiden University.

A well-rounded scholar, Bremmer has published and edited books on a large variety of topics, including the seventeenth-century scholar and collector Franciscus Junius, anger, shame and honour in Anglo-Saxon England, Old English heroic poetry, J. R. R. Tolkien and Old Frisian. In addition, Bremmer serves on the editorial board of the journals The Heroic Age, Neophilologus and NOWELE, and on the advisory board of the journals Anglo-Saxon and Studies in Medievalism and of the series Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. In 1994, Bremmer was the Erasmus professor at Harvard University for Dutch Culture and History. In 2002, he accepted the extraordinary professorship of Frisian language and literature at Leiden University and, in 2013, he was appointed professor of English Philology, with a particular interest for the medieval period. Unfortunately, he is currently finishing his last semester teaching at Leiden University.

Speakers at the symposium: graduates, colleagues and a former teacher

The symposium on Friday, 29 January 2016, brings together a group of speakers who, in some way or another, were influenced by Rolf Bremmer, either as their colleague, Ph.D. supervisor, or student. Three speakers have worked alongside Bremmer on an international and national scale: Michael Benskin (University of Oslo), Erik Kooper and Marcelle Cole (both Utrecht University). Two further speakers are former graduate students: Kees Dekker (currently a senior lecturer at the University of Groningen) and Stephen Laker (currently associate professor at Kyushu University, Japan). One of Bremmer’s current Ph.D. students, Thijs Porck (Leiden University) will also present a paper.  

Last but certainly not least, the keynote speaker of the symposium is Professor Tom Shippey (Saint Louis University), an internationally renowned expert on Old English language and culture, medievalism and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tom Shippey was also one of Bremmer’s tutors when the latter studied at Oxford University as a Harting student from 1976 to 1977. Shippey’s keynote lecture is entitled ‘The Importance of Kinship: the Sequel’, a response to a seminal article by Rolf Bremmer on the role of uncles and nephews in Anglo-Saxon England. 

Programme and registration

The symposium will take place on Friday, 29 January 2016, from 9:30 to 17:15 in the Leiden University Library, Vossiuszaal. At the end of the afternoon there will be the opportunity to view a selection of manuscripts and documents of the Leiden University Library. Attendance is free of charge, but registration beforehand is required. To register, please send an e-mail to Thijs Porck.

Detailed programme

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