A Compilation of Research on the Middle Ages

Writing Normandy: Stories of Saints and Rulers(Routledge 2020) brings together eighteen articles by historian Felice Lifshitz ’75/’76 ICY, some published for the first time. The articles examine the various ways in which local and regional narratives about the past were created and revised in Normandy during the central Middle Ages. These narratives are analyzed through a combination of both cultural studies and manuscript studies in order to assess how they functioned, whom they benefitted, and the various contexts in which they were transmitted. The essays pay particular attention to the narratives built around venerated saints and secular rulers, and in doing so bring together narratives that have traditionally been discussed separately by scholars. Lifshitz has donated a copy of the book to the HCHS library.

All of the reprinted articles were researched and written between 1985 and 1998, although some were published later due to delays beyond the author’s control. For Lifshitz, this was a period of concentrated work in the field of medieval French history. She credits a good part of her success living and working in France, and handling relevant scholarly materials, to the excellent training in French language and culture that she received at HCHS, from a Grade 7 introduction through ICY-year AP French. Indeed, she credits many aspects of her success, academic and otherwise, to her Hunter education. The book is part of Routledge’s Variorum Collected Studies book series. To quote the publisher’s website: “Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject.” It is a great honor, and a scholarly career milestone, to have published such a collection. Lifshitz is currently putting together a second Collected Studies volume, containing some of her more recent article-length work in Gender Studies, both medieval and modern.