2016 La corónica International Book Prize

May 18th, 2016

Winner of the 2016 La corónica International Book Award

Laura Ackerman Smoller

Laura Ackerman Smoller, Professor of History, University of Rochester, studies the areas of intersection between magic, science, and religion in medieval and Renaissance Europe, centering around two major themes:  astrology and apocalyptic prophecy, and saints and miracles. Her first book, History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994), explores a French cardinal’s use of astrology to investigate the time of the world’s End. She argues that d’Ailly, worried about intractable papal Schism and hoping that a church council could bring the crisis to an end, turned to astrology as a way to silence the numerous forces that saw the Great Schism as a preamble to Antichrist’s reign and thus, by implication, incBook Coverapable of resolution by human efforts.

In her second monograph, The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Ithaca:  Cornell UP, 2014), she examines the canonization and cult of the Valencian friar Vincent Ferrer, a fiery apocalyptic preacher of the Schism years who died in 1419 and was canonized in 1455. Ranging from the saint’s tomb in Brittany to cult centers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Latin America, the book traces the long and sometimes contentious process of establishing a stable image of a new saint.  Starting with the rich material of the canonization process, Smoller mines stories about the holy friar as a means of exploring the religious lives of medieval and early modern Christians.  In a nuanced reading of canonization inquests, hagiography, liturgical sources, art, and devotional materials, people’s tales of the holy turn out reveal as much about their narrators—and their assertions of political, social, and spiritual status—as they do about Vincent Ferrer.  A central focus of the book is a bizarre tale, in which a mother kills, chops up, and cooks her own baby, only to have the child restored to life by the saint’s intercession.  This miracle becomes a key symbol of the official portrayal of the saint promoted by the papal court and the Dominican order through the Life of Vincent composed by Pietro Ranzano, in which Vincent appears as healer of the Great Schism (1378-1414) that had rent the Catholic church for nearly forty years.  But analysis of artistic portrayals and other Lives of the saint composed in a variety of contexts from the time of Vincent’s 1455 canonization through the eve of the Enlightenment shows artists and authors utilizing this potent religious symbol for their own purposes, ends sometimes at odds with the official image of the saint promoted by Rome.  Even though Ranzano’s official line eventually came to dominate hagiography, his was only one voice in a long, raucous discussion ranging over many centuries.  The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby restores the voices of that conversation in all its complexity.

More recently, Smoller has returned to the interrelationships between astrology and prophecy in a new book project tentatively titled “Astrology and the Sibyls,” an investigation of ways of knowing the future ranging from around 1100 to around 1600.


Laura Ackerman receives the La corónica International Book Award from Jonathan Burgoyne.













Vol. 44.1 — Now available

May 18th, 2016
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Vol. 44.1



Critical Cluster: Los jardines en la literatura medieval
Guest Editors: Adriano Duque, Ryan Giles & Cristina M. Guardiola-Griffiths,

Los jardines en la literatura medieval
Adriano Duque, Ryan Giles & Cristina M. Guardiola-Griffiths

El jardín real, el jardín imaginado: La creación del espacio natural
en las coronas de Castilla y Aragón en el tránsito del renacimiento
Diana Pelaz Flores & Germán Gamero Igea

Homegrown: From the Woman’s Workplace to the Medieval Garden
Cristina M. Guardiola-Griffiths

Algunas consideraciones sobre el motivo del jardín en La Celestina
Adriano Duque

Espacios eróticos verdes en la antigua lírica popular hispánica: el vergel, el huerto y la viña
Magdalena Altamirano

Garden Spaces and Textual Materialities: The Exorcistic Prelude to the Razón de amor
Ryan D. Giles

De espacio devocional a destino turístico religioso y loci discursivo: El jardín de Matarea (hortus balsami)
en la tradición española de los libros de viaje de finales de la edad media
Raúl Álvarez-Moreno

Medieval Depiction of Spaces: Battle and Tournament Fields in the Tristan and Ysolt Legend
Josefa Lindquist

Review Article

La lexicografía catalana en el siglo XV: examen crítico de la edición
del Liber elegantiarum (1489) por Lluís B. Polanco Roig
René Pellen

Book reviews

López de Ayala, Pero. Rimado de Palacio. Ed. Hugo O. Bizzarri. Reviewed
by Juan Carlos Bayo Julve

González-Paz, Carlos Andrés, ed. Women and Pilgrimage in Medieval
Galicia. Reviewed by Pablo Ordás Díaz

Sáenz-López Pérez, Sandra. The Beatus Maps: The Revelation of the World in the Middle Ages. Trans. Krakenberger, Peter, and Gerry Coldham, Reviewed by Catherine Brown

Muñoz, María José, Patricia Cañizares, and Cristina Martín. La compilación del saber en la Edad Media / La compilation du savoir au Moyen Age / The Compilation of Knowledge in the Middle Ages. Reviewed by Philip Allen

Ancos, Pablo, and Ivy A. Corfis, eds. Two Spanish Masterpieces. A Celebration of the Life and Works of María Rosa Lida de Malkiel. Reviewed by Devid Paolini

Roís de Corella, Joan. Psalteri. Ed. Josep Lluís Martos. Reviewed by Nancy F. Marino

Moya García, Cristina (coord.). Juan de Mena: De letrado a poeta. Reviewed by Ana M. Montero

Llull, Ramón. The Book of the Order of Chivalry. Trans. Noel Fallows. Reviewed by Grant Gearhart

Haro Cortés, Marta. La iconografía del poder real: El códice miniado de los Castigos de Sancho IV
Maestre Pedro. Libro del consejo e de los consejeros. Ed. Barry Taylor. Reviewed by David Arbesú



Call for Papers for the 2017 MLA in Philadelphia

February 26th, 2016

Please consider sending an abstract for the upcoming Medieval Iberian Forum and Special Session Panels for the 2017 MLA Conference in Philadelphia.

  • New Currents in Medieval Iberian Studies
    Papers on new works, new methodologies, or new critical approaches to Medieval Iberian literature or culture(s). Title and abstract of approximately 250 – 500 word by 15 March 2016; Connie L. Scarborough (connie.scarborough@ttu.edu).
  • Female Power: Lost, Found, Imagined
    Exploring intersections of medieval women’s cultural productions and female power, imagined/articulated/represented/mythologized by women writers/patrons. Brief CV, 300-word abstract by 10 March 2016; Emily Francomano (Emily.Francomano@georgetown.edu) and Cristina Guardiola (Cmgm@udel.edu).
  • Medieval Iberian Boundary Conditions & its Crossings
    Boundaries that constrain and enable the “medieval” and “Iberian” and their crossings: medieval/modern divide; global/transcontinental presences; conditions that re/define the field and its futures. abstract, CV by 15 March 2016; Nadia Altschul (altschul@jhu.edu).