Michael Twomey presents eco-critical paper about medieval encyclopedias at Modern Language Association.
Contributed by Michael Twomey on 01/21/2014
Michael Twomey presented a paper titled "Encyclopedic Environments" at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association in Chicago on January 9th. Drawn from a book-in-progress, the paper examined the representation of the natural environment in two of the Middle Ages' most influential encyclopedias: Isidore of Seville's Etymologies, written in 636, and Bartholomaeus Anglicus's On the Properties of Things, written in about 1240 and republished often, including an English edition from the 16th century that is often called "Shakespeare's encyclopedia." Twomey's thesis is that the geography, animals, and plants covered in these encyclopedias are primarily those of classical and biblical literature, which suggests that their intention was to support study in the liberal arts. The paper was in a session on encyclopedism that was sponsored by the MLA's Division of Comparative Medieval Literature.