At the 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 8-11, Michael Twomey, English, delivered a paper about images of Islam in a medieval encyclopedia; in addition, he organized a session for the International Arthurian Society, North American Branch, in which he serves on the executive board.
Twomey's paper, "The Muslim World in Bartholomaeus Anglicus's De proprietatibus rerum," was invited by the Speculum Arabicum research group of the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium (see photo). Taken from a book in progress about the representation of nature in medieval encyclopedias, the paper argues that Bartholomaeus's popular and influential encyclopedia sees the Muslim world through the lens of apocalyptic fears, portraying Arabs as uncivilized nomads, thieves, and wild men dwelling in a wilderness. Other papers in the session discussed the use of Arabic medicine and representations of Islamic beliefs in medieval encyclopedias.
The session he organized, titled "Lost in Translation: Negotiating Foreign Languages in Arthurian Literature," featured papers by medievalists from Kenyon College, the University of Oklahoma, and Penn State on the significance of linguistic differences in medieval Latin, German, and French Arthurian texts. Together with an introduction to be co-authored by Twomey and by Bonnie Wheeler of Southern Methodist University, the papers will be published in the journal Arthuriana in 2015.