Mary B. Speer

Professor emerita of French
 
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Education:

Duke University: B.A., magna cum laude
Princeton University: M.A., Ph.D.

Fields of Research:

Old French Literature, Theory and Practice of Textual Criticism

As a medievalist, I am particularly interested in the structures and styles of Old French texts, the formation of canons and textual traditions, and the transmission and transmutation of both individual texts and traditions.  I have worked extensively on the verse and prose romances of the Seven Sages Cycle (12th-13th centuries) and on the prose Lancelot-Grail Cycle (early 13th century).  While studying transmission problems in a variety of medieval texts, I have also focused on the history, theory, and methods of editing Old French texts.  At present I am collaborating with Professor Yasmina Foehr-Janssens of the Université de Genève on a new edition of the verse Roman des Sept Sages de Rome, which will offer revised texts of the two verse romances with facing translations in Modern French along with an updated apparatus and glossary.  Our edition will be published by Champion in the Champion Classiques series.

Books (click on image for details):

 

Selected Other Publications:

“What Ails the Sodomite King of Egypt?  Senescalcus in the K Sept Sages de Rome,” forthcoming in D’Orient en Occident: les recueils de fables enchâssées avant les ‘Mille et Une Nuits’ de Galland, ed. Marion Uhlig and Yasmina Foehr-Janssens.  CELAMA 16. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. Pp. 193-207.

“Jean-Baptiste-Bonaventure de Roquefort: The First Editor of Marie de France,” in The Reception and Transmission of the Works of Marie de France, 1774-1974, ed. Chantal Maréchal.  Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2003.  Pp. 225-40.

“Gaston Paris: Philologist and Mythographer: Discursive Doubling and Methodological Stalemate,” in Translatio Studii: Essays by His Students for Karl D. Uitti in Honor of His Sixty-fifth Birthday, ed. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Kevin Brownlee, Mary B. Speer and Lori J. Walters.  Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999.  Pp. 311-29.

“The Prodigal Knight, the Hungry Mother, and the Triple Murder: Mirrors and Marvels in the Dolopathos Dog Story,” in The Court and Cultural Diversity, ed. John Thompson and Evelyn Mullally.  Woodbridge, Eng.: Boydell & Brewer, 1997.  Pp. 375-83.

“The Long and the Short of Lancelot’s Departure from Logres: Abbreviation as Rewriting in La Mort le roi Artu.” Text and Intertext in Medieval Arthurian Literature, ed. Norris J. Lacy.  New York & London: Garland, 1996.  Pp. 219-39.

Translatio as Inventio: Gaston Paris and ‘The Treasure of Rhampsinitus’ (Gaza) in the Dolopathos Romances.” Transtextualities: Of Cycles and Cyclicity in Medieval Literature, ed. Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox.  Binghamton: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1996. 125-55.

“Editing Old French Literary Texts.”Scholarly Editing: A Guide to Research, ed. David C. Greetham.  New York: Modern Language Association, 1995.  Pp. 384-416.

“Entre le manuscrit et le texte authentique: une leçon du passé.”  Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Atti dei Convegni Lincei 111.  Convegno Internazionale sul tema: “La filologia testuale e le scienze umane.”  Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1994.  Pp. 239-54.

“Specularity in a Formulaic Frame Romance: ‘The Faithful Greyhound’ and the Roman des Sept Sages.” Literary Aspects of Courtly Culture: Selected Papers from the Seventh Triennial Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society, ... 27 July - 1 August 1992, ed. Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox.  [Bury St.-Edmonds]: Boydell & Brewer, 1994.  Pp. 231-40.

“Editing Old French Texts in the Eighties: Theory and Practice.” Romance Philology 45 (1991): 7-43 + bibliog.

“The Editorial Tradition of Villon’s Testament: From Marot to Rychner and Henry.” Romance Philology 31 (1977-78): 544-61.

Graduate Courses:

  • The Birth of Romance: From Rome to Camelot and Back
  • History of the French Language
  • The Song and the Quest: Medieval Lyric Lyrics and Their Narrative Expansions
  • Discourse, Gender, and Ideology in French Lyric Poetry: 12th and 13th Centuries
  • Romancing Camelot and Tintagel: Arthurian and Tristanian Narratives
  • Beyond the Chanson de Roland: The Old French Epic
  • Chivalric History, Redemption, and Doom in the Lancelot-Grail Cycle
  • Roman Foundations of Twelfth-Century Romance
  • Medieval Textuality and Modern Editorial Representations
  • Holy Lives/Saintly Fictions: Hagiographical Texts in Medieval France and Norman England
  • Vernacular Lyric in Medieval France: The Invention of Modern Verse
  • Old French Language and Literature (2-Semester Survey, 9th-15th Centuries)
  • Reading Old French

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Aspects of French Literature
  • Approaches to French Literature
  • Advanced Grammar and Composition
  • Translation
  • History of the French Language
  • Chrétien de Troyes
  • Lancelot-Grail Cycle
  • The Roman Heritage in Medieval France
  • Love, Identity, and Gender in Medieval Narratives
  • Quests for Love in Medieval Literature
  • Quests and Laughter in Old French Fictions
  • Shaping a Life (Douglass All-College Course)

Honors Courses:

  • Translation: Appropriating a Cultural Heritage in Twelfth-Century France
  • The Invention of Romantic Love in Medieval France

Awards and Fellowships:

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences, 2013
Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, Rutgers University, 1999

Contact Us


Ruth Adams Building, Room 103
131 George Street
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P  848-932-8223
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