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Colleagues to Fete Romance Language Professor Bruckner at May Event


By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 25, 2013

Medieval studies colleagues from Boston College, the US and abroad will pay tribute at a conference next month to Romance Languages and Literatures Professor Matilda Bruckner, who joined the BC faculty three decades ago.

 The 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Mich. (May 9-12) will feature three sessions in honor of Bruckner’s outstanding contribution to the field.

This professional homage follows the publication of a 2013 festschrift in honor of her distinguished career, Shaping Courtliness in Medieval France: Essays in Honor of Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, co-edited by her department colleague Associate Professor Laurie Shepard and former student Daniel E. O’Sullivan PhD ’00, now an associate professor at the University of Mississippi. Both also contributed essays to the volume.

The festschrift focuses on works written in the Francophone world between the 12th and 15th centuries that examine courtliness as both an historical privilege and a literary ideal, and as a concept that operated on and was informed by complex social and economic realities.

Bruckner’s areas of research include Medieval French literature, which she said continues to raise questions for readers in the 21st century. Her particular focus is on 12th and 13th-century romance, verse and prose narrative, troubadour and trouvère lyric. She has taught a variety of introductory level literature courses – narrative, poetry and drama, and masterpieces of French literature – in addition to those for graduate students and advanced undergraduates on Medieval French literature. 

Bruckner, whose achievements include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, described her response to the tribute as “Speechless, moved to tears - my first reactions don’t easily translate into words; a gift of such overwhelming generosity filled my heart.

“When Dan first told me about the sessions at Kalamazoo in my honor, I felt incredible gratitude that my work had evoked such a beautiful response from students, colleagues and friends,” Bruckner said. “When he told me that he and Laurie had organized a festschrift as well, I was truly astounded. Many people kept the secret so well that I was totally surprised.”

To have “the opportunity to learn that my work has made a difference, to hear a response from those who share my desire to make the past and present speak to each other in fruitful exchange - that is a privilege,” she added.