Department of English

Academic Staff

For the last six or seven years I have been both an amused and bemused reader of a roughly 20’000-line 15th-century Scots poetic biography of Alexander the Great. The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour was one of some fifteen “early English” works that I read, quoted and wrote about in the context of a pan-European research project[1]. This innovative poetic compilation-cum-translation (on a subject that sees most other English writers glued to their single sources) is screaming for an editor[2]; unfit for jumping into this void, I am venturing instead to reread and remake (in Modern English verse) the work of its makar Sir Gilbert Hay. Its in-between vocabulary (influenced by French and Dutch) is still largely unrecorded in dictionaries, concordances and other corpora, its syntax is idiosyncratic, and its decasyllabic rhyming couplets (in a variety of Northumbrian, with quirky spellings) are daunting enough to read, let alone remake, but these are some of the simpler problems facing the translator as trouble-shooter. Toil and trouble surely await the translator of works whose authors (and other agents involved in the process of literary production) are only dimly perceptible and whose socio-political contexts are necessarily conjectural. My long-term venture, tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2023, has only just begun, but I have already learned that following the slow onward march of Hay’s description-loaded narrative is also an exhilarating journey during which “the author” comes alive and cultural contexts are created. 

For details of my publications, please consult BORIS: https://boris.unibe.ch

For an appointment, knock on the door of room 207D of the Forschungspool (Müesmattstrasse 45), use the post-box at the Dean’s office, or send me an email: bridges@ens.unibe.ch

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[1] Focussing on trajectories of textual transmission and transformation, the project culminated in the four volumes of La Fascination pour Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures européennes (Xe-XVIe siècle), dir. C. Gaullier- Bougassas, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 

[2] The poem has not been edited, although it was transcribed, and its two sixteenth-century manuscripts briefly described, in Gilbert Hay, The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour, ed. J. F. Cartwright, Scottish Text Society (vol. 2, Edinburgh 1986 / vol. 3, Aberdeen 1990. Vol. 1 never materialized).

 

Prof. em. Dr. Margaret Bridges (select recent publications)

Books (published and in the press, since 2008):

Trajectoires européennes du Secretum secretorum du Pseudo-Aristote (xiiie-xvie siècle). Ed., with Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas and Jean-Yves Tilliette. Alexander Redivivus 6. Turnhout : Brepols, 2015.

Les Voyages d'Alexandre au paradis: Orient et Occident, regards croisés. Ed., with Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas. Alexander Redivivus 3.Turnhout : Brepols, 2013.

Gender Scripts : Widerspenstige Aneignungen von Geschlechternormen , Ed., with Christa Binswanger, Brigitte Schnegg and Doris Wastl-Walter. Politik der Geschlechterverhältnisse 40. Frankfurt and New York: Campus Verlag, 2009.

 

Select articles and chapters in books (published and in the press, since 2000):

“Fifteenth-Century English and Scots Narrative Contexts for Creatures of the Gaze: The Basilisk and the Caladrius”. In Animals in Text and Textile. Storytelling in the Medieval World, eds. Evelin Wetter and Kathryn Starkey, Riggisberger Berichte 23, Riggisberg: Abegg Stiftung, 2019, pp. 91-106.

“Spaces for Alexander in Book I of the Fifteenth-century English Polychronicon,

British Library, Harley MS 2261”. In Alexandre à la lumière des manuscrits et des premiers imprimés en Europe. Matérialité des textes, contextes et paratextes: des lectures originales. (in the press)

“ John Lydgate’s Last Poem”. In Trajectoires européennes du Secretum secretorum du Pseudo-Aristote (xiiie-xvie siècle). Ed., C. Gaullier-Bougassas, M. Bridges and J.-Y. Tilliette. Alexander Redivivus 6. Turnhout : Brepols, 2015 (p. 317-336).

“Cheminements culturels et métamorphoses d’un texte aussi célèbre qu’énigmatique” (with C. Gaullier-Bougassas and J.-Y. Tilliette). In Trajectoires européennes du Secretum secretorum du Pseudo-Aristote (xiiie-xvie siècle). Ed., C. Gaullier-Bougassas, M. Bridges and J.-Y. Tilliette. Alexander Redivivus 6. Turnhout : Brepols, 2015 (p. 5-25).

“Alexandre dans la littérature anglaise”. InLa fascination pour Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures européennes (Xe-début du XVIe siècle). Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, 4 vols., Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014 , vol. 1, p. 74-80.

“Lettres anglaises dans une culture plurilingue”. InLa fascination pour Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures européennes (Xe-début du XVIe siècle). Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, 4 vols., Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, vol. 1, p. 451-489

“Un Alexandre « populaire » en Angleterre : écrire la royauté au pays des couronnes vacillantes”. InLa fascination pour Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures européennes (Xe-début du XVIe siècle). Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, 4 vols., Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, vol. 2, p. 1035-1082.

“Un parcours anglais difficile, del la méfiance et du mépris à l’éloge de la connaissance”. InLa fascination pour Alexandre le Grand dans les littératures européennes (Xe-début du XVIe siècle). Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, 4 vols., Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014 , vol. 3, p. 1559-1594.

“Repertoire des écrits anglais sur Alexandre, dans Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, p. 325-372.

“Jacob van Maerlant’s Alexanders geesten”, dans Réinventions d’un mythe, ed. Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, Alexander redivivus 5, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, p. 467-475.]

“Five Late Middle English Versions of the Narreme of Alexander’s Wondrous Gift”. In Les Voyages d’Alexandre au paradis: Orient et Occident, regards croisés, Alexander Redivivus 3, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013, p. 485-519.

“Figurations d’une rencontre dans les littératures germaniques, néerlandaise et anglaise.” In Les Voyages d'Alexandre au paradis: Orient et Occident, regards croisés, Alexander Redivivus 3, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013, p. 61-75.

“Sur les traces d'une légende, en quête du sens” (joint publication with Catherine Gaullier Bougassas). In Les Voyages d'Alexandre au paradis: Orient et Occident, regards croisés, Alexander Redivivus 3, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013, p. 5-11.

“Avatars et Imitations: La création de nouvelles fictions paradisiaques” (joint publication, with Catherine Gaullier Bougassas). In Les Voyages d'Alexandre au paradis: Orient et Occident, regards croisés, Alexander Redivivus 3, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013, p. 77-90.

“Murdering Self-Murder : Negotiating Suicide in Medieval English Rewriting of Classical Myth and History.” In Actualiser le passé : figures antiques du Moyen Âge à la Renaissance, eds. Jean-Claude Mühlethaler et Delphine Burghgraeve, Lausanne, CEMEP, 2012, p. 14-32.

“Verbal Duelling on the Beach: Cultural Translation and the Agonistic Vocabulary of Kyng Alisaunder.” In Words, Words, Words: Philology and Beyond. Festschrift for Andreas Fischer on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Eds. Sarah Chevalier and Thomas Honegger. Tübingen: Narr, 2012, p. 23-40.

“Satan’s Posterity: The Strange Filiation of Vortigern and Faustus.” In After Satan: Essays in Honour of Neil Forsyth. Eds. Kirsten Stirling and Martine Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, p. 30-45.

“Chaucer’s Good Women and Their Estranged Bedfellows: Adryane, Dido and Alceste.” In Mythes à la cour, Mythes pour la cour. Eds. Alain Corbellari, Yasmina Foehr-Janssens, Jean-Claude Mühlethaler, Jean-Yves Tilliette et Barbara Wahlen. Geneva: Droz, 2010, p. 83-104.

“Adressing the Bed: Towards a Premodern Poetics of Lost Love.” In Mémoire et oubli dans le lyrisme européen. Eds. Dagmar Wieser et Patrick Labarthe, Paris: Champion, 2008, p. 311- 341.

“Mehr als ein Text. Das ungelesene Buch zwischen Symbol und Fetisch.” In Buchkultur im Mittelalter: Schrift-Bild-Kommunikation. Eds. Michael Stolz and Adrian Mettauer, Berlin & New York: de Gruyter, 2005, p. 103 - 121.

“The Reinvention of the Medieval Traveller as Cultural Colonization in Richard Hakluyt'sPricipall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation.” In Berichten-Erzählen- Beherrschen. Wahrnehmung und Repräsentation in der frühen Kolonialgeschichte Europas. Eds. Susanna Burghartz, Maike Christadler und Dorothea Nolde. Zeitsprünge. Forschungen zur Frühen Neuzeit. Frankfurt am Main, 2003, p. 317-333.

“Neithyr of hem cowd wel vnirstand other: Negotiating Collective and Individual Identity through Language Contact in the English Middle Ages.” In SPELL: Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 15: Globalisation. Eds. Frances Ilmberger and Alan Robinson. Tübingen: Narr, 2002, p. 49-64.

“Premodern as Postmodern? Preposterous Representations of Gender in Mandeville’s Orient.” In Geschlechterdifferenz und Macht. Reflexion gesellschaftlicher Prozess. Eds. Stefanie Brander, Rainer J. Schweizer, Beat Sitter-Liver. Freiburg, 2001, p. 303-319.

“Woman in a Boat: Incest, Miscegenation and Hybridity in Early Medieval Narratives of the Coming of the Saxons.” In Crossover: Cultural Hybridity in Ethnicity, Gender, Ethics. Ed. Thérèse Steffen. Tübingen: Narr, 2000, p. 117-133.

Editorial Activities:

General and Series editor of Alexander redivivus, Brepols publishers. Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 have appeared so far.

Forthcoming article (by invitation) on:

“From Trevisa to BL MS Harley 2261, Mapping Italy in the English Polychronicon” (for Michele Campopiano, ed., University of York)

Recent guest lectures:

“Embracing and Resisting the Oriental: English Versions of the Secretum secretorum” (University of Kent in Canterbury, MEMS, November, 2014)

“Mapping Italy in the English Polychronicon”, (University of York, January 2013)

International Research Project (recently completed):

The European Alexander project (http://mythalexandre.fr), Project CPER (Région Nord Pas de Calais) 2009-2010 ; project ANR (Agence nationale de la recherche) 2009-2013 (ANR-09-BLAN-0307-01) ; Maison européenne des sciences de l’homme et de la société (USR 3185), Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Université de Lille 3.

2008, October 3/4: “Pretexts, Intertextualities, and the Construction of Textual Identity”

On 3 – 4 October 2008, Margaret Bridges and Nicole Nyffenegger organized a two-day conference for SAMEMES (the Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies) on Pretexts, Intertextualities, and the Construction of Textual Identity, which was supported by the Elsa and Max Beer-Brawand Foundation as well as by the Hochschulstiftung der Burgergemeinde Bern.

The conference focussed on some of the numerous critical and theoretical interests common to Medieval and Early Modern English studies, whether relating to modes of textual production and reception (the advent of print culture does not spell out the demise of manuscript production, nor do these two forms of textuality reflect the wide range of literary transmission and reception, which is further affected by intermediality), to formal or thematic continuities and discontinuities (processes of cultural memory and/or amnesia), or whether concerning the effects of social and political change in (gendered and transgendered) construction of textual identities. Current theoretical approaches to literary history require that the study of diachronic and synchronic relationships between texts - pretexts and intertexts - take into account mechanisms of cultural transmission, as well as of gender and identity construction.

Sixty six scholars and students attended the conference which took place at the Abegg Stiftung in Riggisberg and at the Haus der Universität in Berne. In addition to nineteen speakers from Switzerland and abroad, key-note lectures were given by Stephen Orgel (Stanford University), Ad Putter (University of Bristol), David Wallace (University of Pennsylvania) and Helen Wilcox (Bangor). A selection of papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of SPELL (Swiss Publications in English Language and Literature).

Further information can be obtained from www.samemes.org