22. July 2019 - 9:00
United KingdomExeterStreatham DriveEX4 4QR

XVIth Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society, Exeter, Monday, 22. July 2019

Our next triennial congress will take place at the green and lovely University of Exeter in the glorious county of Devon, UK.

Exeter has a well attested and long history in medieval studies, and many great figures have taught here. Many of you will remember John Fox, expert on Villon and Charles d’Orléans, who sadly passed away in 2015. John taught at Exeter for over 40 years, and was Head of French and Dean of the Faculty of Arts. We have a Centre for Medieval Studies which gathers colleagues from across the University in a wide variety of disciplines, and a thriving MA in Medieval Studies. Our Special Collections Department has a number of treasures, including the Syon Abbey medieval manuscripts collection. In French we have Professor Emma Cayley, Dr Tom Hinton and, from 2016, Professor Michelle Bolduc. We have a further three permanent medieval colleagues in the English Department (Prof Eddie Jones, Dr Elliot Kendall, Dr Naomi Howell), and more than I can possibly remember in History. Other medieval colleagues are found across such diverse disciplines as Archaeology, Sociology, Arabic, Musicology, and Law.

The former ‘Jewel of the West’ was heavily bombed during the Second World War, with the centre suffering in particular. What we lack in medieval buildings, we make up for in greenery, Victorian mansions and sheep. The campus is widely reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the UK. Most of the sessions will be held in Reed Hall, the jewel in Exeter’s crown, an Italianate 19th century villa, set in 300 acres of landscaped gardens at the heart what is known as the Streatham campus.

The city of Exeter, whose origins are Roman (known as ‘Isca’), has around around 130K inhabitants, and boasts a lovely quayside, riverside pubs, a world famous Cathedral, and all the usual shops. A medieval tour of the city will be on offer, as well as visits to the Cathedral Library which houses the UNESCO-listed Exeter Book, and the Exon Domesday, among other treasures.

Exeter lies approximately ten to fifteen minutes from the nearest beach at Exmouth. You can take a charming train along the coast and explore the beaches from Exmouth across to Dawlish, eat fish and chips watching the sun go down off the Jurassic Coast, and maybe dig up a few fossils while you’re at it.

Exeter lies between two of Britain’s acclaimed national parks: Dartmoor and Exmoor – take a hike across the moor, and discover Neolithic tombs and medieval tors.

If hiking isn’t your thing, why not have a ‘fraid Not’ – just one of our many renowned local ales and beers in a nearby Inn. For the wine buffs among you, Devon boasts the best vineyards in the UK, and we can organise trips to Sharpham, Pebblebed, and Yearlstone. Devon is also well known for its local fresh produce.

The must have experience is an authentic Devon cream tea (jam on top, cream on the bottom of course).

Day trips: we would plan to visit Tintagel and Boscastle in Cornwall, Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire – all sites are within a 2-3hr coach ride away.

Exeter University campus is in the heart of the city of Exeter; the main train station is ten minutes walk from campus; the city is fifteen minutes walk from campus.

Exeter is in the South West of the UK, well connected by transport links to the rest of the UK and Europe. By train, London Paddington is 2hrs 20 minutes away, and the Heathrow express takes you in 15 minutes from Paddington to the UK’s busiest airport. There are international airports in Exeter itself, flying mainly to Europe (daily flights to Paris for example), and in nearby Bristol, flying to the States and further afield.

A final word to my British Branch colleagues: while the exoticism of this venue may not tempt you as much as it may our international colleagues, I would remind you of Devon’s many drinking establishments, where the fact that you are still in the UK may be temporarily mitigated by medieval banter, and the local brew. Devon in July is a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the UK! Your weakened post-Brexit pound will still buy you as many proseccos, and your overseas colleagues can buy you an extra round with their strong dollars and euros....

Monday, 22. July 2019, Exeter, XVIth Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society

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