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St Mary's University

The Centre for Marian Studies Candlemas Eve Lecture

Date: Thursday 1st February 2024

Time: 7pm to 7pm

Venue: Online via Zoom

The Candlemas Eve Lecture is organised by members of the Centre for Marian Studies (the CMS) at St Mary’s University. The event is held in honour of their late colleague Dr Cathy Oakes, who was an art historian and expert in medieval Marian iconography.

This year the guest speaker is Dr Laura Saetveit Miles, author of the highly acclaimed monograph The Virgin Mary's Book at the Annunciation (Boydell & Brewer, 2020). She will give a presentation entitled 'Reading alongside The Virgin Mary in Late-medieval Books of Hours Annunciation Scenes'. This lecture will focus on two rare and fascinating versions of the standard annunciation scene, as they are developed in both devotional literature and illuminations in Books of Hours.

One type of representation captures the moment before Gabriel arrives; the other type depicts the reader herself as part of the scene. Some versions even combine these two. Where do these variations come from, and what do they mean? This neglected story of imitatio Mariae sheds new light on what Mary’s role in the Incarnation meant for medieval Christians across Europe.

Dr Miles is professor of British literature in the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen, Norway. Before that she was a fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows, and received a PhD, MA, and MPhil from Yale University, and an MPhil from Cambridge University. She researches religious and literary culture in medieval England, especially women’s writing, monastic textual communities, and visionary genres. Her current project explores the cult of St. Birgitta of Sweden in medieval England and is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

This event will take place via Zoom. If you would like to receive the free Zoom link, please send an email to Catherine O’Brien:

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