It has been quite a week for York's historians. Last week at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Medievalists our colleague, Rachel Koopmans, won the 2012 Margaret Wade Labarge Prize for Books in Medieval Studies published in 2011. This is a marvellous achievement, Rachel, and on behalf of the History Department I'd like to congratulate you most warmly. Rachel won the 2012 prize for her book Wonderful to Relate: Miracle Stories and Miracle Collecting in High Medieval England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). (For further details, see http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14797.html).
I am pleased to share the citation composed by the awards committee of the Canadian Society of Medievalists.
"The Margaret Wade Labarge Prize for books published in 2011 is awarded to Rachel Koopmans of York University for her monograph Wonderful to Relate: Miracle Stories and Miracle Collecting in High Medieval England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). Five books were submitted for consideration and constituted a very strong field of contenders for the Society’s book prize, a fact which testifies to the strength and vitality of medieval studies in Canada. The committee unanimously awarded the prize to Dr. Koopmans, noting that her book was a beautifully-written, deeply-researched, and substantial contribution to the study of the literature of high medieval England. The monograph provides a detailed and lucid account of the monastic collection of miracle stories between 1080 and 1220 in England. It aims to create “a literary history” of English miracle collecting—of its rise to the levels of what Koopmans calls a “craze,” as well as of its decline. The monograph is written in an exceptionally graceful style. The opening comparison of miracle collecting to butterfly collecting was singled out as a particularly novel and engaging introduction to a scholarly book. Two big miracle collections, by Benedict of Peterborough and William of Canterbury, are the focus of the book, though the mode throughout is that of the detailed survey. Snippets from the miracle stories themselves appear from time to time, attracting and engaging readers who are then neatly shown how those individual moments fit into the vast narrative of miracle collecting being developed. Issues of oral-written interaction are also addressed. Koopmans’s copious notes, appendices, maps, and extensive bibliography make clear how much sheer data and detail underlie the discussion. The substantial research is made especially accessible through the inclusion of the three appendices that tabulate 1) the Christ Church miracle collections for Thomas Becket, 2) the structure of Benedict of Peterborough's collection of Becket miracles, 3) the structure of William of Canterbury's collection of Becket miracles. The book sets the stage for stimulating future research on the topic, and the chapters focused on Thomas Becket will be extremely useful resources for scholars teaching and/or studying Becket."
This is a fine recognition, Rachel, of your wonderful monograph! Many congratulations!
All best wishes, Jonathan