Winner of the 2020 La corónica International Book Award:
Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100-1600
(U of Toronto P, 2018).
Heather Bamford is Associate Professor of Spanish Literature at the George Washington University where she studies and teaches the literatures and cultures of medieval and early modern Iberia. Her recently-published first book, Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100-1600, places fragments at the center of reading and non-reading aspects of medieval and 16th-century use of manuscripts. The book challenges the notion that fragments came about accidentally, arguing that most fragments were created on purpose, as a result of a wide range of practical, intellectual and spiritual uses of manuscript material. Dr. Bamford earned her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) and her BA at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a member of the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions and is at work on a digital, interactive edition of the Libro de buen amor with Emily Francomano (information from university profile).
The majority of medieval and sixteenth-century Iberian manuscripts, whether in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, or Aljamiado (Spanish written in Arabic script), contain fragments or are fragments. The term fragment is used to describe not only isolated bits of manuscript material with a damaged appearance, but also any piece of a larger text that was intended to be a fragment. Investigating the vital role these fragments played in medieval and early modern Iberian manuscript culture, Heather Bamford’s Cultures of the Fragment is focused on fragments from five major Iberian literary traditions, including Hispano-Arabic and Hispano-Hebrew poetry, Latin and Castilian epics, chivalric romances, and the literature of early modern crypto-Muslims. Examining four main motifs of fragmentation, including intention, physical appearance, metonymy, and performance, this work reveals the centrality of the fragment to manuscript studies, highlighting the significance of the fragment to Iberia’s multicultural and multilingual manuscript culture (information from U of Toronto P).
Traditionally, the award is announced at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, which takes place on the campus of Western Michigan University. In 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak forced the cancellation of the congress, the awards have been announced on the Congress website (https://wmich.edu/