University of Rochester

EVENT: Lecture by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen on medieval English culture

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in the Robbins Library of the Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

September 19, 2007

Historian William of Newburgh (c.1196) once told of a boy and a girl, who emerged from the ground in Woolpit, England. Despite their green skin and their inability to speak English, the pair were baptized and welcomed into the community where they each attempted to adapt to their new home. The girl assimilated and married, but the boy fell ill and died.

In this lecture, "The Green Children of Woolpit: Medieval English History and Its Aliens," Jeffrey Jerome Cohen analyzes this episode and how the historian William of Newburgh related it to the Norman conquest, and the presence in Britain of the people the English displaced with the conquest.

Cohen, who earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Rochester, is professor and the chair of the English Department at George Washington University. His books include Hybridity, Identity, and Monstrosity in Medieval Britain: On Difficult Middles (2006), Medieval Identity Machines (2003), and Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages (1999).

Cohen's lecture is one of several included in the series "The Medieval West: Contemporary Views," which is co-sponsored by the Robbins Library and the Departments of English, History, and Art and Art History. The series is part of the Humanities Project, an initiative by the University of Rochester emphasizing the influence and contributions of the humanities to academic and civil life.

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