McLaughlin Memorial Lecture is Oct. 11

Bonnie Wheeler
Bonnie Wheeler

The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program will honor alumna and internationally renowned medieval historian Mary Martin McLaughlin in a memorial lecture Oct. 11.

The Mary Martin Laughlin Memorial Lecture, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Plains Art Museum in Hewit Place, will feature Bonnie Wheeler, director of Medieval Studies at Southern Methodist University. The lecture, "Traces of Memory of Heloise: Woman, Lover, Abbess, Philosopher," and reception are free and open to the public.

McLaughlin, a Grand Island native, earned a bachelor's degree in history from Nebraska in 1940, a master's degree the following year and later returned to the university to teach while writing her dissertation. She received her doctorate from Columbia University in 1953.

Medieval scholars hold her work in the highest regard, particularly her research on the role of women, children and families in the Middle Ages.

"McLaughlin is a model not only for her own erudition, but for her great support of other women scholars," said Carole Levin, director of UNL's Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program and Willa Cather professor of history.

McLaughlin died in 2006. She was 87.

Wheeler worked with McLaughlin for nearly a decade on two manuscripts on the abbess Heloise and her companion, Abelard, a 12th century philosopher and theologian. While there has been much scholarly work accomplished on the doomed lovers Abelard and Heloise, and Abelard's own importance, McLaughlin was the first to recognize the great significance of Heloise herself. The collection of Heloise's letters has been published and the biography is forthcoming next year.

The intent is to make the memorial lecture an annual event, Levin said.

Other presentations as part of the program's fall lecture series include:

- Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., Nebraska Union, Regency Room; Tim Harris, Munro-Goodwin Wilkinson professor in European history at Brown University, will present the Carroll R. Pauley Lecture. His lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of History, is "A formall hypocrite, a loathsome animall: Scotophobia, anti-Puritanism and Charles I's appeal to public opinion on the eve of the English Civil War."

- Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m., 228 Andrews Hall; Catherine Loomis, associate professor of English at the University of New Orleans, will present "Little Man, Little Man: Early Modern Representations of Robert Cecil."

- Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m., 228 Andrews Hall; Carole Levin, director of UNL's Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program and Willa Cather professor of history, will present "Incest, Poison and Slander at the Jacobean Court: The Lake Family and the Countess of Exeter."

- Jean Ortiz Jones