Interview with Pete Bibby

Our next seminar will be taken by Pete Bibby on 9th November 2017. As usual tea and biscuits will be served at 17:40 with the seminar starting at 18:00. Below we talked to Pete about manuscripts, proverbs, and Guardian crosswords.

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from? What brought you to Leeds/Durham?

I’m a retired lecturer living in Sheffield. When I was 14 I had to give up Latin and promised myself I’d get back to it one day. When I retired (my last paid employment was teaching life drawing) I joined the Medieval Latin Reading Group at Sheffield University which led to a Latin Palaeography summer school at Durham which led to an MA at the Institute for Medieval Studies in Leeds which led to….

What is your favourite thing about the medieval/early modern period?

The manuscripts it left behind. My project could have the title “An Excuse for Peter to Explore Manuscripts “.

What does your research focus on?

I’m looking at vernacular medieval proverb collections with the emphasis on the word “collections”, trying to find ways to analyse, describe, categorise and make them more generally available. Trust me, it’s more interesting than it sounds.

What do you plan to focus on in your seminar?

The Durham Proverbs were my introduction to proverb collections and I’m hoping they’ll do the same job for the audience. They’re witty, puzzling, obvious, obscure and entertaining. As is their scholarship.

If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?

Sitting in a real ale pub doing the Guardian crossword while complaining that they aren’t as good as they used to be, doing the same with the beer and occasionally feeling pleased when they publish a letter of mine. Mind you, I did that when I was in academia….

Do you have a favourite medieval/early modern text?

Leeds, Brotherton Library, Ripon Cathedral Library MS1, a 13th century English Bible. I love the way its chapter numbers don’t.

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