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Winner of the John Nicholas Brown Prize

2017 John Nicholas Brown Prize

Two Brown Prizes are being awarded in 2017, to Jacqueline E. Jung, The Gothic Screen: Space, Sculpture, and Community in the Cathedrals of France and Germany, ca. 1200-1400 (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013) and to Jonathan R. Lyon, Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100-1250 (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 2013)

Jacqueline E. Jung's well-crafted and innovative book, The Gothic Screen: Space, Sculpture, and Community in the Cathedrals of France and Germany, ca. I200 - 1400, establishes the medieval choir screen not as a barrier - or simply an element of church furnishings - but as a bridge between sacred areas, a stage for religious communication, and a frame for unique, lay-oriented iconography. Her nuanced approach fundamentally reevaluates the functions of the screen for the liturgy and sociology of the medieval church as well as for architectural space, sculptural programs, and their varied audiences. In addition, Jung's analysis of 15th-century Flemish paintings incorporating screens in church interiors is a real contribution to that field. She has opened up a new area of study and provided it with new rules of engagement.

With a dense command of archival sources, from charters to episcopal chronicles, Jonathan R. Lyon invites us to complicate our dominant paradigms of patrilineage in medieval politics. Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100 – 1250 lays out political and territorial alliances under a culture of partible inheritance, in admirably clear case studies of nine eminent families. Typically the longest of family relationships, siblings as well as other kin (uncles, half-siblings) emerge as cooperative partners instead of competitors in a newly subtle model of the aristocratic family. This book has rich implications well beyond its core narrative of the German regnum in the Stauffen period.

Respectfully submitted,

Christopher Baswell

David Nirenberg

Meredith Parsons Lillich, Chair

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