David Wallace

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20122013 Forum on Peripheries

David Wallace

Judith Rodin Professor of English

Europe: Peripheries and Heartlands, Beginnings and Ends

I consider peripheries by posing the question: where does Europe begin and end? What forms its core or heartland, and what its periphery? Such questions were urgent in medieval times, with Jerusalem forming the world's center and the British archipelago its periphery; and so too today, with Britain Europe's eccentric west wing (in the EU but out of the Euro) and Turkey courted as European but feared, as earlier, for its vast Eurasian, Islamicizing hinterland. And increasingly today, Europe is regarded in the USA as peripheral, even antithetical, to new American values. My project, drawing from ongoing work as editor of the first literary history of Europe, 1348-1418, thus usefully poses some crucial questions-- of timely importance for Penn curricula in humanities, and far beyond.