Postcard from Boyda Johnstone

9 Sept 2012

My name is Boyda Johnstone, and I am a 3rd- year PhD Student in medieval literature at Fordham University, New York City. Here at Fordham, I am fortunate to study under some of the most well-known medievalists in the world, and I do my best to take advantage of the local riches of New York City as well: I often study at the formidable New York Public Library main branch, I consult medieval manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan Library and Columbia University, and I visit the Cloisters, the separate medieval satellite of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I regularly take advantage of local events such as the monthly Medieval Club of New York, or talks and lectures at CUNY, NYU, and Columbia, not to mention the many goings-on at Fordham. My studies have taken me outside the city as well: last Spring, I was admitted to a special weekly seminar on “Shakespeare and Sacraments” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., led by Sarah Beckwith, a leading medieval and Renaissance scholar from Duke University. I also travelled to England in summer 2012 to conduct preliminary dissertation research at various libraries around the country, and to present at a couple conferences—most notably one at the British Academy in London.

Although I am stimulated and challenged by New York, I still miss the close supervision and guidance of the English faculty at University of Calgary, where I completed both my BA (Hons.) and Master’s degrees. As a researcher on the Osborne Manuscript Project for over two years, I was able to travel to archives in England for a summer, and publish an article (with Kirsten Inglis) on the authorship of The Humorous Magistrate. The Medieval and Renaissance faculty at U of C provided me with academic skills and professional experience that very few Master’s students are lucky enough to receive, and that remains just as valuable to me today.