Battle of Crécy wins Distinguished Book Prize 2017

Posted on January 19, 2017 by Emily Felton

Winners of the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Prize, Michael Livingston and Kelly DeVries discuss the revolutionary findings presented in their book The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook.

 

The Battle of Crécy is a deeply explored area of history. What prompted you to write this book?

Kelly: I'd long had misgivings about the traditional understandings of the Battle of Crécy -- feelings that were underscored when we walked the traditional battlefield together a few years ago. The story of the battle as it was told just didn't make sense.

Michael: My casebook on the Welsh rebel hero Owain Glyndwr had just come out (co-edited with John Bollard), and I was still fishing for a follow-up project. As Kelly showed me and our mutual friend Bob Woosnam-Savage of the Royal Armories around the traditional site, we were all agreed it didn't make a lot of sense. Kelly had this great theory about rotating the battle on the site in order to make it work a bit better, but it just still didn't feel right. I suggested we do a casebook to try to resolve what happened, and Kelly quickly agreed. 

Kelly: (laughs) People have been studying this battle for centuries, so I thought we already had all the sources in hand and it would be a pretty quick process. Turned out there were a lot more sources than anyone ever thought!

 

You edited over eighty 14th century sources when researching for this book, did you come across any surprises?

Michael: The number of surprises was … well, surprising. At a really basic level, like Kelly said, we were surprised by how many Crécy sources were sitting out there, virtually untouched.

Kelly: There were great sources in medieval Italian and Czech that scholars had ignored, but the most impactful in terms of new information were probably the eyewitness poems and the journal of King Edward III's kitchen. Michael was able to use the Kitchen Journal, for example, to very effectively plot the course of the entire Crécy campaign from start to finish: locations and rates of travel between them. It was really the final piece needed for him to prove that the battle was miles away from where everyone thought it was.

Michael: It's a remarkable document. I'd seen references that it existed, but the fact that no one had utilized such a useful source made us doubt it was real until we saw it in the National Archives. And the poems were incredible finds, too: we found at least two poems that were written by men who were in the thick of the fighting. They not only give us an enormous amount of raw data about who did what, but they also provide a powerful record of the raw trauma of the battle experience. These kinds of records really do serve as a window, even if a frightening one, into the past.  

 

How much has changed in light of the original material discovered from the sources? 

Michael: Everything?

Kelly: Not everything. The English did still win. 

Michael: (laughs) That's true. 

Kelly: It's pretty significant, though. When Michael established a different location for the battle, it didn't rewrite the books on Crécy, it just about erased them: battles are dependent on the grounds on which they are fought, and no one had the battle in the right place. As a result, centuries of scholars were forced to throw away or ignore source after source because they didn't fit the traditional battlesite. Move it as Michael did, though, and all these different sources suddenly fell into place. It cast everything in a new light. 

Michael: And Kelly really saw that in the tactics. With the old site, the old theories, you could never figure out what the French were thinking. Their actions were illogical from top to bottom. But when we walked the new location together Kelly was able to unfold it all quite easily. As he said, the tactics just fell into place. There were other surprises, too, like figuring out that the Black Prince, who's popularly regarded as something of a great hero in the Crécy myth, was captured on the field and only barely rescued. Or the fact it was a two-day battle. 

Kelly: And figuring out how King John of Bohemia died from the excavation report, which has only appeared in Czech. That was fascinating. 

 

How do you think your book may influence the direction of future research into the Battle of Crécy?

Kelly: I think it really resets the field in terms of what the base narrative of Crécy is. It'll take some time for people to read and adjust to these new understandings of the battle, but the evidence is all there. That's useful not just for anyone wanting to counter our theories, but it's also great for anyone wanting to jump off into the next stages of studying the event and its impact. 

Michael: I think more than anything what this volume does is it proves the utility of the casebook format that I started with the Battle of Brunanburh and then had continued with the Owain Glyndwr volume I mentioned earlier. There's just tremendous utility in gathering all these sources and presenting them for readers in the original languages with facing-page translations. When you do that, all the evidence is right there. We show you what we made of it in our essays, of course, but we also give any future scholars all the materials they would need to cut an alternative path through the sources. That gives these casebooks lasting utility and lasting impact.

 

Find The Battle of Crécy by Michael Livingston and Kelly DeVries available in all formats on our website 
 
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Pavilion Poetry Open for Submissions

Posted on December 27, 2016 by Heather Gallagher

 

Pavilion Poetry is open for submissions

 

We are delighted to announce submissions to our award-winning Pavilion Poetry series are being accepted during January 2017 for first full length collections only. If you are interested in working with our series editor, Professor Deryn Rees-Jones (Professor of Poetry at University of Liverpool and Next Generation Poet 2005) and being published alongside Mona Arshi (Forward Prize winner for Best First Collection 2015) and Ruby Robinson (shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2016), then please send a covering letter, your writing CV (detailing where you have previously published and any awards/prizes won), a collection of your poetry and a stamped self-addressed envelope to:

 

Alison Welsby, Editorial Director

Pavilion Poetry submissions

Liverpool University Press

4 Cambridge Street

Liverpool L69 7ZU

UK

 

Only postal submissions will be accepted and they must be received at the above address between 1st – 31st January 2017. Due to the number of submissions expected, we are unable to offer feedback, however we will try and notify you of our decision by the end of March.

 

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A new chapter in books editorial

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Anthony Cond

Over the past dozen years Liverpool University Press has grown significantly. The 2004 catalogue featured just 7 titles with publication dates for that year: the Press now publishes more than 100 books a year and 28 journals.

LUP’s expansion has been built on a tight editorial focus across a few distinctive areas. Given the resulting strength in depth, LUP’s book commissioning team is now restructuring to have three dedicated, expert editors solely focused on their subjects and providing the best possible service to authors:

 

Alison Welsby, Editorial Director, oversees History, Classics and Art History.  Alison was formerly Commissioning Editor for History and Art History at Manchester University Press for 8 years, and has been the Editorial Director of LUP since 2011.

 

 

Jenny Howard is Senior Commissioning Editor for Literary Studies and Medieval Studies.  Jenny was formerly the Press’s Sales & Marketing Director.

 

Chloé Johnson is Commissioning Editor for Modern Languages and Postcolonial Studies.  Chloe began her career working on LUP’s journals, including the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Contemporary French Civilization and Modern Languages Open.

 

Anthony Cond, who commissioned across the lists from 2005 onwards, and has been the Press's Managing Director since 2008, will now focus solely on the Press's management and strategic direction.

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University Press Redux Continued

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Anthony Cond

Following the success of the founding University Press Redux conference, organised by Liverpool University Press (LUP) and held in March 2016, The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) are delighted to announce they will now be partnering with presses to deliver the event every two years. The next event to be held in spring 2018 will be hosted and curated by UCL Press in London.

The inaugural University Press Redux conference was arranged by LUP in association with the Academic Book of the Future project. Over 150 delegates gathered to discuss the past, present and future of institutional presses. ALPSP was delighted to take part and subsequently publish a collection of papers arising from the event in a special open access issue of Learned Publishing.

Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press said: ‘There was such strong support for the conference that we immediately saw the potential to continue the conversation.’

Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press added: ‘The Redux conference demonstrates the vitality and potential of university press publishing. We are inspired by what LUP has achieved!’

Audrey McCulloch, Chief Executive of ALPSP continued: ‘The university press sector has undergone a transformation and revitalisation worldwide. Many of our members were involved in the Redux conference and it was an obvious next step to offer administrative support. We are delighted to be involved.’

The 2018 University Press Redux Conference will be curated and hosted by UCL Press with administrative and promotional support provided by ALPSP. Dates will be announced soon. Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press’s academic division and keynote speaker from 2016, has confirmed that Cambridge University Press will host Redux in 2020.

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Town Planning Review 87.6: Featured Article

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Megan Ainsworth

The editors of TPR have selected 'UK city regions: policies, performance and prospects' by Michael Parkinson as the Featured Article for the latest issue. It will be free to access for three months. You can access the article here.

When asked to describe the paper, and highlight its importance, Michael Parkinson stated the following:

"We live in interesting if challenging times. The future of the British economy, its people and places is finely balanced. Siren voices focus on the risks ahead. Others focus on the achievements made, despite the difficulties of the recent years. The debate is not settled. The facts and the theories are still emerging. However, one thing is certain. The economic future of the UK is intimately tied up with the prospects and futures of its leading city regions. If they don’t work, the economy won’t work and we won't work. The Brexit decision has made the issues more not less important. The UK is engaged in a crucial policy debate about city regions, their governance and economic performance. This article identifies some key evidence about about the performance, policies and prospects of UK cities in a comparative context, based upon a range studies I have undertaken during the past three decades."

Read Michael's full complimentary piece here.

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