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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  June 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION June 2006

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Subject:

Mary Martin McLaughlin

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:49:21 -0500

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/nyregion/26mclaughlin.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

June 26, 2006

Mary Martin McLaughlin, 87, A Scholar of the Middle Ages, Is Dead 

By MARGALIT FOX

Mary Martin McLaughlin, an internationally renowned scholar of the Middle Ages
who spent the last four decades working almost entirely outside the academy,
died on June 8 at her home in Millbrook, N.Y. She was 87.

The cause was cancer, her niece Kathleen Bayard Derringer said.

Ms. McLaughlin's small but distinguished body of work was highly regarded by
academic medievalists around the world. Her research focused in particular on
the role of women, children and families in the Middle Ages, largely
overlooked subjects when she began her career in the 1940's.

Ms. McLaughlin was also known to generations of college students for two
anthologies, "The Portable Medieval Reader" (Viking, 1949) and "The Portable
Renaissance Reader" (Viking, 1953), both of which she edited with another
medievalist, James Bruce Ross.

For the last 40 years, Ms. McLaughlin labored over two books, to be published
posthumously, that colleagues describe as her masterworks. One is the first
full biography of Héloïse, the lover and later wife of the 12th-century
French philosopher Peter Abélard. The other is the first English translation
of the complete correspondence of Héloïse and Abélard.

While reams of scholarship have been devoted to Héloïse and Abélard, among
history's most ill-starred lovers, few investigators have considered Héloïse
alone. Ms. McLaughlin was the first to do so, colleagues said in interviews
last week.

"Often Héloïse is seen to some extent as in the shadow of Abélard, whether
one likes him or not," said Giles Constable, emeritus professor in the School
of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
"And Mary, very correctly, I think, separated out Héloïse and concentrated
on her work."

Ms. McLaughlin's forthcoming biography, "Héloïse and the Paraclete," centers
on Héloïse's years as abbess of the convent at the Paraclete, a monastery
founded by Abélard. The biography is scheduled to be published by Palgrave
Macmillan in 2008, the letters in 2009.

Mary Martin McLaughlin was born on April 15, 1919, in Grand Island, Neb. She
earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Nebraska in 1940,
a master's from Nebraska the next year and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1953.

In the 1940's and 50's, Ms. McLaughlin taught at Wellesley, Vassar and
Nebraska; she rejoined the Vassar faculty in 1959. Aided by a small private
income, she left in 1967 to pursue the life of an independent scholar.

Ms. McLaughlin is survived by a sister, Rosanne McLaughlin Morey of Montclair,
N.J., and by several nieces and nephews.

In the decades she worked on Héloïse and Abélard, Ms. McLaughlin also
published a string of articles and reviews in prominent scholarly journals.
She signed her work simply, "Mary Martin McLaughlin, Millbrook, N.Y."

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