Welcome to the Rochester-St Andrews Conference on Older Scots Literature and Culture. This brings together specialists from the U.S., Canada and Europe for two days of papers on 14th to 16th-century literature in Older Scots, i.e. the descendant of Old English spoken (and written) in medieval and early modern Scotland.
The conference has come about as a collaboration between Dr Rhiannon Purdie of the University of St Andrews, who is visiting the Robbins Library as a Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar, and Professor Thomas Hahn of the English Department at the University of Rochester. The conference has been generously supported by the University of Rochester with contributions from the University of St Andrews. The organisers would like to thank both institutions and The Humanities Project at the University of Rochester; the Robbins Library; the Cluster on Premodern Studies, University of Rochester; Rush Rhees Library; and the Department of English, University of Rochester.
The Robbins Library is also the home of TEAMS Middle English Texts Series, a Robbins Library digital project. There are several published METS Older Scots poems and more are in production, helping to make Older Scots literature more accessible to teachers and students around the world.
The ninth of May -- the date on which this conference begins -- has particular significance in Older Scots literature. William Dunbar (MA St Andrews, 1479) writes that he completed The Thrissill and the Rois, a poem celebrating the 1503 marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor of England, "Of lusty May upon the nynt morrow". His near-contemporary Gavin Douglas (MA St Andrews, 1494) says he embarked on translating the twelfth and final book of Virgil's Aeneid on "The nynt morow of fresch temperit May", and an anonymous earlier poem The Quare of Jelusy also cites this date. It was sometimes regarded as the first day of summer, and may have been associated with maying celebrations in Scotland. Either way, it seemed an appropriate date on which to open this American colloquium celebrating Older Scots literary culture!
Tom Hahn and Rhiannon Purdie