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15 October in Cleveland


My next “event” is not directly related to The Anti-Communist Manifestos but to my long-standing interest in medieval Christian iconography.  I actually wrote my doctoral dissertation on the illuminated manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, a project that in turn led to my first published book. 

In any event I have been honored by an invitation to deliver the annual Julius Fund Lecture in Medieval Art, sponsored jointly by the Cleveland Art Museum and the Department of Art at Case Western Reserve University.  My topic, under the title of “Medieval Pictorial Imagery: The Letter and the Spirit," is the relationship between allegorical scriptural exegesis and the iconography of medieval and Renaissance paintings.  I shall hope to see all my Cleveland fans—both of them!  5:00 P.M. on Thursday, 15 October 2009, in Room 105, Mandel Center for Non-Profit Organizations (11402 Bellflower Road).



[Here follows an archive of earlier events]

As the actual date of publication approaches--August 17th--there are several "events" that are begining to take shape, so that it is probably time for me to begin an actual calendar. So here goes:

Actual Events

Monday, August 17, 2009. Publication dinner at my house, prepared by Joan. Pesto genovese. I am promised a rare second helping to honor the occasion.


[That was the PLAN, but as the old saying goes, "Man proposes, God disposes." We had a hurried but scrumptious chicken cutlet instead in order to be able tobe on time for the orgy of virtual calories offered by Julia & Julie at the Garden Theater. As for The Anti-Communist Manifestos,  I was delighted to see them greeted by a very handsome review in The Wall Street Journal (p. A9) by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, the well-known British journalist and historian.  He entitles his review “The View from the Inside”—of course alluding to the fact that the four figures with whom I deal most extensively had all been members of the Communist Party against which they rebelled.  The review is of the type that summarizes rather than analyzes or criticizes, but there are still a couple of juicy phrases that the publicity people at Norton ought to be able to seize: “…Fleming had the excellent idea of telling the story…and the result is the readable and fascinating The Anti-Communist Manifestos.”

It would be ungenerous of me to cavil at a review that exposes my book, and in a most positive light, to a readership of some millions of the best educated and best informed readers in America, but vanity requires that I point out that the one factual peccadillo for which Mr. Wheatcroft indicts me is not actually in the published book.  It was, I confess in the uncorrected proofs—but of course the cover of the proofs does come with a plea: “Please do not quote for publication without checking against the finished book.”  But not to worry!  There are plenty of real errors in the finished book that Mr. Wheatcroft refrained from pointing out! 
See the whole review


Saturday, August 22, 2009. I shall be interviewed on the John Batchelor Show--ABC radio.



Friday , August 28, 2009: 8:30 am on the West Coast. A half hour interview with celebrated host Jeff Schechtman of winecountry broadcasting KVON in the beautiful vineyards of the Napa Valley.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009. Colgate University, Hamilton NY. My first public lecture on "The Anti-Communist Manifestos" this space



Virtual Events

The “Events” sector of the website is of course designed to give notice of such occurrences, readings or media appearances, for example, as may relate to the publication of The Anti-Communist Manifestos.  As I explained in my first blog (13 June 2009), I launched this website largely at the instigation of the marketing experts of my publisher, W.W. Norton. The Anti-Communist Manifestos is my first "trade" book. Having in the past published exclusively with academic presses, who give the impression that the acceptance of a manuscript is a kind of act of terminal benificence, I was hardly prepared for a group of people apparently quite serious about selling copies. In fact, I shall do my best to promote the book when the time comes. A few modest events of the sort envisaged are indeed already planned, but it seems otiose to advertise them two months before the book is even published.  Nonetheless there are some other events in my life, current or pending, that seem appropriate to mention here.

When I retired in 2006 I was honored not with one, but with two academic conferences.  The conference themes reflect two of my abiding interests: Chaucer and other vernacular writers of the late Middle Ages on the one hand, and the cultural history of Saint Francis and the Franciscan Order on the other.  My students were prominent in both ventures, but I was also honored by the participation of some several scholars with whom my only connections are shared intellectual and scholarly interests.


The first of the two volumes emanating from these conferences has now been published: Defenders and Critics of Franciscan Life: Essays in Honor of John V. Fleming (Leiden: Brill, 2009).  The editors of the volume are Michael Cusato, OFM, and Guy Geltner.  Michael Cusato is the director of the Franciscan Institute of Saint Bonaventure University—an institution known to the many for its basketball teams and to the happy few for its outstanding editions of Occam and other major Franciscan theologians and philosophers.  Cusato, who did his doctoral work in Paris under André Vauchez, is among the world’s great experts on medieval Christian spirituality.   Guy Geltner, who has recently completed a period of fellowship and lecturing at Oxford, has just been appointed professor of medieval history at the University of Amsterdam.  He is an extraordinary young historian with whom I had the honor of working when he was a graduate student at Princeton, where his dissertation was supervised by my colleagues William Chester Jordan and Peter Brown.  The following description, adapted very slightly from the current Brill catalogue, identifies the book’s subject matter.  “The essays in this volume were presented at a conference honoring John V. Fleming at Princeton University on April 21-22, 2006. The aim of the conference was to revisit Fleming's 1977 book, An Introduction to the Franciscan Literature of the Middle Ages, from a number of different perspectives, including social, religious and literary history, as well as art, exegesis, political thought and the history of education. A prominent, but not exclusive, theme of the contributions is the distinction between ‘defenders’ and ‘critics’ of medieval Franciscanism. Recent scholarship has shown that the dividing line between medieval defenders and critics of Franciscan life was not as sharp or as clear as had once been thought. This more nuanced approach to medieval Franciscanism is a reflection of the many scholarly developments that have occurred since -- and as a result of -- Fleming's volume. The present work offers a selection of current approaches to the question.” And only 99 euros!