Associate Professor of Humanities, Thomas Curran, will deliver the annual Robert Crouse Memorial Lecture, “Bologna · Paris · Pisa · Wittenberg · Berlin: The Legacy of the Medieval European University” on January 14, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. in King’s Chapel followed by a reception.

It will be preceded by a Choral Evensong at 6:30 p.m. AST.

This lecture will explore the essential role played by the University of Paris (founded in 1150) in Dante’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. More widely, there will be a survey of the significance of the Universities of Bologna (1088) · Heidelberg 1386 · Leipzig 1409 · Wittenberg 1502 · Berlin 1810 — to explore what of this medieval legacy has been retained and what has been lost.

Coinciding with the lecture, two new collections of The Works of Robert Crouse, Images of Pilgrimage and The Soul’s Pilgrimage, are being released. This multi-volume series is edited by three King’s alumni – Dr. Stephen Blackwood, BA(Hons)’97, Professor of Humanities Neil Robertson, BA(Hons)’85, and the Rev. Dr. Gary Thorne, DD’04 (Managing Editor). Associate Professor Susan Dodd has also been instrumental in the books’ production.

About Dr. Curran

Dr. Thomas H. Curran is Associate Professor of Humanities at the University of King’s College. His chief research interest has always been early 19th-Century German philosophy, with a particular emphasis on Hegel’s lectures on the philosophy of religion at the University of Berlin. More recently, his emphasis has shifted to questions of “intertextuality” in Dante’s Divine Comedy — that is, how Dante uses (and transforms) his great precursors (Aristotle, Vergil, St Thomas Aquinas) both to shape his epic poem and to give it a distinctive structure.

Tom is always interested in exploring how modern popular culture and practices can be informed (and reformulated) by reference to the great philosophical and literary tradition that we have inherited from the ancient Greeks.


About the Lecture

Portrait of the Rev'd Dr. Robert Crouse.

The Robert Crouse Memorial Lecture was founded in 2016 in honour of the Rev’d Dr. Robert Darwin Crouse – scholar, priest and organist, whose dies natalis is 15 January, 2011. Dr. Crouse lectured in FYP on Dante’s “Divine Comedy” for decades from October 1972 onwards.

Through his renowned sermons, great learning, and gentle humility, Fr. Crouse educated and inspired a whole generation of priests, bishops, and academics, who are now serving in dioceses and universities throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. An organist and harpsichordist, in the early 1970s Dr. Crouse established the current choir at King’s whose execution of both polyphony and plainchant continues to enhance and shape the poetic liturgy of the King’s Chapel. His writings and his love for the medieval Italian poet, Dante, continue to powerfully shape the personal and intellectual formation of students at the University of King’s College and its Chapel.