“Falling in Love with a Source” (An Interview with Michael Allman Conrad)

June 18, 2022 in Manuscript Studies

The Research Group Speaks
Episode 7
Saturday 23 July 2022

“Falling in Love with a Source . . .
Or: How Much fou Is There In This amour?”

– An Interview with Michael Allman Conrad

[Posted on 18 June 2022]

Poster for our Sponsored Session on the " 'Libro de los juegos': Big Results from Small Data", organized by Linde M. Brocato and sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence at the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

2018 Poster for ‘Libro de los juegos’ Session

The publication this spring by our Associate, Michael Allman Conrad (see also his Curriculum Vitae), of the book which builds upon his Ph.D. Dissertation for Humboldt University, Berlin (2021), gave rise to the invitation to speak for our online series of The Research Group Speaks.  This Episode is the 7th in the series.

Planned for Saturday, 23 July 2022, Michael Allman Conrad will consider, in conversation, the choice of subject and the voyage for his Ph.D. Dissertation and its resulting book, in the light of the journey toward discovery which the process called forth.  The title reflects on aspects of, or approaches to, Love and dedication to it that might perchance touch or verge upon the complex nature of Amour fou.

If you wish to attend, please contact director@manuscriptevidence.org.

The Ph. D. Dissertation and its Book

Michael received the Ph.D. from Humboldt University, Berlin, in 2021.  We thank him for the invitation to attend the online defense of the dissertation, which offered a model of engaged scholarly discourse.

Libro de los juegos. Madrid, El Escorial, MS T.1.6, folio 97 verso, detail. Game of Astronomical Tables. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The book emerging from the dissertation was recently published:

  • Michael A. Conrad, Ludische Praxis und Kontingenzbewältigung (De Gruyter, 2022)
    Ludische Praxis und Kontingenzbewältigung im Spielebuch Alfonsʼ X.
    und anderen Quellen des 13. Jahrhunderts:Spiel als Modell guten Entscheidens

    (“Ludic Practice and Dealing with Contingency in the Book of Games [Libro de los juegos] of Alfonso X and Other Sources from the Thirteenth Century:
    Games as Models of Good Decision-Making”)

The detailed examination, years in the making — as both Michael and the world changed, with more choices and responses — centers upon the remarkable Libro de los Juegos, or Book of Games commissioned by King Alfonso X of Castile.  The image on the cover of Michael’s book features the extraordinary image of the Game of Astronomical Tables as illustrated in the manuscript (seen at the right here).

The publisher’s summary describes the scope and strategy of the volume:

Taking [Alfonso’s] book as a starting point, this volume reflects on how games were viewed by Alfons and other contemporary authors as a practice that allowed them to come to terms with contingency and as a model of good decision-making, in particular in the fields of strategy, economics, ethics, and metaphysics.


Libro de los juegos. Madrid, El Escorial, MS T.1.6, folio 17 verso, detail. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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