The Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize for Medieval Studies

The Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize is awarded to a deserving doctoral thesis in any field of medieval studies produced by a Canadian or someone resident in Canada. Entries are adjudicated by the Dissertation Prize Committee, a subcommittee of the Canadian Society of Medievalists, and the prize will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society. The Prize itself consists of a cash award as well as a membership in the Society for three years. Members automatically receive copies of the journal Florilegium and the newsletter Scrinium.

Normally the dissertation must be submitted within one year of a successful defense. One paper copy of the thesis, one electronic copy, a letter or report from the supervisor, and the external report should be sent to the Chair of the Committee by January 31st, 2014, for consideration in the competition: 

Professor Geoff Rector

Department of English
University of Ottawa
324 Arts
70 Laurier Ave. E.
Ottawa, ON
K1N 6N5


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Canadians who have completed their theses at foreign institutions must also provide proof of citizenship.




Current Winner

Lucie Laumonier, Vivre seul à Montpellier à la fin du Moyen Âge. Ph. D. Dissertation. Sherbrooke, 2013. Written under the co-direction of Geneviève Dumas at the Université de Sherbrooke and Daniel Le Blévec at Université Montpellier 3.  

Built, as all the members of her committee reported, upon an almost inexhaustible, but nonetheless carefully and subtly exercised, energy for primary and especially archival research, Vivre seul à Montpellier à la fin du Moyen Âge examines the diverse social spaces and demographies of urban solitude in late medieval Montpellier: as experienced by orphans, bastards, judicial prisoners and captives of war, widows, the elderly, as well by spiritual recluses– whose “consecrated solitude” is thus contextualized in a rich and complex web of intersecting solitudes. In the second major section of the dissertation (“Devenir seul: solitude naturelle, volontaire, ou imposée”), Laumonier examines with particular eloquence the processes– spatial, social, spiritual, legal– of ‘becoming alone’, that is, of entering into solitude as a mode of life in a densely populated and busy Mediterranean city. As Didier Lett, the examiner from Paris 3, observes in his report, in the process of historicizing urban solitude, this dissertation is simultaneously a study of the “solidarités familiales et sociales” that enabled solitude. In this respect, solitude, even in its most extreme expressions, is seen as a form of sociability, leading Lett to wonder if– in the published form it is surely and quickly to find– the project might not be renamed, as “Solitude et solidarité” or “Solitude et solitude evitée”, to account for the important contributions made in this respect. A project this complex and exhaustive– running to almost 700 pages, 50 of which are bibliography, and another 60 in appendices– defies the brevity demanded by this announcement. Yet, it is with plain and unqualified admiration that it is awarded this year’s Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize.


Past Winners

2013 -  Ariella Elema, "Trial by Battle in France and England," University of Toronto (2012)

honorable mention to Stephen A. Pelle, "Continuity and Renewal in English Homiletic Eschatology, ca. 1150-1200,"  University of Toronto (2012)


2012 - Giselle Gos "Constructing the Female Subject in Anglo-Norman, Middle English, and Medieval Irish Romance" University of Toronto(2011)


2011 - Martin Gravel "Distances, recontres, communications: Les defis de la concorde dans l'Empire carolingien" Université de Montréal and the Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne (2010)


2010 - Richard Matthew Pollard "Literary Culture in Ninth-Century Northern Italy" University of Cambridge (2009)


2009 - Laura Marchiori “Art and Reform in Eleventh-Century Rome: The Paintings of S. Maria in Pallara” Queen’s University at Kingston (2008)


2008 - No Prize Awarded


2007 - Marica C. Cassis “Mensa, Thusiasterion, and Madebha: The Evolution of the Permanent Altar in the Early Christian Church” University of Toronto (2006)


2006 - Caroline Boucher “La mise en scène de la vulgaristion. Les traductions d’autorités en langue vulgaire aux XIIIe et XIV siècles” Université de Paris, CNRS (2005)


2005 - Robin Vose “Converting the Faithful: Dominican Mission in the Medieval Crown of Aragon” Notre Dame University (2004)


2004 - Harriet Sonne de Torrens "De Fontibus Salvatoris: A Liturgical and Ecclesiological Reading of the Representation of the Childhood of Christ on the Medieval Fonts from Scandinavia" (Copenhagen University, 2003)


2003 Oren Falk “The Cultural Construction of Violence in Medieval Western Scandinavia” University of Toronto (2002)


2002 - Maidi Hilmo “Images, Icons, and Texts: Illustrated English Literature from the Ruthwell Cross to Ellesmere Chaucer” University of Victoria (2001)