Preface II

By Dufournet, Jean | Fifteenth Century Studies, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Preface II

Dufournet, Jean, Fifteenth Century Studies

As we encounter Edelgard E. DuBruck, we are impressed and charmed by her attitude, her conversation, her appearance, her behavior, and her intellectual bearing. High quality characterizes every one of her writings, books, articles, and reviews, in whatever language she has chosen, because her studies as well as the vicissitudes of her life have familiarized her not only with German (her native tongue) but also with English (now her main language), and with French and Spanish which she taught for years at Marygrove College, along with Humanities. In so doing, she has acquired an exceptionally vast cultural background, rare in fact among university personnel.

Those who know her personally discover soon in her glance and smile a poignant melancholy which appears even during the happiest moments of her life. This touch of sadness derives doubtlessly from the greatest affliction she has endured: in her youth she was forced to flee from Breslau (now called Wroclaw), Silesia, in 1945, when the Red army advanced. In West Germany, she studied at Braunschweig and Freiburg (Black Forest), and was fortunate to receive a scholarship in the United States, choosing Michigan, whose climate was comparable to that of her former home. After her emigration in the 1950s, she embraced the USA gratefully, accepting its freedom and security, and became an esteemed citizen who contributed to this country by her teaching and other academic tasks. Even before obtaining her doctorate at the University of Michigan (1962), she had a handful of publications in her name. She founded Fifteenth-Century Studies in 1978, a periodical which soon reached international distribution by the regularity of its appearance and the rich diversity of its contents. As editor, she spends much time reading articles submitted for publication, proofreading, and maintaining correspondence. Her patience is almost unlimited.

She faced her afflictions and mishaps with an extraordinary strength of character and soul, and a kind of stoicism as well as great passions helped her to avoid suffering. Her parents contributed to her development by introducing her to museums, to concerts, and to the theater early, and her first teachers cultivated her taste for and ability in foreign languages and literatures, and for music. She had vocal, piano, and organ lessons, and soon preferred Baroque music, especially that of J. S. Bach.

Generally, she loves silence and discretion as much as she detests redundance and repetition; teaching and writing are her passions. In addition, she has organized fifteenth-c. sessions during the annual medieval congresses at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) since 1966, and arranged for four international congresses - at Regcnsburg (1982), Perpignan (France; 1990), Kaprun/Salzburg (Austria; 1995), and Antwerp (Belgium; 2000). She enjoys helping younger colleagues to embark upon their careers, and to present and submit their first articles. While she refuses facile and superficial communications, she remains generous and openminded wherever she detects sparks of talent and a certain willingness to accept suggestions. Her judgment of quality is unfailingly sure.

Even though Edelgard's background is vast and diverse, she is always eager to increase her knowledge and to work hard. A passionate student of Michel de Montaigne, she annotated the three-volume edition of his work by Maurice Rat and a valuable monograph by Hugo Friedrich, her beloved mentor in Freiburg. She likes to work, as can be noticed in the recent volume 30 of Fifteenth-Century Studies (henceforth: FCS): it contains not only her customary "Current State of Research on Late-Medieval Drama (2002-2004)" with its survey of publications, a bibliography, and thirteen reviews of books on European drama, but also her article on gestural communication in the Passion Isabeau (1398 - edited by her in 1990) and its miniatures, and, finally, three reviews of monographs on subjects other than theater. …

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