Mr Max Walkley

 Mr Max Walkley




Max Walkley’s interest in Old French studies was aroused by Keith Val Sinclair, Associate Professor in the Department of French during the 1960s. Holding a Commonwealth Post-Graduate Scholarship (1965 to 1967), he completed an M.A.(Hons) (Sydney) under Sinclair’s aegis, with a thesis on a fourteenth-century French translation by Jean Daudin of Vincent de Beauvais’s de eruditione filiorum nobilium, Max worked towards a doctorate at the Université de Neuchâtel (1967-68) under the guidance of Jean Rychner, preparing an edition of Robert Gaguin’s fifteenth-century rendering of Caesar’s de bello gallico.

Since his early days as a lecturer at the University of Sydney (1969->), Max has regularly presented his course “Introduction to Old French” which, in the University’s halcyon days, was a prerequisite for the Honours School. More recently, he has presented the Old French literature component of the Medieval Studies first-year course, “The Written Record”.

His principal domain of research has been in Old French language and literature, with a special leaning towards research into Middle French texts. More recently, as a corollary to his being the key figure in introducing Quebec and Suisse Romande authors into the Department of French Studies’ francophone programme (“Le français dans le monde”), he has published articles in this field too.

Max has continued his interest in Middle French translations from Latin, an interest first stimulated by his mentor Keith Sinclair. His list of publications shows articles on Jean Daudin, one of which was offered in an hommage volume to Keith Sinclair on his retirement (1994). Another author from this Middle French period who has Max’s ongoing attention is Robert Gaguin, fifteenth-century translator of Caesar. He continues to work on an edition of Gaguin’s de bello gallico text, having published in Parergon an article on his methods of translation, and having used his work on Gaguin to participate with the late Professor Kevin Lee in an undergraduate seminar held, in Professor Lee’s Department of Classics in 1997, on Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Max’s important discovery, in a manuscript held by the New York Public Library, of a text by Jean Gerson, has led to his publishing several seminal articles in the field of Gerson studies. Gerson was an extremely important figure in France at the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries, so the uncovering of any new material of this former Chancellor of the University of Paris is extremely exciting. The six articles he has written on Gerson’s L’Exemplaire des petis enfans, and published in various journals, constitute, when taken together, a monograph. They represent the most important results of his research activity.

Other areas of medievalia have sparked in Max a research interest from time to time. Often he has developed his ideas as conference papers, amending and expanding them later to scholarly publications. Thus he draws attention to his articles on fabliaux, on farces, and especially - representing his continued research interest in Old Occitan - on the romance Flamenca (1996). He is often asked to write reviews of books in the field of medieval French and Occitan. These reviews have mainly been published in AUMLA, Parergon, and the New Zealand Journal of French Studies.

Acknowledgement of his scholarship qualities has not been lacking. During his tenure of a Senior Lectureship in the Department of French Studies at the University of Sydney, he has not only won two prestigious Canadian Faculty Enrichment Awards (1991 and 2000), but also had the great honour of being chosen as a "Senior Research Scholar" in 1986 at Corpus Christi College in the University of Cambridge.