Connor, Carolyn L. 1943- (Carolyn Loessel Connor)
Connor, Carolyn L. 1943- (Carolyn Loessel Connor)
Born November 3, 1943.
Academic and historian. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, professor of Byzantine studies.
Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium: The Crypt at Hosios Loukas and Its Frescoes, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1991.
(With W. Robert Connor) The Life and Miracles of Saint Luke of Steiris: Text, Translation and Commentary, Hellenic College Press (Brookline, MA), 1994.
The Color of Ivory: Polychromy on Byzantine Ivories, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1998.
Carolyn L. Connor is an academic and historian. She serves as a professor of Byzantine studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Connor's research interests include middle-Byzantine church decoration, architecture, and monasticism. Connor published her first book, Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium: The Crypt at Hosios Loukas and Its Frescoes, in 1991. This was followed by The Life and Miracles of Saint Luke of Steiris: Text, Translation and Commentary, a book she wrote with W. Robert Connor, in 1994. She also published The Color of Ivory: Polychromy on Byzantine Ivories in 1998.
In 2004, Connor published Women of Byzantium. The book looks into the roles and activities of women during a period of several hundred years of Byzantine history. The study covers the gamut of all classes of women in Byzantine society.
Stavroula Constantinou, writing in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, noted that "the introductions of all four parts and each chapter are followed by a reading list which is not always satisfactory," adding that "the book has its share of typographical errors, repetitions, and misconceptions." Constantinou appreciated, however, that the author "shows successfully that women were an integral part of Byzantine society and that they undertook a variety of roles such as the ascetic, the pilgrim, the empress, the patroness, the scholar, the author, the wife, the mother, the abbess and the founder of monasteries," but observed that "some roles are investigated more thoroughly than others." Constantinou concluded that "in order to show women's roles in Byzantine society, [Connor] draws on both visual and textual evidence. She discusses the depictions of holy women and empresses on frescoes, mosaics, statues, coins and various objects. [Connor's] textual sources are inscriptions on the walls of churches and on different objects as well as Byzantine texts. [Connor] does not use all or even most of the existing sources on the women and the female roles she examines, but only those which are translated into English. Her arguments are based on translations which are sometimes misleading. This fact makes some of her arguments, especially those that have a generalising and categorical character, less persuasive."
Warren Treadgold, writing in the Historian, found that the "author has complicated her task by trying to combine scholarly standards with popularization and reluctance to criticize women. She mixes biography with social, literary, and art history in a style ranging from conversational … to jargon." Treadgold appended that "throughout the book, an unreflective feminism distorts important and interesting information." Reviewing the work in a Journal of Ecclesiastical History article, Jonathan Shepard commented that Connor's "expertise as an art historian" is one of the book's "particular strengths." Shepard concluded that "this study shows how well art history can illuminate aspects of Byzantine society about which narratives, including hagiographies, are reticent or narrow in scope. The lucid style and clear signposting—for example, select lists of further reading at the end of each chapter—should make this fine work readily accessible to students and the general reader."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1992, Annabel Wharton, review of Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium: The Crypt at Hosios Loukas and Its Frescoes, p. 1195; December, 2005, Liz James, review of Women of Byzantium, p. 1581.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, January 7, 2005, Stavroula Constantinou, review of Women of Byzantium.
Catholic Historical Review, April, 1992, Robert Ousterhout, review of Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium, p. 275.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January, 1992, L. Nees, review of Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium, p. 732; September, 1998, A. Cutler, review of The Color of Ivory: Polychromy on Byzantine Ivories, p. 109; June, 2005, K.W. Harl, review of Women of Byzantium, p. 1873.
Church History, September, 2007, Dorothy Abrahamse, review of Women of Byzantium, p. 612.
Historian, summer, 2006, Warren Treadgold, review of Women of Byzantium, p. 380.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 2006, Jonathan Shepard, review of Women of Byzantium, p. 108.
Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, October, 1993, Nancy P. Sevcenko, review of Art and Miracles in Medieval Byzantium, p. 1086; April, 2002, review of The Color of Ivory, p. 498; January, 2003, Antony Eastmond, review of The Color of Ivory, p. 498.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Classics Web site,http://www.classics.unc.edu/ (March 29, 2008), author profile.