Victoria Smirnova received her PhD from the Moscow State University in 2006. In 2007-2008 she was a Swiss Confederation scholarship holder. She currently works as a senior lecturer at the Department of Ancient Languages, Russian Sate University for the Humanities where she teaches courses in Latin language and literature. Her research interests are primarily in the work of Caesarius of Heisterbach (1180 - 1240); but also extend to a broader field of medieval sermons and exempla. Victoria Smirnova contributes to the project Sermones.net and prepares a digital edition of Caesarius of Heristerbach's sermons; she also maintains a long-term collaboration with the Groupe d'Anthropologie historique de l'Occident médiéval (EHESS-CNRS, Paris) of which she became an external member in 2013. In 2012 she co-organized in international conference "L’œuvre littéraire du Moyen Age aux yeux de l’historien et du philologue. Interaction et concurrence des approches" (Moscou); a book of conference proceedings to be published by Classiques Garnier.
Given the persistent interest of medieval readers in the Cistercian narrative heritage (and the no less intense interest of modern scholars), it would seem necessary to study Cistercian exempla production in all its literary and historical complexity. I am going to determine – for each century from the 13th to the 15th – who produced the manuscripts containing Cistercian exempla; who were their readers; and in what context they were used. The establishment of the Cistercian exempla tradition requires an extension of the temporal, geographic and institutional frameworks. It will also suggest, without any doubt, some conclusions on the religious or moral persuasion techniques, as well as on the various modes of narrative communication in Medieval Europe. Therefore, the research directions of the project are defined around the following topics: 1) the role played by Cîteaux and its daughter houses in the transmission of exempla; 2) the circulation of the Cistercian exempla in France; 3) Cistercian exempla collections of the Late Middle Ages; and 4) Cistercian exempla in a broader context of rhetorical tradition, poetic and aesthetic doctrines of the Middle Ages.