Saturday, July 30, 2011

He is . . . The Most Interesting Man in Medieval Studies

Inspired the fantastic entry on this blog, I decided that Medieval Studies is long overdue its own "Most Interesting Man." And so, without further ado:

  1. He can write Middle English verse, in Old Norse.

  2. His essays review his peers.

  3. His beard has its own British Library research pass, and festschrifts are often published in its honor.

  4. He once taught a horse to transcribe medieval manuscripts.

  5. His lectures on Anglo-Saxon morphemes regularly move audiences to tears.

  6. He found Prester John, and Prester John had a letter . . . for him.

  7. He once read Piers Plowman backwards, just to see what it would feel like.

  8. He's been known to cure narcolepsy by reciting passages from Lydgate.

  9. Each year at Kalamazoo, no less than five panel discussions are devoted to his reading of Chaucer.

  10. When he sleeps, Vikings have dreams about him.

Friday, July 29, 2011

In which the wayward blogger wanders her way back . . .

This semester proved to be far busier than I could have anticipated. My poor, nascent blog suffered greatly as a result. I have finally resolved, however, to make each Friday from here on out a blogging day -- in hopes that doing as much inspires me to write more frequently.

As I have learned over the years in my karate training, there are periods of time where you need to contract your focus and periods where you need to expand it. This applies as much to one's musculature as it applies to one's study of the art as a whole. In my estimation anyway, the same process applies itself to the (sometimes torrid) process of writing a dissertation. I am entering into the drafting stages of chapter four at present, and my hope is that in spite of the necessarily contracted focus that this kind of work requires, my blog (as well as karate) will help to keep my mind at least somewhat expanded and lucid. My two cats should help in this department as well. At the very least, they tend to sit on my hands when I've been at my computer for too long!

When I set up this blog, my initial goal had been to find, each week, something random but vital to medieval studies or medievalism and present said object/website/resource here. In keeping with my plans, I submit the following -- an exhibit piece that utterly captivated me last summer while I researched at the British Library:

Created by the artist Grayson Perry, "Map of Nowhere" draws inspiration from the famous Hereford Mappa Mundi, and it echoes its ideological construction in its blended vision of the imagined, the perceived, and the purportedly real. Unlike its medieval antecedent, however, Perry's map presents a deeply individualized portrait of the world, one that the artist (as he states in this interview) cautiously avoids imposing on others.

That's all for now! Until next Friday!