Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old English Musings

My first thought occurred over the American holiday: how sad for those poor saps in Europe who didn't have turkey and the trimmings! I mean, few things do I enjoy more than pulling my juicy turkey out of the oven, getting my stuffing out of it, sampling of course to make certain it isn't poisonous, and carving that bird...falling on my sword by eating some skin so that others won't have to and consume too much fat. This isn't to mention my mashed potatoes...I have to say, I do a mean batch of taters, there are even a few Anglo-Saxonists who have driven HOURS to have my mashed potatoes. I'm honored. But Aelfric and Alfred never had them....poor chaps. All our typical Thanksgiving fare here in the States (and I presume Canada) is of New World origin. It all reminded me that I've also been wanting to read A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food by Ann Hagen and The Mead Hall: The Feasting Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England by Stephen Pollington for some time, but I've not received either yet. My loverly spouse has given me Early French Cookery and The Medieval Kitchen in recent years and I've like both books.

The job market continues to loom in my musings as well. And I spare some of that musing to think of the field in general rather than just myself. I wonder and marvel at my university, which is not alone, in not filling a recently vacated Anglo-Saxon seat. In fact, what's odd is that while we did not even fill that seat, we did hire someone to do Chinese linguistics and literature with that line! Some years ago our English department absorbed Linguistics and one of the linguists who recently retired had a side interest in Chinese. So the powers that be found it more expedient to keep that interest and commitment going rather than hire a medievalist, specifically an Anglo-Saxonist. There are certainly other schools who want a general medievalist at this level....its a perception not even of the academy that is doing us in, but a perception or problem within ENGLISH Departments, among those of our colleagues closest to us who do Old English langauge and literature. What to do?

Medieval News

Demolition could uncover deserted medieval village

Thieves raid Medieval Village


Runesten fundet ved Fåborg



Royal burial ground unearthed

ARCHAEOLOGISTS REVEAL JEWELS OF AN ANGLO SAXON PRINCESS AT KIRKLEATHAM MUSEUM

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pre-Beowulf Thoughts

Yes, I'm still on a kick. As I prepare for the release of the latest Beowulf movie I can not help but brace myself, not for the movie, but for the outcry from my fellow Anglo-Saxonists. I expect all sorts of modernisms, from exploration of Grendel's and Grendel's Dam's motives and the conflict with the Danes or with Hrothgar personally---part and parcel of our world now is the explanation of the villain's villainy--temptation scenes for the hero, yes, I mean SEX, which while not in Beowulf proper is certainly in plenty of medieval tales and seems as necessary in modern tales.

Again, though, I have to say that every time a tale is newly told, we should expect differences. Of COURSE it isn't going to be the Beowulf of the Vitellius manuscript! The question I suppose is how far can it wander from that source and still be called Beowulf. Still, I'm apprehensive, and I hope its a good movie.

But what gives? In the last 7 years by my count there have now been four movies and 3 new translations and 2 new editions of the poem, make that 3 new editions of the poem. There seems to be a lot of interest in the poem not only among scholars but among the general reading public as well. An interest that we Anglo-Saxonists should harness and welcome, as it gives us opportunity to talk about Beowulf.
Really didn't find anything this week:


EU funds Fountains Abbey project

Thursday, November 01, 2007