highlyeccentric: Monty Python - knights dancing the Camelot Song (Camelot song)
Which is, I must say, not terribly up-to-date. [personal profile] jjhunter asked for a Fibbonaci Sequence tour of my DW interests (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 etc). So that's what you get!

1. 19th century: I like 19th century stuff! It's not my academic field but it's a great period to take historical or literary breaks in. I have a particular fondness for 19th century feminism, especially late 19th c. Australian activists and writers. And an especially particular soft spot for Louisa MacDonald and her odd, butch, novel-writing, medicine-studying, bicycle-riding, politics-talking companion Evelyn Dickinson.

2. A Place to Call Home: was a DELIGHTFUL Australian drama series which screened in 2013. Set in the aftermath of WWII, in a country NSW town. Starring Our Heroine, Sarah, a widowed Jewish-by-marriage nurse with a career and a right hook to be wary of. Starring James, closeted queer, and his wife Olivia. Starring matriarch Elizabeth, stone cold bitch and complex human. Also many other exciting characters! And ANGST AND WOE. I'm hoping they tone down the 'new angst every episode' thing and really dig into the issues they've raised, next season.

3. Anglo-Saxons: is one term for the English before 1066 (and after, if you need to distinguish between an Anglo-Norman and an Anglo-Saxon). I like this period, too! It's not my speciality field anymore, but it was at one stage. I like the English benedictine reformers and their earnest ideals; I like Archbishop Wulfstan and his conniving, Viking-lovin' ways. I like the tendency to sanctify their royalty, resulting in dynasties of saints. Also I like that an entire genre, the elegy or lament, can be summed up as "I'm all alone in a (boat / underground chamber / foreign land / etc) and I have no friends".

Atheism, chocolate, transport, Germanic languages, etc )

This has been this week's installment of December Meme! Pls to be proving two more prompts.

Week 1- Poetry as per [personal profile] majoline
Week 2- Fibonacci Interests, as per [personal profile] jjhunter
Week 3-
Week 4-
highlyeccentric: Sheer Geekiness, unfortunately - I just think this stuff is really cool (phd comics) (Sheer Geekiness)
This language is going to drive me mad1. I think modern German may have been designed to bamboozle whatever weird people learn Anglo-Saxon first.

Consider the matter of first person pronouns:

1. Anglo Saxon: Ic - pronounced "ick" or "ich", there might even be a rule to which one you use, but I've forgotten it (Sorry, Venerable Alex.)
2. Middle English: Ich - pronounched "ich" or "i-ch", depending on who you're listening to.
3. German: Ich - prounounced some way I can't possibly reproduce, but which is most definitely not "ich" or "i-ch".

And then tonight, because I'm weird, I was reading the grammar at the back of my dictionary, and discovered that the past participle is formed by whacking 'ge-' onto the present tense. I HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO IGNORE RANDOM GE- prefixes, people!
... although, glod, what wouldn't I give to know what this wandering ge- thing did in Proto-Germanic...


1. For those new to the world of Me Learning New Languages, this is my battle-cry and expression of glee.


Dec. 1st, 2008 12:59 pm
highlyeccentric: Anglo-Saxonists decline to do it (Naked Philologist)
So I saw the editor for JAEMA by accident on Friday, and she said that if I send her my paper in the next couple of weeks she'll ignore the fact that the deadline was two weeks ago.

Thus I have to scrabble around and edit up ch. 1 of my thesis, and put in changes to the argument based on Andy Orchard's article in the latest Brepols book.

Orchard cites his dating of the SL (1009 instead of 1014) to work by Simon Keynes in 'An Abbot, an Archbishop, and the Viking Raids of 1006-7 and 1009-12', Anglo-Saxon England 36 (forthcoming). Now, ASE 36 is available at Cambridge Journals Online and I CANNOT find said Keynes article anywhere.

Anyone got any suggestions? Someone with half a brain and access to library databases to go and look for ASE 36 online and tell me if I'm mad?

Or do ASE only put SOME articles online? Might there be more in the hard copy? (Which would be sad, since Fisher apparently has only up to 2003 in hard copy and I'm not there anyway.)

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] areyoustrange's googlefu says it's only in the hard copy version. I THINK Fisher actually carries up-to-date hard copies, I'm sure I've used ASEs more recent than 2003. Anyone going to be in an academic library sometime in the next week or so and feel benevolently inclined in the photocopying-and-posting or scanning-and-emailing sort of way?
highlyeccentric: Anglo-Saxonists decline to do it (Naked Philologist)
Do you think I could marry the Dictionary of Old English Corpus online? Can I? Please?

Failing that, I shall swear eternal fealty to it and serve it forever.

*quivers* When I leave uni I won't ever be able to play with the DOEC again. WAAAAH.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (theses will eat me)
I HATE, HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE the fucking Sermo Lupi ad Anglos. Can I just say again: I HATE IT. I hate it and its horrible contradictoriness and I hate the fact that I thought I'd made an argument but I'd actually made two contradictory arguments, and I hate the fact that once I thought I was done with it I saw the Bocera and he pointed out all these other contradictory bits. And I HATE HATE HATE the fact that the argument I really really want to make I cannot possibly prove.

What I can apparently prove is that on the 16th of Febuary 1014 Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, ordained a bishop of London, while the current bishop of London was bishop of London but in exile with king AEthelred. ONB, the Archbishop of York shouldn't be ordaining a bishop of London! (Although he could be doing so in his capacity as bishop of Worcester, I suppose.) TWO, a bishop who ordains a new bishop of London clearly doesn't expect the old one to be returning any time soon, and therefore is not about to advocate the recall of King AEthelred.

Except that apparently *this* Bishop did, turning around the next day (if Wilcox is right, at least) and declaring that it's a terrible sin to expel your lord, living, from the land. And the synod and witan, who had gathered for the ordination of a new bishop, all suddenly agreed with him.


I *want* to agree with Ian Howard, who is a historian not bothered by minor details of literary interpretation, and say Wulfstan certainly did not support the return of AEthelred because that would be a stupid thing to say in York in February 1014. I want to say AEthelred *invaded*, rather than was recalled.

That is what the history would say. Unfortunately the literature says the opposite. I swear there is a way, somewhere, that the SL can be rereaad. But I can't find it right now and it makes me crankypants.
highlyeccentric: Me, in a costume viking helmet - captioned Not A Viking Helmet (not a viking)
Does anyone know if Anglo-Saxon language was ever on the British school curriculum?

If one were being educated in a prestigious school in the early 1900s, and going to university in the 19-teens or early 20s, would one first encounter AS language at school or university? I wants to know, precious.

(Rymenhild- this is for your requested fic. I haven't forgotten, promise. Just taking a while to figure out how to work in my RIDICULOUS MEDIEVAL JOKE.)
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
All in a row because I don't have an icon table maker...

religious,medieval,snark snark,religious,medieval medieval,religious religious,medieval medieval,religious

I tried to keep the orange ones within the colour scheme of the MS... it didn't work for text-heavy icons, though.

and in honour of Iris, Kayloulee and Fahye )

Credit would be nice; comment not necessary.
highlyeccentric: Sheer Geekiness, unfortunately - I just think this stuff is really cool (phd comics) (Sheer Geekiness)
(But Rule 34 means, now that I've said it, someone has written it and it's probably graphic. This isn't.)
The latest thing keeping me awake o' nights is character fragments. This is Hell.

Sorry the formatting's a  bit screwey.

Canon notes: I read the Anglo-Saxon translation of the Gospel of Nichodemus. I can't tell you if Hell is a woman in the Latin verion, but she's definitely a female creature of some sort in the AS.
You can find a translation of both the AS version and its immediate Latin source in 'Two Old English Apocrypha' edited by J.E. Cross.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Tonks)
I just wrote an alliterative tirade in the style of Wulfstan, bemoaning the social evils of drunkenness in Australia.


Hooligans and hoons, racists and rioters, misogynists and misanthropes, criminals and crooks, lushes and lechers, and those who, all too often, embarrass the establishment, with drunkenness, which they should defend.

I wouldn't have anyone in mind for the last clause... no, not at all... *cough*
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (grammar time)
Get off Scot-free with the Naked Philologist.

I <3 etymology.
highlyeccentric: A character from silentkimbly.livejournal.com, hiding under a lampshade (hiding)
So I set out to create a manuscript description, happy in the knowledge that no easy-to-use description of Cotton Nero A.i has already been made.
What I want in a MS description:
* items clearly laid out, with modern English descriptions where appropriate
* first lines of homilies in Old English
* texts identified by their common title as well as their MS title
* clear quire divisions within the list
* references to editions
* the ability to scan the description either quire-by-quire OR by content type

Which means a table. Vertical axis numbering items and listing foliation. Horizontal axis listing content type (Insitiutes, laws, homilies, other). So one can scan down the 'homily' column if one so desires, or one can isolate the fifth quire, or whatever. FABULOUS.

An exel table would be fine. Lovely. But difficult to print out and bind into a thesis.
So we have lots of individual one-page tables, which have to be prevented from binding themselves together and aligning cell widths (the Homilies column, for example, having been squashed up when there are no homilies on the page, so as to make space for Institutes).

And then I discover that you can't footnote a table.

This, people, explains why no one has made a user-friendly Manuscript Description of Cotton Nero A.i.
But I will not be defeated! When I am done, the Reader will be able to flick through my table with ease!
Sigh. The Reader will be me, and whatever unfortunate souls mark the thing. Oh, the futility.
highlyeccentric: XKCD - citation needed (citation needed)
What does 'All plummet' mean? I have a description of Marginal Notes in B, in which Hands IV and V are described as 'early thirteenth century/ late thirteenth century.1 All plummet.' This is followed immediately by a list of folios in which they appear.

1. early/ late respectively.


Mar. 9th, 2008 01:49 am
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (grammar time)
So, I'm obsessed with the Old English verb thyncan (yes, it has a thorn or an eth, but i'm too tired to type them). Happily for me, when I have to prepare comments on three aspects of vocabulary in Sir Gawain, i found its Middle English equivalent, and i went a bit nuts. My commentary on the other two bits of vocab won't be nearly this long, I swear.


The verb thinken in Middle English in fact consists of two separate verbs with a similar range of spellings and- to the modern reader- similar semantic fields, which nevertheless remain distinct according to the grammatical constructions in which they are used.

• The first (v.1, according to the Middle English dictionary) appears on line 49:
With lordez and ladies, as leuest him Þoȝt. (With lords and ladies, as seemed dearest to him)

• The second thinken, which also appears in our text- is in fact in the same glossary entry- is the ancestor of our modern verb to think, and descends from the Old English Þencan, to think, to exercise cognitive faculty. Semantically and gramattically it is closer to the Middle English/ early modern ‘to ween’ than to its homophone thinken.

• The first thinken, as it appears in line 49, should be thought of in terms of the early modern methinks.
The important thing to note is the difference in the case of the pronoun. Dative case pronouns (me, you, him- these are also the accusative case pronouns in modern english, but OE has a distinction in the third person, not sure about ME) are used to express an indirect object. The thinker does not initiate the cognitive process- is not the subject- but is the recipient of a fully formed impression.

• An impersonal verb has no subject, nothing seeming. The Middle English Dictionary lists two personal constructions of thinken (v. 1): ‘to present the appearance of, to seem to be’; or ‘to seem proper, to seem good’. These two meanings occur in Old English as well, but they do not survive in the early modern methinks. The example here in line 49 is a personal construction; the lords and ladies are seeming dearest to Arthur.

• The Middle English Dictionary lists a further six impersonal uses of thinken, variations on ‘it seems (to me) that’, ‘as it seemed to him’, and so forth. An interesting use of thinken in both Old and Middle English is to present something which ‘seemed to him’ in a dream or vision- a phrase which would now present a sense of unreality, but I think conveys something more like passivity, lack of concious control, in the Old and Middle English. You can also find methinks associated with this sort of context in Shakespeare- there’s a nice big batch of methinkses used as the dreamers in Midsummer Nights regain their wits and marvel at their experiences.

Finally, coming back to our line 49 here, lordez and ladies, as leuest him þoȝt. It tells us about Arthur’s mind- his affection for the lords and ladies- and, rather than expressing the sort of doubt that would go with ‘to seem’ in modern english (well, they seemed lovely to him at the time…), I think it constructs Arthur’s attatchment to these lords and ladies as almost instinctive, a response bypassing cognition.

As another note- I can’t seem to see much in the way of personal verbs of cognition in this first 250 words. Lots of seeing and appearing, little thinking. Does this mean something? I don’t know…
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (grammar time)
Around 3000 Anglo-Saxon skeletons to be reburied. This story has been doing the blog rounds, but I picked it up from Brandon today, where he notes that Anglo-Saxon will be (has been?) used during the reinterrment ceremony, as is appropriate. The BBC have a sound byte of the Lord's Prayer in Anglo Saxon, but i can't get it to play.

Still. Isn't that the coolest?

ed: and This Post at Scribal Terorr gives much greater detail. Apparently the service will be based on an Anglican prayer book from the 1500s- any attempt at authentic Anglo-Saxon liturgy being impossible due to that pesky thing called the Reformation; the church, and skeletons, are in Anglican hands, so a Latin liturgy is out of the question. Also, as either Awesome or the SupervisorMan were telling me the other day, we have virtually no idea what an Anglo-Saxon liturgy looked like ANYWAY.
highlyeccentric: Steamed broccoli - an image of an angry broccoli floret (steamed)
Cotton Nero A.i contains the oldest version of the Cnut law codes. I have this on the authority of A.G. Kennedy's article in Anglo-Saxon England 11. Dorothy Bethurum also describes Nero A.i as containing some ten law codes.

However, Neil Ker's immensely detailed list of the contents of Nero A.i does not appear to include I-II Cnut, II Edgar or the laws of Alfred-Ine. None of the missing law codes are described in Gneuss' short description of the manuscript EITHER.

I am distressed by this.

(also, my pet MS was nine books from the Pearl/Gawain MS in Cotton's libary. I wonder what his library filing logic was?)
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (waltrot)
How much do you know about Alfred the Great- the Times Online goes medieval.

The Wife just sent this link to the Goblin and I- sadly I know NONE of the answers, although i'd be willing to bet the answer to the last question is '9th'.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (waltrot)
My somewhat obsessive friend MrsBacon, who has spent much of the last couple of months chasing down crusader letters by haphazard chains of catalogue searches, word of mouth, the history of french libraries after the Revolution, and midnight telephone calls to confused non-english speaking librarians who just might have something in a 'little box' downstairs, assures me that I am blessed in my choice of field, because the English generally and Anglo-Saxonists in particular are obsessed with cataloguing and record-keeping, and that I should be overjoyed to have access to big fat manuscript catalogues and so forth.

Nevertheless, having finally laid hands on Helmut Gneuss' Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, i found it immensely frustrating. It didn't take much to discover that 'Cotton Nero' wouldn't be in the list, and that it would be found headed by its location. After peering at the index for some time, wondering why 'British Library' doesn't appear before 'Cambridge University Library', i noticed the neat little comma: 'Cambridge, University Library'. Deft use of the index took me through the various manuscripts containing "Wulfstan, Archbishop of York: homilies" and brought me at last to 'London, British Library, Cotton Nero A.i". So far so good- all inconveniences at the feet of my own incompetence.

Gneuss turns out to contain a very short paragraph and no more information than I could have rattled off from the top of my head, save for the size of the MS itself. Perhaps useful for cross-referencing across manuscripts, it was quite disapointing for my current purposes. (What are they? I'm not sure... )

Next i turned to Neil Ker's Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon, which DID contain useful- if barely comprehensible- information, several pages of it. This, however, took me another half an hour to find, as I stared at the gap between Lincoln, Cathedral 298 no. 2 and London, British Museum, Additional 9381, wondering where the British Library had got to. I checked at the other end of British Museum, and L had not been mysteriously moved to after M. To the indexes i returned, and sifted through manuscripts containing the handwriting of Wulfstan- which was at least a vaugely relevant tour- only to end up at London, British Museum, Cotton Nero A.i.

Why has no one told me that the British Museum and the British Library are the same thing? Furthermore, how does one figure out which to refer to?
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (grammar time)
It is with great regret that we reflect today upon the passing of cases from the English language. For many years they served tirelessly in the interests of grammar, indicating noun functions right throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. Not content to rest on their laurels, the cases put in some part-time work for Middle English, and can still be found declining a few solitary nouns (mouse, mice, anyone?), and defending their ground on pronouns, despite the iron rule of word order over their former territory.
While acknowledging the straightforward benefits of strict word order in day-to-day communication, we, the League of Grammar Nerds, would like to express our heartfelt thanks to grammatical cases for the flexibility they bestowed upon this language, and our great nostalgia for the lost era when it was a immeasurably less wanky to say 'I thine eyne adore', and many things more complicated.

hence follows a brief summary of Baker's Chapter Four )

I suspect case was probably a lot more fun to use than it is to untangle from a nasty sentence in translation.
highlyeccentric: XKCD - citation needed (citation needed)
Welcome to 2008, the Year of the Thesis. You, O blog, will be sharing me this year with the Archbishop Wulfstan of York. What better way to introduce you to his magnificence than with a mutated medievalist meme?

The Rules, as handed down to me by JLJ:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) List 7 random/weird things about your favorite historical figure.
3) Tag seven more people at the end of your blog and link to theirs.
4) Let the person know they have been tagged by leaving a note on their blog.

The tag tree above me:
I was tagged by Jennifer Lynn Jordan who told us about Prester John
She was tagged by Michelle of Heavenfield who told us about St Oswald of Northumbria and who also has a breakdown of her side of the tree here.
She was tagged by Jonathan Jarrett (look, i spelt it right!), who waxed fannish about Count Borrell II of Barcelona.
He was tagged by Magistra et Mater, who first mutated the meme, and who wrote about Charlemagne.

Well, unless you're an Anglo-Saxonist, *any* information about the Archbishop Wulfstan is both weird and random, so let us start at the begining:

1. Wulfstan is best known as Archbishop of York, 1002-1023. *HOWEVER* he was also Bishop of London from 996 to 1002, and of Worcester from 1002 to 1016. There's this funny thing about Worcester and York- they tended to be held together, despite the fact that one was right up in the north and the other in the central-southern regions of Britain. Wulfstan himself inherited both from his predecessor, Ealdulf. According to Bethurum, Worcester was the wealthier and more important of the two, and probably supported York to some degree. Yet York was the Archbishopric, and it is as Archbishop of York that he is remembered.

2. Mind you, that *my* Wulfstan is remembered as York probably has something to do with the fact that Worcester has its own Wulfstan, St Wulfstan (II) of Worcester. A very boring man, I'm sure. To make things more confusing, *my* Wulfstan is Wulfstan I of Worcester but Wulfstan II of York. Wulfstan I of York seems to have been a bit of a dodgy character, but I don't really know much about him.

3. Wulfstan was a bloody impressive preacher with a superb command of the English language. He was noted for his translatory skill in English even during his time in London- we have a surviving letter in which the writer skives off translating stuff for Wulfstan (either into or out of English, hard to tell) on the grounds that Wulstan was much better at it. To add to that, some of his most thunderously eloquent eschatalogical homilies seem to have been written during this early period.
The whole attraction of Wulfstan, as far as I'm concerned, is his writing. I've only translated fragments here and there... But check out his famous Sermo Lupi, in anglo-saxon or in translation, here. Seriously, Hillsong would kill to have this bloke on staff:
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. The world is ending. The AntiChrist is coming. Everything is going to hell in a handbasket... and YOU ARE NOT GIVING ENOUGH MONEY TO THE CHURCH. Even the *PAGANS* give more money to their false gods than YOU give to ME... (Very loose paraphrase by me)

4. However, it seems that, unlike Hillsong, Wulfstan was *not* all about the cash takings at the end of the day. Jonathan Wilcox has a very interesting article in Townend (ed), Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, entitled 'Wulfstan's Sermo Lupi ad Anglos as Political Performance: 16 Febuary 1014 and Beyond'. As it happens, Wulfstan was up to his neck in politics and intruige. The Wilcox article constructs a fantastic narrative, which I think I shall tell at some other time. There are battles and parliaments and schemes and betrayals and matrydoms and accidental deaths. For now, let it be said here that apparently said sermon is all about loyalty and betrayal and the decision to call back the exiled king AEthelred from Normandy. Wulfstan was then instrumental in drawing up the law code VIII AEthelred, as part of the restoration process.

5. Also, at the time he gave the Sermo Lupi, Wulfstan was the leading churchman in England, because the Archbishop of Canterbury had been kidnapped by Danes and pelted to death with axe handles and ox heads. How cool is that?

6. We have Wulfstan's own handwriting surviving. This is VERY VERY COOL, people. One day, I will get to touch the pages his hand touched... be still, my beating heart! It's also *useful*, because it's a clear sign of the authenticty of the document, and, if the notes are corrections to his own writings, gives us a fascinating window into the development of his thought.

7. According to Thomas N. Hall ('Wulfstan's Latin Sermons, in Townend (ed)), Wulfstan wrote drafts of his English sermons in Latin. This is curious. I wonder why a native english speaker would take sermon notes in Latin? Some of his sermons exist in both English and Latin, obviously for two different audiences.


ok, that was pretty incoherent... coming next time I do some actual work (as a reward): the exciting tale of the Witan of 1014!


I'd like to hear from:
Jeff Sypeck- who, if he's going to talk about Charlemagne, must find seven different odd things to those on Magistra's list.
Brandon Hawk
Dame Eleanor Hull
[livejournal.com profile] ajodasso, who has many dead-writer boyfriends she should DEFINITELY tell us about.
and also
Melanie Duckworth,
[livejournal.com profile] daiskmeliadorn
and [livejournal.com profile] niamh_sage,
the latter three of whom are respectfully requested to broaden the meme's scope as necessary and chose a medievalist-poet, religiously minded woman, and fairy or fairy-ologist, respectively. Or you could do something entirely different, whatever floats your boat.


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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