Reputation mattered to medieval people a great deal, in many ways more than to us today. They were concerned about what could happen to their public standing; to people at the time, both glory and infamy seemed to move as fast as the wind.
Translations of Beowulf are often judged by their first word. “Hwæt,” that enigmatic monosyllable, became a stately “behold” or “lo” in older versions of the epic. Modern poets have used their choice here as a calling card, announcing their intentions with more or less boldness. They have transformed “hwæt” into a firm “listen,” a laid-back “hey,” or a cheery “right!” A little over twenty years ago, Seamus Heaney gave the Old English tale an Irish lilt by beginning it with “so.” In her new re...
How to promote your new scholarly book — without a huge budget and without being awkward and/or annoying about it
Last year I wrote a handy guide for scholars wishing to reach the heights of academe through upward toxicity. I showed aspiring leaders of their fields how to forge powerful alliances, abuse their underlings mercilessly and weaken their rivals. The emails I received – from their victims – confirmed for me that toxic scholars the world over are finding success by riding roughshod over human decency and workplace ethics.
An essay on improvisation
Richards and Gallagher have given us a picture of an early modern England made louder and more boisterous by print, not silenced by it. Printed books made foreign languages more accessible, even to those without a private teacher or the funds to travel. Overseas trade and global politics resulted in greater interest in foreign tongues, with books on Arabic, Malay and Narragansett as well as the Continental standards. Immigrants take their place here as teachers, authors of foreign-language manuals, and students of English in their own right. This is a story of England finding its many voices.
I have gathered a number of lessons that I offer here to spare other freelance writers some pain and annoyance. My comments are specifically about the process of writing — sometimes with a contract, and preferably for pay — for editors at established print and online publications aimed at a general audience.
I am about to set a timer and write, when I notice someone is wrong on the internet. They have linked to an article without looking at its source. They looked at its source but did not see the logical flaws in the article. They pulled out the quote they agreed with and didn’t see or didn’t care how wrong the rest of it was. I must help them see this. I must stop the culture of online misinformation.
In the early decades of the 11th century, a man called Warner who lived in Normandy wrote a very dirty Latin poem. Addressed to Archbishop Robert of Rouen, it relates the adventures of an Irish grammarian called Moriuht, who has a series of graphic and often disturbing sexual encounters while searching for his wife, who has been kidnapped.
Ellen O’Connell Whittet was nineteen years old and on her way to a professional career in ballet when a fall during a rehearsal fractured her spine. The accident forced a reckoning: had she not been starving herself for months, her body might have been cushioned. She had long ago adopted the dancer’s soldier-like attitude to injury, wearing a back brace to make it through day-long classes, having Novocain injected into her swollen foot to make it through one more show.
Pointless meetings, fraught commutes and whiffy shared fridges are mercifully off limits during the coronavirus lockdown. But what else are faculty glad to be rid of? And what are they pining to return to? Seven academics let us know
“About time to read the Decameron”, people tweet. I find such reactions puzzling. Just as strange are those lists of “plague” books, almost inevitably featuring Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year and Albert Camus’s La Peste. Why would someone want to read about plague during an actual plague?