The Arc Blog and Podcasts

“Here follows her epitaph […] translated into the Scottish tongue”

“Here follows her epitaph […] translated into the Scottish tongue” Princess Margaret of Scotland (d. 1445) PART 2 As I observed in my previous post, the Older Scots Complaint for the death of Margaret, Princess of Scotland is a translation of a French complaint produced on the death of Princess Margaret (d. 1445), daughter of James I of Scotland and wife of the dauphin, Louis (later Louis XI): Complainte pour la mort de Madame Marguerite d’Escosse, daulphine de Viennoys. The latter poem comprises thirty-six stanzas, each of ten octosyllabic lines, and is divided into two halves. In the first half...

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“She was busy writing rondeaux […] which was not good for her”

“She was busy writing rondeaux […] which was not good for her” Princess Margaret of Scotland (d. 1445) PART 1 (and part 2) In our forthcoming METS edition, Six Scottish Pieces: Courtly and Chivalric Poems, Including Lyndsay’s ‘Squyer Meldrum’, Rhiannon Purdie (University of St Andrews) and I bring together six Older Scots poems that reflect on two of the most significant themes of Older Scots literature: Sovereignty — both of the nation and individual — and Good Governance — how best to rule the public realm and the private body of the self. Over the coming months we’ll write about...

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The Play’s the Thing

[caption id="attachment_11964" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Brueghel's Children Games (1559), now at Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna[/caption] In his painting, Children’s Games (1559), Flemish artist Peter Bruegel the Elder, famous for his works depicting the popular, ludic world of peasants, illustrated at least eighty different games that children played during the sixteenth century. Most of the games Bruegel portrayed in the picture involve toys and physical games, such as dice, knucklebones, dolls, marbles, balls, and hoops. However, many of the games depicted in the picture were not objects, but rather types of mental games, or role-playing activities, including mock sacraments (wedding, baptism, and...

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Drolleries and the Juvenilia of the Harley 2253 Scribe

As I worked on editing and translating the verse and prose contents of MS Harley 2253, a recurring pleasure and intrigue rested in trying to spot the literary tricks of a playful and instructive scribe. He certainly shows a penchant for linking poems of disparate types by finding (or adding) verbal repetitions to endings and beginnings. He also likes to juxtapose wryly matched items by setting them side by side on the page. And he loves puns and multilingual jokes. We can’t really know why he toyed with these maneuvers, but, in reading Harley 2253 straight through, we can discover...

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Happy St. Valentine’s Day with a Q&A with Chaucer, LVGC

Again this year we, Medieval Institute Publications, and Middle English Text Series in Rochester are joining forces to countdown to LGVC’s wonderful #WhanThatAprilleDay celebration! To begin our countdown and a Valentine to all our readers, we bring our interview with LGVC himself! Are there any specific rewritings of your works you would recommend? Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales ys a brilliant, sharp, exuberant remix of my Tales of Caunterburye. Thys booke of poemes doth go tale for tale, genre for genre. Agbabi’s verse doth honor my werke and yet steppe biyond yt ynto newe places and tymes. As Ich am tryinge...

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Q&A with Jane Toswell on her Today’s Medieval University

So, what features of the modern university are actually medieval? Well, not much really: the structure, the ceremonies, the relative autonomy, the system of decision-making, the faculties, the curriculum, the architecture, the symbols and costumes, the roundly pragmatic approach to learning.  Okay, so actually an enormous amount. Why don’t I already know this? People who talk about the university today tend to fix its origin point in Western Europe, especially in Germany, with the Humboldtian development of two ideas: the university as the home of the genius professor, the brilliant researcher surrounded by hordes of students and junior colleagues running...

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Mary of Nemmegen: Faustian Witchcraft or a Curious Saint’s Legend?

The importance of artistic connections between England and the Low Countries in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries has long been well recognized by scholars. This has meant considerable attention to the influence of the work of Netherlands artists and the import trade in their work. Netherlands musicians’ compositions also were for a time regarded as the most perfect models for imitation or inspiration in Britain and across the Continent. Some today still insist that the high point of Western music was achieved in the perfection of the compositions of Josquin Des Prez, and that the history of this art thereafter...

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Q&A with Clare Monagle on her The Scholastic Project

Why did you decide to write another book on medieval theology? I have two core reasons for writing The Scholastic Project. The first is that I wanted to provide an accessible introduction to medieval Christian theology, particularly that which we call scholastic theology. This term refers to the elite ‘high’ theology of Thomas Aquinas or Duns Scotus, for example, which emerges from the universities of medieval Europe. In my experience, a number of medievalists are very nervous about teaching or reading scholastic theology, or in sharing it with their students. There is good reason for this, the texts are really...

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Elizabeth Melick on Unusual Giants

"Now bigin ichil…" (Of Unusual Giants) He hadde tuenti men strengthe, And fourti fet of lengthe, Thilke panim hede, And four fet in the face, Ymeten in the place, And fiften in brede, His nose was a fot and more, His browe as brestles wore, He that it seighe it sede He loked lotheliche And was swart as piche Of him men might adrede. The passage above is from the Middle English romance Roland and Vernagu, which I am currently editing for a volume of four linked Charlemagne romances. This particular passage occurs about halfway through the poem, and it...

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Q&A with Richard Utz on Medievalism: A Manifesto

Richard Utz is Chair and Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology and President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism. He is the author of Literarischer Nominalismus im Spätmittelalter (1990) and Chaucer and the Discourse of German Philology (2002), and coeditor of Medievalism in the Modern World (with Tom Shippey, 1998) and of Medievalism: Key Critical Terms (with Elizabeth Emery, 2014). He is also the founding editor of Medievally Speaking, an open access review journal encouraging critical engagement with all manifestations of medieval culture in postmedieval times. There are...

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