New masters, and other things not yet announced

So, OK, two evenings ago I sent the final proofs of Problems and Possibilities of Early Medieval Charters off to the publishers along with the index, and that was only the most urgent thing of about twenty I still have to do, but one of those is certainly to deliver the promised news that the last three posts haven’t contained. So, the quick way seems best: when the book comes out, my affiliation in it will be University of Birmingham, because it is they who have kindly taken me on as a Lecturer in Medieval History for the next little while. So that’s the big news: Jarrett finally leaves the Golden Triangle, and not before time. Everyone I’ve had dealings with in the department so far has been really nice and I’m looking forward to it, though just now I’m mainly looking forward to the move being over.

Aerial view of Edgbaston campus, Birmingham University

Aerial view of Edgbaston campus, Birmingham University

I will not conceal that for quite a lot of this year I’ve been fairly sure I was going to have to leave the profession at the end of this month, and indeed I’d started applying for non-academic jobs and had even been interviewed for one when this came up. Many of you who know me will have heard my various spiels about what seems to be happening here, but I will keep them out of this post. I have stub posts written about some of these issues, and given how backlogged I am, whether or not I reach them before I am back on the market is somewhat uncertain. (For that reason, I’m figuring that this post, which is actually current, should probably be left `sticky’ at the top while I fill in backlogged content beneath, so take a look below and see if what follows this post is familiar!)

Instead, I shall use this opportunity to get the other various bits of backlogged news that lurk in the queue up and current too, and those are all about publication. Apart from the, er, five book chapters I have even now in press, somehow, several lesser bits of my work have actually come out where you can see them during the backlogged period, and they are as follows.

Name in the book somewhere II

This was a rather larger chicken finally come home to roost, to wit Miquel Crusafont i Sabater, Anna M. Balaguer & Philip Grierson, Medieval European Coinage, with a Catalogue of the Coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum, 6: the Iberian Peninsula (Cambridge 2013). There’s no secret here about the labour I’ve poured into this; it was in fact the thing I subsisted on after finishing the Lay Archives work, and it was mostly wrapped up and ready to go in 2006 when I got the full-time job at the Fitzwilliam that would, in the end, keep me going for four and a half years. When explaining to people some of the reasons why the volume still then took seven years to appear, I have taken to starting with, “Well, the two surviving authors…” Death, life-threatening illness, divorce, pregnancy, unannounced changes of contact details, unemployment and over-employment (especially this last) have all played their part in delaying the work of the various parties involved, even to the very last minute—a launch party had to be cancelled because of a sudden family illness, but unbeknownst to authors or editors the book was already on sale anyway—and I think the most amazing thing is that all parties involved have always been reasonable and pleasant to deal with, whatever the new problem was that had arisen. Anyway, it exists, and this is a great comfort to me, as not only do I actually have my name over two small parts of it (well, one small one and the Bibliography, which I think I contributed about a tenth of) but at some point or other in my role as copy-editor and then series editor I’ve probably changed or moved almost every word in it. It’s not my work, but it has been one of my labours, for sure.

Those curious about such matters will probably also want to know how things stand with the rest of the series, and to that I can say from the inside, with suitable caution, that volume 12, which covers Northern Italy and is by Andrea Saccocci, Michael Matzke and William Day Jr, is scheduled to be next and is in its final stages now, and that volume 10, on Scandinavia, by Jørgen Steen Jensen, has been making reliable and steady progress for years and will also soon be finished, we hope, after which it becomes a contest between Britain and the Low Countries to be next. What’s the timescale, you no doubt ask, and fair enough, but you understand that in 2006, there was no way, it was quite frankly impossible to conceive that MEC 6 was seven years away from publication. What could possibly go that far wrong? If I had not lived and worked through those seven years, I would now say: there is no way the next volume can be more than a year away. But I did, so I won’t, because if I do it probably can…

Name in Print XI

Then lastly, for now, in April 2013 I achieved a personal first by getting published in Spain, and indeed, in Castilian, though that last came as something of a surprise to me when I got my copy as my text was English when I sent it in… The item in question was again only a review, this time of Scale and Scale Change in the Early Middle Ages, edited by Julio Escalona and Andrew Reynolds, The Medieval Countryside 6 (Turnhout 2012), which was a hard thing to review, because I know and respect many of the people in it, not least Julio and Andrew themselves and also Wendy Davies, and yet I didn’t want to just wave it by without reflection. Parts of it are in fact important and very interesting, but… If you want to see how I balanced these imperatives, you can in theory find it in Historia Agraria Vol. 59 (Valencia 2013), pp. 193-197. I have no digital copy, or I’d upload it somewhere, but maybe I’ll just scan it. And with that, you know as much as I do about my available works, so let’s see what comes out next!

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41 responses to “New masters, and other things not yet announced

  1. Congratulations!

  2. Ditto congratulations. I hope it is the beginning of a long and fruitful career in academia.

  3. I’ll add my congratulations as well on your new position. I very much enjoyed your article in Literature Compass. I’ll need to take a closer look at it and some of the other essays in that issue.

  4. Huzzah! Lucky old Brummies! Won’t be quite the same visiting the dreaming spires now – a pint or four (!) with you having become part of the ritual – but it’s all to the good. Probably my liver thanks you too. ;p

  5. Very good news – congratulations.

  6. I’ve been hoping to hear these news! Congrats!

  7. Great news about Birmingham–congratulations! Be sure to get to know Simon Yarrow. He’s been over here as a Fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute for the past few years & has been good to get to know. His research is some good stuff too.

    Thanks for the shout-out to my review; it’s a great volume, not least because of your contribution.

  8. Not sure moving to my neck of the academic woods is worthy of congratulations or commiserations, but I’ll go for the former. It does mean Problems and Possibilities is going to give far more credit than Birmingham may deserve though…

  9. Congratulations on your new job!

  10. excellent news and well deserved, even though, let’s face it, after meeting you for the first time, I cycled head first into a tree. Some say I was under the influence, but part of me thinks it may have been your influence ;)

  11. Congratulations on the job – very glad to here you won’t be leaving academic life. I hope you won’t be too rushed off your feet teaching yet more new courses and get some time for blogging.

  12. Well done and good luck at Birmingham. Also congrats on the publications.

  13. Excellent news! warmest congratulations.

  14. Belated congratulations on Birmingham !

  15. Congrats from me as well.

  16. Thankyou all, and sorry for my slow acknowledgement; when one’s only Internet access is in the office of a new job, the blog has to come some way down the list alas!

  17. Excellent news! I can think of only a handful of people who I deem as deserving an academic post as you are and it would be criminal not to have it happen on a permanent basis.

  18. Birmingham, excellent. I have been absent here and am shocked to discover that even you were considering leaving. Nobody is more deserving than you and Birmingham is lucky.

    • Oh, lots of people are at least as deserving than me, that’s the whole problem. Lots of cooks and a very limited kitchen! People are playing safe, and I have five years in museums and am ten years older than most other applicants, work on Spain not England and didn’t get a first-class degree. None of this, of course, should matter, but in a field so over-populated with qualified people I can’t see how it doesn’t. But I am enjoying Birmingham so far and everybody seems glad I’m here!

  19. Huzzah! I’m very happy for you! Just look out for that Morris Zapp fellow (though I’m not sure Philip Swallow is any better in the end). And if you don’t get these references, then David Lodge’s _Changing Places_ is required reading for you next chance you get for leisure reading.

  20. Congratulations on such a lot of wonderful news, Jonathan! Does firm employment mean we’ll be seeing you stateside this May at the ‘zoo?

    • Aha, well possibly, though if so only as guest not presenter; at the submission deadline I had no idea where I was going to be by now. But my teaching will be over by then so it is technically, and maybe even financially, feasible…

  21. Congratulations, and good luck!

  22. Oooh – Just saw ‘Problems and Possibilities’ announced by Brepols on Twitter! Link here. Congrats!

    • Yes, we were told it’s out a few days ago, but this appears to mean that copies exist at the printers’; I’ve been waiting till I actually have one I can hold (and photograph) before making an official announcement. In fact I have three book chapters in this state right now! But I admit that that book is two of them…

      • Allan McKinley

        Did get excited on returning home yesterday to find a parcel such as might hold books waiting. Unfortunately it appears it was my wife buying Christmas presents early…

  23. not to comment on the cover of the name — are these available in any months ahead in Toronto through College ordering? when anyone finds out.

  24. Pingback: Medieval European Coinage. Volume 6. | Cathalaunia. La Catalunya abans de Catalunya

  25. Glad you are still in, and belated congratulations !!!! I am on the market too, in the steppes if necessary, and interviewing alt-ac too, so we are twins, but you are ahead.

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