I have been extremely busy since more or less late December, and you have presumably noticed things slowing up around here as a result. As of roughly yesterday, though, almost all of the most pressing tasks are dealt with and so I’m looking with distress at the extent to which I am Behind With the Internet. That means here and e-mail, but here is especially ridiculous because of the number of almost-written posts I have sitting as drafts. And it reflects badly on me because if this blog is supposed to function either as publicity for my brilliance and endeavours or as an outreach effort bringing medieval studies to a wider audience, it does neither of these things especially well if its content is a year backdated. Therefore I declare a period of dense blogging ahead. I am not going to say anything crazy like a post a day, though if I did do that it would still be October before I’d caught up, you know, but you can expect far more frequent posting for a while now. So you have been warned! First up, a resumption of my prolonged engagement with the work of Michel Zimmermann… Stay tuned?
Various things have kept me away from electronic media till today, more or less since I last wrote, but events march fast upon us and not the least of these is the 2012 International Medieval Congress, to which I shall be departing tomorrow (or, looking at the clock, today) and at which there has in recent years been a bloggers’ meet-up. I’m not sure we’re up to strength this year but since there will be at least five of us and possibly more Magistra has been canvassing behind the scenes and has settled upon the following time and place: the Stables pub at Weetwood Hall, on Monday evening, from 20:00. I and she will certainly be there, I perhaps from earlier, and if you are a blogger of any kind you would of course be very welcome to join us. (Please, bloggers and others, bear in mind that some who might attend do not necessarily want their real names and their blogs linked more widely, and we ask you to be suitably careful about that.)
This was taken shortly after a lengthy formal dinner, and doesn’t it show?
Thus, although Magistra’s academic identity is not what you would call secret any more, she has not yet gone so far as to put her name and likeness directly on her blog, whereas mine is all over the web, I suppose I will probably be recognisable for something other than probably being the only male in the gathering, and so if you’re looking for us you can look for me. And I currently look like this, not usually so formally attired but just about as tired… Maybe see you there!
Foreground, right to left: laptop displaying mark scheme; notepad and red marking biro; unmarked exam script, obscuring mark-sheet; mug of strong Kenya tea; typewriter with hard-copy comment sheet wound in.1 Rear of table: exam paper, atop one of three packets … Continue reading
Not my chosen mode of travel, alas
I’ve booked tickets and hotel, I guess I’m going. Which means I ought to say something like this:
Salutacions als meus lectors catalans! Estaré en el vostre païs bellic a la commençament d’abril. Del quart d’abril al novè, seré basat a Vic, i al onzè seré en Barcelona. Si algun dels meus lectors vulgui em encontre, pugui fer contacte amb el vostre autor via la adreça electronica a aquesta pàgina de web. Desprès trobaré com terrible es el meu català parlat! (No mento; jo puc recordar un temps i potser cinquanta paraules… Espero ho ameliorar.)
For the rest of you, what this means is that, working kit permitting, there will be a lot more photos of Catalonia here next month and I’m probably about to buy a few more books…
P. S. It was a wooden submarine powered by a chemical-driven steam plant that made its own oxygen. Also it worked. There is no more steam-punk than that.
… there has been rather more of me than there has been here, sorry about that. It’s not so much that this term has been impossibly loaded, it hasn’t really though keeping four new courses ready to roll week-to-week has been a challenge, I will admit. It is much more that I have also been trying to crunch through the next step of the Casserres project—I will write about this soon—and to read quite a lot of stuff I need to have a grip on for teaching, some of which I may also write about, and these have all filled quite a lot of time. I have kept coming to the Internet just before midnight and sleep has usually won out. Nonetheless, on Friday I did actually catch up with all the blogs I follow, more or less; and since then I even socialised with some people somewhere other than a seminar! Incroyable!
But, I have not been completely inattentive to the web, I’ve just been attentive elsewhere. In particular!
- I’ve updated my static webpages, so that if you really wanted an up-to-date Jarrett bibliography or to remind yourself of my conference-going history, or even to know what my big projects are supposed to be whenever the small ones temporarily die down, that information is now current. N. B. these pages may plug the book once or twice. Maybe.
- Not just one but two of the places I’m teaching for here have now got as far as acknowledging my existence on the web, and I have to thank Pembroke College, where I am only a Retained Lecturer, for actually giving me a full page to play with, yet another thing to keep up to date but very welcome as now Academia.edu is not going be the first hit for me when people Google me at Oxford; after all, there are others claiming an Oxford affiliation there who have nothing of the kind any more, and I don’t want to be mistaken for one of them.
- I have also been writing at Cliopatria. Ordinarily I can go months between posts there, because I only post when asked to or when something broader than my focus here crosses my synapses. But recently both of those happened, so you can find me writing:
- And, indeed, while I have your attention over there, I’ve also thrown in on a question that fellow contributor Chris Bray raised there, to wit: “in whatever place and period you study, do you find that the political ruling class was generally aligned with common people in a struggle against the economic elite? Where and when has that happened?” I had some weak answers but maybe you have a stronger one? Trot over and cast it into the pool if so, we can always use comments from out of field over there.
Meanwhile, I have five posts in some form of draft, quite a lot of seminar papers to talk about, and an imminent access of slightly more time, so with a bit of luck you’ll be seeing more of my Internet presence again shortly.
As often already, in lieu of the content about my stuff I would like to have written by now…
- Richard Hodges’s The Anglo-Saxon Achievement appears to be another of those books that sank very deep and I didn’t realise.
- There seems to be much more Romano-British archaeology nowadays than anyone cared about when I first learnt this stuff.
- This may well be because I was not being taught by a specialist in the field and I am very conscious that I am now repeating some of the same ignorances, in other words, we are the problem as has been said before.
- On the other hand it’s inescapably true that it’s much easier to give a good lecture (in so far as a lecture is ever useful) when you don’t know too much.
- I met some medievalists who say that no-one round here goes to the pub; I agreed that this was a crying shame and now that I’m beginning to balance my time to make this possible, find of course that I forgot who they were…
- Perhaps because of thinking in these terms too much, I am informed that:
The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test
I’m quite impressed by this. I should reassure readers that the high (or low, depending on where you wind up) ranking is mainly down to a few things that Dante thought were violent and irremediable crimes (not puns, though I had been warned about that) being considered harmless leisure activities in the twenty-first century West, at least in my state. All the same, if Pascal lost his wager, I should have some interesting company in eternal torment.
- I don’t really think two days, especially not two days in which I have a tutorial to give, a seminar to attend and a lecture to
write give and you know a job, is a fair amount of time to ask me to turn round final proofs of the book in, you know. I might call it unrealistic. But since to do so would probably prejudice its chances of finally emerging with a date on its titlepage that isn’t a lie, I may not be very evident online for a few days.
Posted in Anglo-Saxons, archaeology, Celts, Currently reading..., Currently teaching..., Humour, Institutions, Now working on...
Tagged AFK, Christopher Snyder, Dante, medieval theology, post-Roman Britain, publication, Richard Hodges, settlement archaeology, teaching, The Academy
It may have reached your notice that this Monday the International Medieval Congress, colloquially known as ‘Leeds’, starts, and the really keen-eyed may have already noticed that I am there (presenting on the Monday, too, do come, I am quite pleased with the paper). I may well see some of you there. For those intending to meet me there, and I may not be fooling myself about this, last year’s post on recognising the Jarrett may be of use. I will also be distinguished by a silver machine but if you see me with it I am probably going to be moving too fast to be hailed.
‘We’, whoever that shady international cabal may be, have completely failed to organise a blogger meet-up (at least, as far as I know). I don’t even know that there are enough of us present to justify one—I know of four counting me, though an excellent three the others be of course! If we do organise something, I guess it will have to be circulated by word of mouth, but I hereby declare that I shall be at dinner in Bodington and then at the Stables pub in Weetwood on Monday evening, outside weather permitting, and maybe we can organise something round that. Tuesday looks solid with unmissable receptions in the evening and Wednesday is the dance so otherwise I suspect it would need to be lunchtime, which is also possible but my lunches are all at Bodington. So now you know.
And then I am off to even further climes, for the New Chaucer Society conference in Siena, which I am attending mainly in my rather unlikely capacity as ‘Internet celebrity’. There I suspect that my brief presence will be entirely a long blogger meet-up but I’ll let that organise itself.
Anyway, the practical upshot of all this is that I’m not here this week. This has gone up automatically (or else you’re not seeing it) and so will one further post I already have written, but I’m not going to be around to answer or moderate comments or reading other peoples’ blogs till the 20th, for all practical purposes. Have fun, play nice, see some of you soon.
Sarcophagus lid of the Mayan ruler K'inich Janaab' Pakal of Palenque, 'well-known' to show an early medieval-era transatlantic flying machine
If I schedule this correctly, by the time you read this I will hopefully be airborne, and thus away from the blog. I return on Monday 17th very tired. I may well see many of the readers in the intermediate time, in fact for all I know I’ll be on a plane with some of them but the 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies seems like a better bet. In the interim, if I log in to answer comments or even write a new post, I’ll clearly be failing to have enough fun, so I aim not to do that. Ordinarily I’d have some buffered posts ready but this last month has just been… well, you know. So I’ll hopefully be back to read on the Monday and maybe have new content (about a pope losing the plot, indeed) by the Wednesday; till then, play nice, have fun, see some of you soon, the rest of you back here before very long.
First robot I ever encountered
April will, I hope, not be the cruellest month this year, because it will see the outcome of really quite a lot of effort this month. Yes: March is definitely going to be the fullest month, whatever April does. July will push it but as far as I can currently see March looks like this:
- Five lectures, eight seminars, two revision classes, twenty-plus essay tutorials
- Sixteen essays to mark
- Eleven days work for my main paymasters
- Three institutional dinners
- One haircut
- One symposium at which I’m presenting
- One interview at the other end of the country from the teaching I’m doing the next day
- One other job application so far
- Zero time for anything else
And I hope I am not going to have any months busier than this for a long long time. It’s a bit much. I have therefore just put the blog on automatic. This post will have gone up as the first of several scheduled ones—I have four others written up that will follow at intervals before the 16th, when I shall hope to be back in control. If I’m not, though, then there will be a necessary hiatus. In the meantime, I shan’t be around to read other posts, moderate comments, shovel spam or argue with Cullen. Please be nice and don’t be afraid to talk amongst yourselves. I’ll be glad to be back when I can spare the time again. Thankyou as ever for your support and interest…
Right, this blog is about to go on holiday hiatus, but given as I’m writing in real-time for once, I ought to give some news too.
Firstly, I hate it when this happens, but since I advertised it here I now have to unadvertise it: an article I have been touting as forthcoming, my “Arabic-named communities in ninth- and tenth-century Asturias and León, at court and at home” in Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies (London: Taylor-Francis forthcoming), is now not forthcoming in any foreseeable time-frame. An extra reviewer freshly consulted has ruled against it until it can be heavily rebuilt, and I don’t see that time accruing any time soon. So that’s annoying, though arguably my own fault for submitting shaky work (I now see). I’d like to have been told this before making urgent revisions to meet a mid-2009 publication deadline that didn’t in fact apply, but never mind. It joins both the other things that were called ‘forthcoming 2009’ on job applications as things that did not in fact forthcome yet. Huh. Also, my course evaluations—and congratulations to Queen Mary for being the first place I ever taught at which actually gave me some—were full of, er, opportunities for improvement, which I intend to be taking next term, but dealing with these pieces of news on the same day was still a bit disheartening, and renews my background resolve to come up with a Plan C in case, really, I’m just not good enough at this game to ever win it.
On the other hand, what with the Rosamundfestkonferenz, I now have another article in pre-publication limbo, so my actual potential remains about the same, and meanwhile I have had my first interview for quite some time, so presumably I am in some sense doing something academic right, albeit very slowly. I shall take that thought away with me along with a few books and some hold-over presents—that interview came as rather a surprise and during a period in which Cambridge has been ice-bound and travel rather more tedious than usual—and return to you on the 28th inst. Until then the blog will be running on automatic: I shall stick a post up on the 27th, because I have stuff queued up I want to get unqueued, but I shan’t be here to moderate comments or answer things till after that. I hope you all have excellent holidays and that your families are pleasant where you are with them!