The Friar's Tale a la The Toast

Submitted by ctcamp on Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:10am
Bros. British Library MS Royal 19.C.I, fol. 33r.

If you have been paying any attention to The Toast's content this past year, you'll know already that Mallory Ortberg has been killing it with her medieval-themed spoofs and humorous material. One of her recent successes was The Wife of Bath's Prologue. So I handed this piece to this semester's Chaucer students and told them they'd get extra credit for spoofing a different Tale, a la The Toast.

How to Talk To Your Dragon ... in Middle English

Submitted by ctcamp on Wed, 10/21/2015 - 11:23am
Initial of St Margaret, British Library Burney 345 fol. 86v.

My department is a great place to work. For example, yesterday I got to play a dragon for a colleague. Simon Gatrell is teaching a course on Harry Potter, and he needed faculty "dragons" to guard dragon eggs (a scene you might remember from The Goblet of Fire). Students could win the eggs from us "dragons" if they answered our questions correctly and petitioned us with sufficient aplomb and abasement.

I'm no Julian of Norwich, but...

Submitted by ctcamp on Wed, 08/05/2015 - 5:13pm

The Toast often does a good job with medieval memes, and with this one, they've knocked the proverbial ball out of the park. I link partially in anticipation of teaching ENGL 3300 (Women in Literature: Medieval Women's Literary Culture) shortly, where we'll read Julian and learn exactly why all things shall be well.

If Julian of Norwich Were Your Professor ...

Recuperating Medieval Science

Submitted by ctcamp on Wed, 03/26/2014 - 10:25am
Portrait of Robert Grosseteste from BL Royal MS 6.E.v, fol. 1r

It's easy to pidgeonhole medieval "science" as a mishmash of superstition and ignorance. (Alchemy? Astrology? Ptolematic cosmos?) But a team of physicists, Latinists, and philosophers at the University of Durham are suggesting otherwise. They've taken the scientific writings of Robert Grosseteste -- thirteenth-century English bishop and mathematical luminary -- and analyzed them through both medieval and contemporary understandings of science, and found that Grossetesete's methods and conclusions aren't that different from contemporary science's understanding of the universe.

Alice's Adventures in Middle English

Submitted by ctcamp on Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:12pm

What if Lewis Carroll had lived in Chaucer's London? What if his Alice had been an "Alys"? What if he had written in verse instead of prose, if his Alys had known what a fourteenth-century girl would have known, and his dream-vision (for so it is, really) had been populated by medieval rather than Victorian references? Well, it might have looked something like The Aventures of Alys in Wondyr Lond, a new translation of Carroll's story into Middle English.