gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,


I'm the host of Carnivalesque this month. I'm a few hours later in US terms and a lot later if I use my own clock. Sorry about that! (also sorry about typos - the phone rang and I hit send - and that's my only excuse!)

This was a busy month in our online world. As well as the regular posts by history bloggers, there was a Controversy. This is just as well, because my writing is dull as ditchwater today due to me trying to do too many things at once and one of those 'too many' being tax.

The Controversy

Let's start at the very beginning, which is at Medieval News, a blog site specialising in news about things Medieval and related. Blogenspiel and xoom pointed out that posts were often unattributed, but were direct quotes and raised this as a major concern (check the comments on both posts for answer to the concerns that were raised and the follow-up post on Blogenspiel for answers to those answers). The common term for this kind of thing is 'plagiarism.' There was an additional complication, which was that the News site had been very handy as a reference for students. Inside Higher Education has a good summary, so I won't got into it in vast detail here. The important thing to note is that the reactions to MN's practice was not just a murmur from the back benches, but came from some of the most respected Medievalists active in blogland. Check the comments for corrections and updates, because I rather suspect this is one of those subjects where corrections and updates will occur.

The fun stuff

Karl Steel posting on In the Middle manages to remember to give a spoiler alert before he gives the ending of Beves of Hamtoun. This is good. Praying for horses is even better, especially on Melbourne Cup Day if one is Australian and comes from Melbourne.

Eileen Joy, also posting on In the Middle makes some astute observations on historicism.

Jonathan Jarrett in A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe talks about a cool bit of technology.and on issues of climate.

How the Western beautifully reflects the historic settlement pattern of Iceland. This makes me realise I haven’t read a single Western set in Iceland. Not one. Obviously, though, it's only a matter of time. It's also only a matter of time before the Great Novel about Clotilda and Clovis, too. It'll maybe cover the fictionalised end of history rather than the reality of events, but that's what novels do.

The tools of the researcher

I really, really love the small series of posts on what the documents that scholars work with actually look like and how they are handled. I find myself very grateful that most of my work on manuscripts (a long, long time ago) mainly involved beautiful hands. If you want to know what else a knowledge of ancient handwriting can do for you, then scoring points at meetings has to be considered.

What of the scholars who make work available to the rest of us? There's a tribute post on Muhlberger's World History, and it's illustrated with a picture of Hippolytus being martyred, which is your gore and grue for this season. Your bad pun for this Carnivalesque is me wondering if Hippolytus had been killed by a dog rather than a horse, would we have had to rename him 'Caninlytus.'

There's also a rather cool post by Bavardess on how to interpret a particular piece of visual evidence, especially when the subject is Richard II and therefore immensely politicised.

Got Medieval always has something fun. This month is has more than just one or two things and it deserves its own paragraph. Let's start with Valentine's Day and add his ideas on thought balloons. That's the beginning and the end – easy enough to check all the posts in between if you're fond of wry comments and charming illustrations.

Women's History Month

March isn't Women's History Month for everyone, but it makes a great heading for posts about women that appeared about then. If you don't like the heading (or any of my headings) just copy and paste this whole post into a word-processing document and write your own. Or make rude comments, below. Best of all, you could ignore the headings entirely and go straight to the amazingly cool articles linked in this paragraph. There's one by Spinning Clio on "Why I like Medieval women?" to get you started. Then you could try a guest post on my blog, by Jenny Blackford, on how she brings her historical training into her fiction writing. There's a very thoughtful post on Magistra et mater on abduction and rape (one of a whole series of thoughtful posts – make sure you allow enough time to explore!)

Sober and Serious

JJ Cohen at In the Middle talks about the Jews of York (and incidentally gives me the chapter and verse I was lazily seeking for something entirely different – thank you!).

And, finally, an obituary.
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