Thus are the Vikings described by an Irish monk in the 800s, in a short marginal poem in the St Gall Priscian, where he expresses his relief at the stormy seas keeping the long ships at home in Denmark:

The wind is fierce tonight / it tosses the sea’s white mane/ I do not fear the coursing of a quiet sea/ by the fierce warriors of Lochlann.

Is acher in gaíth innocht,
fu·fúasna fairggae findḟolt:
ni·ágor réimm mora minn
dond láechraid lainn úa Lothlind.

(Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae known as ‘The St. Gall Priscian, St Gall Stiftsbibliothek MS 904)

Viking shipI went to the British Museum’s Vikings : life and legend exhbition very early last Sunday; the Saharan storms were yet to hit London, so I was confident that the marauders so feared by the anonymous monk would be present. In addition to a lifelong fascination with the Vikings, and with their mythology in particular, I was really looking forward to seeing this exhibition in the new wing of the British Museum. Continue Reading »

Effie GrayYesterday morning, after waiting for what feels like centuries, I attended a preview screening of Effie Gray, at the Barbican Centre. The screening was the first part of a day-long symposium, Effie Gray: innocence, betrayal, and the strivings of the soul, with the film’s producer Donald Rosenfeld and co-producer Andreas Roald in attendance. The symposium took the form of four papers on the psychological themes of the film. More information on the papers and speakers is available here.
But we were only there to see the film. Continue Reading »

Marie Antoinette Banner

Have you heard the one about the hairdresser who died twice? No? Mesdames, monsieurs, may I introduce Léonard Autié? Hairdresser to Queen Marie Antoinette, and so much more. As the new year began, I was provided with a free e-copy of a book all about M. Autié’s very dramatic life, by the author, via France Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review. Will Bashor published the non-fiction work Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, And The Revolution on 16 October 2013, the 220th anniversary of Marie Antoinette’s execution by guillotine. Continue Reading »

The cover of “Marie-Antoinette’s Head” by Will Bashor (image via France Book Tours)

Tomorrow begins the virtual book tour of Will Bashor’s Marie-Antoinette’s head : the royal hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution (Lyons Press, 2013). The book was published on 16 October 2013, the 220th anniversary of Marie-Antoinette’s execution by the National Razor. Continue Reading »

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Victorian Librarian:

This looks like a wonderful employment and research opportunity for post-docs with good knowledge of Latin and hagiography!

Originally posted on FMRSI:

Deadline: 19 November 2013

View original 313 more words

On November 23 I gave a paper at the Medieval Dress and Textiles Society Autumn meeting. The theme was dressing and undressing, so I decided to speak about the ambiguous character of Nicolette in the equally ambiguous Aucassin et Nicolette, a late 12th century/early 13th century chantefable by an anonymous author. I consider Nicolette to be a perfect example of Eddie Izzard’s definition of the “action transvestite”, part of his Dressed to Skill show in 1998 – see the clip here. My paper goes through the story highlighting Nicolette’s acts of dressing and undressing, and her various transformations. Is she Christian or Saracen, female or male, blonde or brunette, white-skinned or dark-skinned, human or animal, mortal or supernatural? What does she choose to be in the end?

There is so much in this story, and my paper is very clearly only the first stage of research into everything that it contains. Watch this space! You can read the paper here, and I’d be very interested in your feedback.


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