It’s just like the Swiss to put tons of medieval manuscripts up online gratis. This is a scene from Gaston Febus’ “Livre de la chasse” in Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 169. Ole’ Phoebus was quite simply too legit to quit. Read Foissart. One does not toy with the Count of Foix. Anyhow. E-Codices project=Awesome. Other countries should copy like it’s hot.
I am not a historian (at least any more, I was a history major in college) nor a current affairs expert- I tend towards the medieval- so take this with a grain of salt, but these are perhaps the three best books I have read for situating America in today’s world. I sang Judt’s praises earlier this year, and Kissinger and Stewart write with the authority that comes from living the stories they tell. All three take the US to task at various points, yet all three also seem to still believe that the US is a fundamentally positive agent in the world, or at least has the ability to be so. There are no easy answers in any of these books, Stewart’s especially reads as tragedy, but all three authors shine in that they speak as Westerners, people we (middle class Anglo-Americans can/want to ID with) but they are able to understand cultures foreign to us. Most importantly they are open with their closures and completely at ease not understanding everything. Judt speaks of a Europe he loves and helped build, Kissinger of a relationship he cultivated and safeguarded, and Stewart of a land he tried to govern. Each is also, at heart, a profoundly good story teller. And the stories they tell matter to the future of this country. They are lessons learned from life that we would be wise to listen to.
Just thought some of you might be interested in this. This one of my professor’s blogs. He teaches medieval lit here at UVA, but blogs about intersections of literature, academics, and culture. More long form essays than little tumblr blurbs. Lots of thought provoking election year stuff at the moment. Y’all should check it out.
Here is the ‘follow on Tumblr’ link
Two of the best covers ever. Modernists just don’t get stuff this good. More reasons to stick with pre-1800 stuff and avoid all that Post-Interesting stuff. (Taken with Instagram)
Fredson Bowers essentially founded the UVA English Dept. As part of our orientation I was part of a group who gave a talk on Bowers scholarship and role in the dept. Below is my section as pertains to why I am at UVA. Thought it might be interesting to like 3 people.
Fredson Bowers’ legacy continues today. Were it not for Bowers I doubt I would be here. Bowers’ legacy lies not so much in his publications per se but in the discourse he initiated, specifically at UVA. Prior to Bowers’ Principles of Bibliographic Description the study of bibliography existed as the handmaiden of literature. Bower’s choice to privilege the physical book as an object as worthy of study, as more than simply a container for an author’s text, rubbed some the wrong way. Moreover his conception of bibliography as a rigorous discursive field of categories and terms felt too ‘scientific’ for many literary scholars. Perhaps Bowers was a decade early. By the late 50s and early 60s Theory with a capital T oozed out of Paris and into every niche of the academy, Theory deeply concerned with structures and achieves, Theory that was pervasively conditioned, as our own Bruce Holsinger has shown, by a medievalism rooted in bibliography. And yet, simple recapitulating his influence in the field of bibliography fails to do Bowers justice. Had Bowers formidable intellect been any less accommodating to divergent views, had he been any less stringent in his responses to those same critics, Bowers legacy would be akin to any number of other great critics. Bowers did run from his critics. He invited them into his home: his campus and his journal. Today that is his greatest gift to us. He both initiated a defining discourse and insured that the critical conversations took place here. He embedded bibliography into the fabric of the university by ensuring UVA became a place where critics of all stripes could and would flourish. To close briefly: I remember the feeling the first time I ‘got’ a book in the Bowers-ian sense. It changed the course of my life. It happened under the tutelage of Ralph Hanna, himself deeply influenced by Fredson Bowers and then three years later when it came time to make my PhD decision Ralph was the one urging me towards UVA because, he said, they will respect what you do. For me, for all of us, Bowers’ legacy is the chance to continue his conversation in his house, under his house rules. The rules are simple: Be excellent. Be interesting. Don’t hide. We hope that we live up to his standards, sartorial included.
The McGregor Room @ Alderman Library (Taken with Instagram)
Part of our living room. The other side is also a book shelf. (Taken with Instagram)
David Foster Wallace, ‘This is Water,’ 2005 Commencement Address at Kenyon College
Probably been posted over and over, but the best 23 minutes of listening you might ever do. And very apropos to a far more ‘plugged in’ now than 2005. We now have the power to project our ‘skull sized kingdom’ across digital ether.
Listen to more DFW HERE
It is hard to ‘review’ George Eliot’s Middlemarch. At nearly 800 pages it cannot really be compressed or distilled into easy parts. In fact, it’s great strength is that it is a profoundly inconvenient novel to modern readers. It took me a full 450 pages to see how the two basic halves of her story- town and country- would come together in any fashion other than proximity. That is not to say the book wanders or dithers (as I am prone to think most Dicken’s novels do), rather it takes time to consider- vis-a-vis a plethora of memorable characters- the full sweep of parochial England poised on the edge of The Reform Bill. Moreover, Eliot’s prose is adroitly self-conscious: she is ironic with out being bitter or compromising a basic sympathy towards humanity. She affords her self the time and space to both consider the ramifications of human choice on other humans but also gently check, glosses, and reproofs her characters. I could go on, and perhaps later will, but really it is hard to say anything other than it is the quintessential Victorian Novel.
(Mary Garth and Fred Vincy)
“No, indeed, father. I don’t love him because he is a fine match.”
“What for, then?”
“Oh, dear, because I have always loved him. I should never like scolding any one else so well; and that is a point to be thought of in a husband.”
-George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch. LXXXVI
Mary and Caleb Garth discussing Fred Vincy. George Eliot you are the best. The very best.
-Will Ladislaw, the original Hipster. From George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Ladislaw and Werther would make a helluva pair. And yes. How perfect is Rufus Sewell as Ladislaw. I feel like the Oxford dude contingent is fully 63% Ladislaw. (The remainder is 17% Tertius Lydgate, 10% Causubon, 5% Sir James Chettam, 4% Fred Vincy, and 1% Mr. Brooke)
Goodbye Maurice….one of the first books I remember reading myself.
— George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 15. W/r/t Tertius Lydgate but applicable to most men in their mid-twenties…aka the oldest 1% on tumblr
Anonymous asked: You are the reason people have fantasies about librarians while spending inordinate amounts of time in the stacks.
If a person is stuck in the stacks fantasizing about librarians, I’m assuming it’s because they can’t find their book and need help real...
It takes an ocean not to break.
“Poetry must resemble prose, and both must accept the vocabulary of their time.”— William Butler Yeats on modern poetry in a rare 1936 BBC recording.