Anglo-Saxon Remedy Kills Superbug

What happens when an Anglo-Saxonist and a microbiologist get together? Apparently quite a lot of useful things. New Scientist

The medieval medics might have been on to something. A modern-day recreation of this remedy seems to alleviate infections caused by the bacteria that are usually responsible for styes. The work might ultimately help create drugs for hard-to-treat skin infections.

Medieval Misconceptions

io9 has 10 Worst Misconceptions about Medieval Life You’d Get from Fantasy Books

What were inns?
“Once your neighbor opened up a fresh batch of ale, you might go to their house, pay a few pennies, and sit and drink with your fellow villagers.”

Equality in the Middle Ages?

In England, a widow could take up the trade of her dead husband — and Mortimer specifically cites tailor, armorer, and merchant as trades open to widows. Some female merchants were actually quite successful, managing international trading ventures with impressive capital.

Women engaged in criminal activity as well, including banditry. Many criminal gangs in Medieval England consisted of families, including wives with their husbands and sisters with their brothers.

Go on and read more. You know you want to.

Original Pronunciation

britain_william_shakespeare martinShakespeare’s Globe did a Shakespearean play with original pronunciation. This is a 10-minute video about it–with examples:

“It’s an interesting accent to tune your ear into.”

Very useful for linguistics and British literature.

“three kind of evidence that you look for…
observations made by people who are writing on the language at the time… Ben Jonson the dramatist tells us, ‘We actually pronounce the r…’
spellings people used at the time … at one point in Romeo and Juliet the word film is spelt p-h-i-l-o-m-e…That’s a very important indication.
rhymes and puns which don’t work in Modern English that do work in OP… ”

2/3s of Shakespeare’s sonnets have rhymes that don’t work in Modern English but do in OP.

“Actors all said that the OP altered their performance…It changed the way they perceived their characters…”

“The OP Romeo and Juliet was 10 minutes faster.”

“It’s an earthier accent.”

“can make the original meaning clearer”

“sound shift… from pronunciation of whore to o’er/ore… perfect pun”

“working our way back to Shakespeare”

Magic in ME Literature

The Uses of Magic in Middle English Literature (Kalamazoo 2015)
full name / name of organization:
Tara Williams
contact email:
[email protected]
The Uses of Magic in Middle English Literature
50th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University
May 14-17, 2015

This session provides a forum for new work being done on representations of magic in the various genres of Middle English literature. Literary texts depict magic and its uses in a variety of ways, opening up new possibilities for categorizing magic (beyond the classic natural/demonic model) and understanding its effects (both within and outside of texts).

Please send a one-page abstract and completed Participant Information Form ( to Tara Williams at [email protected] by September 15, 2014.

From UPenn

Blog Contributors: Genre and Medievalism

Call for Blog Contributors – Genre and Medievalism – Open-ended
full name / name of organization:
Tales After Tolkien Society
contact email:
[email protected]
The Tales After Tolkien Society promotes scholarship exploring any and all ways in which popular culture genres engage with the Middle Ages. What does ‘medieval’ mean in different genres – including but limited to Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Westerns, Historical, Horror, Young Adult and Children’s?

The Society aims to connect scholars and build a community of those working on medievalisms in genre literature, and to promote their work. We organize conference panels, and have two edited collections forthcoming.

We are currently seeking new contributors to our blog
Posts might take the form of book, film, or game reviews, short-form scholarship, comments on medievalist scholarship, but are not limited to these options. If it has to do with popular cultures genres and the Middle Ages, we’d like to hear about it.

Contact Helen Young at [email protected]

From UPenn

CFP: De/Constructing Monstrosity and Disability

“De/Coupling Monstrosity and Disability” — Kalamazoo 2015
full name / name of organization:
MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)
contact email:
[email protected]
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA (Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application)

It has been famously argued that there was no conception in the Middle Ages of the disabled as it would accord with modern notions of embodied difference. In looking for figures of the disabled and the deformed, scholars in medieval disability studies have often looked to monstrosity as an overlapping, if not entirely identical category. We are looking for papers that address the intersection of monstrosity and disability in provocative and searching ways. We especially encourage papers that do not simply collapse these two categories but rather look to interrogate the convergence and divergence of the monstrous and the impaired. What is the effect of reading monsters as disabled and the disabled as monstrous? How does the coupling of these two Othered figures obscure important features? How does reading them together illuminate the social and cultural processes by which difference is constructed? We invite papers from all disciplines and national traditions.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words together with a completed Participant Information Form (available here:
to session organizer Richard Godden ([email protected]) or Asa Simon Mittman ([email protected]) by September 15. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

From UPenn.

Clerical Habits & Doubtful Virtue- PD James

Dr. Chris Willerton
“Clerical Habits and Doubtful Virtue in the Detective Fiction of P.D. James”

4 people have died by end

religious conflict- priests at seminary are worried about the dissolution of the college at St. Anselm’s

disguise = power of ethos

detective stories deal with disguise
special terror in learning that a priest is the murderer

ideal detective, the minister’s son who spent 3 summers at St. Anselm’s

Church of England “national in special sense, physical symbol of religious/moral belief”
according to PD James, the church of her childhood

PD James is “breathtakingly candid” about showing the positive and negative, according to Ralph Wood.

Both clerics are partly right
There is a good argument for closing it,
but holiness and peace will devolve if social justice is the focus.

noblesse oblige, men only
Woman comes every year to lecture on poetry.
Detective admits college’s “ethos is out of step with the views of the church”

the last warden wonders if he had changed a single life
archdeacon admits class envy, wants edu focused on sociology
clerical ethos forced him into a mask
His first wife was insane.
She took an overdose. He found her unconscious and did not call the police.

Who killed the archdeacon who supported closing the college? Who killed the old servant?

4 priests are believers
One was put in prison for 3 years for child molestation.

Some working at the college are not believers.
One woman pretends to be sister, is half sister, and has sex with her brother.
Greek teacher is an unbeliever. Murderer. Writes boastful confession letter.
The student who is related to Anselm’s founder is the Greek teacher’s son. He will inherit the property if the school is closed.

Anselm papyrus was hidden by Father Martin. At the end he burns it, having concluded that it was a tool for evil, not for good.

The problem with the detective’s search for truth is that he doesn’t get the whole truth.
Father Martin burning the papyrus.
Canadian scholar believing in the existence of the papyrus.
Limits our thinking to evidence.
When thinking of the papyrus, not thinking of Christ.

Christ offers humanity the option of not listening.

No character speaks only for PD James,
but humility and faithful patience of visiting prof is similar to James.

Take away lesson: Humility.