Each Thursday, I’ll be stringing together some of the disconnected thoughts I’ve had about the subject of my dissertation in a feature I call “Thesis Thursday“. This week has two Thursdays, as last week I took a bye, so enjoy the first 1 ” Thesis Tuesday”:

Not pictured: the filthy scarecrow who waves his broomstick arms and does a parody of each unconscious thing you do.

It occurs to me that my last post in this series managed to assemble an ersatz Oz Squad,2 which leaves either me or Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Dorothy spot, and I’m not sure which of us it is. If I might be allowed an additional rhetorical device as a transparent attempt to avoid that troubling question,3 Geoffrey and I are going to slip out the back while the Wizard is speechifying and skip over to a movie playing across the street.
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  1. And hopefully last. []
  2. With the robot from Lost in Space as the substitute Tin Man, Patton’s dog William the Conqueror the Toto, the scarecrow from They Might Be Giants’ “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go” the Scarecrow, and… uh, Bert Lahr the Cowardly Lion. []
  3. The way I burn through these metaphors each week, there soon might not be any left. Alert Greenpeace.†
    †On second thought, don’t alert Greenpeace. The last thing I need is a bunch of gung ho do-gooders boarding the nuclear submarine of my brain.††
    †† Ooops. There goes another metaphor, so casually discarded. There’s a crying Native American ††† standing outside my window now, and it’s totally freaking me out.
    ††† He’s sad because unlike we wasteful colonial bloggers, Native American bloggers used all the parts of the metaphor, not just the–OK, I’ll stop now before there’s a † shortage, too. []

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Lies, slander and slanderous lies!

It is I, the great Reynard! If you did not realize this, perhaps you could tear your eyes away from the recently posted pictures of naked men and spare a glance at the bylines at the top of the posts on this pathetic excuse for a blog?

I have stolen the admin password from your precious little funny man–or, I should say, I have liberated the little orphan boy that your precious little funny man keeps bound and gagged to sate his unholy lusts, and the poor, much-abused scamp gave me the password in gratitude for my noble service. No matter. I do not come here today to dwell on the disgusting extent of your blogger’s fleshly appetites, but rather to defend my good name from the libidinous, lascivious, prurient, and incontinent one.*

I have included this recent snapshot of me doing the Lord's work. This is how a true fox of the cloth comports himself. Forget you ever heard the blogger's lies.


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  1. * By the way, † I do not mean ‘incontinent’ as a synonym for the other three words, though I understand why you might think that, for but three words could hardly suffice to cover the extent of his disgusting proclivities. But no, he is also incontinent, this blogger of yours. He soils himself day and night.  
    † And, if you have not already concluded as much, know that I have also hacked the footnote password from your blogger, and am in control here as well, yea, even in the footnoted-footnotes. ‡  
    ‡ So powerful is the great Reynard, he may even footnote the footnoted-footnotes! Queck before me. []

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That Darn Fox (Mmm… Marginalia #104)

I have detailed the crimes of Reynard the Fox before, though in truth I have barely scratched the surface of his perfidity, for it is manifest and myriad. Alas, though Reynard’s murderous psychopathy wacky hijinks make frequent appearances in the work of medieval marginal illuminators, their favorite of his crimes to depict was also the most mundane: running with a stolen bird clenched in his teeth, often with an angry farmer’s wife brandishing a distaff in a futile gesture. Like so:


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Thank You, Guardian Online… I think

While I fuss over this week’s Thesis Thursday* installment, why not drop on by the Guardian.co.uk? I usually don’t recommend doing so, but this morning they seem so much more reasonable and credible to me. I wonder why…

Oh yeah, I know why. Computer: enhance and zoom.
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  1. * My increasingly poorly named recurring feature. Don’t worry. I’ll backdate it like a pro. []

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Needs More Naked (Mmm… Marginalia #103)

I know I probably come off like some sort of pervazoid,* what with all the naked snail-riding,** tree-nesting genitalia, and the rest of the medieval porn lying around the place.*** But it’s hardly my fault. I start an innocent line of research, and there it is, staring me in the face. Like tonight, I was working on a post about medieval and modern framing conventions.**** In need of a fresh image of a blemmyae, I started poking around in the library catalogs, until I stumbled across this:

Oh, sure, it’s just a random naked dude cold chilling in the upper margin. Hardly worth comment, really. I’ve featured far worse than that over the years. It’s just I wasn’t really expecting to find him in the margins of a book described by the Yale Press thus:

Produced for a nun at the turn of the fourteenth century, […the Rothschild Canticles] served as an aid to mystical devotions in which images played as central a role as the written word. Visionary depictions of Paradise, the Song of Songs, the Virgin Mary, the Trinity, and hundreds of other subjects based on texts ranging from the Bible to the Lives of the Desert Fathers together form a devotional program that transports the reader toward contemplative union with God.

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  1. * My official pervazoid ranking is a rather unimpressive Number 57–hardly in the same class as the esteemed Flopper Mr. Dan McCoy, Pervazoid Number 1. []
  2. ** Not to be confused with naked-snail riding. []
  3. *** Even in the prayer books! []
  4. **** Less boring than it sounds. []

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Newt Gingrich: History’s Greatest Team

You’ve got to admire the Romney folks for putting out that memo listing the various historical figures that Newt Gingrich has compared himself to over the years. It’s a pretty nifty dig at an opponent, even if it didn’t net Mitt a win in South Carolina.

Now, I know Newt and I have had words before about his historical comparisons, but I’m prepared to let bygones be bygones. Both he and I are Georgians, after all, and when I was but a wee lad I even lived in his district, so you could say we go way back. I’m prepared to take him at his word that these really are the people he sees himself in. [click to continue…]

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Is this link dated?

…or is it eleven months avant-garde?*

Check out “Traveling Group Of Medieval Mummers Is America’s Top Pick For Holiday Entertainment” at the Onion News Network and let me know.

If I don’t miss my guess, the screenshot there is a contemporary artist’s representation of the Bodleian Alexander MS I use so often in my Mmm… Marginalia thing.** Small world.

[UPDATE BELOW!]
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  1. * Let’s say it’s the latter. Aren’t I nice, the way I look out for you guys? []
  2. ** I like to think of this particular page’s image as having been taken from the opening credits of the Medieval Muppet Show. []

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I Do Believe in Spooks (Thesis Thursday #6)


As a great man dressed in a mediocre lion costume1 once said, “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do I do I do I do I do believe in spooks”, words I bring up because the subject for today is ghosts–though mostly metaphorical ones *knock wood* *salt-over-shoulder*.2
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  1. Or, if you’d prefer, a mediocre man in an iconic lion costume featured in an amazing film. I’m not going to force you to validate to my personal obsession with Bert Lahr just to get your permission to quote him. []
  2. *suspicious glance behind shoulder that doesn’t manage to catch the filthy scarecrow waving its broomstick arms and doing a parody of each unconscious thing you do* []

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Twitter never ceases to amaze. Only a week after TV’s LeVar Burton introduced me to the world of whimsy and wonder you can find at your local library in your kitchen when TV’s LeVar Burton is crashing at your place, my Twitter stream brings word that I’m not the only person on the net obsessed with medieval marginal potty humor.* Behold, courtesy of Kate Beaton’s stream:**

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  1. * And making snarky comments at the same. []
  2. ** Follow her as beatonna@Twitter. []

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Additional Got Medievalist May Be Found Elsewhere

Poor-quality teaser scan of Medieval Warfare I.3, courtesy of yours truly.

Academic self-promotion is the latest subject to tumble out of the ivory tower and into the zeitgeist.* Blame the MLA for that, and for this post. But I’ve have been up to things elsewhere, even during this blog’s long fallow 2011, things some of you might find interesting.
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  1. * The geist that zeits about academia, anyway. []

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