Random news you can use: Iraqi WMDs, Caravaggio, American Digger, Edward II…
I haven’t done a “random news” post in a while, so here’s a round up some items that have caught my eye in the last few days. Some are links originally posted by friends on Facebook, others are more random.
First–I grew up reading H. E. Marshall’s An Island Story and An Empire Story, and was pleasantly surprised to run across this version she did of Guy of Warwick (I gave a paper on aspects of the story over the weekend, so I have the tale very much on the brain). Great fun, and worth reading. See the TEAMS edition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick for more information on the tale itself and a good edition of the text by a leading scholar on the subject.
In more serious vein, apparently the chap responsible for concocting the story about WMDs in Iraq is coming out and “telling all.” Or just did, the other night, on national British TV. Sort-of boggles the mind, really, but on the other hand I guess this kind of…crap…has been going on for ages. Not much else to say, really.
Random historical news: Renaissance painter Caravaggio was murdered by the Knights of St. John, according to a new study by Professor Vincenzo Pacelli of the University of Naples. Not everyone is buying the theory, but it’s pretty intriguing, and rests on some suggestive evidence. A couple weeks ago, Michael White posted a rumination the origins of Parliament in The Guardian. Rather a nifty summary, and I appreciated especially the way he emphasized how easily English political institutions could have developed differently. Oh, and did you know that Handel wrote an opera on Richard the Lionheart? Performed in 1727; apparently it has to be seen to be believed, and it WAS seen–front and center in the London Handel Festival. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get the DVD any time soon…
The University of Toronto Libraries’ page RPO (Representative Poetry Online) might make a good teaching tool. Check it out; in this case, their edition of Gawain and the Green Knight. Looks quite good, and especially useful for students.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any links to the NYT’s Civil War blog, but there was an interesting feature today on suicide in the Confederate Army, by SUNY Binghamton professor Diane Miller Sommerville.
Oh, and here’s a situation/issue of which I’d been ignorant: the controversial exploitation of archaeology by Spike TV’s “American Digger.” Interesting column up on John R. Roby’s Digs & Docs blog, with links to articles on the widespread opposition to the program and the professional and ethical issues involved in privatized, exploitative, commercial archaeological digging (or pilfering is a better word) of historical sites, mostly focused around the controversial TV program.
Finally, Kathryn Warner continues to write fascinating entries in her Edward II blog. Highly recommended–also her recent 2011 article in the English Historical Review, which is proving very helpful to chapters 2 and 3 of my dissertation. Many of the elite military community in East Anglia had rather close ties with the earl of Kent, and parsing the effects of his failed “plot” on allegiances, affinities, and retinues is a complicated affair.