Writing Fiction, Reviews in History, the AHA Chicago…and Norman Cavalry

Posted: November 22, 2011 in medieval history, Middle Ages, military history
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, a very wide-ranging title for a post, but that’s just how the pieces have come together tonight.  I have a long night of writing and grading ahead of me–crusades, the English army, crusades, job applications, and maybe, when I can’t see/think straight anymore, some free-writing on a couple larger blogging projects that won’t see the light of day for a while.

Hmmm…I seem to repeat words occasionally, too. Notice “tonight” and “night” following each other in quick succession?  Just saying…

Ian Mortimer, famous medieval historian who’s written extensively on the fourteenth century, argues that historians should write fiction, because doing so exposes just how little they actually know after studying a given period for years. And that, simply put, drives one to improve one’s grasp of the past, and become a better historian.  I have to say, I completely agree with him, having tried on occasion to create fictional settings of English and German medieval events, to test precisely how deficient I was in alltägliche Kentniss (the answer is always “considerably so.”).  Page 7.

Next, also courtesy of the Institute of Historical Research, their Reviews in History page.  Always worth checking out, though on this particular day I’m less than thrilled with the “History of the Scottish Parliament” series. Different strokes…

ALSO–for those of you who are graduate students or young professionals, and who will be attending the AHA convention in Chicago in January, you might want to check out the AHA’s page of events specifically for you. Last year, I went to the reception for a bit (okay) and the open forum (very interesting, and worth your time).  Definitely check out the events, especially if you’re  a first-timer. It will make the conference that much easier and more enjoyable.  I’m hoping to check out the THAT camp (The Humanities and Technology) on Thursday…

Finally, Medievalists.net has at last posted their notes from George Theotakis’ Haskins Conference talk on “The Myth of the ‘Invincibility’ of the Norman Cavalry Charge,” etc.  It includes a video interview with the man himself.  I’ve been looking forward to reading about this paper…  Seems to confirm what Matthew Bennett was talking about in my Leeds session this past July, that we really need to interrogate this “Norman super-soldier” myth (my phraseology…). Not sure my good friend Peter will appreciate that, but hey, they did lose to Heinrich VI after all.  Heh heh heh…

Ok, godspeed this night!


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