Just in case you were thinking of taking the discipline seriously…

remember: history is made by stupid people.

[Visuals are pretty crappy, but there doesn’t seem to be a music video for it. Lyrics here.]

Speaking of history, my housemate concludes that history is, essentially, gossiping about dead people. This, she reasons, explains the fantastic propensity of medievalists to gossip about anyone and anything, living or dead. [Number of conversations I’ve had this month speculating about CS Lewis’ sex life: three.] In my observation, it seems like we Australians are *particularly* good at disciplinary gossip – which I think has less to do with our training than it has to do with having fewer chances to meet and talk to those scattered across the globe.

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6 Responses to “Just in case you were thinking of taking the discipline seriously…”

  1. kateshrewsday Says:

    Fantastic point 😀 One of my favourite people to gossip about is Henry VIII. The job those later wives would have had to do. Ugh.
    CS Lewis: I know what you mean….

  2. Annelise Says:

    “We’re marching into history and the grave”… So it seems that the more this point resonates as perfectly sensible and heroic to a person, the more likely they are to find themselves in very bizarre, miserable or epic circumstances!

    Your housemate definitely has a point 🙂 From what I’ve read by C. S. Lewis, he doesn’t leave much to speculate about? He talked about sex about half the time, both autobiographically and in general. I think I read somewhere (‘Surprised by Joy’?) that when he wrote on topic it’s not because he had an opinion to impose but because he’d personally grappled with it. Anything he left out was not important to him personally, I think it was.

    I’ve only really read his fictional and medieval work but am fascinated by the vogue in that era of creating really intricate poetic worlds that connected *absolutely everything*- colouring personal experience and values (on sexuality in htis case) with obscure medieval lit. allusions, visual incarnations of extreme Greek philosophy, biblical ideas and culture, various traditions and cosmic schemes… Each element challenging, embracing and qualifying the imagery it comes from. You get this from Tolkien to Joyce, opposite as those two were personally. Even if I can’t always agree with or relate to Lewis’ point, it’s usually interesting and insightful if you can get at what he *actually* meant to express and portray, and how that actually relates to simple reality.

    Charles Williams is another interesting case of the same sort of thing- though more extreme than C. S. Lewis, with rather a different approach to similar themes and imagery. C. S. Lewis’ Oxford group seem to be an interesting sub-branch of Modernism, particularly in the way that era has impacted Medieval Studies in the present (after the Romantic, ‘Enlightenment’ etc. periods). It would have been a great time to be reading and writing things in, but I guess the influence of all those voices is still smattered throughout the discipline. I love how deeply the different periods of history and culture interact.

  3. Regan Says:

    Ah, you have discovered the Arrogant Worms, and the song that is the source of at least two of my posting tags. I’ll have you know that they’re Canadian, and they’re AWESOME.

  4. To help remember all your kings, I’ve come up with this song… « The Naked Philologist Says:

    […] Comments Regan on Just in case you were thinking of taking the discipline seriously…Annelise on A post in praise of PowerPointAnnelise on A post in praise of PowerPointA post […]


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