And so the old year draws to a close, even as this site enjoys an influx of new readers. Welcome! Here are a few “best of” links to give you a sense of what this blog is about.
Not surprisingly, a hectic round of book promotion meant that 2007 was, for me, the Year of Charlemagne. Whether or not you’ve read Becoming Charlemagne, you can still enjoy my translation of “The Tale of Charlemagne and Ralph the Collier”; ponder what Charlemagne would have thought of the European Union; discover a country song about the Frankish king; and join us as we debunk, possibly, the best thing Charlemagne never said.
(Despite my best intentions, no one heard my pleas to turn Becoming Charlemagne into a CGI-festooned Sci-Fi Channel miniseries. We do live in barbaric times.)
Here are some mini-essays about modern medievalists whom I think you’ll be glad to have met: Icelandic translator Bernard Scudder, Belgian historian and national hero Henri Pirenne, and American polymath Henry Adams.
In a frenzy of febrile Latinity, I translated some poetry by Theodulf, the ninth-century bishop of Orleans. Check out the old Visigoth’s thoughts on a stolen horse, a child’s dream, a self-defeating fox, and blessed libations; then consider Theodulf’s legacy of haughty medieval snark.
Here in Washington, I found another corner of ninth-century Europe in the garden at the National Cathedral, while Chaucer’s “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” came to life on my neighborhood sidewalks.
This fall, all the cool kids weighed in on Beowulf. Despite never having been especially cool, I wrote about the movie as the legacy of postwar Anglo-Saxonists and tagged it as perfect for eleven-year-old boys.
Now and again, I returned to my native New Jersey. I celebrated the anniversary of the humble Commodore 64, told you a story about the other Twin Towers, and explained how I challenged James Joyce for the hand of a girl. (No, really, I did.)
Thank you, all of you, for visiting this site. The occasional medieval pun or dalliance with a toy trebuchet notwithstanding, I’ve tried to write blog-posts that repay your effort and time; in return, you’ve given me generous links, lively comments, and readership stats that continue to increase. I chose the name of this blog hastily, not knowing how the site would fare or whether people would really want to read it—but if the year that’s passing is any indication of the year that’s to come, I may need to reconsider that question mark.