This site has not died. Medievalising has continued, links have been collected and assembled in a bookmark-folder (though the visuals of a bookmark folder don’t really work; some sort of concertina or a Möbius strip?), and stuff will be posted. Probably around about the end of this week. Much of that will be of the category


The Early Romance Studies research cluster is back in action, the week after next. The site has been updated. Doubtless, countless glitches and chronic chronological embarrassments remain. But in the main it’s now up to date.

Main current Medieval teaching = Marie de France’s Lanval and some short lyric of the 15th-16th centuries (mainly), for FREN 220. I’m rather looking forward to it–we’re only a week into classes, it must be said–as last year, that was a jolly fun course to teach; we all worked hard and (most of us?) had a good time, sentence and solaas all round. My main challenge right now is to try to remember to bring in some contemporary son et lumière, but of a non-nauseating sort.

Ça tombe bien: I’m also back to writing about Marie de France, in relation to Apollinaire’s medievalism. Which means rereading and rerereading and closely minutely rererereading the prologues to the Lais and Fables; as ever, marvellous rich fruitful concentrated bundles of joy. Something like fine late-harvest grapes left on the vine through the first frosts, gently plucked, turned into raisins, then macerated in further boozy goodness into plump juicy melt-in-the-mouth sumptuous succulence, one tiny portion at a time, each smaller than a mouthful. We’re not talking gobbling down rum-raisin ice-cream here, scrumptious though it may be.

The Marie work is weaving its way in with other summer rereadings–lengthy series and cycles, the Sandman–and reminscing over the marvellousness of François Rigolot‘s graduate seminars way back when, especially one of its discreet fils conducteurs: liminal matters, how the liminal matters, and paratextuality. As grad students, we were of course liminality incarnate. And probably pedantically bombastically full of it; ah, the giddy joys of arrogant youth. Without a thought, for another ten years, of how subtle and considered that opening of a doorway had been; of how much though went into the layers of metaphor holding beautiful objects like Rigolot courses together, and the subtle layers to such a course. Always more than simply telling you about a certain subject, or training you to perform a certain task, or aiming at the next hoop or hurdle. They were subtle creatures every one, his courses, even killer beasts like “Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal.” (And let’s not even get started on the briliance that was any Karl Uitti course. And the various delights of other courses taken. We were spoiled.)

Waxings nostalgic came back, you see, while rearranging books in my office (an exercise that always ends up meaning that more or less every single book gets to strecth its legs and move) and going through old teaching and learning materials relating to everything I’ll be teaching this year. That includes notes from graduate seminars. Some courses truly are things of beauty; Rigolot’s Renaissance Poetry course, for example, became a rather neat book: Poésie et Renaissance (Paris: Seuil “Points Essais,” 2002; I took the spring 2001 iteration of the course). And that’s the sort of Next-To-Platonic-Ideal I’d then be keeping in mind when putting together syllabi, writing rough notes for lectures, and planning the arc and pace of a course as a whole. It’s a lofty height, but better to squint at a hazy but pleasant panorama, than to see and touch something bland and banal in full view. Neither over-ambitious aspiration nor hubristic delusions of grandeur; after all, I was in the generation of Rigolot students who were also able to observe him at work on L’Erreur de la Renaissance (Champion, 2002 again). But a girl’s allowed to show good taste in her choice of models, surely. Not much to ask.

So: thinking about prologues, preludes, and those literary spaces and places that shift around and aren’t quite inside or outside. Which category includes, more broadly, some good medieval literary spaces within texts.

It would be great to teach a course entirely on prologues. Or to put together my very own book of them. Sure, there’s been plenty of writing about prologues (Genette’s probably still my own favourite, or the deeply unfashionable Bachelard). And anthologies abound. But they’re not mine, and it seemed like it would be quite an amusing little side-project to have running on the blog.

So there will be an off-on series of posts about prologues, preludes, and liminal places. Some may take the shape of commentary, some may be notes, and of these some might ramble around the place, rumbunctiously or otherwise. Much may simply be a collection of my favourite prologues; like the better class of chapbook, e- or otherwise, or (a hopefully less ladylike) hobby-scrapbooking; and as a good old-fashioned commonplace book.

some appropriate playlists on YouTube

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