(1) Flamenca, De nobilitate animi, and how translation and/as citation-and-continuation-and-commentary work. Combined with the “applied medievalism” of didacticism. May join up with the rambling effing triffid that is the Medievalist Apollinaire beast. Or might not, as Apolli-evil might just snarfle down the lot in one gulp. I’ll stop there before belching ensues and we get into Rabelais, Montaigne, And The Poetics Of Digestion.
(Alternatively, consider that a bonus dissertation / project title and topic if you’re looking for one. An oldie but a goodie. You’re welcome.)
More exactly, intelligent birds and what makes humans consider them to be intelligent, and what that human consideration of the avian says about humans and their intelligence. I’m contemplating the corvid. I have no idea what the corvid thinks about me, and I’m not sure I’d want to know. The whole lot of ’em scare me. Not as much as octopodes, but that lot are a truly deeply alien intelligence.
Aside from the whole Cthulhu business, in which corvids might or might not be involved too.
(3) Taking the waters.
Preferably without being taken by the waters. No, I’m not specifically going to work on any of the following re. being taken by water, though they do come into play re. taking the waters but probably not in the way that might first come to mind: sirens, mermaids, rusalki, selkies, Mélusine. There will definitely be no Great Old Ones or cephalopods.
Bertrand de Marcilia’s Life of Saint Enimia which I think rather needs translating to English, so I might start.
… and the bathing-business in Flamenca … and what exactly is going on with Amors.
Reasons: skin disasters over several months in the spring, fun hospital visits, the joys of French specialist skincare products, and taking a closer look at where they’re from. A good excuse for further perusal of maps and the history of spa-towns in and around France; and for thinking about taking the waters as a modern-era, scientific form of pilgrimage (with a much, much older undercurrent that also starts to resurge around then, with early Romanticism). Look at the maps: there’s a lot of overlap between watering-hole nodal points and the network of medieval pilgrimage routes (though some is for practical reasons: mountain passes). Like any medievalist I’m interested–see for example Enimia, in the Gorges du Tarn–in how some places end up on The Route, some don’t, and the route can move away from one place and towards another. See David Rollo for further details on 12th-century relic theft.
Which, by the bye, would make for an outstanding 13-episode-per-series TV dramatisation.
Montaigne’s Journal de voyage en Italie. The introduction to Querlon’s 1774 edition has connections to spas and to an important stage in their official state-sanctioned development (and place in the history of medicine and of public health) via Louis XV. Who dies in 1774, of smallpox.
There’s a fun connection back to Enimia via Dagobert, St Denis, and royal burials and their circumvention:
Louis XV died on 10 May 1774 of severe smallpox at the Palace of Versailles. He was the first Bourbon ruler whose heart was not, as tradition demanded, cut out and placed in a special coffer. The body was not embalmed for fear of contamination; instead, alcohol was poured into the coffin. The remains were also soaked in quicklime. In a surreptitious late-night ceremony attended by only one courtier, the body was taken to the Saint Denis Basilica.
(4) Satirical poetry, puns, jokes writ large, how funny stuff works (and how to talk about it without un-funny-ing it), and the meta-meta-meta business around Flamenca.
Or, why I also watch a fair amount of TV comedy, stand-up, and improv.
I don’t think I want to write any more about this for a while: I’ll either end up writing something very short, or something very long, and either way it will have taken a long time. I’m hoping it will be the former.
I’ve read far too much tedious crap about humour by witless fools to wish to burden the world (or university libraries) with more of the same. I’d rather keep quiet until I’m really sure I’ve got something worth saying to say, and then say it as pithily as possible.
So that probably means being quiet. (And maybe it means wittering on about silence and non-verbal non-dit and suchlike; then again, I’ve thought about that topic less all the time that there’s been a desperate urgent need for quiet here at UBC.)