(related: “about the blogueuse”)

Critical fox is critical.

This began as a metasite, then became a mote in the ever-expanding medieval metaverse; being now more motile in interaction with other social media. Welcome to:
Meanderings medieval and medievalist.
Musings on the Medievalism of Everyday Life and its virtual metaversification; with commentary, illuminations, decoration, and marginalia.
A comfortable space for those ruminations that need room to roam; cogitations requiring cool quiet calm; and leisurely loafing.

In short: otium liberale cum dignitate.

And, at greater length, …

Dubious delights, with apologies

Extra-curricular para-research, from tangential online meanderings, through lateral thinking.

Parenthetical procrastination.

Alliterative analogical excesses and other florid bomphiologic macrologia.

The odd bit of commentary and odd comment.

Puns, often of a juvenile, facetious, or otherwise groan-worthy sort. 1

Applied comparativism.

Topical commentary

On medieval things.

About and around the metaverse, especially its medieval and medievalist areas.

Medievalism(s), post-medieval readings of the medieval, and the medieval’s subsequent reception-history.

Readings of the current contemporary world in a medievalist way/sense; as such, this is a different sort of “Medievalism and the Modernist Temper”, being in the opposite direction to some medievalisms (e.g. current/21st-century-ist readings of The Medieval, etc.), and usually contrary to neo-medievalism (especially in the wake of the brilliant Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror). Our common medievalism transcends such differences as we’re all kith and kin, in an extended family network that’s grown up over the last century or so out of Romance philology and Annales School sciences humaines; via “medieval studies” and The New Medievalism; and with confluences and convergences from our immediate world: postcolonial, feminist, queer, human/~e and posthuman/~ist, ecocritical, and with urgent needs for intersectional social justice.

Readings of everything and anything as though it were medieval literature and/or “fiction.”

An explanation of sorts

Estier dichas: applied and comparative medievalisms.

The former is often medieval and usually medievalist. Sometimes both at once.

The latter is meta-medieval (sometimes the former may be too) in bearing the same relation to “the medieval” as does metaphysics to physics–what lies beyond and after the medieval—and as does meta-ethics to ethics—in considering the nature and meaning of “the medieval.” And it’s meta-meta-medieval in that it operates the same function on medievalism, itself already in meta-relation to the medieval (depending on the kind of medievalism in question). Hence meta-meta-medieval.

Some mathematician & scientist friends and I came up with the name late one night in a bar in 2003. This was just after I’d built my first website, The Rose of the Romance, so it was too late to name that but not too early to start thinking about the next one and it would be a reasonable reconstructive bet that we were probably talking about groanworthy puns and geek jokes. “Meta-meta-medieval” all made lots more sense at the time in terms of differential calculus and second-order derivatives, but it was late, we were drunk, and I have long since lost the paper napkins with all the diagrams. They had already vanished the next day, but the word remained. Especially the hyphens; consider them the ghostly traces of long-lost drunken paper napkins. Sic transit gloria mundi.

What goes around comes around: the spirit of happy cooperative community, depicted in a fair and even-handed moment of balanced and harmonious sharing.

On wheels, crushing, friction, and burning

Meta-meta-medieval by Dr Juliet O’Brien is copylefted under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. As is standard online practice, the author retains full rights to her intellectual works, with the sole limitation of free fair use.

Free use: Please do feel free to circulate and cite (quotation, footnote, etc. of the form Juliet O’Brien. “Post  title.” Date of post: URL). I am happy if my work is helpful and if it and I can thereby contribute to an academic culture that lives, breathes, and interacts in free movement.

Fair use: The usual exceptions apply for others’ archiving, research, scholarly work, teaching, commentary, criticism, parody, pastiche, satire, and other clowning around and piss-taking. Anything on this site may be used as a base and as materials for others’ work: it may be refashioned and otherwise reworked, manipulated, sampled, remixed, and used as material for transformed and transformative new works of “derivative ingenuity” (as opposed to plain non-ingenious derivation): transgression and genius should be encouraged and embraced by all of us (but, as with free use, citing the original and distinguishing your new creation from it).

Free and fair non-abuse: please do not appropriate my work, reproduce it for commercial profit, resell it, or otherwise steal it.

Property is theft: but a proprietorial-authoritarian system can be resisted by an anarcho-collectivism based on sharing, so that movement can be made towards a harmonious new world order of ecosystem responsibility, individual freedom, and social justice.

If you are reading Meta-meta-medieval and participating (be that passively or actively) in virtual life you are an integral member of the Web 2.0-3.0-4.0-5.0-∞. revolutionary network and a signatory to its social contract.

If you steal from it, you make that stolen good yours: theft is property.

While one of the principal revolutionary arms is subversion, the same is true of the counter-revolution: a thief commits a counter-revolutionary act supporting, perpetuating, and strengthening The Man. In thus betraying The Cause, a thief is also a traitor and, through their crime against society, an outlaw deserving of the traditional civil death. (Not an outlaw with positive associations like Robin Hood: they’re on our side.)

Such acts plumb the depths of unethical behaviour. 2

redheadBeing a Natural Born Redhead, the obrienatrix carries the usual concomitant health and safety warnings about being highly flammable. In addition, she has friends in the re-enactment business. She knows men with cudgels. Women martial artists. Experts in heavy medieval and renaissance weaponry. And keepers of bloodhounds.

Just don’t do it; instead, please be nice, and back up my belief in the fundamental goodness of human beings.

☞ see also: rules of engagement


Image at the top of this page, also used and abused as my online “marginal detail is marginal” avatar:
c/o literatuurgeschiedenis.nl via  Wikipedia
Book of Hours, Master of Catherine of Cleves, Lieven van Lathem (illuminators); Utrecht, c. 1460. Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum (MMW), Den Haag: Ms. 10 F 50, fol. 6r.


Second foxy image on this page:
Festal Missal, Garnerus de Morolio (scribe), Petrus de Raimbaucourt (illuminator); Amiens: c. 1323. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag: Ms. KB 78 D 40, Fol. 33rb: margin. First encountered in 2008 via
Got Medieval and their fine analysis, Mmm… Marginalia: Wheel of Reynard.

Site header rose image:
original pre-doctored rose from
photo-i; doctoring by the Obrienatrix for her very first (meta)site, The Rose of the Romance (Princeton University, 2003). Carefully hand-crafted using open source software (BBEdit and KompoZer) and Photoshop.

  1. Once upon a time I indulged in lists and taxonomies. It didn’t take them long to annoy me. It’s probably a stage. It’s not that I don’t like ontology: I love sets, matrices, mappings, flowy confluent movement, nodes and networks; but I have no love for linear ordered hierarchies and genealogies. This next section has therefore been relegated to the Naughty Corner, where it will remain to remind me to try not to be foolish.
    • The categorising, arranging and re-arranging, and cross-referencing of relevant things: all things being of relevance, the interesting questions arise on degree and sort
    • NEW AND IMPROVED: “all things are fuzzy” because I tired of categorisation the Joys of Tags: movement away from the aforementioned delights of classification and towards a non-merely-taxonomic ontology; based on conceptual clusters; resulting in a mish-mash of good old-fashioned Aristotelian Substance/Essence, Relation, and Affection.
    Comment: **** that for a load of affected officious **** and consider this a first example of official self-editing commentary. I’ve also got rid of capitals elsewhere because they annoy me. I have, however, grown to enjoy playing a fun game of Tag. 
  2. A wheel of fortune featuring foxes is the closest I’d get to having any truck with property and theft. One solitary wheel, put to other troqu-ing use in appropriate “getting medieval on …” manner. 

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