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Hello? World?

18 October, 2007

Hello? World?

Um … hi. So, in the past week and a half, I have written, given, and graded 70 midterms, written a postdoc app, and started the late book review. Also, I apparently miscounted the days till going to fabulous European capital to see LDW. It’s 30 days as of today. Hmph. On the other hand, that still means I have time to read his MS. After the book reviews.

In other news, my nose is still above water, but I’ve been missing out on lots of blog stuff. I just noticed that Mike Drout has been posting all kinds of cool stuff on Beowulf, which I need to read if I’m going to teach it next semester. Speaking of which, I need to think about a book order. I’m thinking Collins for the main text (LA and EM is the course), but does anyone have a better choice? LDW mentioned that a book by Olsen (Lynette?) might be decent … OH!!! and how much does it say that today in class when we were talking about an excerpt from the Rig Veda, Indra killing the dragon, and a student compared it to part of Genesis, all I could think of was, um … Beowulf?

Let’s see … I don’t have a volunteer for the next Ancient/Medieval Carnivalesque in November, and am thinking I haven’t done one in a couple of years, so I might do it myself if no one minds …

In the meanwhile, I’ve got to read a ton of a Greek historian writing about Rome about wars with the guy with the elephants for Friday, write the review of a ginormous book which can only be glowing, and a review of different book by reasonably famous types, and write an application for the Dream Job. Now I just have to worry whether to use letterhead for my cover letter.

ETA: apologies to all for the plethora of misplaced and dangling modifiers. I blame two things: drive-by blogging and a drink called a pear blossom.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 October, 2007 1:59 am

    Matthew Innes has a new book out from Routledge. Haven’t seen it but might be interesting…

  2. 18 October, 2007 2:37 am

    Oh — you mean as a textbook! Thanks! I shall have to check it out and also see whether it’s affordable. It’s a good thing I generally like his stuff, and that there is sometimes just enough to make me want to quibble, because honestly, the man’s productivity sometimes makes me want to slit my wrists as a total loser …

  3. 18 October, 2007 3:11 am

    A job application is a professional communication: using letterhead is appropriate. I don’t just say that because leaving a job is as much a part of a professional activity as entering it, but because — in all my years reading applicant files — I’ve never seen an applicant employed in a full-time position who didn’t use letterhead to apply to other jobs.

  4. 18 October, 2007 2:49 pm

    Okay, so here’s a question: would you describe the Collins as engaging, or dense, or somewhere in between? (I just checked out the TOC on Amazon.) I’m teaching EMA next quarter, and I’ll have 10 weeks. I’d been thinking I’d just use the first volume of Rosenwein’s textbook with a fair amount of supplementary stuff – I really like Rosenwein’s book, lots of pretty pictures!, but it is very much a medieval survey textbook, with all the pluses and minuses that go along with that. (I like it partly because it’s very social/cultural oriented.) It does a good job of treating Byzantium and Islam along with the west, which I like (Collins seems to have less of that), but it’s very big picture, which can be good and can be bad. The other plus to using it, of course, is that I can then follow up with the second half of the same book in the following quarter when I do late MA. (There isn’t a late MA equivalent to Collins that I’m aware of that I like for teaching.)So my concern is a little bit that Rosenwein is too big picture and Collins is too detailed. What do you think? (I’m almost inclined to use Rosenwein for the students and Collins for me, since I’ve never taught EMA on its own before and while I know the big pic I don’t know all the details of the emperor stuff.)

  5. 18 October, 2007 3:28 pm

    I need to look at Collins again. I think last time I taught the entire MA i used Bachman, and the students didn’t like it. Collins is Dv’s recommendation. I’ve just ordered the Innes as a review copy, but it looks like there’s nothing on Byzantium or Islam, so that may make it a bad choice.

  6. 18 October, 2007 4:32 pm

    Collins is REALLY dense. I remember using it in an undergraduate upper-division course (not THAT long ago…) and thinking that I was glad I’d read other medieval stuff before. Have you thought about using Tierney too? Not specifically on the Early Middle Ages but a good, political overview of the period, I think.

  7. 18 October, 2007 7:52 pm

    Hell, I’m even thinking about Hollister! I think I may actually have used Peters last time, though. My students don’t do dense very well …

  8. 19 October, 2007 6:06 am

    Thank you, Matt (Matthew?)! I kind of suspected that about Collins – it looks very much like the equivalent book for the late Middle Ages (Waley and Denley). I glanced over at the Innes book on Amazon, and it looks cool, but I’d like to go past 900 in my course, so it stops a little too soon. I think I’ll stick with Rosenwein for the moment (if I ever teach this again I might get more creative but who knows if that will happen??).

  9. 19 October, 2007 10:00 am

    I’ve not yet read Matthew’s new book but one of my students says she has and that it’s good stuff. She is very sharp and knowledgeable already, so I don’t know how useful it would be for starters, but as a book for getting a sense of what drives the period and holds it together, I think it is coming out well.On the other hand, as with most of the new textbooks that people have written to try and replace Collins (Rosenwein, Innes, the Holmes Short Oxford History collaborative volume), there’s almost no narrative. So when they get absolutely lost for facts or what happened when or who someone was, you still need Collins in the library for them to check in. So I fear you need both, unless you can genuinely get away with an almost exclusively thematic course.The fact that so many high-level academics look down on narrative history annoys me. Yes, it’s not what we do or very high-powered. Yes, it’s subject to continual revision pressures, and yes, it over-simplifies. But if no-one does it, where are people coming to the period for the first time going to get hold of the framework of historical change? Or, well, anything? It’s important…

  10. 19 October, 2007 10:24 pm

    Would a short narrative that ends about 650 help? If it was free? that price you could use another book to carry on the narrative, or develop a theme.

  11. 19 October, 2007 10:25 pm

    Sorry, here’s a tinyURL:

  12. 20 October, 2007 12:09 am

    Steve, on a day that has gone from drab to catastrophic, you are my hero! Will check these out. Thanks 😉

  13. 22 October, 2007 2:18 pm

    Dammit, it’s exactly that kind of content that makes me wish someone would properly index ORB. There’s all this stuff like that that doesn’t come to the surface unless you already know exactly what to search it for. That page, for example, doesn’t come up in a search for the word `overview’… It makes all the hard work people have put in building that site so much less useful than it could and should be. Maybe I should offer help…

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