Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

MDT Ep. 72: An Icelandic Vision of the Afterlife

Detail from Bodleian Library MS Douce 134, f. 87r.

This episode we take a look at Sólarljóð, an Old Norse poem that mixes a Christian tour of heaven and hell with the stylings of eddic poetry. We also consider what it might have in common with one of the fugues of the Great Revival.

Today’s Text

  • “Song of the Sun.” The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson, translated by Benjamin Thorpe and I.A. Blackwell, Norrœna Society, 1906, pp. 11-120. Google Books.

References

  • Cobb, Buell E., Jr. The Sacred Harp, A Tradition and Its Music. U of Georgia P, 1978.
  • Larrington, Carolyne, and Peter Robinson. Introduction to “Anonymous, Sólarljóð.Poetry on Christian Subjects, edited by Margaret Clunies Ross, Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7, Brepols, 2007, pp. 287-357.
  • “Sólarljóð — Anon SólVII.” Skaldic Project.
  • Wright, Thomas. St. Patrick’s Purgatory: An Essay on the Legends of Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise, Current During the Middle Ages. John Russell Smith, 1844. Google Books.
  • Zaleski, Carol. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. Oxford UP, 1987.

Image: Detail from Bodleian Library MS Douce 134, f. 87r.

Audio Credit: “Greenwich” performed by Cork Sacred Harp, from the first Ireland Sacred Harp Convention, 2011. Used under CC-BY-3.0 license. https://soundcloud.com/corksacredharp/183-greenwich.

MDT Ep. 71: Concerning Stained Glass and Notre Dame

Glassmaking, detail from British Library MS Sloane 4016, f. 101v.

As the recovery process begins after the April 15th fire the consumed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, we reflect on the event, we learn how to make stained glass from a 12th-century artisan, and we hear about the architectural glories of the cathedral as described by Elizabeth Boyle O’Reilly shortly after the First World War.

Today’s Texts:

  • Theophilus. De Diversis Artibus / An Essay Upon Various Arts. Translated by Robert Hendrie, John Murray, 1847. Google Books.
  • O’Reilly, Elizabeth Boyle. How France Built Her Cathedrals: A Study in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Harper and Brothers, 1921. Google Books.
  • Adams, Douglas and Mark Carwardine. Last Chance to See. Ballantine, 1990.

Audio Credit: Adams, Douglas and Mark Carwardine. Last Chance to See CD-ROM. The Voyager Company, 1992.

Dies Irae clip by Membreth (Wikimedia Commons).

Image: Glassmaking, detail from British Library MS Sloane 4016, f. 101v.

MDT Ep. 70: Concerning a Coastal Conflict and Two Visions of the Virgin

Demons around a bedside, detail from Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Français 449, f. 64r.

This episode, we return to an old favorite, the Lanercost Chronicle, to hear how Charles of Valois stoked violence between Normandy and the merchants of the Cinque Ports, as well as witnessing the Virgin Mary acting as a celestial attorney.

Today’s Texts:

  • The Chronicle of Lanercost: 1272–1346. Translated by Herbert Maxwell, James Maclehose and Sons, 1913. Archive.org.
  • Matthew of Westminster (Matthew of Paris). Flowers of History, Especially Such as Relate to the Affairs of Britain. Translated by C.D. Yonge, vol. 2,  Henry G. Bohn, 1853. Google Books.

References:

  • Little, A.G. “The Authorship of the Lanercost Chronicle.” The English Historical Review, vol. 31, 1916, pp. 269-279. Google Books.
  • Stevenson, Joseph. Preface. Chronicon de Lanercost. Bannatyne Club, 1839, pp. i-xxi. Google Books.
  • Zaleski, Carol. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. Oxford UP, 1987.

Image: Demons around a bedside, detail from Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Français 449, f. 64r.

MDT Ep. 69: The Confession of St. Patrick (Part 2)

Detail of the opening lines of St. Patrick's Confessio as preserved in Cotton MS Nero E I/1 f.169v.

We conclude St. Patrick’s Confessio this episode, taking a look at Patrick’s education and literary style and the cultural context of missionary activity in the 5th century. We also are left wondering if that money was just resting in his account… (/FatherTed)

Today’s Text:

  • Patrick. Confession. St. Patrick: His Writings and Life, edited and translated by Newport J.D. White, Macmillan, 1920, pp. 31-51. Google Books.

References:

  • Adams, J.N. An Anthology of Informal Latin, 200 BC – AD 900: Fifty Texts with Translations and Linguistic Commentary. Cambridge UP, 2016.
  • Bieler, Ludwig. “The Place of Saint Patrick in Latin Language and Literature.” Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 6, no. 2, Apr. 1952, pp. 65-98. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1582579.
  • de Paor, Máire B. Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland. Regan Books–HarperCollins, 1998.
  • Gellrich, Jesse M. Discourse and Dominion in the Fourteenth Century: Oral Contexts of Writing, Politics, and Poetry. Princeton UP, 1995.
  • Hood, A.B.E, editor and translator. St. Patrick: His Writings and Muirchu’s Life. Phillimore, 1978.
  • Kelly, David. “St Patrick’s Writings: Confessio and Epistola.” Saint Patrick’s Confessio, Royal Irish Academy, 2011, www.confessio.ie/more/article_kelly#.
  • McCaffrey, Carmel, and Leo Eaton. In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish, from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English. New Amsterdam Books, 2002.
  • Olden, Thomas, translator. The Confession of St. Patrick. George Drought, 1853. Google Books.

Image: Detail of the opening lines of St. Patrick’s Confessio as preserved in Cotton MS Nero E I/1 f.169v.

MDT Ep. 68: The Confession of St. Patrick (Part 1)

Detail of Harley MS 3244 f.45r.

This March, we’re going back to one of the earliest surviving St. Patrick texts, his own autobiographical Confessio. This episode we’ll hear the first half, which covers Patrick’s abduction from the coast of 5th-century Britain into slavery in Ireland and continues up to the start of his mission to convert the Irish some thirty years later

Today’s Text:

  • Patrick. Confession. St. Patrick: His Writings and Life, edited and translated by Newport J.D. White, Macmillan, 1920, pp. 31-51. Google Books.

References: 

  • Adams, J.N. An Anthology of Informal Latin, 200 BC – AD 900: Fifty Texts with Translations and Linguistic Commentary. Cambridge UP, 2016.
  • Bieler, Ludwig. “The Place of Saint Patrick in Latin Language and Literature.” Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 6, no. 2, Apr. 1952, pp. 65-98. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/1582579.
  • de Paor, Máire B. Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland. Regan Books–HarperCollins, 1998.
  • Gellrich, Jesse M. Discourse and Dominion in the Fourteenth Century: Oral Contexts of Writing, Politics, and Poetry. Princeton UP, 1995.
  • Hood, A.B.E, editor and translator. St. Patrick: His Writings and Muirchu’s Life. Phillimore, 1978.
  • Kelly, David. “St Patrick’s Writings: Confessio and Epistola.” Saint Patrick’s Confessio, Royal Irish Academy, 2011, www.confessio.ie/more/article_kelly#.
  • McCaffrey, Carmel, and Leo Eaton. In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish, from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English. New Amsterdam Books, 2002.
  • Olden, Thomas, translator. The Confession of St. Patrick. George Drought, 1853. Google Books.

Image: Detail of Harley MS 3244 f.45r.

MDT Ep. 67: Concerning a Maiden Seduced by an Incubus, or A Dunwich Horror

Poster for The Dunwich Horror (1970)

For Valentine’s Day, we have a tale not so much of love, but of supernatural seduction. This is the story of a chaste young woman of the town of Dunwich stalked by a devil, as reported in The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich by Thomas of Monmouth. We also take a look at real and fictional Dunwich (a town of the Lovecraft mythos featured in “The Dunwich Horror”), and examine what exactly (or inexactly) an incubus was thought to be.

Today’s Text:

  • The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, written by Thomas of Monmouth and translated by Augustus Jessopp and M.R. James. Cambridge UP, 1896. [Available on Google Books.]

References:

  • Bryant B.L. “H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘Unnamable’ Middle Ages.”  Medieval Afterlives in Popular Culture, edited by Gail Ashton and Dan Kline, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 113-128.
  • Isidore of Seville. The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. Translated by Stephen A. Barney, W.J. Lewis, J.A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof with Muriel Hall, Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • van der Lugt, Maaike. “The Incubus in Scholastic Debate: Medicine, Theology, and Popular Belief.” Religion and Medicine in the Middle Ages, edited by Peter Biller and Joseph Ziegler, Boydell & Brewer, 2001, pp. 175-200.

Image: Poster for The Dunwich Horror (1970)

« Older posts

© 2019 Medieval Death Trip

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑