Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

Category: Episodes (page 1 of 9)

MDT Ep. 52: Concerning St. Patrick and the Magicians

BL Egerton MS 747, f. 12r

It’s a special Saint Patrick’s Day episode, in which we hear about the contests between the saint and some Irish magicians, as related in Muirchu’s 7th-century Life of St. Patrick.

Today’s Texts:

  • Muirchu. Life of St. Patrick. St. Patrick: His Writings and Life, edited and translated by Newport J.D. White, Macmillan, 1920.

References:

  • Conway, Moneure D. “The Saint Patrick Myth.” The North American Review, vol. 137, no. 323, Oct. 1883, pp. 356-371. JSTOR.
  • Hood, A.B.E., editor and translator. St. Patrick: His Writings and Muirchu’s Life. Phillimore, 1978.

Image: Detail from British Library Egerton MS 747, f. 12r.

Fox sound effect from http://www.freesfx.co.uk.

MDT Ep. 51: Concerning Fire and Fury in the Palace – Part 2

Sarcophagus - Sisyphus, Tantalus, Ixion (by Dan Diffendale)

This episode we continue with Walter Map’s De nugis curialium and learn that politics really is hell.

Today’s Texts:

  • Map, Walter. De Nugis Curialium. Translated by Montague R. James, historical notes by John Edward Lloyd, edited by E. Sidney Hartland, Cymmrodorion Record Series, no. 9, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1923.
  • Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by A.T. Murray, Harvard University Press, 1919. [at Perseus]
  • Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book, translated by Paull Franklin Baum (1963). Available at: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_Riddles_of_the_Exeter_Book/59

References:

  • Bartlett, Robert. England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075-1225. Clarendon Press, 2000.
  • Brooke, C.N.L. Introduction. De Nugis Curialium: Courtier’s Trifles, by Walter Map, edited and translated by M.R. James, revised by C.N.L. Brooke and R.A.B. Mynors, Clarendon Press, 1983.
  • Turner, Ralph V. “The Reputation of Royal Judges under the Angevin Kings.” Albion, vol. 11, no. 4, Winter 1979, pp. 301-316. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4048542.
  • Echard, Siân. “Map’s Metafiction: Author, Narrator and Reader in De nugis curialium.” Exemplaria, vol. 8, no. 2, 1996, pp. 287-314.

Image: Sarcophagus in Vatican Museums featuring images of Sisyphus, Ixion, and Tantalus. Photo by Dan Diffendale (used under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0)

MDT Ep. 50: Concerning Fire and Fury in the Palace – Part 1

The Hague - KB 71 A 24 - fol 27v

This episode we dive into Walter Map’s De nugis curialium for a satirical lesson in administrative chaos, choler, and corruption, and also how generally terrible we are.

Today’s Texts:

  • Map, Walter. De Nugis Curialium. Translated by Montague R. James, historical notes by John Edward Lloyd, edited by E. Sidney Hartland, Cymmrodorion Record Series, no. 9, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1923.

References:

  • Brooke, C.N.L. Introduction. De Nugis Curialium: Courtier’s Trifles, by Walter Map, edited and translated by M.R. James, revised by C.N.L. Brooke and R.A.B. Mynors, Clarendon Press, 1983.
  • Horace. De Arte Poetica. Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, translated by H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard UP, 1929.

Image: Detail of demons carrying off a monk from The Hague, KB, 71 A 24, fol. 27v

MDT Ep. 49: Concerning a Medieval Marley’s Ghost

Alec Guinness as Marley in Scrooge

This Christmas Eve episode, we take a look a medieval forebear of the Ghost of Jacob Marley, as well as a role-model from ancient Rome.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Ed. J.A. Giles. Trans. John Sharpe and J.A. Giles. London: George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Pliny the Younger. Letters. Translated by William Melmoth, revised by F.C.T. Bosanquet, The Harvard Classics, vol. 9, part 4, .F. Collier & Son, 1909–14. Bartleby, http://www.bartleby.com/9/4/1083.html.
  • Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol, in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. 1843. Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm.

References:

  • Belsey, Catherine. “Shakespeare’s Sad Tale for Winter: Hamlet and the Tradition of Fireside Ghost Stories.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 1, Spring 2010, pp. 1-27. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40731136.
  • Bennett, Gillian. “‘Alas, Poor Ghost!’ Case Studies in the History of Ghosts and Visitations.” Chapter 5. Alas Poor Ghost, UP of of Colorado and Utah State UP, 1999, pp. 139-172. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nwwn.8.
  • Rife, J. Merle. “Marley’s Ghost in Athens.” The Classical Journal, vol. 34, no. 1, Oct. 1938, pp. 42-43. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3291010.

Image: Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley in Scrooge (1970), as stylized by Google Deep Dream.

MDT Ep. 48: Concerning the Sharp Wit, Unorthodox Wisdom, & Brutal Death of John the Scot

This episode as school breaks for the holidays, we look at one account of the life of translator, philosopher, and part-time court comedian John Scotus Eriugena, who allegedly met a rather bad end at the hands of disgruntled students.

Today’s Texts:

  • Roger de Hoveden. Annals of Roger de Hoveden. Translated by Henry T. Riley, vol. 1, H.G. Bohn, 1853. Google Books.
  • Jacobus de Voragine. The Golden Legend, or Lives of the Saints. Translated by William Caxton, edited by F.S. Ellis, J.M. Dent, 1900. Google Books.

References:

  • Carabine, Deirdre. John Scottus Eriugena. Oxford UP, 2000.
  • Dionysius the Areopagite. The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite. Translated by John Parker, James Parker and Co., 1897. Google Books.
  • Nerney, Denis S. “Iohannes Scottus Eriugena.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 24, no. 95, Sept. 1935, pp. 415-432. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/30097229.

Image: 17th-century etching of the martyrdom of St. Cassian of Imola by Jan Luyken (Wikipedia).

MDT Ep. 47: Concerning Ragnarok

Disco Yggdrasil

Disco Yggdrasil

This episode we tap into the Ragnarok zeitgeist and go back to the medieval Norse sources: Snorri Sturluson’s Gylfaginning and the apocalyptic poem Völuspá.

Today’s Texts:

References:

  • Page, R.I. Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials and Myths. U of Toronto P, 1995.
  • Page, R.I. Norse Myths. The Legendary Past Series, U of Texas P, 1990.
  • Sequentia. Edda: Myths from Medieval Iceland. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 1999.

Spotify Links: Performance of Völuspá by Sequentia:

Image: “Disco Yggdrasil,” based on a manuscript image from Árni Magnússon Institute MS AM 738 4to (Wikimedia Commons), filtered through Google’s Deep Dream.

 

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