Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

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MDT Ep. 73: Concerning a Mouse and a Frog

Illustration by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (1567), from The British Museum via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

This episode, we turn to another genre of wisdom literature: the fable. We look at four versions of the fable of the Mouse and the Frog from across one-and-a-half millennia, with quasi-classical versions from the Vita Aesopi and the Romulus Aesop and medieval elaborations on the story by Marie de France and Robert Henryson.

Today’s Texts:

  • Life of Aesop. Translated by Anthony Alcock, Roger-Pearse.com, 4 Aug. 2018,  https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2018/08/14/life-of-aesop-translated-by-anthony-alcock/
  • “The Mouse and the Frog.” The Comedies of Terence and The Fables of Phædrus, translated by Henry Thomas Riley, George Bell & Sons, 1891, p. 456. Google Books.
  • Marie de France. “The Mouse and the Frog.” The Fables of Marie de France, translated by Mary Lou Martin, Summa Publications, 1984, pp. 36-42.
  • Henryson, Robert. “The Taill of the Paddok and the Mous.” The Poems and Fables of Robert Henryson, edited by David Laing, William Paterson, 1865. Google Books.

References:

Adrados, Francisco Rodríguez. History of the Graeco-Latin Fable. Translated by Leslie A. Ray, vol. 1, Brill, 1999.

Daly, Lloyd W., translator and editor. Introduction. Aesop Without Morals, Thomas Yoseloff, 1961, pp. 11-26.

Fox, Denton, editor. The Poems of Robert Henryson. Clarendon Press, 1981.

Kiser, Lisa J. “Resident Aliens: The Literary Ecology of Medieval Mice.” Truth and Tales: Cultural Mobility and Medieval Media, edited by Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson, Ohio State UP, 2015, pp. 151-167. Academia.edu, www.academia.edu/11171687/Resident_Aliens_The_Literary_Ecology_of_Medieval_Mice.

  • Jacobs, Joseph. The Fables of Aesop. Vol. 1, History of the Æsopic Fable, 1889, Burt Franklin, 1970.
  • Mann, Jill. From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain. Oxford UP, 2009.
  • Martin, Mary Lou. Introduction. The Fables of Marie de France, translated by Mary Lou Martin, Summa Publications, 1984, pp. 1-30.
  • O’Connor, Flannery. “Writing Short Stories.” Mystery and Manners, FSG, 1970, pp. 87-106.
  • Skillen, Anthony. “Aesop’s Lessons in Literary Realism.” Philosophy, vol. 67, no. 260, Apr. 1992, pp. 169-181. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3751449.[Greek text of the fable in the Vita Aesopi, Ch. 21:]Vita Aesopi. Edited by Antonius Westermann, Williams and Norgate, 1845, p. 54. Google Books[Romulus Latin Text in:]”Mus et Rana.” Phaedri Fabularum Aesopiarum libri quinque, quales omni parte illustratos publicavit Joann. Gottlob. Sam. Schwabe. Accedunt Romuli Fabularum Aesopiarum libri quatuor, quibus novas Phaedri Fabellas cum notulis variorum et suis subjunxit, edited by J. B. Gail, vol. 2, 2nd ed., N.E. Lemaire, 1826, p. 386. Google Books.

Music by Chris Lane.

Image: Illustration by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (1567), from The British Museum via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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.

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