Medieval Death Trip

A Podcast Exploring the Wit and Weirdness of Medieval Texts

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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)

MDT Ep. 66: Concerning a Man Consumed by Mice and Other Plagues

Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

We kick our 2019 with a return to narrative history, hearing about a terrible way to die and how not to profit off the deaths of others during a plague from William of Malmesbury’s Gesta Regum Anglorum, and we also look all the way back to the first book of Samuel to learn how to rid oneself of some particularly uncomfortable plagues from God. We also discover how Raiders of the Lost Ark should have ended.

Today’s Texts:

  • William of Malmesbury. Chronicle of the Kings of England. Edited by J.A. Giles, translated by John Sharpe and J.A. Giles, George Bell & Sons, 1895. Google Books.
  • Wycliffe, John and John Purvey. Wycliffe’s Bible: A Modern-Spelling Version of the 14th-Century Middle English Translation. Edited and translated by Terence P. Noble, Createspace, 2012.

References:

Image: Detail of an illustration of the plague of mice afflicting the Philistines (1 Samuel 5) from Morgan Library MS M.638 fol. 21v (13th cent.)

Feed Update Announcement

Listeners! This weekend (Feb. 9-10) I’ll be updating many of the descriptions and tags on old episodes in our podcast RSS feed. There is a possibility that some podcast manager apps (especially iTunes) will interpret these changes as a whole lot of new episodes being posted and may try to download them all.

As a precaution to save bandwidth, you might go to your settings for this podcast in your podcast listening app and set it to download only the most recent episodes so that you don’t end up getting duplicates of the whole back catalogue.

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