Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old English Musings

My first thought occurred over the American holiday: how sad for those poor saps in Europe who didn't have turkey and the trimmings! I mean, few things do I enjoy more than pulling my juicy turkey out of the oven, getting my stuffing out of it, sampling of course to make certain it isn't poisonous, and carving that bird...falling on my sword by eating some skin so that others won't have to and consume too much fat. This isn't to mention my mashed potatoes...I have to say, I do a mean batch of taters, there are even a few Anglo-Saxonists who have driven HOURS to have my mashed potatoes. I'm honored. But Aelfric and Alfred never had them....poor chaps. All our typical Thanksgiving fare here in the States (and I presume Canada) is of New World origin. It all reminded me that I've also been wanting to read A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food by Ann Hagen and The Mead Hall: The Feasting Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England by Stephen Pollington for some time, but I've not received either yet. My loverly spouse has given me Early French Cookery and The Medieval Kitchen in recent years and I've like both books.

The job market continues to loom in my musings as well. And I spare some of that musing to think of the field in general rather than just myself. I wonder and marvel at my university, which is not alone, in not filling a recently vacated Anglo-Saxon seat. In fact, what's odd is that while we did not even fill that seat, we did hire someone to do Chinese linguistics and literature with that line! Some years ago our English department absorbed Linguistics and one of the linguists who recently retired had a side interest in Chinese. So the powers that be found it more expedient to keep that interest and commitment going rather than hire a medievalist, specifically an Anglo-Saxonist. There are certainly other schools who want a general medievalist at this level....its a perception not even of the academy that is doing us in, but a perception or problem within ENGLISH Departments, among those of our colleagues closest to us who do Old English langauge and literature. What to do?

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