Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The post that almost was and possibly will be about an insignificant scrap of a manuscript

So. I was going to write a post about a) how I will soon be joining the ranks of Sir Cotton and Bishop Laud and Mr. Additional* as a manuscript collector, at least according to the fluffy piece about me and my lame $25 scrap of vellum in my university's official newsletter, and b) how the article exhibited the very fetishization of the old that, actually, I was trying to avoid in showing said scrap to my students, and c) how all this connects to teaching old texts and their material contexts....BUT...first my friend with bad news from the job market called, and then I had to call my sister re: the 'rents and their situation, and then I had to catch up with y'all's blogs, and now, I am plum tuckered out. 'Course, it would help if I didn't write such ridiculously long sentences in posts with laughably long titles. If I keep that up I might break Blogger.

*Note: dumb manuscript joke. Ignore it if you don't get it.

Anywho, I will write said post -- perhaps tomorrow? -- but now to bed. But before I say good night, I'd like to add that, for those of you who know who my dissertation advisor was, there's a totally random (OK, not random, but unexpected) picture of him in AAUP's magazine, Academe, at the front of an article that has absolutely nothing to do with him, but which might lead people to think he's a Catholic priest. Weird. Must e-mail him about this. And why have I mentioned him in this post that's not really about a scrap of manuscript? Because in the picture he's reading a medieval manuscript. See, and you thought these two paragraphs were totally unrelated! (And now some of you might figure out who my advisor was, if you've ever met him and have a facility for remembering faces, and you have the magazine. But that's OK.)

Update: I think I have managed to piss off the director of our rare books collection because I bought my own worthless scrap instead of bringing students to see their collection (bought at considerable expense, she noted). Again someone's failing to see the point of my giving students something they can touch in order to demystify old things. Sigh. More details and thoughts later.


Vausey said...

I've met Mr. Additional, and he's nice, a little disorganized, ok, very disorganized at times, but nice. I think your vellum is very cool -- I would love to be able to show my students something like that. Did the Rare Books Librarian ask you if you made your students wear the cotton gloves?

Dr. Virago said...

Hi Jake, and welcome! And thanks for running with my dumb joke! :)

No, the librarian didn't want my students to wear the gloves (hee!) -- she wanted my students to come see *her* vellum instead of mine. It's a little territorial spat and it's actually kind of interesting (I think) so I'll probably write about it in more detail later.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Dr. Virago,

you make me laugh in the good way!

Anonymous said...

The answer, of course, is to have the University Official Newsletter photograph you eating the vellum. I'll give you twice what you paid for the vellum if you eat it on film. I'll bet the director of the rare books collection never ate vellum. And how better to make your point about the fetishization of the old. (Or to make a different point about the many ways in which to fetishize the old).


Dr. Virago said...

BP - Ha! Yes, indeed, I bet she never has eaten vellum. But then, neither have I. I have, however, eaten my own words. Mmmm...tasty.

Ancarett said...

Oh, it's frustrating, isn't it -- your rare books director needs to think of this as an opportunity to get the students interested in the older books and to lose their fear of asking to see them (rare book collections are as intimidating as hell sometimes, even for senior faculty member). Maybe you can suggest she offer a follow-up visit to the rare books collection for those students who are interested.

And now you've reminded me that I have to make an appointment to consult a rare book (hah! 1890s is rare now?) at our own archive. 'Cause we can't just drop in or anything, nooooooo.