I saw this morning, thanks to Sarah J. Biggs and the British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog, that BL Add. 38662 has been digitized! This is the 13th-century Anglo-Norman romance of Guy of Warwick (Gui de Warewic), probably my favorite English romance, both from a scholarly and personal perspective. There seems to be little illumination in the manuscript, unlike in BL Royal MS 10 E IV (the Smithfield Decretals, c. 1340), which contain a very colorful treatment of Guy and his adventures–see, for example, this folio of Guy killing the Dun Cow (actually a fearsome beast, and one belonging more to the oral than the written tradition at the time the book was illuminated).
I haven’t done a “random news” post in a while, so here’s a round up some items that have caught my eye in the last few days. Some are links originally posted by friends on Facebook, others are more random.
First–I grew up reading H. E. Marshall’s An Island Story and An Empire Story, and was pleasantly surprised to run across this version she did of Guy of Warwick (I gave a paper on aspects of the story over the weekend, so I have the tale very much on the brain). Great fun, and worth reading. See the TEAMS edition of the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick for more information on the tale itself and a good edition of the text by a leading scholar on the subject.
In more serious vein, apparently the chap responsible for concocting the story about WMDs in Iraq is coming out and “telling all.” Or just did, the other night, on national British TV. Sort-of boggles the mind, really, but on the other hand I guess this kind of…crap…has been going on for ages. Not much else to say, really.
Random historical news: Renaissance painter Caravaggio was murdered by the Knights of St. John, according to a new study by Professor Vincenzo Pacelli of the University of Naples. Not everyone is buying the theory, but it’s pretty intriguing, and rests on some suggestive evidence. A couple weeks ago, Michael White posted a rumination the origins of Parliament in The Guardian. Rather a nifty summary, and I appreciated especially the way he emphasized how easily English political institutions could have developed differently. Oh, and did you know that Handel wrote an opera on Richard the Lionheart? Performed in 1727; apparently it has to be seen to be believed, and it WAS seen–front and center in the London Handel Festival. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get the DVD any time soon…