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Just over twenty years ago, I published my first article on a medieval topic.  It was in a very prestigious publication — a book commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Cloisters Museum, and published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  But it fell into the pond of medieval scholarship with nary a splash or a ripple.  So far as I know, it was cited only by a Yale University doctoral dissertation about True Cross reliquaries.  What I attempted to do in this article (and in the talk on which it was based, presented at the fiftieth anniversary symposium) was to examine a True Cross reliquary triptych then exhibited at the Cloisters to see what it could tell us about attitudes toward law and justice at the time and place in which it was produced.  I was drawn to this topic when I first noticed the reliquary, with it’s central figure of Iusticia after taking Robert Somerville’s graduate seminar on medieval canon law at Columbia University.

Now a paper on a work of medieval art presented as a historian, and not an art historian, and giving little attention to its aesthetic value was probably bound to fall upon deaf ears in a symposium attended mostly by medieval art historians, and then published in a book written mostly by medieval art historians (and published by an art museum).   So I have not been terribly surprised by this lack of reception.  So I was pleasantly surprised last year to be contacted by a Belgian art historian who discovered the article and asked me whether I had written anything else on the subject.  Alas, no, I have moved on to other subjects.  But he has now sent me an article that he has just published in a French journal of medieval studies, wherein he picks up the topic where I left it, and carries it further.  In so doing, he gives me great credit for pursuing the topic in a new way.  The author is Philippe George, and his article is: “‘Sur la terre comme au ciel’ : L’évêque de Liège, l’abbé de Stavelot-Malmedy, le droit, la justice et l’art mosan vers 1170,” Cahiers de civilisation médiévale,”  56 (2013): 225-253.

As he says, my article “paru en 1992, … est resté curieusement sans écho.”  In a note at the end of his article, he quotes from my conclusion: “… more research into both the politics and the patronage of the bishops of this period is necessary for a better sense of who might have commissioned this reliquary and for what purpose.”   Philippe George has now done this, and I thank him for taking up this thread and stitching it into something useful.

My own article:  William Monroe, “The Guennol Triptych and the Twelfth-Century Revival of Jurisprudence,” in The Cloisters: Studies in Honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary, ed. by Elizabeth C. Parker and Mary B. Shepard (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), p. 166-177, can be found on Google Books, here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=e6XCPEr2LzIC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

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Just back from a week at Rare Book School, at Yale University.   This was my fifth RBS course, all of them having to do with medieval books, mainly in manuscript, but also in print.   I took Barbara Shailor’s Advanced Seminar on Medieval Manuscripts, which was very good, especially since we got to use manuscripts from the Beinecke Library, which has a large and varied collection.  Also having the expertise of Barbara Shailor, herself, and that of my fellow students in the course, who all came with a variety of experience with this kind of material, was very enlightening.   Anyone who works with rare books or special collections, whether as their primary work as a librarian, or directly as a scholar should check out RBS for it’s course offerings, as they are really very useful.

Having just returned, I was also pleased that someone posted (on the Medieval History Discussion List) a link to this blog entry on marginalia in medieval manuscripts.

I participate in another blog as part of my work.  The Brown University Library has begun a blog about “Mobile Apps for Scholarship,” to which I have contributed two posts, the latest being “Reflections on Apps for Medieval Studies.”   Here is a link to it, for anyone who might be interested:

http://blogs.brown.edu/mobile-apps-for-scholarship/2013/01/15/reflections-on-apps-for-medieval-studies/

Tam Lin

I don’t often get to sing this song, partly because it’s long.

But since Halloween just passed, I’ve had the occasion to sing it a couple of times, most recently as part of the “Hoot” at Stone Soup Coffeehouse.   It’s one of my favorites, and my version is learned from the singing of the great Frankie Armstrong.

 

 

I’ve recorded some new songs, which I’ll add to the music page as soon as I can remind myself how.

Meanwhile I can link to them here:

“Roving Gambler” is a traditional song I recently heard from Drybranch Firesquad at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

“By the Water’s Edge” is my latest original, written for the 375th birthday of Providence, RI.

Which leads me to the upcoming concerts:

Friday, Nov. 11, at the College Hill Cafe in the Brown University Bookstore — “Folk Music Night”, the regular monthly series that I host, will feature Charlie Cover and Kate Katzberg.  It’s free, and should be a really nice show — I think these two complement each other quite well.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=131722620263579#!/event.php?eid=278292395544179

The next night, Saturday, Nov. 12, I’ll be playing with Matteo Casini at the Church Street Coffeehouse in Warren, RI.

http://www.churchstreetcoffeehouse.com/

This will be a full-length show, and will be the only such show this year, as Matteo will be spending the spring semester in Italy.    The show is 8-10:15.

And then, Tuesday, November 22, I’ll be part of the gala Providence 375 Birthday Party at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC).  

http://www.goprovidence.com/375events/bash/

6-10 in the evening.  Should be fun!   And we’ll be releasing a CD of songs about Providence recorded for the birthday.  I perform three songs on the CD, including two of my own.

Music added

Thanks to the Forum, I was able to upload some music, with an audio player.  Please have a listen under the “Music” tab.

I’ll be adding new songs as I record them.  I’m planning to put out a solo CD within a few months as I get enough songs recorded.

Matteo Casini and I will be playing this Friday (Sept. 16) at the monthly “Folk Music Night” that I host in the College Hill Cafe in the Brown University Bookstore.   We will be joined by a very entertaining young songwriter, Pete Avitable.

More coming

I’ve been very busy since creating this site, and found little time to add anything. One thing I’ve been doing is recording some songs that I want to upload, if I can figure out how to get them to play here. Meanwhile, I do have some songs at: http://www.myspace.com/wsmonroe and I’ll be adding some more soon.
I’ll also be playing with Matteo Casini at the College Hill Cafe (in the Brown University Bookstore, on Friday, September 16. Also on the bill is Pete Avitable.