Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For October 31: A severed head, skeletal fairies, ghosts and a bog man

Fodder for several of our longrunning conversation here at ITM: the Museum of Natural History at Rouen in Normandy has decided that a mummified Maori head in its collections ought to be returned to New Zealand for burial, while the Ministry of Culture has declared the body part preservation-worthy art. Today's NYT meanwhile provides a queer ghost story that ends up rather straight (no gay wizards are involved). Bioephemera has breathtaking images of skeleton fairies attacking a bee and a spider, the mixed media work of artist Tessa Farmer. Lastly, today's illustration is the poster for my impending Holloway Lecture at McDaniel College. Nothing says scholarly fun like an executed peat bog body. The poster was, I'm told, the product of a student competition. Click on the image to enlarge.

6 comments:

Karl Steel said...

Boy, just when you're about to give up on the Times altogether--one too many Brooks of Dowd columns, one too many political articles by white house stenographers--we get a nice piece like Professor Boylan's. Good stuff.

Eileen Joy said...

The tagline questions on the Holloway lecture poster are great, but don't look at that bog skull too closely: it almost feels alive.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Why do you think it seems so odd to read that you work on 'the medieval times'? This phrase strikes me as I am just writing on Bryce Courtenay's novel Sylvia. In one of his interviews he says, "In writing this story I have attempted to capture the essence of what we now know as 'medieval times.'" That's a circular argument, of course, as it implies he did his research in order to meet current expectations of the medieval, but it does seem an odd phrase (and not just because it's also the name of the medieval entertainment show). Is it one we'd use of our own research? and if not, why not? My deadline is rapidly approaching; any advice from you or your readers most gratefully received...

J J Cohen said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, as the cliché goes, Stephanie. The poster was the product of an undergraduate design contest, it is not unlikely that an undergraduate in McDaniel College in Westminster MD would have heard of the Medieval Times joust-and-feast extravaganza chain, an outlet of which is just south of Baltimore (yes, I have been) ... hence the rather odd (to a medievalist's ears) turn of phrase.

Karl Steel said...

Medieval times of course reminds me of "Rio Grande River" or "ATM Machine."

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yes; it's both pleonastic and weirdly plural. I'm wondering if I can spin it out to form some kind of analogy with Dinshaw's 'multiple temporalities'....