Eileen writes with the sad but not unexpected news that Nicholas Howe has died. The author of numerous field-changing books and essays, Howe will be sorely missed in the profession.
My graduate seminar just read his superlative "Rome: Capital of Anglo-Saxon England" on Tuesday, and I had been wondering about his health (he had leukemia, and had recently taken a turn for the worse).
I never met Howe in person. After he gave my book Of Giants a generally affirmative review in Speculum, I emailed and thanked him (it would have been an easy book to trash). He wrote back and said "Why should you care what an old fart like me thinks?" But I did care, because his work has always been so impressive. Migration and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England opened new vistas on the early island. Work that followed grew increasingly complex philosophically while maintaining a linguistic beauty that could be breathtaking. "Anglo-Saxon England and the postcolonial void" (in Postcolonial Approaches to the European Middle Ages) is about as good as it gets as far as scholarship goes. I wish I could write half as well.
I invite readers of In the Middle to share their own thoughts about Nick Howe and his work. If anyone is interested in composing a substantial memorial guest post, please let Eileen, Karl or me know.