Untranslatable?

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Following up on the events in Paris–by which I mean the horrible shootings and bombings, as well as the 4th TEEME Conference whose theme was translation–I wanted to share with you some thoughts on the tangible, material effects of politics of translation. More specifically, what comes with the act of translating a name: ISIS x Daesh. I’m forwarding the thoughts from writer and translator Alice Guthrie, who knows Arabic and is in a position to comment. Here is a pull quote worth bearing in mind for those of us who translate and read translations:

“Read around a bit, across several UK and US broadsheets, and you will quickly spot the same misinformation being repeated almost word for word: publications are either quoting each other as supposed reliable sources on the story, with acknowledgments, or simply repeating each other’s lines without explicitly referencing them. In most cases, the explanation is not only wrong, it doesn’t actually make sense. But why all this speculation? Why so much mystery? Why are phrases like ‘rough translation’ and ‘possibly linked to this word’ being used, making the story out to be as elusive and contested as many of the political developments on the ground in Syria? Clearly none of these journalists or their researchers have accessed an Arabic/English dictionary (there are many freely searchable online) nor – even easier – contacted an arabophone, to check these basic facts.

So what does Daesh really mean? Well, D.A.E.SH is a transliteration of the Arabic acronym formed of the same words that make up I.S.I.S in English: ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’, or ‘لدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام’ (‘al-dowla al-islaamiyya fii-il-i’raaq wa-ash-shaam’). That’s the full name chosen by the organisation, and – when used in full – it’s definitely how they want to be referred to. In Arabic, just like in English, that phrase consists of six words, four of which make it into the acronym (‘in’ and ‘and’ are omitted) : ‘دولة dowla’ (state) + ‘إسلامية islaamiyya’ (Islamic) + ‘عراق i’raaq’ (Iraq) + ‘شام shaam’. That last word, ‘shaam’, is variously used in Arabic to denote Damascus (in Syrian dialect) ‘Greater Syria’ / the Levant, or Syria – hence the US-preferred acronym ISIL, with the L standing for Levant. In Arabic there is a single letter for the sound ‘sh‘, hence our transliteration of the acronym having five letters, not four. And the vowel which begins the word ‘islaamiyya’ becomes an ‘a’ sound when differently positioned in a word, hence the acronym being pronounced ‘da’ish’ when written in Arabic, and the ‘a’ coming over into our transliteration of the acronym. Of course the amazing Arabic letter ‘ع’ which begins the word for ‘Iraq’ is unpronounceable to an anglophone, and can’t be written in Latin letters, hence the use of an ‘e’ (or occasionally an ’e) in the transliteration.

Still with me? Nothing mysterious there – or nothing that anyone who speaks Arabic wouldn’t be able to explain. It’s not a previously existing word in its own right. It does indeed now mean ‘tyrannical, despotic, murdering fundamentalists who claim to be Islamic and claim to be a state’ but only as a result of how it sounds (more on that in a minute) and as a result of the associations that quickly attach to a neologism, in the same way that they have attached to the word ISIS. So it’s not based on any previous – or mysterious, or quasi-mystical Eastern – meaning.

And so if the word is basically ‘ISIS’, but in Arabic, why are the people it describes in such a fury about it? Because they hear it, quite rightly, as a challenge to their legitimacy: a dismissal of their aspirations to define Islamic practice, to be ‘a state for all Muslims’ and – crucially – as a refusal to acknowledge and address them as such.”

Her text is very informative, and you can read the whole piece here: https://www.freewordcentre.com/blog/2015/02/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie/

I’ve got no conclusion to this post, just a Derridean move, a citation of a citation. I’ll just quote Kapil Raj who was himself quoting Michel Callon:

“Translation involves creating convergencies and homologies by relating things that were previously different.”

And this requires effort.

Video

Esta Noite Improvisa-se

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After one month and a half of intense preparations, Tonight We Improvise! It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Nuno Carinhas from Teatro Nacional São João and all the wonderful team at ESMAE, for my TEEME work placement. If you happen to be in Porto, the play runs from July 2 to 6.

More information: http://www.tnsj.pt/home/espetaculo.php?intShowID=650

Figurinus: O corpo em cena – June 20 at FLUP, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

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For those of you who understand Portuguese, you are more than welcome to come see me share part of my research on Mme. de Villedieu’s Le Favori, this Friday, June 20 at 17h. I’ll have the privilege and pleasure to speak alongside FLUP Prof. Isabel Morujão and Teatro Nacional São João’s director, Nuno Carinhas. I am looking forward to seeing you there!

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Sala: Sala de Reuniões 9:30 | Sessão de Abertura

FIGURINUS : O CORPO EM CENA JORNADA INTERNACIONAL

PROGRAMA

20 de junho de 2014

9:45 | Sessão A
Moderador : Alexandra Moreira da Silva

Marco Consolini (Univ. Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3) – Entre corps exhibé et corps libéré, entre «toilettes» et «costumes-uniformes». Une réflexion historiographique

10:45 | Pausa 11:00 | Sessão B

Moderador: Pedro Eiras

Maria Luísa Malato (Univ. Porto/ILC) – O figurinus e o impossível Grau Zero em cena Pedro Sobrado (TNSJ) – Senadores romanos com cabeças de xerife

Paulo Baptista (Museu do Teatro/IHA/FCSH-UNL) – A companhia Satanela/Amarante e o advento da revista modernista em Portugal Maria Gambina (Designer) – Peças para uma Peça

13:00 | Almoço

14:30 | Sessão C
Moderador: Maria Luísa Malato

Manuela Bronze (ESMAE) – A palavra e o figurino: questões processuais da experiência de uma figurinista

Helena Guerreiro (ESMAE) – Vestir a personagem: do quotidiano à cena. ‘Jesus is a Popstar’: a iconografia religiosa e a cultura pop

Constança Carvalho Homem (Mala Voadora) – ‘The sun always shines on tv’: estação única, pronto-a-vestir e novas tendências na cena pós-dramática

Luís Mestre (Univ. Porto) – O actor (não) vai nu 16:45 | Pausa

17:00 | Sessão D
Moderador: Gonçalo Vilas-Boas

Nuno Carinhas (TNSJ) – Hábitos, Transformações, Formalidades

Natália Perez (Atriz) – ‘A mais bela noite do mundo’: Estética, teatro e poder na corte de Luis XIV

Isabel Morujão (Univ. Porto/CITCEM) – “Meu espelho, eu não te tolho”: Possibilidades para o corpo em cena no Fidalgo Aprendiz de D. Francisco Manuel de Melo.

Carlos Ferreira (UFBA)/ Jorge Pessoa – O encenador/performer na construção estética para corpos que não veem

19:00 | Encerramento

Organização: Alexandra Moreira da Silva Gonçalo Vilas-Boas

Isabel Morujão

http://www.ilcml.com

Video

Lost History: Rediscovering the Taíno People

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In this short documentary, historians from Indiana University show us a little bit about one of the first people that Columbus encountered when his fleet arrived in the New World. The Taíno people, who lived in the Great Antilles and were part of the Arawak indigenous family, were severely affected by the Spanish arrival. In just a few decades, the Taíno population was decimated by violence, diseases and enslavement.

Produced by:
Angela Sorury
Alicia Tryon
Jacob Fisk
Brian Myers
Chadwick M. Hanes

‘You who write, choose a subject that’s matched by your powers’*

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Waiting at Václav Havel airport at 9pm after the 2nd TEEME cohort’s Rhetoric Course makes you wonder why trains to Canterbury only run until 10:42pm on Sundays. It also makes you realise how modes of persuasion do not seem to be so effective these days as people appear not to grasp the linguistic complexity of ‘only one piece of hand luggage allowed’ on low-cost flights. Who knows? They might be thinking that it is a synécdoche where the hand luggage actually stands for the whole of their belongings.

After one week in Prague we started seeing our PhD tasks from another angle and we asked ourselves: are those distorted windows preventing us from putting theory into practice? Is it only poetry that needs to be delightful & instructive? If one looks backwards it may seem that during the first year of the doctorate we have spent more time looking outside the window than writing down our proofs and improving our rhetoric skills. Let’s hope the quest for the perfect thesis will not reveal itself to be one vicious Vico’s cycle.

As intense as it was, we fully enjoyed exploring our way with words for 5 days. Even knowing that we will be back in Prague in less than a month, the last day we had enough energy left to drop backpacks and laptops off at home and go dancing. Walking back at 4am we walked Charles Bridge in the morning mist, which we all agreed is as close as it gets to Longinus’s Sublime. After a week that took us from Protagoras to Ginzburg, it was Depeche Mode who reminded us that, sometimes, Words are very unnecessary.

Valentina & Daniel

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*Horace, Ars Poetica

“Longinus o’er a Bottle, Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.”

Nat and Annemie at Kafka Museum Prague

This last week, TEEME 2 went to Prague for a Rhetoric module with Prof. Martin Procházka. Not only did we have an interesting overview of the intricate history of Rhetoric, but also many long discussions about its relationship to our work at TEEME–and a fair share of digressions, too.

Each of us contributed to the module in their own way, with strong opinions, subversive digressions, or weird remarks (I was a champion on this one, according to Daniel). There was one topic, though, on which we definitely had consensus: Prague is a beautiful city!

If we learned one thing from last week’s class is that words might be wonderful, but they are not enough for us. So we finished off our rhetorical week over a bottle of beer, dancing to “Enjoy the Silence.”

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Sixteenth century light bulbs and indoor theatres

“I never realised that there was electric floodlighting in Shakespeare’s time” said my friend, smirking, as we waited for the evening performance of The Tempest to begin. “Well the performances at the Globe would have happened in the afternoon, so it sort of replicates the day-light…” I started to reply, ever on the defensive, but was thankfully cut off by the play starting, before I drifted into a monologue about theatre lighting…

A monologue which I have saved till now, you’ll be pleased to know!

 

The Wits

Chandeliers and footlights in an English private theatre, from the title page of The Wits (1673). Notice Falstaff and Mistress Quickly in the foreground!

It is true that there are historical inconsistencies when it comes to the Globe- a sprinkler system over the thatch, fire extinguishers and exit signs- but all because the place is as much a contemporary working theatre as it is a reconstruction of an Elizabethan one. It is also a ‘working’ theatre in the sense that researchers use the Globe to explore how the space affects performance and audience reaction. Beginning in January next year, researchers will soon be able to conduct even more of these experiments with the opening of the Sam Wanamaker indoor playhouse. How do performances change when they are transferred from the outdoor to the indoor stage? How will the audience react to certain scenes- once they are seen by candle light, rather than the daylight conditions of the Globe? Will different types of people come to the indoor productions? What will the changes mean for the acoustics?

I’m especially interested to see what the new space will look like in candle light. Of course modern audiences will have a very different reaction to this than early modern audiences did, not just because we are used to bright, electric lighting while they would have been used to lower levels of light, but also because candle light was an expensive luxury, and would therefore have a different symbolic and social meaning to Jacobean audiences than it does to us. This light would also have been enhanced by being reflecting on shiny surfaces like the silks, jewels, metals and embroidery of the audience and actors alike. Cosmetics, such as ground pearl, enamel or ground oyster shell could also be used to make the most of the stage lighting, as the Globe’s Dr Karim-Cooper explains in Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (2006).

Since having done my work placement at the Globe, I have been thinking differently about my own research, concentrating more on the practicalities of how certain plays by the Italian writer and controversialist, Pietro Aretino, were performed. This past week, I have been looking into the history of Aretino’s play, Talanta, in which a courtesan named, err, Talanta, is courted by four different suitors. In comparison to other plays of this period, we actually have a lot of information about Talanta’s first performance. The play was commissioned by a group of young noblemen who were organising the entertainment for the Venice Carnival in February 1542. Just as The Tempest was performed at court in November 1611 (and again in February 1613 for the wedding of James I’s daughter, Elizabeth), Talanta was initially an occasional piece of theatre, i.e. written to celebrate a specific event. Because it was a ‘one off’ performance, there is a paper trail that gives us the sort of information that we otherwise would not have about the staging of a public play. For example, we know that an empty, previously untouched room had been found for the performance, and that Aretino had asked the artist Giorgio Vasari to decorate it and design a perspective set of the city of Rome for the stage. Like Aretino, Vasari came from Arezzo and was the writer of the Lives of the Artists (1550), a biography of various artists from the Italian Renaissance.

Coming across excerpts from these documents (letters sent by Vasari to his patron describing his work for the play, or a receipt detailing the agreement between him, the event organisers and Aretino made in the months before the play) I began to think about whether there was any cross-over between the logistics for the performance of Talanta and those of performances at indoor theatres or at court in Shakespeare’s day. One thing that caught my eye was Vasari’s description of how the auditorium and the stage were lit.

 

I was going to put in a image here of a Festival Decoration by Giorgio Vasari (1541), which shows the frieze and accompanying lighting that Vasari had designed for Talanta, however I’m not enough of a technical whizz to work out how to copy these pictures into this post! If you’re duly interested enough, you can see them in Schulz’s ‘Vasari at Venice’ article.

Meanwhile- here’s Vasari looking suitably stern in his frontispiece to the Lives of the Artists: 

Vasari frontispiece

The lighting doubled up as a theatrical device: Vasari describes the use of an artificial sun that moved from East to West across both the stage and the auditorium, strung from a wire. The sun was in fact a candle in a giant glass sphere, and so it may also have been a way to exhibit the Venetian expertise in glass-blowing by the artisans of Murano. This was not a unique device: it had previously been used in Antonio Landi’s Commodo (1539) for the marriage of Cosimo I de Medici in Florence and reappears in another Medici marriage celebration, this time of Francesco I and Joanna of Austria in 1565, for the performance of Francesco d’Ambra’s Cofanaria.”[i]

While less symbolic, the lighting for the rest of the room was no less inventive. In Vasari’s account in his augmented edition of the Lives of the Artists (2nd ed 1568) he writes that the room was lit from ‘above’ in “a frieze full of lights and glass globes filled with distilled waters, to the end that these, having lights behind them, might illuminate the whole apartment.”[ii] I assume that the water helps to diffuse the candle light more evenly, making the glass spheres or, in effect, light bulbs, more luminous, though any thoughts from the more scientifically minded on this question are welcome! In his article on Vasari’s involvement with the production of this play, Jürgen Schulz included the above pen, brown ink & wash study by Vasari, entitled Festival Decoration and currently kept at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and dated to 1541. Schulz believes that this image fits with the various documents detailing the decoration of the stage and auditorium. As you can see, at the top of the frieze in both of these sketches are the glass globes that Vasari describes as being filled with ‘distilled waters’ and lit from behind with candles. [iii]

These globes are not just functional, but have been worked into the surrounding decoration. Filled with ‘distilled waters’, they may also have been used to create a fittingly ‘watery’ light, as we know from Vasari that it had been decorated not to reflect the topic or even the setting (in Rome) of Talanta, but rather as a paean to Venice and the allegorical figures of Italian rivers.

I wonder if this practice could have travelled over to English performances, especially in court masques and maybe even indoor theatres such as the Blackfriars too. It would be great to see how effective this style of lighting is in an indoor theatre, what difference it makes to naked candle-light: with the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse opening soon, maybe we could begin experimenting!

 


[i] Christopher Cairns, “Theatre as Festival: The Staging of Aretino’s Talanta (1542) and the Influence of Vasari”, Italian Renaissance Festivals and their European Influence (eds J.R. Mulryne & Margaret Shewring, 1992) p.107

[ii] From the Life of Doceno, transl. Gaston C. DeVere, Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol. VII, (Macmillan; London,  1912-15)

[iii]  For an article on the staging of Talanta, see Jürgen Schulz, “Vasari at Venice”, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 103, no 705, (Dec. 1961), pp.500-11. See also the introduction to Christopher Cairns’ introduction to his translation of Talanta in Three Renaissance Comedies,  ed. C. Cairns, (The Edwin Mellen Press: Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter, 1991)

Weimar and The Duchess Anna Amalia Library

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Last week, TEEME Berlin went on a field trip to Weimar to visit the Duchess Anna Amalia Library:

IMG_9306The Duchess Anna Amalia Library is a public research library for literary and cultural history with a collection focusing on German literature from the period around 1800. It preserves literary documents dating from the 9th to the 21st centuries as sources of cultural history and research, indexes them according to form and content and makes them available for use. The library collection amounts to 1 million articles. After being damaged by fire in 2004, the historic library building with the famous Rococo Hall has now been reopened and can be visited by a maximum 290 persons every day (except Mondays).

[from: http://www.klassik-stiftung.de/en]

As an Early Modernist (yes, I am embracing the title with pride :-)), I was most impressed with the “Album Amicorum” exhibit, which we saw at the Renaissance Hall. The Anna Amalia Library has the world’s largest collection of these friendship books, and they date from as early as 1550. Unfortunately I could not understand much of the explanations (I am still working on my German), but the visual artwork is very beautiful. The slide show below has pictures taken during our visit to the library and also during our little tour around Weimar.

Stained Glass at Canterbury Cathedral

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Do you see the man dressed in the yellow tunic with a green cape on the picture? His name is Eilward and he is big trouble. In this picture, he is being accused of robbery by his neighbor Fulk. Here’s how the story goes: apparently, Eilward owed Fulk some money and did not want to pay. One day, they were both in the same tavern and they got into a drunken fight about the debt. Eilward got mad and decided to invade his creditor’s home and steal something to teach him a lesson. The problem is that Eilward was caught in the act, and Fulk brought the problem to the authorities.

Eilward was condemned, his eyes were plucked out and his genitals cut off. But he was a believer in the miracles of St. Thomas Beckett, and prayed hard for help.

He had a vision where he was visited by St. Thomas, who touched his eyes with a staff and restored his eyesight. Eilward was so happy that he decided to go to Canterbury Cathedral to worship the shrine of St. Thomas Beckett in thanks to the miracle he experienced.

On his way there, he met with many people who were surprised to see him so well. The panel above shows Eilward pointing to his own eyes, telling someone on the street that a miracle by St. Thomas restored his vision. One of his colleagues is still very skeptical and points to Eilward’s crotch. Did St. Thomas give that back too?[1]

This is one example of the many miracle stories depicted on the stained glass windows of the Canterbury Cathedral. These windows once served to teach lessons to visitors of the place, many illiterate, who came from all over Europe to pray at the shrine of Thomas Beckett. Among the themes depicted on the windows were biblical stories and Christ’s genealogy. In fact, the oldest window that remains shows a picture of Adam digging in the Garden of Eden, the first figure in Jesus’s genealogy.

In the early modern era, with the advent of Protestantism and the Reformation, much religious art was destroyed by iconoclasts, including many medieval stained glass windows. All throughout Northern Europe, many reformers attacked images, statues, and other art work that showed images of God, because they believed these constituted idolatry, which the Ten Commandments strictly prohibited. Canterbury Cathedral was also targeted by iconoclasm, of which one of the most important instances was the dismantling of St. Thomas Beckett’s shrine in 1538 by order of Henry VIII.[2] In the first half of the seventeenth century, Puritans also did a lot of damage to the religious images, including to sculptures and medieval stained glass panels. Adding to that destruction we have the action of bombs during the Second World War, environmental effects, vandalism, and neglect. Today, what remains of these historic panels is under the care of the Cathedral Conservation Studios.

One of the important differences between a conservation studio and a restoration studio is in the way each approaches the care of stained glass. Rather than simply improving the appearance of the object, or replacing what is damaged, the main goal of a conservation studio is to maintain the integrity of the historical object for as long as possible. Any change must be reversible and the original materials are kept until there is no other option possible. This differs widely from the restoration techniques used by the Cathedral personnel of the 19th century, whose restoration efforts went as far as replacing broken panels with entirely new copies of the designs.

Léonie Seliger, head of Stained Glass Conservation, took TEEME on a visit of the scaffolding that is currently covering the South Oculus window of the cathedral, to show us how the conservators work. This window is currently undergoing renovations to have protective glazing installed, which will help shield the historic glass from the weather and pollution. Observation of the North Oculus had already indicated that having protective glazing might be beneficial, but a study conducted over a period of 18 months by TC Associates Ltd, environmental monitoring specialists, served as confirmation of the anecdotal evidence:

“No condensation was measured on the protected historic glass, while the unprotected stained glass was regularly dripping with water on the internal as well as the external face (there obviously from rain water). At no time did the protected glass reach higher surface temperatures than the unprotected glass. During cold periods, the surface temperature of the unprotected glass dropped far more than that of the unprotected glass. This means that the amplitude of temperature difference is significantly reduced through well ventilated protective glazing, reducing thermal stress on historic glass and lead. Liquid water on the historic glass is now completely absent, and since water is the primary agent of corrosion of glass, the elimination of water on its surface will vastly reduce the rate of corrosion.”[3]

Once we got up in the scaffolding, 20 meters above ground, the first thing Ms. Seliger made us notice was a huge, heavy iron grill that covers the ferramenta of the South Oculus. Engineers used to think this structure was from the 19th century, probably an addition to provide support to the ferramenta against wind and deformation. However, the installation of the scaffolding in 2006 allowed them to inspect the grill from up close, and an expert on medieval ironwork confirmed that it was all part of the same ironwork dating from the late 12th century. The way the metal was weaved together meant that this grill had to have been installed during the construction of the building, and not centuries afterwards. To open such a large round window in the wall was a challenge for builders in the 12th century: having the hole meant that the building structure was weakened. This heavy iron frame is the solution the builders came up with; it not only serves as support for the ferramenta artwork (more on this in a moment), but it also helps sustaining the wall of the cathedral. The curious fact is that such space frames were thought to be an architectural invention of the 19th century, but the South Oculus at Canterbury Cathedral shows that 12th century builders knew quite a bit about civil engineering.

Another important function of the wrought iron grill was to help give structure to the ferramenta, the metalwork that supports the stained glass. Even though the ferramenta was made of metal, its delicate design did not provide enough support in itself, so a structure frame was crucial for handling the panel during installation. Without this added support, the panel would flap over like a sheet of paper and break. Note that ‘during installation,’ in this case, means in the year 1180.

Once we got down from the scaffolding, we had a short presentation about the South Oculus conservation project. After that, we headed to the Stained Glass Studio, where much of the delicate conservation work is done. It is there that the conservators bring the stained glass panels to be cleaned, repaired, and stored until they are ready to go back on the window. It is also there that most of the efforts to document the conservation process are done. Keeping detailed records of any work in the historic panels is considered today one of the most important aspects of the studio’s work. “It is impossible to foresee what future generations might want to learn from the glass, so efforts are made to cover all aspects of the work and the materials.”[4]

The studio not only works with the conservation of historical stained glass, but also receives commissions for new art work. Ms. Seliger showed us how a panel is made, from the design to the cutting and fitting into the lead work. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to take a look at the process of firing the glass, but we did peek into the microscopes to see some of the decay in the stained glass from really close. One of the conservators working at the studio showed us the painstaking work of cleaning a medieval panel with a soft brush. In order to avoid damaging the glass, she has to gently and repeatedly brush it, trying to remove the corrosion without actually using force. Placing the panel on a luminous table, we could see through transmitted light some of the more severe damage that the glass had suffered.

Photo credits: Jon Oster


[1] This refers to the panel at North Aisle, Trinity Chapel, Window 5, medallion 3. This story was based on the oral account of John Butler, our guide during the visit to Canterbury Cathedral, and on the entry about Eilward of Westoning on the archives at Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council Archives and Records Services. Link visited on 12/11/2012 http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/CommunityAndLiving/ArchivesAndRecordOffice/
CommunityArchives/Westoning/EilwardOfWestoning.aspx
[2] Collinson, P., Ramsay, N., Sparks, M. A History of Canterbury Cathedral, Oxford University Press, p. 154.
[3] The South Oculus Window of Canterbury Cathedral: The preservation of a unique medieval work of art and engineering, p. 9. http://stained-glass-studio.org.uk/assets/files/South%20Oculus%20conservation%20project.pdf 

Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World

Sorry for major delay in response, but in answer to Linnea’s post below, at the end of June, I’m heading to a conference up in St Andrews, called ‘Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World’. I’ll be giving a paper about the English publisher of some of Aretino’s works, John Wolfe, and his involvement with the foreign book trade in London. Am writing it up right now, and have found some interesting points about the movement of these banned books around Europe. Far too much stuff to put into a paper, but certainly some good material for one of the chapters of my thesis. The conference is part of the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) project, which intends to collect all the early modern book catalogues across Europe together in one searchable database: perfect for anyone doing work similar to our TEEME programme! As off-shoots of this main database, there are books being published, conferences held, research projects created. The link to the conference is: http://www.ustc.ac.uk/?p=949

I’m currently booking various B&Bs, and flight and train tickets- as I was planning in stopping over in London and Edinburgh on the way up/down from St Andrews. Realise that it’s going to be the build up to the Olympics while in London- which both excites and worries me a little! Can’t wait to spend some tourist time in Edinburgh though, any suggestions for what to see are welcome.

And the rest of the summer: much more fun-than-work-related: heading for a weekend break to Madrid, and at the end of July, there’s a great music festival here in Porto…well, just over the other side of the river in Gaia, but essentially within driving distance from home. It’s called the Marés Vives festival and so far the line up includes Scissor Sisters, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and my personal faves- Gogol Bordello. If anyone wants to combine a visit to Porto with going to this festival- it’s only 50euros (till June, then it rises to 60euros) for 4 days. http://www.festivaisverao.com/Festivais-2012/Festival-Mares-Vivas-2012.html