amelia_petkova: (Default)
I'm only through Books 1 and 2 of the super-long Le Morte d'Arthur and I kind of want to have a drinking game where you take a shot every time somebody dies but then you'd die of alcohol poisoning after five pages and you wouldn't even get to have Merlin make a pretty tomb for you.

Pangur Ban

Aug. 20th, 2016 06:19 pm
amelia_petkova: (Default)
The medievalists on my friends list are gonna like this. (My apologies for leaving off the accent mark--I don't know how to add it when typing online.)

For a brief overview, "Pangur Ban" is a poem that was written by an Irish monk in the 9th century C.E. What is it about? It's about the monk's white cat who shares his room and chases mice while the monk focuses on his studies.

Now for the fun part: my new favorite book at work is a children's picture book titled The White Cat and the Monk. It's a sweet book that retells the poem with wonderful illustrations showing the cat and monk at their duties throughout the monastery at night until dawn arrives. It even has a historical note at the end!

I love that people were writing poems about their cats over 1,200 years ago; I love that the monk basically named his pet "White Cat"; I love that the monk's poem about his cat has survived all that time; and above all, I love that somebody in the present day thought it was worth making into a book for children. When I'm having a rough day, all of this makes me smile.

You can read the poem itself here.
amelia_petkova: (pre-raph Persephone)
I finally got around to reading "Táin Bo Cuailnge" (listening to "The Tain" by the Decemberists is gong to make so much more sense now). After asking for recommendations, I read the edition by Thomas Kinsella and it's great. The story is very accessible, the introduction has a lot of useful information, and there are several maps that turned out to be helpful when I was reading. Years ago on a whim I bought the "Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology" which, besides being interesting on its own, let me refer to it to make sure I didn't miss anything while I was reading the epic.

Some thoughts, more or less in the order of the plot )

Great story, would read it again.
amelia_petkova: (apple tree)
As a preface, I recommend reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to anyone. It's a fantastic story and you have a large number of translations to choose from.

I spent four days this week working a cash register in a college bookstore. It's their first week of classes and the students were forced to spend ridiculous amounts of money on textbooks. I had a little fun when they were buying books for literature classes. The following was the highlight of my Thursday:

mild spoilers for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight )

I'm going to be laughing about that all night. God bless medieval lit.

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