Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I sent the thesis in on Monday morning, although I've been stressing about whether it would be good enough so much since then that I didn't really want to announce my completion.

Meanwhile, Sister Andrea continues to nitpick at the world's descriptions of the Middle Ages:

Salon thinks it understands Tolkien's academic work. It doesn't. (Must view advertisement to read article.)

Tolkien's curriculum vitae consisted of a 1925 translation of the important Middle English poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," along with a 1929 essay on "Ancrene Wisse," a 13th century manuscript offering advice for "anchoresses," or female monks, and "Hali Meidhad," a medieval tract praising virginity.

Irrelevant Point A: The Ancrene Wisse is not a manuscript. It has a fairly large manuscript tradition. There are many manuscripts of the text.

Much More Interesting Point B: Anchoresses are not female monks.
B.1. Monks have long, elaborate vows. Anchoresses have much shorter vows.
B.2. Monks have relative freedom of movement. Anchoresses get bricked up in alcoves, usually adjoining the church.*
B.3. A female monk is called a nun.

Ah, well, I should know better than to expect the non-celibate folks at Salon to have any basis in the history of monasticism.

* They do have windows - one into the church, from which they can receive Mass and confession, and one either outside the anchorhold or into the next room, through which the servants can bring the food and empty the chamberpot.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Still not a master.