Archive for ‘Best of 2008’


“Walk on slowly, don’t look behind you…”

The old year passes, giving way to the new. I enjoy writing this blog, but 2008 was made especially worthwhile by those of you who’ve read, linked, and commented during the past twelve months.

Maybe you’re looking for something to read during a slow blog week; perhaps you’re a newcomer trying to figure out what this site is all about. Either way, here are some “Quid Plura?” highlights from the year that’s winding down.

“Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three.”
What hath Charlemagne to do with SpaghettiOs?

What hath Oscar Micheaux to do with Geoffrey Chaucer?

What hath C.S. Lewis to do with presidential polling?

Farewell, Prime Material Plane. This year, we bid adieu to one of the most influential American medievalists of the 20th century.

“Down by the sea…” The beach in winter is a fine place to meet Vikings and raid a dragon temple.

Lights, camera, incoherence! Yes, I’ll happily defend the Miles O’Keefe-Sean Connery masterpiece Sword of the Valiant. (Although it’s easier to make a case for Edith Sitwell.)

Dona eis requiem: Join me in the search for medieval saints in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. We’ll wave as my levitating niece flies by.

Bitte, wo ist der Dom? Live near a cathedral, translate a poem about pilgrims, gawk as an artist makes that cathedral psychadelic, mourn when they close down the greenhouse, ponder the controversial stained glass of Cologne.

Igra rokenrol cela Jugoslavija: This year, Balkan medievalism revived unnerving memories of the Battle of Kosovo and put the capture of Radovan Karadzic in context.

“Crom, I have never prayed to you before…” In 2008, war in the Caucasus meant rediscovering the medievalist nationalism of South Ossetia and muddling through the baffling history of Georgia.

I gave her cakes, and I gave her ale… This year, the “Quid Plura?” kitchen was filled with the sweet scents of medieval Baghdad and the rueful quacking of late-medieval England. Alas, we failed to find the holy grail in the cupboard.

Like a Yule log, except that it can eat you. Cherish the memory of Medieval Shark Week.

Money, so they say. This year, the credit crunch reminded us that financial derivatives have medieval roots.

My car is parked outside, I’m afraid it doesn’t work. As the global financial system flirted with Ragnarok, Icelanders propped up banks with names that hark back to Norse mythology and teach us Germanic linguistics. If the Icelanders can retain their fragile independence, they may end up preserving modern culture beneath man-made molehills.

Incommunicado, it’s the only way. Sometimes, it’s fun to be a writer.

Sha la la la la la la… When you’re born and raised in the Garden State, there aren’t enough antibiotics in the world to get the place out of your blood, thank goodness. You can’t help but remember the Jersey Shore, a favorite bookstore, and the way history meets at intersections. (The state of the state also explains why I don’t write about politics.)

Page after page: In May, I started reading and reviewing all of Lloyd Alexander’s non-Prydain books. I’m halfway done; read the reviews here.

No joke: In June, “Quid Plura?” readers gave $427 to Paralyzed Veterans of America, for which I am still very grateful.