Archive for ‘Best of 2009’


“Gekommen um zu bleiben, wir gehen nicht mehr weg…”

“It’s a clear case,” Alcuin once wrote to Charlemagne about winter portents, “because all the children know they’re sliding down into the valley; they’re all slipping on the same snow.” As baffling as I’ve always found that cryptic and much-debated statement, I do know this: “Quid Plura?” increased its readership in 2009, even though updates were sporadic and the content increasingly eccentric.

So whether you’re a new reader or an old one, I thank you for checking in—and for continuing to make this little site worth writing.

Without further ado, here’s the year in “Quid Plura?,” 2009 edition.

The year began with a surprising discovery: a medieval poem translated by both Langston Hughes and T.S. Eliot. (I could scarcely believe it myself.)

Most popular post of the year, without question: an appreciation of the Pogues.

“QP?” readers were also charmed by Anna Julia Cooper, the most inspiring medievalist you’ve never heard of.

Less popular, but still fun: praise for Christopher Logue’s pseudo-translation of Homer.

Of interest only to me, perhaps: connecting the banking crisis in Iceland to the medieval founders of Reykjavik.

Amid much fanfare, I invented a new soft drink: galangal ale.

Meanwhile, my open letter to the Sci-Fi Channel went unanswered.

Did Charlemagne say “to have another language is to possess a second soul”? Probably not, and I’m not sure the quip is even true.

Medievalism turned up in wonderful places: Polish medievalism in Central Park, Welsh medievalism on the National Mall, and Louisiana medievalism both unfiltered and filtered through Longfellow and represented by a riot of statues. Later, King Arthur reigned in suburban Virginia and hobbits were in grave danger in Ocean City, Maryland.

Oh, and we saw medievalism on General Hospital. (Seriously!)

Two Romanesque arches converged on a Maryland highway, and that, at least for bus passengers, has made all the difference.

Fortunately, the mass convergence for Obama’s inauguration didn’t turn out like Rome’s first Jubilee Year.

If you need an expert on Viking weapons and combat, then have I got a guy for you.

Much purchased, little read: Tolkien’s Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun and its Wagnerian connection.

Everyone praised The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as a Dominican-American story, but it’s more than that: it’s also a New Jersey novel.

When you commit to reviewing all non-Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander, you get to read charming rarities like Janine is French.

When you’re preparing to teach Modern Science Fiction and Fantasy, old books scurry back into your life. You have to settle on teachable novels and stories and see Internet history in dog-eared pulps.

If you’re attuned to oddities, you’ll also find a long-dead science fiction writer forgotten by her alma mater.

What should you do if you spot a gargoyle on a neighbor’s roof? Why, you write a poem about the creature, of course. The same holds true if you meet a wild boar or eavesdrop on an octopus reassessing her love for a lobster.

Thanks for your eyeballs in 2009! Here’s to a prolific 2010.