Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Blogging Dead?

I have just received an email informing me that this blog is listed on another blog posting entitled 50 Best Blogs for Medieval History Geeks. I tell you this not to blow my own trumpet, but to point out that there are 49 other excellent blogs listed there. There are some of my favourites, and some I haven't discovered yet so I will have to have a good look myself.
This is particularly interesting because I read recently some IT type claiming that people are not blogging anymore. However, I get the impression that there are increasing numbers of blogs around with something to say. I think it actually means that the very young people are giving it up, using their two minute attention spans in the more rapid fire media of Twitter and Facebook and the like. Perhaps if they expressed themselves in more leisurely media, they would have some thinking time to avoid getting into all the embarrassing situations they seem to manage on those social media.
Meanwhile, we bloggers are just slipping back into the middle ages, or getting middle aged.

Friday, November 05, 2010

John Paston's Books

Recently, when the family medievalist finally abandoned his university office and retired to a study at home, we transported boxes and boxes and boxes of books to a charity which runs secondhand book fairs. We both still have large studies packed to the gunwales with shelves of books. Naturally, in the 15th century when nearly every book was written out by hand, readers and book owners had to be much more selective.
In keeping with my recent trend of putting up on the website examples of horrible messy handwriting of truly interesting content, the last script sample and paleography exercise are a list of books written out by John Paston II in the late 1470s. They comprised his personal library. This funny scrap is part of the famous collection of Paston Letters in the British Library, so it is famous. As well as being in a script that is like cod liver oil, nasty but good for you, it sheds a little light on that whole topic of medieval literacy and the valuation of books. Enjoy it even if you can't read it.
I will get back to the mulberry tree, promise. I'm sure you are as fascinated by it as I am.