Breaking Ground

Gentle Reader,

This is my first blog post on my first ever blog. You may well wonder how it took me this long to do something so… turn of the century. I have no good excuse; only the observation that I’m a prolific and consistently late adopter of a good many dated things (see: first smart phone in 2015, or all the dead languages I’m always excited about learning, or me realizing that [critically acclaimed thing] is actually “pretty great” 12-18 months after it’s been declared so).

This blog comes from a conviction that has slowly dawned on my over the past five years of being cloistered away in Grad School/Medievalia. You see, I spend vast stretches of time reading weird and forgotten things in my own work or at my job at the Lilly Library of Rare Books on IU’s campus. For instance, did you know that Augustine was convinced (Civ. Dei 22.14) Christians will be resurrected at age 30, because that’s when Christ began his earthly ministry? Or that some medieval accounts of hell gave sinners Sundays off from their eternal torment? Or that one version of Viking hell was located inside the rib cages of a giant dragon? Thinking about weird stuff like this, and trying to account for it is what I do. And when my wife makes me go out into the sunlight to socialize, I find that my friends from the real world find these things fascinating too; they want to know where they can go to learn more. My conviction is this: I love teaching and learning… but so much of what I learn is out of reach of most of the people I know. I’m convinced that academic work can be valued by the public if it’s accessible to the public. I’m also certain that the best writing comes from conversation, and that academic work is always improved by dialogue. So I’m launching this blog to invite you in: take a seat, grab a drink, and let’s chat!

We live in a moment where more academic writing than ever is being produced, but it’s also threatened by government cuts and spectral market forces. So it’s also a moment in which all this hard academic work often gets lost or hidden behind expensive paywalls in journals that most people have no idea exist. So, thanks to good examples from people like Brandon Hawk (https://brandonwhawk.net/), Bre Leake, Micah Goodrich (https://micahgoodrich.wordpress.com/), and my fellow Anglo-Saxonist friends at SASLC (https://saslc.wikispaces.com/) and on Twitter, I’m aiming to make my addled thoughts and magpie discoveries more available to you all. For the foreseeable future, this blog will be a place for musing on medieval literature, medievalism in pop culture, theology and history, language oddities, books, and life as a graduate student/young academic. So get your dictionaries out and get excited, because it’s about to get philological in here.

Parting thought: if you see something on here you’d like to talk more about, feel free to Tweet me or email me about it!

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