In Praise of the “And” in an “Or” Culture

I was struck recently by A New York Times column by Frank Bruni, an individual of a kind of rhetoric that’s become a species unto itself in recent years: laments about the state of the “humanities” in contemporary universities. I found myself agreeing with many of Bruni’s broadest points but questioning most of the particulars […]

My Declaration of Arbroath Revitalised

A few months ago, I published a brief post on the 1320 document known as the “Declaration of Arbroath” in the midst of what was, at the time, the ramp-up to the recent referendum on Scottish independence. It contained a brief reflection on the phenomenon of using that document in political debates that post-date the […]

Surfing the Matrix: A Medievalist Does Tech

Surfing the Matrix¬† Here’s an interesting etymology for you: In the present, the word “Matrix” conjures a lot of high-tech imagery. Part of my mind immediately envisions that parade of mystical green characters cascading down a screen in front of Keanu Reeves, the manifestation, in raw digital code, of the virtual creation most people in […]

The Strange Afterlife of the “Declaration of Arbroath”: With an Introduction, Edition, and Translation

I was interested–but not entirely astonished–to find an article in a recent Scotsman about Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s presentation of a “new Declaration of Arbroath” as an expression of support for the present-day Scottish independence movement. I’m not Scottish, of course (save by very remote descent), so I don’t think I’m qualified to have […]