I have been neglectful of the blog lately, and while that’s unfortunate for the tiny elect of readers, I have been writing all the same, just not for the blog. Here then is the February review, in all its tattered splendour.
Today’s frustrating reading experience comes from David Eltis, The Military Revolution in Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: I. B. Taurus, 1995). On it’s face, this is an argument in favour of back-dating the start of the “Military Revolution” thesis, argued in the first instance by Michael Roberts in 1955, as occurring in the early 17th century. Eltis may be correct in identifying the most significant changes in the practice of warfare back a century or so, but you feel like that’s almost a happy accident. Eltis gets where he was going despite himself.
And with that clumsy attempt at internet humour I will indulge in a belated Xmas ritual where I construct a precarious tower from all my new books and regale listeners with tedious bibliographical praise.
The holidays are not compatible with daily writing habits and they are even less amenable to writing, editing and posting to a blog. At least, that’s my situation. While I am working on something with a broader purpose (and which requires some research and careful drafting) I have a little time today to write about one very fortunate present.
Script or no script? That is a question I have answered to my satisfaction, but opinion will vary based on personal taste. The conference last Friday was my 6th conference paper and the 3nd paper to be read from a script. Like the 1st one (actually, the 2nd one chronologically but you get the meaning), it felt clumsy, I read too quickly, I lost my place twice, and I’m not sure the audience was following me. From now on, it’s point-form notes only. Continue reading
During a brief Skype conversation with Z, I lamented my low productivity of late and that I had several things to do on this otherwise unoccupied Saturday. Z thought that perhaps, considering that it was the weekend and a traditional period of rest, that I should skip worrying about work and do something else. Perfectly sensible, except that most of the time, what I consider fun is also very close to what I also consider work. It’s a paradox that the most fun I have usually involves considerable (and not always planned) productivity so fun can be measured as work. Ah well, such is the life of the academically pre-disposed.
While the official Oxford observance of Guy Fawkes day occurred on Saturday, there have been intermittent fireworks blowing off after 6:30pm, every night, since the 3rd. This tends to go on, in salvos, until about 11.
I am working on something more substantial for PBS readers at the moment, but I just read something that required some thought, and thought ran to writing and here we are. I’ll take advantage of the aside function in the blog for this one to indicate its ‘superficial’ nature.
I regret that today’s blog entry has no real theme, other than they are reasonably recent events. Consider this a commonplace collection for the internets. Most of these are at least relevant to the general purpose of the blog. They have some historical element, they relate to research or the tasks of the academic, or the inform the ongoing experiment that is the LD student in higher-education.
For some reason, this entry resisted clean-up through the WordPress system so I have disposed of the offending original and re-posted this one.
S. J. Payling wrote a short article back in 1998 that grappled with the unresolved problem of violence, order and the judiciary in fifteenth-century England. The problem, as it appears in many studies of Late Medieval English gentry, concerns the apparent lack of teeth in the English judicial system when it comes to the prosecution of violent crimes, especially when it concerns issues of property and inheritance. The argument is that despite all the bluster of the courts and the Crown, “coercive royal justice” was unable to “control the level of conflict through the deterrence of punishment.” Part of this failure is ascribed to corrupt local officials who had little incentive to stick to the letter of the law. Most “violent self-help” was controlled at the local, social level and the crown, excluded from the process, appears weak and incapable of maintaining order on its own authority.1