Friday, 25 June 2010

Film Review: or, why ASNC is good (or possibly bad) for your health

Velda Elliott writes:

It might have been a mistake, but a friend dragged me to see Russell Crowe as Robin Hood recently. She loved it. As an ex-mediaeval historian I had a few more problems: specifically my blood pressure. I know it was set just outside ASNaC’s jurisdiction, but there’s definitely some transferable knowledge.

Now, I understand that they almost certainly had an historical consultant – after all they did get right the fact that chain mail weighs a tonne. Well, okay, maybe three stone, as if you were running around all day with a small child strapped to your back. Robin has to ask Marian to help him off with it before he can bathe. The fact that later in the film Cate Blanchett, a twig of a woman who has most certainly not spent years growing used to the weight, manages to turn up to battle in full chainmail and then fight – hey, I’m not even going to go there. Some romantic licence must be allowed.

Russell Crowe as Robin Hood

So they almost certainly did have an historical consultant, even if they did ignore eighty, eighty-five per cent of what s/he said. Let’s not go into calling the king ‘Your Majesty’ 350 years early, burning a body instead of burying it, wielding a broadsword one-handed, or the boats which needed another 500 years to be invented. I did have an actual head-slapping moment when King John refused to sign the Magna Carta, because, actually, in fact, sorry, he DID ACTUALLY SIGN! The woman sitting next to me looked a bit startled.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Cath Cnucha: a twenty-first century adaptation

Dr Elizabeth Boyle writes:

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting pupils from the City of London Academy – Islington and the Central Foundation Boys’ School who came to Corpus Christi College to find out about university life, and about applying to study at Cambridge. After a series of events and lunch organised by Corpus's Admissions Tutor, Dr Melanie Taylor, I had the opportunity to offer pupils a taster lecture, so that they could experience one of the more unusual subjects one can study at Cambridge, namely Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic.

Some of the wonderful pupils from the Central Foundation Boys' School

We discussed some ideas about 'translation', and how the act of translating an historical source can break down barriers, both linguistic and cultural, and shed new light on the past. But we also talked about the way one chooses to translate a text, and how that can open up the text to new audiences (both Ciaran Carson's translation of The Táin [Penguin: 2007] and Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf [Faber & Faber: 2002] are good examples of this).

Creative talents from City of London Academy - Islington

Friday, 11 June 2010

Parchment, Print and PHP: ASNC Leading the Way

Dr Denis Casey writes:

A recent report on how university research in the arts and humanities is serving society (and how its impact may be effectively measured), undertaken by the not-for-profit policy research organisation RAND Europe, has singled out ASNC's Early Irish Glossaries Project for praise.

Under the heading Research Can Have Planned and Unplanned Impacts, the report highlights the impact that the purpose-built database of that three-year project (undertaken by Dr Paul Russell, Dr Pádraic Moran and Dr Sharon Arbuthnot) has had.
There are often unexpected impacts from a research project. For example, in the Faculty of English, an AHRC-funded project on medieval Irish glossaries developed a sophisticated database which had the unanticipated impact of becoming a model for other such databases in other fields.
The report was commissioned jointly by the University of Cambridge and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

ASNC Open Day

The Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic will be holding an Open Day for prospective undergraduates (parents welcome too!) on 23rd June. Details, and a booking form, can be found here. Senior members of the department will give introductory talks on each of the various papers offered as part of the ASNC degree, and there will be a buffet lunch. In addition, there will be a trip to a College library, with an opportunity to see an exhibition of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic manuscripts. Booking for this event is essential. However, there is also the opportunity to visit the department more informally as part of the University's general admission Open Days on 1st and 2nd July; there is no need to formally book for the July events, although we would be grateful if you could let us know in advance if you plan to visit us.