Friday, 22 October 2010

Who the heck are you?

Well, I thought I'd better post an introduction to who the heck I am on here...

I am keeping this blog semi-anonymous, mainly as I wish at present to be able to speak freely on whatever I wish, regardless of private or work interests. However, I am not going to hide who I am either.

Facts about me:
  • I am female of "a certain age".
  • I am married to a Red-headed NIrishman but currently have no children.
  • I read Russian Studies as an undergraduate followed by a Library and Information Studies MA.
  • I currently work in libraries in the North West of England but I am originally from the South East.
  • The name Angel Cynn comes from Bede's Historia Ecclesiastic Gentis Anglorum, Book 2.
  • I am an Aspie.
  • I have perseverations on many subjects, including Medieval social history, Historical costume, Names, Etymology, Fairy/Folk tales, Languages and travelling.
  • My favourite season is Winter and I love the snow
  • I love watching steam trains and fireworks
  • I love murlocs
  • My interest in history starts pre-history, wanes from the Romans to about 600-700AD, picks up then until the Wars of the Roses where it dull slightly through the next couple of hundred years and picks up again in the Regency period.
  • I am a geek, I admit it and am sometimes quite proud of it.
  • I have been accused of being a Goth, and I am not offended by this :P
  • I have an addiction to a certain MMORPG
  • I hate censorship but endorse reader guidance - is this a contradiction? :S

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Library Quotes

I was doing some research this week for making some bookmarks for Satelite Site and wanted to put an appropriate quote on the back, but all the ones I found seem to make me want to make commentaries with them. In the end I decided to share a few of my aimless meanderings. The source site, which is linked below, has many many more if you like that kind of thing!
"A library is not a community masturbation centre."
Blaise Cronin
(Library Journal column, 15 November 2002, p.46)
Depends what library you are in… and what gets you off I guess!
"Blaming the library for exposure to pornography is like blaming the lake if your child walks up to it alone, falls in and then drowns."
David Sawyer
(Spokane Spokesman-Review column, 18 December 2000)
I so agree here!
"Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly."
Roger Ebert
(Yahoo! Internet Life column, Sept. 1998, p. 66)
Sometimes those pack rats are good and provide good information. However, some are insidious little bustards who are like woodworm in your floorboards – they undermine the good stuff without you realising until it all suddenly collapses and you have to rebuild all your arguments from the beginning again.
"For him that stealeth a book from this library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck by palsy & all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, & let there be no surcease for his agony until he sink to dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not, & when at last he goeth to his final punishment let the flames of hell consume him for ever & aye."
Attributed to the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona
(unable to identify published source)
Can I put this on the wall in 'my' library? :D
"I accept the risk of damnation. The Lord will absolve me, because He knows I acted for His glory. My duty was to protect the library."
Umberto Eco
(The Name of the Rose. HBJ, 1983, p. 471)
I think that I would stand by this principle – I am a guardian of knowledge. It is not my place in life to dictate what people read, it is to facilitate those who come to me to find what they need.
"I'd like to be in charge of a library, or be an archaeologist. Again, it's research, a bit of detective work -- the things I really love to do."
Bill Wyman
(Publishers Weekly interview, 9 September 2002, p. 53)
THIS is what drew me to libraries. It's also, I think, probably why I still love researching on history and the past.
"Libraries are not safe places, and the reason for that is there are ideas to be found."
Greeley, TX resident John Bookman
(As quoted in Denver Post article, 17 December 2003)
"Librarians are librarians: they are not caregivers, nurturers, social workers, surrogate parents, welfare agents, or therapists. When all is said and done, their role is straightforward: they gather stuff, impose some order on said stuff, and make the stuff available to the public."
Blaise Cronin
(Library Journal column, 15 May 2002, p. 66)
… and woe betide you if you mess with that stuff! ;)
"Libraries are brothels for the mind. Which means that librarians are the madams, greeting punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs, and pimping their books."
Guy Browning
(The Guardian
column, 18 October 2003. Submitted by Lynette in Queensland)
Muhahah, I am a Madam to a Brothel of the Mind. In an FE College no less! :D
"Libraries are your friends."
Neil Gaiman
(submitted by Trey Bunn)
They are. Sitting here, I feel at home. I could live here quite happily…
"My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn't have any excuse to be stupid."
Joan Bauer
(Rules of the Road. Putnam, 1997, p. 142. Props to
The U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian)
I like her Grandma!
"We cannot have good libraries until we first have good librarians -- properly educated, professionally recognized, and fairly rewarded."
Herbert S. White
(Library Journal column, 15 November 1999, pp. 44-45)
I wish Management and Government understood this…
"Where any nation starts awake
Books are the memory. And it's plain
Decay of libraries is like
Alzheimer's in the nation's brain."

Ted Hughes
("Hear It Again")

Original quotations taken from . >> Sig lines

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Just a short, backdated post to source the images I am using on the front page of this blog.

  1. The cover banner is from p. 14 of's Medieval Bestiary.
    It is entitled Pica et Picus by the site, and shows a magpie and a woodpecker set within medalions.
    Source: Bestiary, Росси́йская национальная библиотека имени М.Е. Салтыкова-Щедрина, (Russian National Library / Saltykov-Shchedrin Library), St.Petersburg (MS LatQ.v.V.I) [Exact citation not given on source]

  2. My icon is of Conradin from the Codex Manesse (Folio 7r). Original image:

Friday, 4 June 2010

1. Hygiene

The Middle Ages, were not, overall, stinky, smelly, unsanitary and dirty. Yes, people viewed personal hygiene differently from modern people, but that does not mean a total absence... For many years, this has been my 'hobby horse' subject, and I freely admit I can bore people into several repeated deaths over it! It all started at a re-enactment show, when a member of the public said flippantly, "Well they were all dirty and smelly weren't they!". I felt this to be untrue, but having no evidence either way left me with a question mark in my head wouldn't let me alone. Be it known here and now, that the question mark is the single most inspirational thing for me - I can't let them alone. I hate not knowing or not understanding, and if something sparks me off, I can't let go until all the questions are gone. Which is never of course...!

Where am I now?

So where am I now with regards to research? What has changed?

Current topics
  • The history of personal hygiene in the wider Middle Ages
  • Medievalism and the modern perception of the Medieval period
  • Rosaries
  • The source of the concept of the filthy Middle Ages
Future (near and distant)
This covers areas which interest me, but which either I don't have the time or skill (yet?) to research, or which I am looking into incidentally to other research
  • National and social insults - "Filthy viking marauders", "effete Italians", "impassive Germans" and so on...
  • Links between Muscovy/Rus and the British Isles - mostly interested in the elite and trading links
  • The Varangarians
  • Women's roles in borderlands - especially looking at the Welsh Marches, how women interacted across the borders in times of peace and war, cross border relationships etc.
  • The daughters of Yaroslav the Wise.
  • The place and role of women in medieval court life.
  • Pre-modern Royal ladies-in-waiting - who were they, what did they actually do, what happened to them once their mistresses moved on, either through marriage, political deposition of their husband, or death?
  • Women in Russian folklore - Rusalka, Baba Yaga, Vasilissa Prekrasnaia - roles, actions and importance
  • Folklore and historicity, e.g. Continuing from my BA thesis and looking at the links between Russian folklore and real historical periods (i.e. Do folk tales represent an era, an idealised era, etc.)
Some posts will be a short series outlining my thinking on each of these. My intention is that these will serve as indexes to thinking each subject, although I will use tags for indexing as well (The Librarian in me goes deep ;D)

Beginning of the transfer of material from LiveJournal

I am beginning now to transfer some of my older postings and research notes from my old LiveJournal, as I want to keep my academic interests and my personal/social interests seperate. When I started my research journal there, these were my stated academic interests, past and present:

This is a general journal for me to post information for my own reference. People are welcome to add this, or it's companion , but I will only post original information openly - some entries will be closed as they are reproductions of information retrieved from elsewhere which I don't wish to seem to suggest to be my own work...

Current topics
Katherine de Roet
Katherine le Strange (1st wife of Sir Robert Corbet of Caus Castle)
Queen Joanna of Naples
Mediaeval symbolism
Mediaeval hygiene (toilets and baths especially!)
Medieval rosaries

Topics previously researched about...
Etymology of names
Russian folklore (skazka)
Chekhov's prose and drama
Freedom of information access in 20th century Russia.

Future plans
The daughters of Yaroslav the Wise.
The place and role of women in medieval court life.
The links between medieval England and Russia, before 1500.
Women in Russian folklore.
Links between Russian folklore and early Russian history (i.e. Do folk tales represent an era, an idealised era, etc.)

NB Whilst I am interested in the role, place and representation of women, I am not a feminist. But I am female..."

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I am setting this blog up as a place to keep my thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. In short, these are intended to be the following:
  • Mediaeval personal hygiene
  • Mediaeval literacy
  • Mediaeval nationalism
  • Medievalism
  • Liminality
  • Information access
  • Slavic history, mostly focusing on north-western Russia
  • Costume history
This is likely to be an intermittent blog at least for now!