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..."