Friday, August 15, 2014

Chapter 2 so far

John Gower's tomb, Southwark Cathedral, London

The same comments that I made for Chapter 1 apply for Chapter 2. The difference in Chapter 2, though, is that I have already gone through the draft once with a view to trim significant sections. The chapter draft initially was ~29,000 words, and I cut it to ~25,000. It reads much better, but the draft has a long way to go before I am happy with it.

One mistake that I probably made in this chapter is to write both on John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer. They are too similar in many ways to both be included when I can only choose about a dozen examples for this chapter. Both Gower and Chaucer are English, from the same era, were friends, and are important early poets ("moral Gower" came to be overshadowed by Chaucer's works). Of course a similar criticism could be made of the choices of Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas (Italian colleagues at the University of Paris). But Bonaventure and Thomas give interesting and different perspectives (and Bonaventure's Commentary on Luke is incredibly important, often overlooked, and different form Thomas Aquinas's approach). So both Thomas and Bonaventure will stay.  

I initially chose Gower because he is so important and not as well-known as Chaucer, but then I realized that Chaucer should not be omitted. I may make Gower's section a introductory subset of Chaucer's to try to give students a flavor of his work and some idea of his importance. I can't tell you, by the way, how many time I typed "Gowler" when I meant to type "Gower."

For this chapter, I got to read a lot of materials from and about people that I had never read before: Hildegaard of Bingen, Wazo of Liège, Bonaventure, John Gower (I had seen his tomb in Southwark Cathedral but had never read his stuff), and Antonia Pulci. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot as well.

Here 'tis:

Chapter 2: 550-1500 CE (trimmed from 29,000 words to ~25,000)
  • Gregory the Great
  • Bede the Venerable
  • Wazo of Liège
  • Golden Gospels of Echternach (four parables)
  • Theophylact
  • Hildegaard of Bingen
  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Bonaventure
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • John Gower (may be deleted)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Antonia Pulci
  • Albrecht Dürer (pre-1500 etching)

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