• Personal

    Dorothy Dunnett Game of Kings Ebook Sale

    There is a temporary sale on the ebook version of Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. This is the first volume of her six-part historical novel series The Lymond Chronicles, for a mere $1.99. The Lymond Chronicles (or The Chronicles of Lymond) are set during the late 1500s, overlapping the end of the reign of Queen Mary, and the start of Queen Elizabeth I. The locations range from Scotland, Ireland and England to Turkey, France and Russia. The books feature a complicated swashbuckling hero, Lymond, or more specifically Francis Crawford of Lymond. He’s complex, erudite and sometimes, a right bastard. The Lymond Chronicles also feature a number of other fascinating…

  • Calendar,  Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play,  Music

    Tam Lin: Love, Sacrifice, and Halloween

    I can’t really think about Halloween, or Samain, if you prefer, without thinking of the ballad of “Tam Lin,” especially this part:   And ance it fell upon a day A cauld day and a snell, When we were frae the hunting come, That frae my horse I fell, The Queen o’ Fairies she caught me, In yon green hill to dwell. And pleasant is the fairy land, But, an eerie tale to tell, Ay at the end of seven years We pay a teind to hell; I am sae fair and fu o flesh, I’m feard it be mysel. But the night is Halloween, lady, The morn is Hallowday;…

  • Personal

    Ten Years Blogging at The Mast

    I began this blog on January 21, 2002. My very first post is here. My friend and former colleague iPaulo is still blogging. I’ve started a few other blogs since then, on IT: Technology, Language and Culture (also started in January of 2002, and life in the Pacific Northwest, and an entire site related to the books I co-wrote about the iPad. (And others too!) I’m delighted that Medievalist bloggers Scott Nokes and Michael Drout of Wormtalk and Slugspeak are back blogging. (Professor Drout also began blogging in 2002). The blogosphere, as some call it, has changed a lot since I started, but then so have I. Michelle Ziegler is…

  • Personal

    Something New and Different

    I confess that I’ve been so very busy writing about things neither medieval or Celtic, that Scéla has been neglected. And I’ve noticed that my fellow medieval bloggers haven’t been much more active in terms of blogging. I further confess that I’m moving this month. And, perhaps most telling of all, I’m a Christmas junkie. So I’m going to post about Christmas stuff for most of this month. Now, since I’m a Medievalist, and a Celticist, there’s going to be a decided Medieval and Celtic bent, so’s to speak, to these posts, but they will be Holiday Oriented. Some of them will involve Music. Many may involve intoxicating liquors. Consider…

  • Personal

    Birth of a Blog: Reprise

    I began Scéla, my first real blog, on January 21, 2002. That’s eight years of more-or-less regular blogging. You can still read my first post, which is very much an instance of me trying to figure out blogging as a tool for sharing content. Since then, I’ve finished my Ph.D. I’m now blogging quite a lot—though not, alas, blogging as often as I would like here. I’ve moved Scéla from my primary site at, to here, at [ETA: and back again as of 11/15/2014]. I’ve also converted from Blogger to WordPress, and am iconverting the Celtic Studies Resources content from static pages (pages that go back in some…

  • Calendar,  Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play,  Literature

    Halloween, Samhain, and such

    It’s the time of year when I start seeing incredibly daft posts about the antecedents of Halloween, particularly Samain (Samhain, for you moderns). This year, I’ve created an FAQ about Samain, and what it means. For those of you already in the know, here’s a link to a translation by Kuno Meyer of the very odd Echtra Nera, mostly based on Eg. 1782. Echtra Nera is a tale tied closely to Samain, and features a sojourn in a síd, as well as the observation that “the fairy-mounds of Erinn are always opened about Halloween.” In the beginning of the tale, a dead man directs Nera to take him to a…

  • Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play

    The Otherworld, White Horses, and Genetics

    She turned about her milk-white steed, And took True Thomas up behind, And aye wheneer her bridle rang, The steed flew swifter than the wind. “Thomas the Rhymer A” Child 37 The horse she rode on was dapple gray, And in her hand she held bells nine; I thought I heard this fair lady say These fair siller bells they should a’ be mine. “Thomas the Rhymer B” Child 37 In the first branch or tale of the medieval Welsh mabinogi Pwyll Pendeuic Dyfed, Pwyll and his retinue, desiring to see a marvel (rywedawt), sit on the mound or gorsedd of Arberth, where he in fact does see a marvel:…

  • Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play

    They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die: Speech and Silence in Medieval Fairy Narratives Kalamazoo 2008

    I’m going to be doing a link-post to others who are blogging Kalamazoo, and maybe add some general impressions of my own, in a bit. I’ve uploaded my paper on medieval fairies, and speech and silence in Sir Orfeo, Thomas of Erceldoune, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight “‘They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die’: Speech and Silence in Medieval Fairy Narratives” here. Mostly I’m smug that I aimed for a fifteen minute paper, and I nailed it, even though it meant reducing about twelve thousand words to three thousand.

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  • Personal

    Carol Dana Lanham requiescat in pace

    Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. Carol, the beloved wife of Richard A. Lanham, died November 5, 2007 of a brain hemorrhage at age 71. Her husband of fifty years was at her side when she died. Carol was born in Englewood, NJ on January 18, 1936, the daughter of Irma P. and David W. Dana. She was educated at Marblehead High School, Marblehead, Massachusetts; and at Connecticut College for Women, New London, CT, where she graduated, in 1957, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She took her Ph.D. at UCLA in 1973, with a special field in Medieval Latin. She subsequently was a Visiting Assistant…

  • Celtic Myth,  Games Fairies Play,  History

    Bridget Cleary, Sex, Death, Fairies and Other

    This is the third in a series of posts about fairies as other. I promised, in my first post, to concentrate on fairies as other, particularly in the context of sex and death, because, as MacAllister Stone notes “other is all about sex and death.” Last time I looked at the tragic death of Bridget Cleary, burned because her husband Michael thought Bridget was the victim of a fairy abduction. This time I want to look at the story of Bridget Cleary in the context of sex and death. In Bridget Cleary we have a woman who is seen as other, an outsider in her community because of her differences,…