Geoffrey of Monmouth- History or Fiction?

Geoffrey of Monmouth- History or Fiction?

This summer, I’m researching the ways that history was created and used politically in 12th-century England. Pretty exciting, right? Don’t worry, it’s less dry than it sounds. In this post, I’ll talk a little bit about the main text that I’ve been working with: Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. Writing sometime between 1136 and 1138, Geoffrey presented his work as a historical account of the lives of ninety-nine British kings, translated from material that he found in an ancient book. Geoffrey tells a very compelling story, and Michael Faletra’s translation is top notch. The problem? Very little of the material in the History is remotely close to what we now consider factual. It reads more like a work of imaginative fantasy than a history book. Inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid, as well as Bede, Nennius, and Gildas, Geoffrey creates an elaborate history for the British people (these days we might call them Celtic peoples- the ancestors of the Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons). He begins with the fall of Troy, describing how Aeneas’ grandson, Brutus, brought a group of Trojans to Britain, defeated the giants who lived there, and settled down. From there, the History is a wild ride- there are more wars with giants, magic, prophecies, and multiple British kings who conquer Rome and become emperors. Where Geoffrey really shines is his tale of King Arthur. The History of the Kings of Britain is the first text in which the Arthurian legend really appeared in its present form, and it’s a great account. Arthur unites the Britons, conquers Iceland, Ireland, Denmark, Gaul, and Rome (essentially the known...
Throwback Thursday 12

Throwback Thursday 12

Hello y’all! I’m here with the first Throwback Thursday of this year! Today we’re taking a look at the Lutton Memorial Fund for Performance and what Micah Walter ’14 did with the funding for his senior thesis. Micah, a music and computer science major, wrote an original vocal composition which was performed by professional singers with the support of the Lutton Fund. The performance, called “Vespers,” was held in Founders Great Hall. The deadline for this year has already passed, but if you are an artist, performer, filmmaker, etc., and want to learn more about how you can apply for funding, check out the link below! www.haverford.edu/HCAH/center/programs_and_grants/student_funding.php I hope everyone has a great weekend! Anna M....
Throwback Thursday 11

Throwback Thursday 11

Hi guys! It’s Thursday again, and today we’re talking about an art show in James House. The HCAH Student Arts Fund enables a variety of artistic endeavors, including the mounting of exhibitions. In April 2009, James House displayed work by Ryan Cameron, ’09, and Allyn Gaestel, ’09, in the exhibition, Nudes, featuring work from both artists spanning the past year. The exhibit included paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs that tip-toed the line between the artistic and the pornographic. The visitors and artist discussed this dynamic on the opening night. While James House looks nothing like it did in the photos above, the building still hosts exciting students arts events. This Friday, come to James House for another Student Arts Fund exhibition, “A Terrarium of Books: New Work by Honglan Huang.” Honglan Huang, ’16, has created a system of interacting texts and plants in the James House Pop-Up Gallery. Andrew Szczureck, ’16, will perform an original composition at the opening, so be there tomorrow, April 18th at 7:00 PM! For more information on “A Terrarium of Books,” see: http://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/260639 Hope to see you there! Anna and Miriam...
Throwback Thursday 10

Throwback Thursday 10

Whazzup, peeps? Back this week with a Student Seminar. Lucky for you, the HCAH has just released next fall’s student seminars, so read on and think about how awesome your fall could be.   Lewis Bauer (’06 English) led the seminar, “The Bizarre and the Grotesque in Literature, Art, and Film: Honest Looks at a Mad World,” to explore our cultural idealization of normality and the repercussions of deviation. Participants discussed not only the impact of the bizarre and grotesque on the arts, but also on society. Questions of cultural relativism recurred throughout the seminar. James Weissinger (’06 English), participated in the seminar and reflects: “Taussig, Ballard, Foucault, Bakhtin, Kassler-Taub–the seminar introduced me to a few folks who would end up becoming familiar friends for the rest of school and after. One of my most important experiences at Haverford.”  To sum up the fantastic ride that was the seminar, James points to this bizarre music video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFsHSHE-iJQ. If you’re interested in cross-disciplinary discussions with new friends while munching on free refreshments and reading free books, apply to one of the upcoming seminars: “Decoding the Videogame: Reading and Writing in New Media,” or “Beyond the Reals: An Exploration of Mathematics in Fiction.” More information: http://www.haverford.edu/HCAH/center/programs_and_grants/student_seminars.php (sorry this hyperlink didn’t hyperlink, back to the good ol’ days of copy and paste it is). Hope to see lots of applications this year! Until next time, Anna and Miriam    ...
Throwback Thursday 9

Throwback Thursday 9

Welcome to another Thursday! Today we’re talking about the symposium, “Romancing Passing – Race, Gender, and Nation in Cinema.” In the second year of a Mellon Fellowship, each fellow stages a symposium or forum relating to their area of study. Yiman Wang was the Mellon Fellow from 2003-2005 and researched transregional and transnational image translation, particularly the relationship between film in China and the West. She presented this symposium to explore themes of racial, ethnic, and gender passing processes as portrayed in cinematic romance. Visiting experts ran panels entitled “Romance, Horror, and Globalization,” “Coding Hollywood Asians,” and “Dystopia and Utopia of the Passing Body,” followed by a roundtable discussion. Curiosity piqued? Read about more Mellon Symposia here: www.haverford.edu/HCAH/center/archive/mellon_symposium.php Until next time! Anna and...