06 December, 2007

Publish or Perish: You Have to Start Somewhere

Today I attended the Centre for Medieval Studies (U of Toronto) party celebrating the achievements of the codicology seminar last spring. That is, the work of the seminar students was of such a calibre that the professor and the director of the library decided it should be showcased in the semi-annual library newsletter, The Halcyon.

I was a member of that seminar, and I was assigned a lavishly illuminated Franciscan book of hours. My partner and I jumped at the chance to add this publication credit to our curricula vitarum. Also, we really loved our funny little manuscript, with its grinning skeleton and complicated provenance.

The result was unveiled at the party today. It was so exciting to see! My first academic publication! Scary David was the professor for the seminar, and he gave a warm welcome speech to us all. He's become... a little less scary.

I did good work in that class, and I'd like to think that's the impression he keeps of me. I had the chance to thank him afterwards for all that I learned in his classes. I did learn a lot, and I really value it. Not just the facts and names, but the mindset, the approach to medieval text, and (in general), how to be a grad student. I've come to realise I owe him a lot and I'm glad I was his student. I'm also glad I got to tell him so. (After all, Excellent David scared the living daylights out of me at first, too. And I struggled manfully in his class. Perhaps a trend?)

The Halcyon is available online, but the current issue isn't up yet. Those of you viewing the .pdf version are lucky: it has the colour manuscript images, as opposed to the black-and-white of the printed version. I only wish we could have included more images: they are truly amazing, especially the abnormally cheery skeleton heralding the Officium fidelium defunctorum.

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