About crankyprofessor

I'm an associate professor of the history of art and architecture at a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York.

So – if a work has never been translated into another language is it really a classic?

I’m not at all sure.

Here are some books from what is now India.

I have already offered to write a check to my library to purchase the series as it comes out, if no department wants to fund them.

But isn’t it interesting that some of these so-called classics are restricted to their original language? I’m sure that means they are NOT literary classics – only really, really interesting texts from a single linguistic tradition.

For instance, Beowulf is available in multiple European languages, at least. The Judith? No idea, interesting though it is.

I am quite certain that a text called a Classic has to penetrate languages other than its original, in translation and commentary.

A Metal Detectorist Christmas

A big lead bucket full of Anglo-Saxon silver coins! More than 5,000 coins from circa 1000.

Mr Welch said each coin could be worth at least £250.

He said: “They’re like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down.

“It looks like only two people have handled these coins,” he said. “The person who made them and the person who buried them.

And he added: “Ethelred opened a mint in Buckingham in conjunction with Cnut. I think there’s a proability there’s a link between the mint at Buckingham and the coins.”

 

NoVa 4 NYE

Yesterday mama and I drove up from Chattanooga to Fairfax County – we had Second Christmas last night (hmm – I have to rearrange my countertop again. What IS it with my sister and small appliances? Not that I’m not grateful for a new coffee maker, but there was something nice and compact about burr grinder + french press. Oh well – easier clean up now and 10 cups!).

I have discovered the perfect lazy uncle’s way to buy Christmas gifts other than cash or boring gift cards. I buy a few little things for everyone (a Fear the Beard thermal mug for my nephew Mitchell, for instance) then offer to buy them up to $50 of whatever they want at whatever store they like (Target, sporting goods, or the mall). I try to make it separate trips, so it makes for a fun morning or afternoon with each of them.

Time for some museums (I hope to drag the nephs and nieces to the Philips), some big NYE celebration, and some assorted family time.

Wow – I have to pack a tie

I’m going home to Chattanooga for the holidays and I have to take a tie.

Why is that unusual? Well, for 20 years or so I never took a tie to Chattanooga – I counted on my father’s collection, and often took the ties back home with me. But now I have all of Daddy’s ties – the John Tinkler Neckwear Collection (there are actually some cravats in there, too!).

So, I have to pack a couple of ties to visit Mama.

File it under Life Stages.

Early Islamic Art

One of the first efforts in my course on Islamic art and architecture is to convince the students that figurative art is not prohibited in Islam. I make them chant “at some times, in some regions, and in some contexts figurative art was prohibited.” Maybe it sinks in.

One of the most luscious examples of early wall painting has recently been restored – the walls and ceilings of a fortress-palace from the early 8th century, Qusayr’Amra. Go look!

Wow – this seems like a parody of campus sensitivity

Columbia University is going to allow law students to petition to postpone their exams if they are “sufficiently impaired” by their feelings about the recent grand jury decisions in racially charged cases. But it’s not.

I would think that students sufficiently involved in activism who are also attending law school out to be charged up with a passion to change things.

Guess not.