A Blog is born…

Greetings dear readers! If you are reading the inaugural post for this peculiar combination of a research journal and a blog, then I congratulate you for your impeccable taste, and thank you for feeding my hubris taking the time to read my humble post.

Perhaps the most logical place to begin is at the beginning: the reason that this blog was created in the first place. Once upon a time, a postgraduate student sitting at a desk in a library somewhere writing the proposal for his thesis research became fatigued by the endless coffee drinking, notebook scribbling, maniacal pondering and book hoarding that was his academic life. One of the ways in which this student wiled away the long and arduous hours of study was by reading a series of blogs on the Middle Ages, the topic of his research and great passion. He became enamoured with the fascinating dialogue, feedback, banter and information exchange that he saw therein, and dared to dream that he too might one day have a blog of his very own. One day after being rained on, getting to university late and realising that his thursday was going to be ‘one of those days’, he logged into WordPress, cobbled together a somewhat ad hoc blog layout and put finger to keyboard.

The result of what one could choose to describe as ‘this gripping soliloquy’ or possible ‘a bunch of deluded rambling’ was the birth of a blog, this blog.

The primary goal of creating this blog is to provide myself with an outlet for my research ideas, observations about the source material I read and a way of remaining sane throughout my PhD candidature. I would be lying if I were to deny the influence of the mysterious force that the youngsters call ‘teh lulz,’ yet I will endeavour to keep my posts constructive and, if possible, lucid.

Now, you may rightfully be asking yourself at this point, “what is this research of which he speaks?” The answer often confuses people, causes them to snicker disparagingly or to look at me as if I have some kind of plague, yet it is the topic that I have chosen nevertheless. The current ‘working title’ of my proposed PhD thesis is “Hydolatry, Hydromancy, Hydrophobia: Water, Intellect and Imagination in the Late Middle Ages, 1300-1500”. As the name suggests, this topic represents an attempt on my part to study the medieval symbolism of water in its various forms, and to adduce through this discussion what can be learned about medieval imaginings as a whole through water. I am very excited about this topic, and hope to continue presenting new ideas taken from my research as they come along, together with any technology related, life related or humorous observations that I may have.

In my next post, I will discuss the symbolic links between water and medieval epistemology; the process of knowing, the nature of that which ought to be known and the scholarly methods by which this knowledge were sought all contain an element of aqueous symbolism, the investigation of which is proving to be more fascinating than I initially imagined.

Si Vales, Valeo.

James Smith

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