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On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things

By On the Nature of Things
A history podcast about people and nature. We investigate how the people of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland understood and engaged with the natural world, from 700 to 1700.
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The Harvest
Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman are joined by Anjali Vyas-Brannick (University of York) and Professor Marjorie Rubright (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) to discuss husbandry and the importance of the harvest for medieval and early modern people. We touch on kitchen gardens, the grain harvest, relationships with animals, and the theme of harvesting in literature. Disclaimer: Sound quality affected by recording restrictions due to COVID-19. Works Consulted * Robert Herrick, ‘The Hock Cart’ in Herrick (Everyman Paperbacks, 1996), pg. 35-36 * Trad. anon., ‘The Jolly Ploughboy’ Anglo-Saxon Farms and Farming, Debbie Banham and Rosamund Faith (Oxford University Press, 2014) The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, Ronald Hutton (Oxford University Press, 1996). God speed the plough: The Representation of agrarian England, 1500-1660, Andrew McRae (Cambridge University Press, 1996) Agricultural Revolution in England The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy 1500–1850, Mark Overton (Cambridge University Press, 1996) The Agrarian History of England and Wales, eds. Joan Thirsk, H.E. Hallam, Stuart Piggott, G.E. Mingay, Edith H. Whetham, E.J.T. Collins, and H.P.R.  Finberg (Cambridge University Press, 8 vols., 1967-2000) Literature and the Renaissance Garden from Elizabeth I to Charles II: England’s Paradise, Amy Tigner (Routledge, 2012) Music: 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
45:20
August 09, 2021
Trees
Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman are joined by Professor Emily Steiner (University of Pennsylvania) to discuss the practical and allegorical uses of trees, their presence in medieval and early modern literature, and their importance in medieval and early modern life.  Disclaimer: Sound quality affected by recording restrictions due to COVID-19. Works Consulted  *Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, in The Poly-Olbion Project, ed. Andrew McRae and Philip Schwyzer, ‘Song 7’, lines 271-300 *Æmelia Lanyer, ‘The Description of Cooke-ham’, in Early Modern Women Poets: An Anthology, ed. Jane Stevenson and Peter Davidson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 104 Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World, ed.  Michael J.D. Bintley and Michael G. Shapland (Oxford: OUP, 2013). Man and the natural world: changing attitudes in England, 1500-1800, Keith Thomas (London: Penguin, 1984). Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees, Vin Nardizzi (Toronto: UToronto Press, 2013). The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, Alexandra Walsham (Oxford: OUP. 2011). Music: 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
41:52
August 02, 2021
Water
Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman are joined by Aylin Malcolm (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr Hillary Eklund (Loyola University New Orleans) to discuss wetlands, aquatic life, and the significance of water to medieval and early modern people. Disclaimer: Sound quality affected by recording restrictions due to COVID-19. Works Consulted *Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), lines 539-549 * ‘The Seafarer’ in Robert E. Bjork (ed.), Old English Shorter Poems: Wisdom and Lyric (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), pp. 28-29. Bodily and Spiritual Hygiene in Medieval and Early Modern Literature Explorations of Textual Presentations of Filth and Water ed. Albrecht Classen (Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter, 2017) The Maritime World of Early Modern Britain, eds. Richard J. Blakemore and James Davey (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020) Water and the Environment in the Anglo-Saxon World ed. Maren Clegg Hyer and Della Hooke (Oxford: OUP, 2018) Fictions of the Sea: Critical Perspectives on the Ocean in British Literature and Culture, ed. Bernhard Klein (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016) ‘Leaky Vessels: The Incontinent Women of City Comedy’, Gail Kern Paster, Renaissance Drama 18 (1987), pp. 43-65 Music: 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
47:10
July 26, 2021
Magic
Dr Tabitha Stanmore (University of Bristol) joins Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman to unpick assumptions about medieval and early modern magical practitioners, and to explore the role that nature played in charms and spells. Disclaimer: Sound quality affected by recording restrictions due to COVID-19. Works Consulted *‘The Nine Herbs Charm’, in Robert E. Bjork (ed.), Old English Shorter Poems: Wisdom and Lyric (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), pp. 194-201 *William Shakespeare, Macbeth (London: Penguin, 2015) Gwyneth Lewis and Rowan Williams (trans.), The Book of Taliesin: Poems of Warfare and Praise in an Enchanted Britain (London: Penguin, 2020) Christopher Dell, The Occult, Witchcraft, and Magic: An Illustrated History (London: Thames and Hudson, 2016) Ronald Hutton, The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017) Sophie Page, Magic in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2017) Diane Purkiss, The Witch in History: Early Modern and Twentieth-Century Representations (Abingdon: Routledge, 1996) Lyndal Roper, The Witch in the Western Imagination (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2012) Liz Williams, Miracles of Our Own Making: A History of Paganism (London: Reaktion Books, 2020) Music: 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
46:13
July 19, 2021
The Cosmos
How did people think about the cosmos before space travel? Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman are joined by Aylin Malcolm (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr Todd Borlik (University of Huddersfield) to discuss how people interpreted their relationship to the planets and stars, from 700 to 1700. Disclaimer: Sound quality affected by recording restrictions due to COVID-19. Works Consulted  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, ed. and trans. Michael Swanton (Phoenix Press: London, 2000) Bede, On the Nature of things and On Times, trans. Calvin B. Kendall and Faith Wallis (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010) *John Gower, Confessio Amantis, ed. Russell A. Peck (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980) *Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (New York and Toronto: Iter Press, 2014) [see also The Pulter Project, https://pulterproject.northwestern.edu/#] General Reading Evan Andrews, ‘A Brief History of Halley’s Comet’, History (2016, rev. 2020) https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-halleys-comet-sightings Todd Borlik (ed.), Literature and Nature in the English Renaissance: An Ecocritical Anthology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019) Matthew Beaumont, Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London (London: Verso, 2015) Seb Falk, The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science (Allen Lane: London, 2020) D. L. Neuhäuser and R. Neuhäuser, ‘“A red cross appeared in the sky” and other celestial signs: Presumable European aurorae in the mid AD 770s were halo displays’, Astronomische Nachrichten 336 (2015), pp. 913-929 Sophie Page, Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2017) William Poole, Milton and the Making of Paradise Lost (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2017) George Saliba, A History of Arabic Astronomy: Planetary Theories during the Golden Age of Islam (New York: New York University Press, 1994) Music: 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Minstrel by PeriTune | http://peritune.com Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US
45:01
July 12, 2021
The Apocalypse
Chloe Fairbanks and Mary Hitchman are joined by Abi Bleach (University of Manchester) to discuss apocalyptic literature, climate crisis, and how Ælfric ensured his congregants didn't forget about the end of the world during their summer holidays. Works Consulted *denotes readings *Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People I.32, trans. L. Sherley-Price and rev. R. E. Latham and D. H. Farmer (London: Penguin Books, 1990), p. 95 *Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhit, ‘The Hymne of the daie of judgement’, in Early Modern Women Poets: An Anthology, ed. Jane Stevenson and Peter Davidson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 18 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, ed. and trans. Michael Swanton (Phoenix Press: London, 2000) Old English Shorter Poems, Vol. II: Wisdom and Lyric, ed. and trans. Robert E. Bjork (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, M.A., 2014) John Aberth, From the Brink of the Apocalypse: Confronting Famine, War, Plague and Death in the Later Middle Ages (Routledge: Abingdon, 2000) Dee Dee Chainey, A Treasury of British Folklore (National Trust Books: London, 2018) Greg Jenner, A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015) Hugh Magennis and Mary Swan, A Companion to Ælfric (Boston: Brill, 2009) General Reading Robin Fleming, Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400 to 1070 (Allen Lane: London, 2010) Cat Jarman, River Kings: A New History of Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads (Harper Collins: London, 2021) Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (Vintage Publishing: London, 2013) Music 'Fjeld' by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
39:01
July 05, 2021