Me, I’m a big Lovecraft buff and oddly enough it seems a lot of other archaeologists/anthropologists is as well. In Stockholm as in many cities there are free newspapers around, as Metro etc. Since I got my smart phone a few years back this is not a media I turn to too often, though I did when I was a student back in the days – all things free is good, or something like that.
Today going by the sub something caught my eye though, on the opposing seat lay a Metro and the headline, or rather the add, that caught my eye read: Vi älskar Lovecraft! – We love Lovecraft!
March 26- April 1st Serieteket, in Stockholm, gives tribute to the horror master – holding seminars, readings and what they call Bazaar of the Bizarre read more at Kulturhuset.se (OBS in Swedish).
Me – I’ll see you there!
Tonight is the society Runic et Mediævalia holds its annual meeting. After the meeting is held the traditional lecture. This year it’s about Bero Magni (Björn Magnusson). For me he is an unknown but in 15th century Vienna he was probably one of the most reverend Swedes at the time. For more than 30 years he taught as a magister regens at the University at the philosophy department. He donated his library to to the dome in Skara, Sweden. The books are since long lost but through documents about it many of the 138 books are possible to identify. The lecture is hold by Ph.D. Erika Kihlman.
As always it will be both interesting to go to hear the lecture and nice to meet up with acquaintances at the following dinner.
If you’re not a member and you’re interested to promote research on runes and medieval languages, culture and society then join up and get the newest on the topic through the book series edited and issued by Runic et Mediævalia, divided into series Scripta Maior, Scripta minora, Opuscula and Lectiones. Note that most are written in Swedish. More info is available through the webpage.
New books on my reading list, from Runica et Mediævalia:
Det senmedeltida Stockholm – en språklig och kulturell smältdegel (The late medieval Stockholm – a linguistic and cultural melting pot). Stefan Mähl. Sällskapet Runica et Mediævalia Lectiones 9, 2010.
Bebådelsebilder. Om bildbruk under medeltiden (Annunciation pictures. About use of pictures during the Middle Ages.). Mia Åkestam. Runica et Mediævalia Scripta mimora 19. 2010.
S:t Sigfrid besjungen. Celebremus karissimi, ett helgonofficium från 1200-talet (Songs on S:t Sigfrid. Celebremus karissimi, a saint officium from the 1200s). Edition och kommentarer av Ann-Marie Nilsson. Runica et Mediævalia Scripta maiora 6. 2010
I’m a member of the society Runica et Mediævalia (link in Swedish). The Society was formed in 1990 and aims to promote research on runes and medieval languages (mainly Scandinavian), culture and society, primarily through the issuance of the publication series Runic et Mediævalia etc. As a member I get the publications every now and then as they are beeing published, last week two books arrived; The first is; Den medeltida skriftkulturen i Sverige (The medieval writing culture in Sweden) – Inger Larsson [ed.], This is a book I’ll come back to in future post. The second one is Kung Magnus och hans smädesnamn Smek (King Magnus and his libel nick name Smek = caress, stroke, fondle or…) by Olle Ferm.
The last is the one I currently read, it concerns a factoid regarding king Magnus Eriksson libel nick name Smek, where the nick name has been interpret as proof king Magnus was homosexual. Magnus Eriksson was the Swedish king between 1319-1363. Among other things he got conned by the Danish king Valdemar Attedag and by being so lost the province Scania to Denmark and he was accused of being homosexual by Saint Birgitta of Vadstena and others. Due to the accusations an interpretation of the nick name Smek was made as meaning fondle, caress, stroke was made, in the meaning that he liked to fondle other men. Olle Ferm brings forth another interpretation where Smek rather has the meaning “someone who has been conned by flattery”, i.e. King Valdemar conned him out of Scania with flattery.
Olle Ferm has produced a kind of historic detective book that is a pleasant and interesting read, giving a background to the word Smek and how it’s been interpreted through the ages, but also on the political situation of the time as well as on history scholars and their work. Wheatear or not king Magnus was gay or not is not something the author studies in this work, at least not yet – I haven’t finished it yet. Evan though I haven’t finished it I can recommend this to those who are interested in the history and politics of medieval Sweden as well as to those who like the study of words and language.
I’m currently reading Strange Loyalties by William McIllvanney, a superb novel about detective inspector Jack Laidlaw (the 3rd book) in Glasgow. I guess you could call it a detective story or crime-fiction but it’s really more of a novel than suspense story. I’ve read both Laidlaw (1977) and the papers of Tony Veitch (1983) and loved them. McIlvanney writes with a depth and a sharp pen, his language is direct, fluent and realistic – he paints surroundings, environments and portraits that have depth and life. As Cornell Woolrich he paints much of it I a grayscale rather than black and white, he also has a streak of Raymond Chandler’s wisecracks. Though one can recognize different influences McIlvanney is his own man – the language, as mentioned, set him apart, perhaps a streak from his work as a poet, – all in all, I dare say – though I’ve haven’t finished the book yet, a great read as was it’s processors.
“I woke up with a head like a rodeo. Isn’t it painful having fun? Mind you, last night hadn’t been about enjoyment, just whisky as anaesthetic… I got up and went on safari for the pain-killers.”
Time to leave the office for a five hour train ride to Stockholm – which I’ll use to finish this book!
I’ve been a bit slow on posting lately, this is due to some deadlines. I’ve been writing an article, together with Johan Klange, on the neolithic Yangshao traditions of the Yellow river valley for a periodical called Kinarapport (China report) published by the Swedish-Chinese association. And I am currently working on two shorter articles for Benbiten, the Swedish Osteological associations periodical on the Iron-Age dolmen Arkeologicentrum (the company I’m employed at) excavated in Odensjö a few years back. The third article is on a bone find, a madible of a coelodonta antiquitatis (a woolly rhinoceros). The find is a curiosity I read about some time ago – in a church in Smaland someone deposited it in the late 19th century and there is stayed. Someone wrote about it in the 30’s or 40’s in a local history book and I stumbled upon it and got interested – and went there and took some photos. Tomorrow I’ll stop by The Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm and look at some reference material and then write a few lines about it.
Otherwise it’s been a few weeks of indoor work, I’ve finished the first report of the year etc.
Finally spring seems to have gotten a grip on Scandinavia – the snow is slowly melting, the sun shows its warm face and shines upon us, at least occasionally; the darkness that have had a far too long run this year is withering.
Another sure sign is that one begins to plan for field work; as it seems now it’ll start just after Easter for me, from there on it’ll be a few weeks in the southern parts of Sweden – which is perfect as I probably will be able to catch Jonkoping Sodra first home game against Angelholm in Superettan (football (soccer) Sweden’s second division) April 20th.
Regarding the field work – I’ll let you know when I know for certain – but there seems to start with a survey and continue with a couple of archaeological investigations.
Though I have a lot of things to finish before that, I have an article that needs to be finished about Yangshao for the paper Kinarapport (China report) a report that needs to be finished for the Yangshaoproject, a small article for Benbiten the Swedish Osteological associations periodical – b.t.w. if you have an article on osteology, physical anthropology or an interesting find due to something bone connected as graves, settlements etc. you´re very welcome to contribute (for more information see here). We gladly accept articles in English as well as Swedish. I’ve also need to prepare for a lecture that my associate Johan Klange and I are to hold in Savona, Italy, later this spring about Chinese neolithic painted pottery traditions in the Yellow river valley.
On another note I found some nice prints to hang on my walls here in Ostersund, they been a bit naked. 6 of 9 reprints of Charta Marina aka Charta Gothica by Olaus Magnus (1497-1557). The original was made in 1539 and copies of that in 1572. This reprint is presumably from sometime during the 20th century – the frames are hideous but the maps fantastic.
The southern part of Sweden and Denmark
The northern part of Sweden Norway and Finland
Scotland, a small part of Britain and the Holland
J.D. Salinger has past away at age 91, an eccentric and legendary author best known for his Cather in the Rye (1951). Catcher is a great read but my favourites are his debut novel A Perfect Day for Bananafish (1948) and Franny and Zooey (1961).
Now Salinger is one of those authors that I got know long before I read anything of his work. My first real contact was in fact Ian Hamilton’s biography In Search of J.D. Salinger: A Writing Life (1935–65) from 1988 telling the tale of the author that did not want to be published disturbed or be known. This got me to read and buy and read Salinger’s body of work. It’s a fascinating tale that I’ll have to reread some day.
Rumours have it that Salinger never stopped writing and that several novels and as in any death speculations will arise if or when they’ll be published, there is also a risk or chance (depending on stand point) that Cather in the Rye makes it to the movies. In one way I would love to read more stories from Salinger on the other hand he choose not to publish them and to live out his life away from the public eye.
I hope he got the life he wanted – now R.I.P. – J.D.
I’ve just opened up the covers of Thomas McGuane – Ninety-Two in the shade (1973).
A long time ago, at least it seems that way, I worked in a second hand record and book shop in Jönköping. It’s closed now but I am still in contact with the owner and my previous employer when I get home. This in turn leads to a thinning wallet, as he knows my vices. But then again we also share a similar taste in literature and he use to recommed this and that when we meet, this time he recommend and lent me this one – with the words as if Hemingway wrote a detective, noir or pulp novel and did it good. For your information it may be interesting to know that Hemingway is not one of my favourite authors. I find him a bit too chatty, descriptive and a bit to forced in an old fashioned masculine way, which probably is due to the fact that he was a man of his age and I am one of mine. Therefore it shall be interesting to see how I feel about this one.