#adorablepets: Why Instagram Loves Lists

by Julia Böckling

In her listology.blog post about the Ten Essentials of Hiking, Martha Rust asks whether a collection of pictures can still be a list. This post proposes that in the case of Instagram, an app devoted to collections of pictures, the answer is “yes”. As the listicle below will show, even non-traditional (picture) lists, that is, lists that do not aspire to listhood, share the same / similar functions as traditional lists and should therefore be taken into account when analyzing lists online. Continue reading “#adorablepets: Why Instagram Loves Lists”

Friending Thebes

by Amanda Gerber

“Of friends,” one fifteenth-century reader dubs the topic of his list addition to Book 1 of Statius’s Thebaid. As demonstrated in my last blog post about Statius, “Epic Hit List,” readers might more readily associate the Roman’s bloody epic poems with murder victims than friends, but friendship occupies the mind of this Thebaid reader nonetheless, prompting a list of four pairs of famed heroic friends. With each pair of names introduced by a paraph marker and a bracket to connect them, the annotator commemorates some of antiquity’s most renowned heroic couples almost as heroic couplets:

De Amicis
Theseus
Perithous Continue reading “Friending Thebes”

More than Numbers: The Storytelling of Bank Statements. On Namwali Serpell’s Short Story “Account”

by Eva von Contzen

Bank statements are hardly something we approach with excitement: they are the epitome of lists as a means to an end, and that end is to record and track an account’s moving money. While their practical functions are undeniably important, bank statements seem to be as far removed from literary texts as it gets. However, a recent short story by the Zambian writer and academic Namwali Serpell turns these expectations upside down and uses the form of a bank statement – that is, nothing but a bank statement – to tell a story. Continue reading “More than Numbers: The Storytelling of Bank Statements. On Namwali Serpell’s Short Story “Account””

“Seven Lessons from Mister Rogers”: A Listicle Review

by Martha Rust

In 2016, the word “listicle” earned a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, where it’s defined as “[a] journalistic article or other piece of writing presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.” [1] With this post we introduce a new Listology feature, the listicle review. Blog posts in this genre will reflect on listicles that display interesting features of the list form. Our inaugural listicle review takes a look at Shea Tuttle’s wonderful tribute to the beloved Fred McFeely Rogers, “Seven Lessons from Mister Rogers That Can Help Americans Be Neighbors Again,” placing it in the context of a long tradition of lists of sevens.[2]
Continue reading ““Seven Lessons from Mister Rogers”: A Listicle Review”

An Epic “Hit List”

by Amanda Gerber

Modern literary historians often turn to manuscript margins to uncover evidence of medieval reading practices, especially to uncover the ethical, rhetorical, or allegorical interpretations appended to texts.[1] While examining medieval copies of classical epics, I have observed that, more than any of the aforementioned interpretive paradigms, medieval readers sought the same type of assistance as modern ones: namely, assistance with deciphering classical epics’ difficult syntax, historical contexts, and convoluted character lists. This blog post accounts for one such struggling fifteenth-century reader of Statius’s first-century Achilleid, a reader who devised his own means for tracking the names of and relationships between the poem’s numerous characters. Continue reading “An Epic “Hit List””

The Bede Roll for the Church of St. Mary in Sandwich

by Martha Rust

Thanks to an abundant variety of medieval sources, we have a clear view of late-medieval English church-goers from the perspective of the pulpit: that is, from the point of view of those who were charged with inducing lay people to come to church and with ordering their behavior once they were there. From this point of view, we see the laity as an abstract, undifferentiated crowd in need of shushing and containment. Talkative church goers, a treatise on how to behave in church warns, may find that their words are being copied down by devils, devils who were on hand in churches precisely to record such talking out of turn.[1] For controlling bodies as well as lips, the rood screen–that defining architectural feature of the medieval parish church–clearly conveys the pulpit’s view of the laity as a motley bunch that must necessarily be barred from the space of priestly ritual.[2] Continue reading “The Bede Roll for the Church of St. Mary in Sandwich”

The Pleasures and Practicalities of an Itinerary

EL 26 A 13, f. 115v, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California

by Martha Rust

“The Weye unto Rome and so to Venice and to Jerusalem”: these are the words that run across the head of a list of sixty-five place names preserved in a collection of prose and poetry once owned by late medieval London scribe and bibliophile John Shirley (San Marino, Huntington Library MS EL 26.A.13115v, f. 115v). Continue reading “The Pleasures and Practicalities of an Itinerary”

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