A list on the work of things

Oxford, Bodleian Library Digby MS 88, f. 97v
(© Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)

by Martha Rust

The photo above is of a page in Oxford, Bodleian Library Digby MS 88, a fifteenth-century collection of miscellaneous texts in English and Latin on astronomy, medicine, divination, and theology.[1] The short, untitled work occupying this particular page creates a curious first impression. Continue reading “A list on the work of things”

An interview with Lulah Ellender, author of Elisabeth’s Lists: A Life Between the Lines

Lulah Ellender, author of Elisabeth’s Lists: A Life Between the Lines (Granta, 2018), met her grandmother through the lists she left behind. The book reconstructs from lists the life of Lulah’s grandmother Elisabeth, who died when Lulah’s mother was nine years old. Elisabeth started writing her curious book of lists after marrying a diplomat in the 1930s. These lists, which provide glimpses into Elisabeth’s life and mind, offer Lulah a starting point for exploring the life of a grandmother she never met. The following is a conversation between Lulah Ellender and the editors of Listology.

Continue reading “An interview with Lulah Ellender, author of Elisabeth’s Lists: A Life Between the Lines”

Two Lists of Labors in Honor of Labor Day

by Martha Rust

Today is Labor Day in the United States, a holiday that celebrates laborers and the labor movement on the first Monday in September. As Wikipedia explains in a quotable list, Labor Day honors “the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.”[1] In addition to honoring work generally, Labor Day heralds the beginning of a new school year and the return of students and teachers to the labor of teaching and learning. While the American calendar thus pays tribute to labor annually, the western medieval calendar honored it monthly, observing a wider array of labors than its modern American counterpart. Continue reading “Two Lists of Labors in Honor of Labor Day”

A Summer Classic

by Martha Rust

What comes to mind when you think of summer? Probably a whole list of things: long days, endless blue skies, beaches, travel, sandals, watermelon, and blackberry pie. That’s the list that first pops into my mind, but it could easily go on (and on): bicycling, canoeing, hiking, beautiful long sunsets– and broad vistas of all kinds. Continue reading “A Summer Classic”

A List-maker in the Stacks: Photographically illustrated books in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1844-1900.

Cités et ruines Américaines …, by Désiré Charnay[1]

by Colin Harris

Those who love lists, and I assume anyone reading this blog falls into that category, will know that they can become a bit of an obsession. In a retirement project on photographic collections in the Bodleian Library, I have found that so-called obsessive list compiling can have concrete rewards. Continue reading “A List-maker in the Stacks: Photographically illustrated books in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1844-1900.”

All in the Family: Genealogical Lists in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Canon. Class. Lat. 9

by Amanda Gerber

Where should one draw the line between a content list for a mythological history and a genealogical tree for one? When created in reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, both include the same names, the same chronological order, and the same interest in organizing events according to the people who enacted them. Continue reading “All in the Family: Genealogical Lists in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Canon. Class. Lat. 9”

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