Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not with a Blog, but a Twitter

As I begin to get some sense of an incipient and as yet inchoate readership for “Gladly Lerne”, I sense also the need to do some long-range thinking. I am genuinely grateful for such comments as that offered by Gerard a post or two ago—a suggestion, immediately adopted, on how to improve the blog’s visual readability—but I also conclude that many people are chary of offering public comment. This is not a conclusion based on clairvoyance. I have had numerous messages to my email boxes saying as much: “I don’t want to post this in public, but I’d like to suggest such-and-such.”

One of the recurrent suches is that readers might appreciate postings made according to a regular schedule, as opposed to whenever I happen to get around to it. I shall adopt this excellent suggestion as well. From now on, I shall normally post weekly--every Wednesday. Do note the weasel word normally, so beloved of college catalogues and credit card agreements. Next Wednesday is already iffy, since I shall be spending a good chunk of it driving back from Colgate, where I shall be giving a talk on Tuesday.

In fact, the next couple of weeks will be action packed for les croulants Fleming, as they prepare to remove to Paris for several months. My first preparatory gesture, as you can see, is to pull out some dated and dusty French slang. During my first visits to France many years ago I noted that irreverent youths often referred to their parents as les croulants. The normal meaning of crouler is to crumble, collapse, fall apart, rot, or decay into ruin—so you get the picture. What was metaphoric a couple of decades ago now dangerously approaches the brink of the literal.

Before I was certain I would be spending the autumn in Paris—under auspices to be explained in a future post—I had accepted a flattering and prestigious invitation to give the annual Julius Fund lecture sponsored jointly by the Cleveland Art Museum and the Art History Department of Case Western Reserve University. The topic is one I have always want to approach in a broad-brushe fashion: “The Letter and the Spirit” Pictorial Imagery and Scriptural Exegesis in Medieval and Renaissance Art.”

This will mean that I must return briefly to America after being in Paris for only a fortnight. This level of jet setting in not within my normal range. The more immediate problem, however, is to be sure that I have my lecture well prepared before I leave Princeton and the fabulous resources of its art history library. It’s more or less on schedule. As usual in scholarship, plowing a new intellectual field has inevitably turned up some curiously shaped stones and even a few fossils. These are irrelevant to the straight furrows of my lecture, but they conceivably could stimulate some interest in a future post. We’ll see next time. It all depends on how much you are into the iconography of pigs.


  1. Mmm, Paris!
    The iconography of pigs is also a current-interest subject in modern-day Dudley, UK.