A&S judging

dennis grace amazing at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Oct 30 20:06:28 PST 1996

Greetings, Cousins,

Lyonel here.  

Stefan li Rous, with mixed feelings, forwarded the following:

>When HL Sigtrygg Foamcarver won Calontir's Arts and Sciences 
>Championship in early August, one of his entries was caligraphy he'd 
>done on a piece of vellum he made himself (starting with the dead 
>calf), with ink he made, written on a scriptorum he made, with quills 
>he made, the piece being a saga or piece of saga he wrote, in 
>  Talking with him about the judging recently, he expressed regret 
>that the judges didn't comment on his saga.  I think their oversight 
>understandable, but I would like to find someone who could read and 
>critique the saga.  How else do we get better?

*huge melodramatic sigh*  

Give me a break.  Did this guy actually expect someone at a kingdom A&S to
be able to read his Icelandic saga?  I'm a professional medievalist under
instruction, and in addition to modern languages (French, Spanish, and a
smattering [i.e.--one summer reading course for grad students] of German)
I've studied Old and Middle English, Classical and Medieval Latin, Old
Occitan, and Middle French--no Old Norse and no Old Icelandic.  Hell, I
haven't even had a chance to study Italian, and I WANTED to do that.  I've
only met one pro medievalist who reads Old Icelandic, and she's in Idaho
State University (I'm sure someone at UT reads this language, I just don't
know her or him).

Dare I suggest the artist in question was not-too-subtly bragging in stating
his "regrets"?

Yes--for all of you who have posted your annoyance at not having anyone
qualified to judge your uniquely eccentric field of artistic endeavor--your
fears are well-founded.  Few of us are qualified to judge EVERY art
form--not even the most knowledgeable of Laurels.  As Mistress Gunnora
pointed out once on this list, artists who elect to work in unusual forms
take on the added responsibility, at SCA arts events, of providing
adequately thorough documentation.  

I, for one (though no Laurel), would be happy to judge an Old Icelandic saga
for an A&S competition, but I expect the documentation to include an Old
Icelandic/English dictionary, a basic outline of grammar (at the very least
all applicable conjugation and declension forms), and an explanation of the
finer points of this particular Icelandic poetic form (scansion, meter,
rhyme, alliteration, kenning, whathaveyou).  If you don't provide at least
that much, then please, don't bitch when no one can critique your work--it's

Yours in Appreciative Service

Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
Dennis G. Grace
Postmodern Medievalist
Division of Rhetoric and Composition
Department of English
University of Texas at Austin
amazing at mail.utexas.edu

Baro, metetz en guatge                    |  Lords, pawn your castles,
Chastels e vilas e ciutatz                |  your towns and cities.
Enanz qu'usquecs no'us guerreiatz         |  Before you're beat to the draw,
                                                    draw your swords.

                   -- Bertran de Born (a really fun Viscount)

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