Monday, August 31, 2009

Your Big Chance to get in my book

It's suddenly come to that interesting period in a young book's life when it needs readers. Currently I have five chapters, and by the end of the week I'll have six of my seven chapters ready for reading. My lovely editor at the press says that if I get these six chapters to him in September, he'll send them out to readers while I finish the seventh. The book's still not contracted, which suits me fine, because a contract implies a deadline. Like my Chaucer book, this one has a range of over 600 years, and has also been interrupted by bodily trauma (I had my son during the writing of Congenial Souls [hey, and maybe that's why he's turned out to be one, though it's scary to think what this book might presage for him]).

But it's time to send it out. So here's your chance to score a mention in my Acknowledgements. If you would be interested in reading a chapter, I'll send you the Preface, which introduces the book; plus the table of contents, so you can see the lie of the land; and the chapter of your choice. This book is not meant to be fearsomely specialised: I'd welcome offers to read from medievalists, people working in other fields, students, former students, anyone interested in medievalism, royal tourism, heritage culture, etc. etc. Feedback of any kind would be most gratefully received.

The working title is Rituals of Shame and Honour: The Order of the Garter. Or perhaps it'll be Shame, Honour and Medievalism... Or summat like that.


The Preface concludes with the following paragraphs (I'll add a few glosses in italics so you can see what you'd be reading about)

The book is organised in three parts. The first, “Ritual Histories,” proceeds roughly chronologically. Chapter One introduces the concepts of ritual criticism, mythic capital, and medievalism. Reading the Order as a form of medievalist ritual practice allows me to focus attention on discussion of the medieval origins of the Order in Chapters Two and Three, not simply as a historical question of sources and their witness, but also as an example of the curious, diverse and ongoing life of the medieval, from late medieval, through to early modern, modern and post-modern cultural forms. Chapter Two explores what we know of the Order’s first founding and the ritual meanings of its central mythology [discusses Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Tirant lo Blanc, Polydor Vergil, earliest sources for garter motto and emblem; the most "medieval" chapter]. Chapter Three considers the first few hundred years of Garter histories, and the way those histories treat of the medieval past. [full of wonderful variations on the garter myth, gossip about the garter and counter-narratives, from C15 to C18]

The second part, “Ritual Practices,” is organised more thematically. Three chapters range widely, back and forth between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries. Chapter Four explores the concept of shame that shadows much of the Order’s ritual practice, a concept that makes it almost impossible to say where the medieval ends and the modern begins in Garter history, or where a renaissance or modern understanding of shame replaces a medieval one [discusses Malory, and Sir Gawain, garter rituals of degradation {very thrilling}, the constant threat of disorder and shame in the performance of garter rituals, and some very decadent C19 interpretations of the garter myth]. Chapter Five examines the nature of ritual reform and change, the discourses the Order of the Garter uses when it engages most self-consciously in ritual criticism ("proud histories" contrasted with histories of decay and desuetude - Charles 1; discussion of Edward VI's protestant reforms and other attempts to "update" the order; history of women in Garter, from C14 to C20). Chapter Six focuses on the embodied performance of the Order, in the fashions and regalia worn by its men and women, the ritual life of gendered bodies, and the importance of the pictorial and visual tradition in the construction of the medieval (includes discussions of the queer garter, the difference female and male bodies make to the wearing of the garter; what happens when the royal body touches the non-royal body at the moment of installation; and concludes with a discussion of Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson: the garter knight as dandy).

The third part, “Ritual Modernities,” in Chapter Seven, brings these strands together, to consider the history of the Garter in the reign of Elizabeth II, examining the implications for medievalism in the transition from modernity to postmodernity, and reflecting on this most medieval Order’s perpetual quest for modernity. (well, I'll update this when it's written: at the moment it's got poetry by David Campbell and U. A. Fanthorpe, Annie Liebowitz photographing the queen, the Barmy Army, Camilla's tampon, a beercoaster, some chocolates I bought at Windsor, and the Sydney University student newspaper.)


So, all offers to read will be very welcome. I should say I don't do this without extreme trepidation. But you know, I'm just going to do it anyway. Write an offer in the comments box, or send me an email: sjtriggatunimelbdotedudotau

5 comments:

Mindy said...

I've sent you an email.

Ceirseach said...

If you think there's anything useful I might be able to contribute, I'd love to read it. Maybe ch. 2, 3 or 4, according to what other people would prefer, though they all sound like fun!

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks to all who've offered, here and by email. I'm really grateful, and I think this will turn out to be an important turning-point: the moment I felt chapters were ready to go out. They're not finished; and the whole book will need tightening up. But it feels rather more elastic than flabby, now. And yes, indeed, this feeling has coincided with my starting up at the gym...

Ryan said...

If you need any more readers, you can count me in as well.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Great! thanks, Ryan; an email's on its way.