Mudcat Café message #4018512 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166858   Message #4018512
Posted By: Anne Lister
11-Nov-19 - 04:25 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Rumpelstiltskin, thousands of years old?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Rumpelstiltskin, thousands of years old?
Raedwulf, and I still hold that you're wrong on the question of travel. A lot of people didn't travel much, but a surprising number of people, especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, did. Which was my point, and has been, all the way through this discussion. Please, if this is confusing, go back and re-read my sentence, particularly the first part of it. I've already listed the reasons for that - trade, work, pilgrimages, crusades, being part of the household of a noble family who moved around, cattle (and other animal) droving. I'm not talking of migrations or fleeing persecution. No amount of telling me that "the vast majority" or "most people" didn't go anywhere, however bold your font, will contradict the evidence from primary medieval source texts (as well as DNA evidence and genetics) that a surprising number of people did. And as we were discussing how stories and songs might travel, that's exactly how. Returning to my friend Gervase of Tilbury, who started in Essex and then worked in Italy, Sicily, France and Germany ...he wrote stories down, when he was living in France, for the man he worked for in Germany. And (while in France) he entertained the king of Aragon. You can, as I have said before, with equal justice say "the vast majority" of people today don't travel, and the big difference is that today we have methods of communication which don't depend on that - unfortunately it doesn't stop a similar level of misunderstandings and misinterpretations from taking place, as witness some of the posts on this thread and many discussions here on MudCat. What I've been trying (and, it seems failing) to do is set right some of the many misconceptions about the medieval period, and one of these is the notion that information and culture didn't travel. Both did, because people did. The manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts of the story I've been working on have turned up in a number of different locations (with linguistic variations suiting each location) across southern Europe. The story itself turns up in the Philippines, in Tagalog, presumably taken there by the Spanish. Storytellers and singers and writers travelled.

As to "the dark ages" - that term hasn't been used for a very long time now among historians or literature scholars. Those old history books contained some quaint notions. Yes, Pseudonymous, the trade routes are indeed full of interest and were indeed important crossroads, which is why I also mentioned Malta, Sicily and Iberia. The extended family of Henry II of England and Alienor of Aquitaine were spread across most of Europe, and then also travelled, taking their households with them.

To gain a full picture of where medieval scholarship is now, I recommend looking at the list of sessions at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, or the even bigger Kalamazoo event.

I'm always happy to follow up actual references to scholarship or primary sources which will give me a different picture. I've had to revise my own preconceptions several times over the past five years. But I'm not prepared to change my point of view on the basis of bald statements in bold print on MudCat when I have no idea at all who is behind the MudCat pseudonym and what their academic credentials are, or any background at all. I post under my own name, and have said what the basis is for my statements.