Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nokes Sighting Expected in Louisville

Want to punch me in the face, but live too far away to do it conveniently? Well, if you're in the Louisville KY area, you're in luck!

This Friday I'll be giving the keynote address at the Association of Humanities Academics meeting at the University of Louisville. My address will be entitled "Professor Awesome vs. the Nazis: Mythic Transference and Fanaticism." I'll be talking about my research into popular medievalism, the experiences of my semi-comic alter-ego "Professor Awesome, PhD" in those communities, and how I ran afoul of the Nazis. The first half will be blah blah theory blah blah set up, and the second half will be the anecdotes about my misadventures.

No, I won't just skip the academic part and get straight to the anecdotes. If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Woruldhord Project Launched

Good news! The long-awaited Woruldhord Project (no relation to the Unlocked Wordhoard) was just launched.

It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the launch of the Woruldhord collection, a set of free reusable resources to help with the teaching/study of Old English and the Anglo-Saxons. The project ran from July-October 2010, and asked academics, museums, and members of the public to submit - via a website - material that had to do with the period that they wouldn't mind sharing with others. The response was very impressive, and we assembled about 4,500 objects covering art, archaeology, history, language, literature, music, and modern day representations. The database actually holds over 16,500 files as some of the objects submitted were entire web sites.

Congratulations to Stuart Lee and the whole Woruldhord team!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Witan Publishing's Sample Book

A lot of the inquires we've gotten for Witan have been essentially "What are these e-pub books going to look like?" Now we have an answer for you.

Our sample "book," Old English and Samwise Gamgee's Genealogy: Eden and the Unfallen Hobbit is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $1. If you don't have an e-reader but you want to see the book, you can download Kindle for PC (Amazon), Kindle for iPad (Amazon), Nook for PC (Barnes & Noble), Nook for iPad (Barnes & Noble), all sorts of apps to read it on your phone if you want.

In fact, the "book" itself is only about 15 pages long; it is truly designed to be a sample, which explains why something so short has a foreword almost as long as the main text, table of contents, dedication, etc. This sample was written, edited, and published by me, so it is the very definition of self-published, but fear not! Witan Publishing is not a vanity press; I have no plans to publish any more of my own work. We just needed something I wrote for the sample.

For those of you who buy it, please read the foreword, which is in my mind more important than the article itself. In the foreword I discuss the philosophy that led to the founding of Witan, and it will likely answer many of the questions people have regarding it.

Now that people have seen our sample, many have asked me if we would consider publishing new editions of 19th & early-20th century medieval scholarship that has fallen into public domain. Most of what is out there are so poorly-scanned and converted that they are basically unusable (for a good example of this, go look at the e-pub version of Albert S. Cook's A Concordance to Beowulf). Much of the remainder is more carefully converted, but doesn't really make use of the e-pub format, and so amounts to little more than a .pdf file.

The short answer is yes, but we don't have anything immediately in the pipeline. Since we would have to make major editorial interventions to make such texts work in the e-pub format (doing such things as converting footnotes to endnotes, etc.), we would also want an introduction by a new editor discussing the importance of the work, a new bibliography of the subsequent critical reception of the work, etc. In other words, we wouldn't simply want to slap up an old edition, we would want our new e-pub edition to be an homage to the work of our scholarly ancestors.

So, buy our sample book, read our sample book, and please give us feedback on it in the comments section below! We already see some things we'd like to improve on, but the feedback of interested readers is gold. Also, if you have something you'd like to see published, whether a work of your original scholarship or an edition of an older public domain work you'd like to see produced, please go to our Submit a Proposal page and, well, submit a proposal.

Also, don't forget to "like" Witan Publishing on Facebook, to keep up with our latest titles as they are produced, and Witan Publishing on Twitter as well.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Some of My Best Friends are Medievalists

I've spent the last three days writing personal e-mails to all my medievalist friends inviting them to submit a project to Witan (or get involved as a peer reviewer or booster), and I'm still only through the letter D.

If I've learned nothing else through this process, it's that I've got a lot of medievalist friends! It's a lot like sending out wedding invitations -- I just know I'm going to forget someone important, and since I'm using my e-mail, those who are Facebook friends but not in my e-mail contacts might slip through the cracks.

It's been heartening how many have replied with ideas for texts, but if you've already got a substantial amount written (at least one chapter or the equivalent), a personal e-mail to me isn't enough -- you're going to have to submit your proposal through our Submissions page, for reasons both bureaucratic (so our other editors get to see the proposal) and political (so hiring and tenure & promotion committees see it's all legit).

It's been exciting to see how many of you all are excited! There will be some bumps and snags at the beginning (for example, our submissions page stopped working for a few hours on the first day), but we're pushing the frontier of medieval scholarship. In five years time, I'd like to see this e-pub medium be the new normal for disseminating scholarship.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Witan Submissions Page Back Up

For those who e-mailed me to say, "Hey, I tried to submit to Witan, but it didn't work," the problem should be fixed now. Go ahead and submit your proposals.