Letter from the Editor

Dear readers,

We are pleased to present our spring 2015 general subject issue of Hortulus, featuring articles by Matt King and Sarah J. Sprouse. King’s article, “Perceptions of Islam in the Carmen in Victoriam Pisanorum,” views the Carmen as “a powerful lens through which to view Pisan identity in the eleventh century.” King ultimately argues, “The anonymous author of the Carmen is disdainful of Islam, equating Muslims with a series of Old Testament villains and presenting Islam as a heresy that threatens Christianity.” Conversely, King contends, the poet presents the Pisan armies that sacked Mahdia “as heroes both in the context of Roman and Old Testament history.” In her article, “The Associative Branches of the Irish Barnacle: Gerald of Wales and the Natural World,” Sprouse applies Bruno Latour’s Actor-network Theory to an exploration of Gerald of Wales’s use of the barnacle goose in his Topographia Hibernica, arguing that the various associative branches of the barnacle goose figure, “such as applications of St. Augustine of Hippo’s categories of ‘wonder’, ongoing considerations of ecclesiastical reform, and a glimpse into the practice of medieval scientific deduction” collide to “permit the natural feature of the barnacle to instruct a cultural moment within the context of Norman invasion that is ultimately revealing of Gerald’s world, as well as of his perspective within it.” The social construction that occurs in subsequent iterations of the figure of the barnacle goose in later editions of this manuscript becomes a relative data point reached through these myriad associations that start with the barnacle—a development traced throughout this article.

With the closing of our rolling book reviews section on the website, we have taken the opportunity to expand substantially our book reviews section in the journal proper. In addition to our two articles, our spring edition also features nine book reviews. James Robert Adams reviews Assaf Pinkus’s Sculpting Simulacra in Medieval Germany, 1250-1380; Matthew Buszek reviews Fotini Kondyli, Vera Andriopoulou, Eirini Panou, and Mary B. Cunningham, eds., Sylvester Syropoulos on Politics and Culture in the Fifteenth-Century Mediterranean; Andrew Jacob Cuff reviews Nicholas Temple, John Shannon Hendrix, and Christian Frost, eds., Bishop Robert Grosseteste and Lincoln Cathedral: Tracing Relationships between Medieval Concepts of Order and Built Form; Melissa Ridley Elmes reviews Anke Timmermann’s Verse and Transmutation: A Corpus of Middle English Alchemical Poetry; Jordan Loveridge reviews Dallas G. Denery II, Kantik Ghosh, and Nicolette Zeeman, eds., Uncertain Knowledge: Scepticism, Relativism, and Doubt in the Middle Ages; Lucas McMahon reviews Alicia Simpson’s Niketas Choniates: A Historiographical Study; Stephanie Grace Petinos reviews Mary Dockray-Miller’s The Books and the Life of Judith of Flanders; Kyle Shimoda reviews Nikolaos G. Chrissis and Mike Carr, eds., Contact and Conflict in Frankish Greece and the Aegean, 1204–1453: Crusade, Religion and Trade between Latins, Greeks and Turks; and Courtney Tomaselli reviews Byzantine Images and their Afterlives: Essays in Honor of Annemarie Weyl Carr, edited by Lynn Jones.

We have begun to develop the General Interest and Digital Publishing columns on the blog and website, and are excited about these initiatives. In terms of Hortulus operations, we are accepting applications through July 15 for the position of co-editor; this individual will serve as the junior editor for 2015-2016 and the senior editor of the journal for 2016-2017. Further details can be found here: https://hortulus-journal.com/job-openings/co-editorship/. In addition to this call for applicants, we are also accepting submissions through August 15 for the Fall 2015 themed issue: “Pilgrimage, Exploration, and Travel.” Stay tuned for Hortulus-related conference news.

We would like to express our deep appreciation for the editorial board of this issue of Hortulus. Our assistant editors, Victoria Shirley of Cardiff University and Natalie Whitaker of Missouri State University, did an outstanding job throughout the editing process, and we are certain that the articles in this issue reflect positively on their careful attention to detail and editorial savvy. Additionally, we are as ever deeply indebted to our incomparable reviews editor, Paul Brazinski, who has agreed to serve for another two-year appointment in this position. With the expansion of our reviews section, we are also thankful to Rebecca Hill for her work as the assistant reviews editor this year. Finally, the Hortulus staff would like to thank outgoing Senior Co-editor Jenny C. Bledsoe for her service to the journal. Her leadership, organization, and vision have helped the journal develop substantially over the past two years, and we wish her all the best as she continues her degree program.

Melissa Ridley Elmes, Hortulus co-editor

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