02 April, 2006

Random Edward II stuff

Feeling guilty for not posting more lately - I seem to be suffering from a lack of inspiration at the moment! I've noticed a few comments about the blog on forums and other people's blogs - it seems that there are quite a few of you reading, so welcome, and hope you're enjoying my scribblings!

Just discovered that one of my favourite writers, Geoffrey Chaucer, has discovered cyberspace and is writing his own blogge! You should check it out.

Want to know The Truth about William Wallace's affair with Queen Isabella, and his true fate?? Check out Susan Higginbotham's latest post. Susan has finally learnt what really happened, and is hard at work on her next novel about it! :)

I'm currently reading, and enjoying, Ian Mortimer's The Perfect King, a biography of Edward III (you know, the one who was THE SON OF EDWARD II). Dr Mortimer is also the author of The Greatest Traitor, a biog of Queen Isabella's lover, Roger Mortimer (no relation to the author). Both of these are highly recommended, combining a very readable style with the highest levels of scholarship.

Talking of Dr Mortimer, the Edward III biography expands on his theory that Edward II was not murdered in 1327, but survived until about 1341. As I said before, I'm intending to write a post or two on this, very shortly, as soon as I get round to it! :)

I have to confess to experiencing an excess of Schadenfreude these days, in relation to Katherine Gretchen Allocco, author of the "astonishing howler on every page!" 'PhD' thesis I critiqued in January. If you google her name, almost all the results are this blog, hehehe. Now, normally I don't consider myself to be a harshly critical or vindictive person, but quite frankly, anyone awarded a PhD on the basis of the shoddy, sloppy rubbish she wrote deserves to be held up to public ridicule. At least, the thesis has been removed from sale at Amazon.com, after I and another reader pointed out its sheer awfulness and gave it one-star reviews (I would have given it minus 10 stars, if that were possible).

I urge you to read my post on the subject, if you haven't already (in the archives for Jan. 2006). Until you do, here are my highlights (lowlights?): she states correctly that the earl of Gloucester was killed at Bannockburn in 1314, but on a later page has him 'keeping a low profile' after the battle. Yup, six feet under, about as low as you can get. She confuses the brothers Richard and Roger Damory several times and has Roger receiving a letter from Isabella four-and-a-half years after his death, which she mentioned on the page before! Nobody can have proof-read this thesis. Aagghh!!!

I'm truly appalled that this piece of (not to put too fine a point on it) crap received a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. So appalled, in fact, that I mailed Katherine Allocco, her supervisor Martha Newman, and her 'committee' Alison Frazier, Brian Levack, Julie Hardwick and Geraldine Heng to express my utter disgust. Needless to say, none of them have bothered to reply, but if they're reading this: you should be ashamed of yourselves.


Susan Higginbotham said...

Looking forward to your review of the Ian Mortimer book! Eight days (hopefully) until my copy arrives.

Gabriele Campbell said...

Ouch, that reinforces prejudice of some German academics that US PhDs in the humaniora aren't worth much. Natural sciences and medicine have a good renown, though.

I think you're right to point out this thesis is a mess. Fiction is a question of taste and there may be readers who are less picky about historical correctness and will enjoy books I don't like, thus I won't blame the authors for tampering even when I point out the incongruicies. But research is another matter - not everything can be proven beyond doubt, but there should at least be some frigging logic in a thesis.

Anonymous said...

You were right to contact them! But then, if PhDs are that easy to get, I'm off to America! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hello -- I'm very new to the blog world and ran across this blog while looking up some materials on the Jarman Edward II. I'm an art historian who works on illuminated manuscripts and other things that have been attributed to the ownership of Isabelle of France. And I'm really pleased to see the interest in this early corner of the 14th century, and the balance that's being brought to the study of the period (particularly Isabelle). But I'm a little disturbed to read the bashing of Alloco's thesis. Admittedly it has a lot of problems (and when she cites my work she overstates things dreadfully) but the tone of the discussion seems a little spiteful. As someone new to the blog world, may I ask if this is common?

On another note, I was interested to know if any of you have seen the French Les Rois maudits miniseries, and could point me to any shots of the Isabelle character? I'm giving a paper on the afterimage of Isabelle (everything from chronicles & Elizabethan materials to Braveheart, Doherty, etc.) and would love an image from the miniseries.