As a playful end to our sneak peeks, and because listicles appear to be all the rage these days, here are 21 moments when the Roman de Fauvel strikingly depicted what student life can be like.
1. When the teacher asks for a volunteer but no one wants to:
2. The look on your faces when you and your classmates pretend you love a certain theory because your tutor claims it is awesome:
3. That feeling you get when it’s late in the semester and all your deadlines are catching up to you:
4. That awkward moment when your friend catches you making selfies during class:
5. When the teacher finds out you didn’t do the required readings for their seminar:
6. When you obtain your driver’s license and your parents finally allow you to drive their car for the first time:
7. When you’re going to order pizza, but none of your friends can agree on what they want:
8. That moment when you realise it’s been too long since you last went out for drinks and now you can’t hold your liquor anymore:
9. When the teacher is basically just reading their powerpoint out loud and you start to wonder why you pay so much tuition every year:
10. When you’re trying to fall asleep, but then you suddenly get visited by a feeling of guilt for not finishing that one deadline yet:
11. When the class doesn't know what to do, but no one wants to ask the teacher for information:
12. When you finally find the time to go to a party and everyone goes crazy:
13. … but then you and your friends get so drunk you need a taxi to get back home:
14. That feeling when you sold your soul to write the perfect essay, but your teacher still thought it wasn’t all that great:
15. When you try to catch up on course readings but your friends won’t stop asking you to go for drinks:
16. When you’re wondering if maybe you should give up higher education and sell your body instead:
17. Trying to balance sleep, academia, and a healthy social life:
18. When, after the exam, you discuss your answers with your classmates and you start questioning everything you wrote:
19. When you’re trying to convince your teacher that the death of your favourite fictional character warrants an extension of your deadline:
20. When you’ve been locked inside for days trying to find a good angle for your research paper and suddenly you get blessed with inspiration:
21. And finally (hopefully), when you present your early findings at a conference and get unexpected approval from all the scholars present:
This post marks the end of our regular sneak peeks. We hope that you have enjoyed them, and that they have persuaded you to attend our conference this Thursday. If you would like to come but haven't registered yet, you can still do so here.
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)
These are remarkable times indeed. If George Orwell could see some of the unfortunate events transpiring in the world today, he might facepalm before rolling over in his grave. Interestingly, there appears to be something persistently animalistic about politics.
However, this is not the first time that politics has become so ‘beastly’. I’d like to draw your attention to a remarkable manuscript from the early fourteenth century, the Roman de Fauvel (1316). The volume satirises the French king Philip IV ‘the Fair’, and it serves as an admonishment to king Philip V who inherited the Crown in 1317. In the first book of Fauvel, Lady Fortune decides to take the horse Fauvel (whose name is an acronym referring to the Vices Flattery, Avarice, Vileness, Variability, Envy, and Laxity) from his stable, and she places him in charge of the royal palace, similar to how the Roman emperor Caligula supposedly made his horse a minister. Unlike Caligula’s horse, Fauvel uses this power to upend the balance of the nation, heralding even the very Apocalypse. Yet the people who have the power to stop him (such as royalty, nobility, the clergy, etc.) want nothing more than to… pet him? For, as the story goes, “there was not a person who was not preparing to gently curry Fauvel" (N'i a nul qui ne s'appareille / De torchier Fauvel doucement).
Would you like Sven Gins to reveal more about his ongoing research into the curious manuscript that is the Roman de Fauvel? Please register here to secure your seat.
One source in particular offers a very 'revealing' view on Turks in sixteenth-century Lyon. In Les quatre premiers livres des navigations et pérégrinations orientales, published in 1568, Nicolas de Nicolay, French soldier and geographer, dedicates two chapters to the bathing practices of the Turks [read: Ottomans].
In the twenty-first chapter of the second book, the practices of Turkish males are outlined. While the bathhouse’s servant took it upon himself to shave both the beard and the hair under the armpits of the guests, “[...] for the secret parts they hand you [the guest] a razor, or a depilatory (which they call Rusma) which is a cream that, if applied to the hairy parts, instantaneously makes all the hair fall out.” According to Nicolay, Turkish men and women often made use of this cream, because they were disgusted by hair in “such places”.
Furthermore Nicolay explains that the law of Islam commands all Muslims to wash themselves properly and purify themselves before entering a mosque. He expresses indignation at the fact that “these brutal Barbarians who wash their body on the outside” are allowed to enter, while those who wash the inside of their soul – probably a reference to Christians – must stay outside.
In short, while describing Turkish bathing practices, Nicolas de Nicolay succeeded in emasculating and feminising Turkish men, while simultaneously portraying their female counterparts as promiscuous and unreliable beings. At the conference 29 June, a set of other sources, also printed in Lyon some twenty to thirty years earlier than Nicolay’s text, will be discussed. By reconstructing past perceptions of the Turks (Ottomans), and by drawing comparisons between these various views, my research will uncover the discourse(s) surrounding these 'strangers' in sixteenth century Lyon.
Would you like Giel Maan to reveal more about the various French perceptions of Turks that he is currently researching? Please register here to secure your seat.
This blog is run by the students who organise the CMEMS Conference. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one of the students will post a small sneak preview indicating the content of their conference presentation.