When the reigning Miss Universe is a Final Fantasy fan, and her favorite is also your own:
“I started with Final Fantasy VIII. Not a lot of people like VIII because they usually start with FF VII. But I started with VIII because I’m a girl and I fell for the love story. My favorite character…that’s a tough one… is Quistis. The one with the whip. I like her.”
It’s time to drool again over things I can never afford. This time, it’s thanks to Chanel’s Comete Jewelry collection. Apparently Coco Chanel used to say: "I wanted to cover women in constellations. Stars! Stars of all sizes…“ To which, we reply: YES, ALL THE STARS. ALL THE STARS ON ME.
Most medieval manuscripts that aren’t prayer books are what we’d call miscellanies: they contain bits and pieces of this and that in no particular order. You can often find a religious treatise followed by a romance, for example, followed by recipes and remedies. Looking at one is like listening to a stranger’s mix tape: you have to search carefully for clues to try to figure out more about the person who made it.
If we go back to the very beginning of a conventional medieval book’s production, it starts with a text (recipe, romance, sermon, etc.) that a reader has been exposed to, and now wants a copy of. A scribe borrows an original source text, and then painstakingly begins to copy every part of the text word for word. In order for the book copying not to take forever (the original text does eventually have to get back to its owner), scribes would sometimes work in tandem in commercial workshops, or in monasteries, with everybody getting one section of the original to copy out. Each scribe would copy onto sheets of vellum (illustration came last), which they’d fold into a bundle called a quire. In order to make sure that everybody got their finished section of the text put together in the right order, sometimes scribes would write “catch words” in the margin at the end of their section that matched up with the first words in the next section. Sometimes, they’d immediately put together their sections to make up a booklet, and leave the booklet aside until they had enough material to justify the expense of binding. This worked especially well for commercial booksellers if they could manage it: people could just come in and pick out the booklets they wanted and then bind them together. […]
The Beowulf Manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A.XV), is a miscellany made up of four separate manuscripts (also miscellaneous) bound together in the late sixteenth century. If we just look at the section which contains Beowulf, we can find the Homily on St. Christopher, The Marvels of the East, The Letter of Alexander [the Great] to Aristotle, Beowulf, and the Old English poem Judith. In another famous manuscript, The Auchinleck Manuscript (NLS Adv MS 19.2.1), we can find (among many, many other texts) the romance Amis and Amiloun right next to The Life of St. Mary Magdalene, a lengthy explanation of the Lord’s Prayer (The Paternoster), and a history of England (The Anonymous Short English Metrical Chronicle). For these texts to appear together in one bound manuscript automatically suggests that at one point there was a reader who wanted all of these texts – as with waiting to record your favourite song when it comes up next on the radio, nobody does that much work for something they have no interest in. Finding the same texts in more than one book tells us a little bit about general trends, like what types of stories and languages were popular and where they were circulating. Seeing religious texts cheek by jowl with Arthurian romances can tell us a little bit about society, too; for example, people didn’t feel the need to necessarily keep religious stories and stories of the otherworld (like Auchinleck’s Sir Orfeo) separate.
Last summer, my friends Trix and Sana were bemoaning the upcoming ‘Omegapause’, a scheduled break in activity leading up to the end of Homestuck. They wanted something to tide them over until the time came, to keep their fandom torches burning, and so Trix finally convinced me to do what she’d been trying to get me to do for almost a year: start a liveblog. And let me tell you, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Not only was the comic vastly deeper and more complex than I could have imagined, but the fandom community was vibrant, thriving, engaging, and most surprising of all, interested in what I had to say. My experience reading Homestuck wouldn’t be half as amazing if all of you weren’t along for the ride with me, encouraging me and sharing your insight. Even though it’s been less than a year, and I’m still not anywhere near the end of my journey, I feel like I have family in you guys. Thanks to you, I can truly call myself a Homestuck.
My End of Act 5 audio reaction will go up in just a few short hours, and I’m excited for you all to see it, but tomorrow isn’t about me or my liveblog. Tomorrow is about you: you loyal, patient multitude, artists and thinkers and lovers and dreamers all come together for one final celebration of that which joined us all as friends. However Homestuck ends, my hope is that it’s everything you’ve wished for, and more, because you deserve it.
Here’s to Homestuck, and here’s to you. Happy 413. I love you all.