Wednesday, June 20, 2012

End of the story

It started as just a chapter in a proposed book on medievalism and gender, but Simon encouraged me to ditch the other chapters and just work on this chapter on the Order of the Garter. Even back then I knew I wanted to focus on the myth, whether true or no, of the Garter's origin in a embarrassing incident involving a piece of underwear dropping off in public. And I knew I didn't want to write a 'straight' historical narrative. Anyway, like most books it took rather longer than I thought to fall into place. I had more material than I could really use, and left out lots of things, but to no great regret so far.

No reviews yet, and I await them with predictable apprehension.

In the meantime, there is much pleasure to be had from finishing this big book. For a start, its gorgeous cover: the wicked leering glance of the Prince Regent awaking the Spirit of Brighton, wearing nothing but pretty shoes, pretty wings and his Garter regalia. After all, it must be worn at all times: you're naked without it.

There is pleasure from celebrating its launching. I don't know why I didn't have a launch for the Chaucer book, but I made up for that by having two for this one. One in Sydney, and one in Melbourne. Both were enjoyable, though I was somewhat nervous before the Melbourne one and then hardly slept at all the night after. So much adrenaline racing around.

But I was buoyed by the warmth of family and friends. What a luxury to be surrounded by people who understand what it means to write a book like this. My mother phoned a few days ago to say
how much she was enjoying reading it. So that's good.


I am having trouble sorting these pictures from the Melbourne launch into sequence, and they may appear a little odd in the final formatting, but this is me and Deirdre Coleman, my dear friend and colleague, who was the MC. And the book in Melbourne was launched by Brien Hallett. Brien and I were undergraduates together, and as you can see, he is now the Usher of the Black Rod in the Senate. Black Rod's a Garter official dating from the fourteenth century, so there were some lovely circles and loops being tied that night. 

I have also done a little publicity for the book. Penn started a "vulgar board about the Order of the Garter" on Pinterest; I wrote a piece for the Daily Beast; and did a little QandA for The Age. Readers of Humanities Researcher provided support, community, distraction and inspiration. You read chapters, you provided images and ideas, and I came here often as refuge. Thank you. 
































1 comment:

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Congratulations on the book's publication! SO looking forward to reading it. U Penn Press asked me to feature it on In The Middle, and of course we will.