I am retracing my steps returning to the scene of an accident, and working out were my unholy interest in early legal material and early modern philosophical empirical inquiry developed.
I could come up with a host of retrospective excuses but the main motivation would be relaxation and abstraction which is strongly related to play and pattern matching.
I picked a core series of early legal texts to study over the winter months, little daylight and long nights provides the perfect set of circumstances to escape boredom by becoming lost in books.
The amount of reading required to understand these early legal codes in context and in relation to contemporary historical argument is intense.
Finding a way to be able to abstract issues and situate them in a location were they do not ‘matter’ and have no relevance or context, I find a useful way to relax and to memorize and remember.
Its easy to see the pattern, which would have first attracted me to these later texts, swiftness, strength, blackened face, wood/ desert, these are all narrative elements I am familiar with from medieval storytelling.
An odd fusions of themes from popular devotion to elite belief and practice which hint and both the role of ritual in maintaining a sense of shared inclusive identity and also of excluding and making a difference.
Rural location, hierarchical social structure and the role threat and classification of an undermined object plays in the formation of a cultural group. Movement from village to a central location, where beliefs and ideas can be discussed, located, rejected or emulated.
If I had to invent a tale that encapsulated a range of the themes and subjects that interest me, in an easy to digest, vivid and memorable form, it would look something like the introduction to this story.
The introduction to A Savage girl, while it may be written in a barbaric Scottish tongue, it is however rather cunningly wrought and contains a history of a subject as though in miniature.
Its intention presumably, to demonstrate, memorialize and capture.
The method of ensnarement would seem to relate to the ability of narrative to ensnare and entertain.
Or at least that’s going to be my excuse when it comes to relating legal texts to a wider body of story-telling that develops within the confines of ecclesiastical monastic houses between the 7th and 12th century.