October 2017


Just a quick post to say that normal service will be resumed shortly – I’ve got lots of things on my list to write posts about, but I simply haven’t got the time at the moment to write them because I’m busy writing lectures and marking.  Normally I write a stack of posts and schedule them, but since I completed the book text, the demands of other work have stepped up and the posts that were already scheduled have run out.

When the blizzard abates, I’ll be back.

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I’m singing ballads at this event in Manchester.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The 31st October is a date which you might notice in the diary – perhaps an evening you mark with a ghoulish costume, or by taking the children trick or treating, or even staying in and watching a film that makes you want to hide behind the sofa. Hallowe’en has been marked for centuries as the feast of All Hallow’s Eve, preceding All Souls Day in the Christian Church calendar, absorbing the Celtic festival of Samhain.

A woodcut image of Luther being played, as an instrument, by the devil. A contemporary image showing a monk (possibly Luther) as a literal instrument of the devil: popular print shows both fierce opposition and support on all sides during the Reformation. (Woodcut pasted into R9935)

This year, Hallowe’en marks an extra special date. 500 years ago, according to tradition on 31st October, Martin Luther chose this festival to publicise his complaints about the Roman Catholic Church as part of an argument for reform. His actions…

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Lately, I’ve been in the final stages of putting together the manuscript for the book.  As I came to the very end of the project, I spent a couple of days writing a few new bits for a reworked introduction.  I’d never been entirely comfortable with the fact that the first chapter was the introduction, and on the advice of a couple of people who had read the whole manuscript, I made a (rather last minute decision to) change!

Then there were the fiddly bits of things that needed sorting out – making sure that the figure numbers were correct on the files; cutting the manuscript up into its constituent parts; checking that the footnotes were consistent.  All done…

I’m pleased to say that I managed to send the manuscript to the publisher two weeks ahead of schedule.