I took the trolley out to the University of Erfurt and holy hell, was it ever depressing. I yoinked this picture from google. Imagine what it looks like when everything is dead and grey and cold and the wind is being cruel. I guess they built the whole thing about 15 years ago, and I have to say: not with any particular love for art and architecture. It looks like a freaking gulag. And it was windy - the kind of greedy wind that reaches down your throat with one cold and inexorable arm to rip your warm breath out of your lungs and flings daggers at you and is just generally a total bastard. So since it was ugly, of the sort that hardly shows up on camera at all (like most of Braunschweig) and since it was cold and windy and I was miserable, I just soldiered on to the library with my shoulder against the wind and didn't take any pictures at all. So all I have to offer you today is a picture I took of my favorite kind of store: a FLESHERY. 

There's me with Trusty Red Messenger bag in the right and an Elvis impersonator poster on the left. And meat in the middle, baby.

Here's a funny thing - my exhaustion last week made it seem like I had no jet lag at all, because I was ready to  fall asleep anytime, anywhere. But now that I'm a little more rested I'm feeling it, though in a really disembodied way. By which I mean that it's not like I don't get sleepy until 7 AM because I'm used to going to bed at midnight. If anything, I fall asleep by midnight or 1 without difficulty and am best in the mornings. But late afternoon - like right now, when it's about 4 o'clock here) - I'm a zombie. I can barely keep my head up and my butt in gear, and my craving for being horizontal is so huge that all flat surfaces look really comfortable and inviting. I'll have lunch (which I skipped because I really wanted to finish physical descriptions of manuscripts today as I have a metric assload of transcription to do tomorrow, and you would not believe the hand it was written in - generally speaking 15th c. German bookhands have generally struck me as being neat and decisive.The earlier they are, the prettier they are to my eye, more apt to indulge in an elegant line - but this one is small and angry.

In general Germans scribes have hands like chisels. In my MS, this is a TINY chisel making TINY words. So TINY. And highly abbreviated. I think I may have suffered a mild aneurysm transcribing cap incipits from the first manuscript this morning because my eyeball on the right side feels really weird. From giving the side-eye to the really old book while sitting in typical secretarial transcription mode with my laptop to the right and my manuscript to the left. I could do that because the letters were on the large side, a little more than half a centimeter tall. These are less than half a centimeter tall, and very little space between the lines, so the impression on the page is one of densed fixity. In the movies, people with handwriting like this turn out to be OCD serial killers.

I got yelled at a little for not writing ahead here in Erfurt (point taken, but every archive I've been to so far has been utterly indifferent to advance emails, sometimes even seem averse, as if the act of sending an advance email saying hello, visiting researcher, would like to see MSS X Y Z next week, thanks so much - is like ALLOW ME TO ALERT THE MEDIA OF MY IMMINENT ARRIVAL magnitude egotistical - and in the case of Richelieu, I got actively screamed at by one of the archivists for wasting her time when it's a public library, you show up, you show your creds to the office and get a reader's card, you fill out paperwork, you get your MSS, so STFU with the emails!

So I don't know. But I think I should probably be sending them. Herr Archiv nearly sent me packing today, but Frau Archiv took pity on me after asking me if I had credentials and I produced my dazzler. Which was the first time I've *ever* been asked for it - I stopped producing it in archives because I could practically feel people restraining themselves from patting me on the head and saying "That's nice, dear!" But here I was, and it actually DID ITS JOB. Which is to say, it dazzled. She didn't even read it before assenting: she took in the shiny gold seal and the ribbons and my name and said "Very well" and took it off to make a photocopy of it. It could have said "Sarah Smith is the Indiana University mudwrestling champion for 2008, let this document bear witness to her awesome half-nelson!" Probably tedious journaling of archive stuff with no pictures. )

Bis spater!



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