Review

An editorial review of a published work such as a book, film, or musical album

"Dante's inferno", a new take on Hell

The marketers of Electronic Arts' videogame Dante's Inferno had an unusual rollout plan: self-protest the game, based on Dante Alighieri's 14th century work, as an evil, anti-Christian entertainment to drum up publicity for the game. Reviewers found Inferno to be less hellish and more of a dud. Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times has the story.

Author looks at fantasy and role-playing underground

Author Ethan Gilsdorf has produced a new book entitled Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, which looks at the role-playing and fantasy culture, including the SCA. (video)

Crusaders: Villains or saints?

Historians have long debated the motives and actions of the medieval crusaders who took the Holy Land by force in the 11th century. New York Times reviewer Eric Ormsby has a review.

Shakespeare scholar takes on authorship issue

Author James Shapiro, whose 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, delighted the literary world, has a new book, this time investigating whether the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon actually wrote his plays. Robert McCrum of The Observer has a review.

Curling: Quirky, Cordial...and Period

To many Americans, the sport of curling is a mystery of complex scoring and opaque strategies. A deeper look reveals a sport that dates back to the later SCA period and whose participants have much in common with SCA martial competitors.

Bog People subject of new book

In a review for The Telegraph, Philip Hoare looks at Bodies in the Bog and the Archaeological Imagination, a book by University of California, Berkeley professor Karin Sanders.

New book looks at four months in the life of Anne Boleyn

The Lady in the Tower, a new book by Tudor scholar Alison Weir, looks at the last four months in the life of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Janet Maslin of the New York Times has the review.

When in Rome... read!

Mysteries set in ancient Rome continue to catch the imaginations of readers.

"1415: Henry V's Year of Glory" shows new Henry V

For centuries, Englishmen have revered King Henry V as "the greatest man that ever ruled England,” but 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory, a new book by Ian Mortimer gives a new view of the king. Dominic Sandbrook of The Telegraph has a review.

A taste of mead

In an article for the Chow website, Lessley Anderson and Roxanne Webbe review 10 Meads You Should Try. The American meads range from peucts produced in Portland, Maine to Anchorage, Alaska.

Keeping up with the Ciceros

Reasons given for the study of Latin over the year have ranged from "better understanding of English" to "looks good on a resume," but a new reason, according to Globe and Mail arts columnist Warren Clements, might be "to keep up with all the amusing Latin books that have been pouring forth for the past 60 years."

Quant la Doulce Jouvencelle called a "magnifique interpretation"

Posted on YouTube is a video clip of the medieval music duo performing Quant la doulce jouvencelle. The performance is in French.

Braveheart #2 of "10 most historically inaccurate movies"

Caroline White of the Times Online has put together a list of the "10 most historically inaccurate movies" of all time. Mel Gibson holds the record with three of the ten, including 1995's Braveheart.

New book looks at perception of the Druids in Great Britain

The popular perception of the Druid as either a sage with a long beard or a blood-thirsty expert in human sacrifice is the topic of a new book by Bristol University professor Ronald Hutton: Blood and Mistletoe: a History of the Druids in Britain.

400th anniversary of Shakespeare's sonnets

On May 20, 1609, the first collection of Shakespeare's sonnets was published in London. On his book blog Paper Cuts, New York Times reviewer William S. Niederkorn looks at the impact of some of the world's most famous poetry.

Illuminated pages "looking at the innards of a bejeweled watch"

Single illuminated pages from medieval manuscripts often end up as single exhibits in museums, or worse, stuck in a drawer, unviewed and unappreciated, but a new exhibit Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations From the National Gallery of Art showcases these single pieces as the gems they are. Paul Richard of The Washington Post has a review.

"The Secret of Kells" brings illumination to life

A 12-year-old boy fights off Vikings to help complete the Book of Kells in a new animated adventure from Cartoon Saloon. The film was scheduled for release late winter 2009.

Beowulf - now with klezmer!

Just when you think you've seen - or read - it all, comes this review by New York Times theater critic B Neil Genzlinger of Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, a new production by Jason Craig, at the Abrons Arts Center, accompanied by klezmer music.

Dream exhibit at the Folger Library

The dreamworld was a popular subject for medieval and renaissance people. Now a new exhibit at Washington D.C. Folger Library looks at the world of sleep and dreams through the eyes of William Shakespeare and others. Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post has a review.

New "Henry V" aimed at youth

A new production of Shakespeare's Henry V at the New Victory Theater, the family-friendly theater in New York City, co-produced by the Acting Company and the Guthrie Theater, offers fast-paced staging aimed at the theater's young audience. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times has a review.

The Silver Hoard of the XXV Estrella War A&S Competition

One of the categories for the XXV Estrella War Arts and Sciences Competition was that of A Silver Based Entry. The winning entry was A 10th Century Viking Hoard entered by HE Ivan Petrovich, OL, KSCA; HE Ianuk Raventhourne, OL and Sir Steffan von Hessen, KSCA.

Jean I: Rightful King of France

In a strange footnote to the Hundred Years' War, a Sienese merchant named Giannino di Guccio came to believe that he was actually King Jean I of France. A new book, translated from Italian, he Man Who Believed He Was King of France by Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri, tells the story.

Biography of England's mightiest river

“This river looks so broad and vast, so murky and silent, seems such an image of death in the midst of the great city’s life,” wrote Charles Dickens. Now Peter Ackroyd takes on the daunting history of the river with a new book Thames: The Biography. Jeremy Kutner of the Christian Science Monitor has a review.

Lionheart shines at Metropolitan Museum of Art

The early-music vocal sextet Lionheart recently offered a program of Christmas music of 13th through 16th-century Italy in the Medieval Sculpture Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Allan Kozinn of Medievalists.net has a review.

Salisbury inspires medieval moments

Travelers to London looking for a day trip may want to consider Salisbury in Wiltshire, a medieval city complete with impressive cathedral, museums and historic houses, and restaurants and pubs. Jennifer Conlin of the New York Times has a travel review.

"Glimmering visions" await visitors to Byzantine treasures exhibit

Visitors to Byzantium: Treasures of a lost empire at London's Royal Academy of Arts are in for a treat. Over 350 seldom-seen artifacts from the museum's collection and others will be on display until March 22, 2009. Rachel Campbell-Johnston of the Times Online has a review.

"Millennium" sheds light on the Dark Ages

Millennium, a new book by Tom Holland, takes a look at the Dark Ages with special focus on politics, religion and the combination of the two: the Crusades. Christina Hardyment of The Independent has a review.

Sacred sounds in New York City

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin recently rang with the sounds of choral polyphony when the Tallis Scholars, led by Peter Phillips presented a program of Spanish Renaissance music as part of Columbia University's early music series. Allan Kozinn of the New York Times has a review.

Henry VIII biography marks king's 500th anniversary

Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey, a two-volume biography of Henry VIII, will mark the 500th anniversary of Henry's ascent to the throne of England. John Guy of the London Times has the review.

"Forbidden Pennsic" DVD and CD now available

The production DVD and the soundtrack CD are now available for the Known World Players' premier of Forbidden Pennsic, performed at Pennsic 37. Lord Abel Frölicher has a brief review of the newly-released DVD.