first of all, let me ask you: Are any of you still around? After all, it has been awfully quiet here for quite some time now, and I really couldn’t blame you if you’d all decided to abandon ship.
I have, however, had my reasons for this prolonged silence, the first of them being the simple fact that over these past few months I’ve been incredibly busy with other stuff. You know, life, work, research, the usual… In itself, that is perhaps no excuse – I mean, pretty much every blogger with a job in academia could say the same thing, but there are still plenty of them/you out there who manage to blog more or less regularly in spite of all other obligations.
But there has been another, more profound issue that’s been bothering me as well: Over the last year or so, I became more and more uncertain about the direction I wanted my blogging to take and, in retrospect, I guess that not knowing where I was headed simply prevented me from moving forward at all. After long consideration, I have now finally come to a decision and I am going to bore you with all the details of that process in just a moment, but for those of impatient persuasion here’s the Reader’s Digest version first: I have decided to give up this blog and start a new one instead. I will from now on share my thoughts and observations on medieval art history and related subjects on my new blog titled Camera Picta (which, obviously, you can reach by just clicking the link). As you’d expect, it will be slightly different from this blog here (why else would I have started it?), but I hope you’ll find it similar enough to still appeal to you. Which brings me to the long version…
I created L’Historien Errant as a space to write about all kinds of things – mostly art, literature and history – that I found interesting for one reason or another, but that didn’t necessarily fit into the scope of the research I was doing as an academic. While, in many respects, L’Historien Errant has undeniably always been a researcher’s blog, it was never intended to be an actual research blog. Over time, however, I found myself increasingly drawn towards blogging about material that was directly related to my research as, e.g., this post from last summer demonstrates. So step number one was, I guess, my inclination to write something closer to a research blog in the narrow sense of the word. Obviously, I could have done this by simply giving L’Historien Errant a slightly different direction, but I was somehow reluctant to go through with that. This was partly owed to the fact that that was not what I had intended this blog to be in the first place, and I freely admit that I tend to be inflexible in matters such as this. More importantly, though, this was due to the fact that it felt stupid to write about something closely related to my professional life under the Historien Errant moniker. (This despite the fact that my real name is revealed in the About section, but let’s be honest, in terms of blogging that’s basically the small print and presumably not immediately evident to the casual reader.)
Thus, I guess that somewhere deep down I’ve known for quite a while that, if I wanted to change the direction of my blogging, I would have to give up this blog and start anew somewhere else. The problem was, of course, that I really like this here site and over time I have grown quite attached to it. Add to that my aforementioned inflexibility, and you will understand that giving it up was a tough call for me and it took me a fair amount of time to get used to the idea… Now that I’ve made the decision, I must say, though, that it feels good and that I am exceedingly happy with my new site which is hosted by hypotheses.org. While Hypotheses is still surprisingly little-known in the English-speaking world, over the last couple of years or so it has rapidly developed into the most important blogging platform for the humanities in continental Europe, and I am excited to have become part of their steadily growing community.
That said, I really hope that many of you, my estimated “old” readers, will follow me to my new site as well. As already mentioned, it will be pretty similar to what I have been doing here, only a tad more academic and focused on my research. What this means is that a) there will be an even stronger emphasis on the late Middle Ages (roughly the period from 1200 to 1500) than there has been here, b) there will be more “academic” stuff like conference, exhibition and book reviews. The bulk of it, however, will presumably still be made up of discussions of my “fieldwork”, i.e. posts like this one where I give a sort of illustrated introduction to wall paintings I visited and where I address some of the problems they raise. And even though such posts may now also include footnotes and a brief bibliography on the subject, I do very much hope that they will still appeal to a non-specialist audience as well.
One last word, directed at those of you who follow me on Twitter: Giving up L’Historien Errant also entails giving up my Twitter account under that name. I have, however, another account under my own name which I have so far used exclusively to communicate with the German-speaking Twitter community. From now on, though, seeing as it will be my only account, it will go bilingual and feature both English and German messages. So if you don’t mind the occasional German tweet in your timeline (and, as you probably know, I really do tweet only occasionally), please follow me at @c_n_opitz
Thank you for your attention! I hope I’ll see you around…