medieval art history, navel gazing, horizon scanning
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Romance of Alexander
Today the landscape shifts again, with Mac leaving for India, to return in a little over three weeks time. It's good to think of his fine mind, his beautiful compassionate thinking, and a curiosity that so often leads him to that most telling detail. We can't even begin to imagine the experiences he will come home with, or how he will share them: stories? objects? images? The salient model for travels to India in medieval culture was Alexander, borne on ships buoyed by colonial fantasies of a land with two harvests, gems bubbling up from a willing earth, and animals glad to cure you of any ills. There will be frequent references to Gautier de Châtillon's Alexandreis and The Travels of sir John Mandeville in the following weeks, as the kids and I impose our own fantasies of Mac's travels on the northern parts of India where he'll be. That, and references to cricket which, thanks to the Hindustan Times app I've just downloaded for my iPhone (free!) - let the sticky wickets swing wild!