Learning about Monasteries
So today I was at a conference on monasticism. This is the first time where I've been at a conference where at least half the people have a clue about my sources, and lots know way more about how to use them. There are some hella smart people here.
Why yes, I am feeling depressingly not so smart. Not the best thing before giving a paper next week.
Having said that, can I just say that this is an incredibly nice conference, and that the postgrads who organized and are running it are doing a fantastic job?? The papers today were all very good, I thought, although I was having a hard time keeping up with the rapid-fire Irish names rolling trippingly off Irish tongues. There was a wonderful paper on the vita Sadalbergae, and a paper by a colleague I really admire that was just so well constructed and argued... and another by someone I'd wanted to meet for a long time, because he helped me out a while back -- he's as nice in person as in e-mail, and also gave a really interesting paper.
Several people have been very kind with advice that makes me feel like my own paper might not be hopeless, and I've had a chance to talk to some other really interesting people. At the moment, I'm sort of digesting it all, but I think I'll eventually have some really good ideas, after I get used to having been in a room of people who speak my sources.