Three Photos

A subject with which I am familiar?

Alrighty. I studied a lot of things, and read up on more purely because I can. Even so… today, you guys get to imagine with me three photos based on Middle English literature. Chaucer and his mates.

So, we start with the past. I imagine this one to be a depiction, though actually it’d be a rough pencil (charcoal?) sketch, of a fly-on-the-wall scene. Of course, with Photoshop and all the other manipulation tools, I suppose you could quite easily create a photo of Chaucer and co. I picture them, in this imaginary image, stopped for a break on their travels. In this break, they have checked into an inn or tavern. Maybe it’s the small, shabby kind that illustrates the adage of getting what you pay for. These guys have to preserve their money because it’s a long journey. They’re sitting at a long table, the kind that seats a dozen people. I think they’ve got rough plates of bread and cheese, maybe a jug or two of mead. Somewhere in the background the proprietor of the inn hovers, maybe bringing out a fresh loaf of bread.

It’s a cheery sort of scene, because they’re telling one of their bawdy tales and everyone is drinking and laughing. All the attention is on the speaker, who is animated and bold as everyone listens, though his companions do interrupt him to crack a joke or cheer on what he’s saying.

Let’s interrupt now, because I’d like to zip us into the present, that wily twenty-first century.

(Why is it a wily century? I have no idea)

Here is the new depiction of Chaucer: he and his friends are confined to pages, ruffled by students and teachers alike. Let’s say fourteen students sit in a square U shape, two or three to a plain white desk which is covered in heavy books and loose sheets of paper. There are random other items: cans of energy drink or takeaway coffees, maybe the stray piece of technology creating a blend of modernity and ancient. At the whiteboard their tutor stands, and asks each student to read a few lines of centuries-old English. Each student does, with a slight awkwardness to their tone – these words ought to be familiar, but they are not – and translates the lines afterwards, explaining its presence in the text. Later, the tutor will mark essays and the professor will prepare his lecture notes as needed.

And in the future? I like to imagine it’ll look similar to the present. Maybe there’ll be fewer students in the classes, and maybe there’ll be more.This one is kind of a blank canvas for me, because I don’t feel I know enough about the future to definitively say what it’ll be like. Actually, I know I don’t know enough.

*exits, pursued by a bear*

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