About the Author: My name is Jonathan P. Allen, and I am a sometime historian. I am at present a second-year PhD student in Middle Eastern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. I am married to a wonderful young woman, whose blog you can read here. We have two cats, Benjamin and Flora. Benjamin enjoys sleeping on his back, while Flora likes to sleep curled up in a basket, or in a bookcase, and lately on the window sill against the screen. We live in the charming hamlet of Takoma Park, MD, a couple miles north of the Washington, D.C., line, a place also affectionately (more or less) known as the People’s Republic.
My area of research interest is, broadly, the medieval and early modern Islamic world, with my current focus primarily on early modern Ottoman religious history, though my subsidiary interests are many, as you can deduce from this blog. I work primarily in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, with translations from those languages appearing rather frequently here. I am also interested in Armenian and Syriac matters, albeit more peripherally, and with much more basic relevant linguistic skills. I enjoy history across the board really, especially but by no means exclusively medieval. I’m also a bit of an amateur botanist with an interest in ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental history, and other attendant disciplines. Truth be told, I’m pretty intellectually omnivorous, which is both a blessing and curse.
I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian; I grew up Southern Baptist and converted after a longish but not terribly exciting process. Politically I’m an anarcho-mutualist. Or something. I have a fondness for agrarianism and distributism as well; my politico-economic-cultural views are not too different from the blessed Dorothy Day. I also am a card-carrying Wob. I rather enjoy being hard to classify politically, in case you’re wondering, and I increasingly find most political iterations, including the ones I tolerate and even support, rather stale…
This blog is about whatever interests me at the moment, if that counts as a theme. If you’re an enthusiast for Islamic and/or Eastern Christian history, you will probably find a few things of interest on a fairly regular basis. I also frequently blog poetry; I fancy myself something of a poet, writing mostly, as it seems many Southern American poets do, about God, nature, and the past. Sometime I blog politics and radicalism and theory and such, but not very often. There’s more than enough of that on the internet, and anyway my views are always in flux, as passionately and perhaps pigheadedly committed I might be to them at the moment.
Finally: in case you’re wondering about ‘Thicket & Thorp’: it’s a line from Gerard Manely Hopkins. Thorp is an archaic word that means village or hamlet. Hence, ‘thicket and thorp’ connects ‘wild’ nature and human habitation, which, in reality, aren’t strict dichotomies, anymore than many supposed dualities really are. But mostly I came across them while thinking up a blog title and really liked the sound of the words.
A Word on Copyright Matters: If you like something you read here, feel free to copy and replicate it; credit would be nice of course, but I reserve no copyrights or any such thing. If there is a translation of a text you would like to copy or use, please do so; I would prefer if you contacted me first so I can look over the translation and make sure everything is correct.
Contact Information and Such: My old blog can be accessed here; and for those who use such things, my Facebook profile is here. If you want to add me as a friend send me a message letting me know you found me on this blog. I started a Twitter account once, but that quickly fell by the wayside. My e-mail is jonathanjallen8460 at gmail.com if you’d like to contact me that way, or at jallen22 at umd.edu.
Wynne, my wife, and me in the Great Smoky Mountains, c. 2012.