tempestsarekind: (geoffrey (not) at work)
"We also learn that Will’s father was gruesomely disemboweled for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith and embrace Protestantism. He periodically appears to Will à la Hamlet’s father’s ghost, one of many references to the Bard’s work that have an Easter egg-y, Shakespeare in Love aspect.

from this review of the TNT show Will:

I just…

I mean, look. I watched Due South and Slings and Arrows (to say nothing of, y'know, Hamlet), so like, in theory, I really love it when characters talk to the ghosts of their fathers, or others that they care for deeply. I just…don't trust this show to do a decent job of it? There's already so much nonsense piled up in the trailers I've seen; where would they even find the space for an actually illuminating heart-to-heart between Will and his unexpectedly deceased dear old dad?


Mar. 24th, 2017 02:58 pm
tempestsarekind: (it is margaret you mourn for)
"The second Mrs Hardy might have known what was coming from the manner of Hardy's proposal. He had taken her to the churchyard to show her the grave of wife No. 1, and, pointing to another vacant plot, he said, 'That's for you.' By this, she took it that he was proposing. Before they're anything else, if they're any good at all, most writers are absurd."

--Alan Bennett, Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin

Heh. This gives a new meaning to "Ah, are you digging on my grave?"
tempestsarekind: (hamlet--though you can fret me)
A little look at the history of Yorick's skull in Hamlet, on the eve of Andrew Scott's first performance of the title role at the Almeida:

Alas, poor Yorick! The shocking life of theatre's greatest skull

And here's a tidbit about David Tennant and Andre Tchaikowsky (the skull who played Yorick for a while, until he was supposedly replaced by a prop):

it wasn’t until David Tennant played Hamlet in 2009 that the skull was finally used in a live performance, which provoked a minor media frenzy. Even though the company claimed that the prop had been replaced by a replica, so as not to “distract” audiences, artistic director Gregory Doran admitted months later that Tchaikowsky had in fact starred alongside Tennant throughout.

I don't know how I missed that last part of the story!
tempestsarekind: (rory died and turned into a roman)
An Oxford study into "everyday life and fatal hazard" during the Tudor period, using coroners' reports:



At 3 o’clock in the afternoon of 11 March 1550, John Rusey, a labourer, was walking down the road at Chieveley in Berkshire. He stumbled on a ‘carte rote’ [cart rut] and fell over, and the knife hanging at his belt stabbed him in the stomach to a depth of 2 inches. He was found, dead on the road, by a neighbour on the way home from market.

And here's the study's website as well:

I find the composition of the "discovery of the month" from September 2015 to be rather charming:

September 2015. Inquest reports give fascinating glimpses of sixteenth-century language because the clerks often noted down English expressions the jurors had used in the middle of their Latin reports. It is reassuring to know that they were as casual as we are about hanging prepositions: Isada Deller, drowned fetching water from the Thames near Kingston-upon-Thames in February 1564, had ‘twoo payles to carye water w[ith]’. Sometimes the reports show technical terms in use long before their first recorded appearance. John ap Owen was running through a cornfield at Church Stretton in Shropshire in July 1561. He stumbled on ‘a clod of yerth’ and fell on an ‘evyll’, a two-pronged wooden fork, which gave him a six-inch wound in the thigh from which he died three hours later. Evell or evil is first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary from 1642, but the first known mention of a springle, a thin rod of wood used in thatching, dates to 1836. John Houson, labourer, was up a ladder roofing his house in Newcastle-under-Lyme in November 1563. He fell off and landed on a ‘spryngle’ which went five inches into his left side and killed him on the spot.

And here's a new word, in an unsavory context:

June 2014. Sixteenth-century sanitary arrangements could be not only unpleasant but deadly. George Dunkyn was a Cambridge baker who lived in St Mary’s parish outside the town’s Trumpington Gate. Between eight and nine on the evening of Tuesday 2 June 1523 he went into the back garden of his house to relieve himself into the cess pit in the corner. Unfortunately he was very drunk at the time and fell backwards off the wooden seat into the pit, where he was ‘qweasomed’, or suffocated, by the stench.
tempestsarekind: (it is margaret you mourn for)
This piece by Katie Riophe on Maurice Sendak is haunting:


Even as a tiny child in Brooklyn, Maurice was unusually alert to the prospect of dying. He was floored by every childhood sickness—measles, scarlet fever, double pneumonia. “My parents were not discreet,” he said. “They always thought I was going to die.” He laid out the toy soldiers on the blankets of his sickbed. He watched other children play through the window.

One day his grandmother, who had emigrated from the shtetls outside Warsaw, dressed him in a white suit, white shirt, white tights, white shoes, and took him out to the stoop to sit with her. The idea was that the angel of death would pass over them and think that he was already an angel and there was no need to snatch him from his family.
tempestsarekind: (bonny kate)
Top ten historical forensic facial reconstructions

This includes the recent reconstruction of Richard III (the one with blond hair), and the reconstruction of Mary, Queen of Scots done from portraits, as well as a rather nice one of a woman from medieval Edinburgh.

Of particular interest here is the "Beachy Head Lady," described as "a sub-Saharan African living in Eastbourne during Roman times." As the article says, "Beachy Head Lady was assumed to be a third century European Roman until experts took a closer look."

And this is precisely why people who talk about "the historical record" as if it is fixed and objective - usually to complain about the inclusion of people of color in media that take place in the European past, because of that terrible specter, "political correctness" - are so frustrating. (Well, there are many reasons; this is one.) The historical record is determined by what is left out and what is assumed, just as by what is there. How many skeletons might there be like this one, but which are still keeping their secrets because historians and archaeologists never considered the possibility that they might have belonged to people of different races?

(With all the caveats necessary when one talks about "race" in other periods, of course.)

And here's a story on the Beachy Head Lady, from the same site:
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)

(link via Twitter)

They've put together a register of over 5000 people buried at the Bedlam Burial Ground in London (Liverpool Street), used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries…which is pretty amazing.
tempestsarekind: (it is margaret you mourn for)
If you find this sort of thing interesting (albeit macabre):

Death is All Around Us: The Plague Pits of London


(h/t Matthew Ward via Twitter)
tempestsarekind: (london flower of cities all)

A team of volunteers is calling on Londoners to help them identify thousands of people laid to rest at the Bedlam burial ground during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Fifteen “Buried at Bedlam” volunteers are searching historical records across the capital to build the first list of names of those buried at the cemetery, which was located near the site of the notorious Bethlem Hospital...
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)
via Twitter:

(Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; ring from 1690)

I've been feeling like there have been a lot of posts and things lately about mourning rings, and being vaguely bemused by this, because I love mourning rings, but that's not exactly typical...and then I (just) realized - because of Halloween, you moron.
tempestsarekind: (it is margaret you mourn for)
I find this story weirdly fascinating and a bit sad, somehow:

Thousands of bodies under Bath Abbey threaten its stability

tempestsarekind: (where is my romeo)
Skeletons Show Rickets Struck the Medici Family

*No, that's not weird, I promise! It's just that so far, all the things I've read about skulls in Renaissance tragedy seem to be startlingly uncurious about where these skulls actually came from. This bothers me at intervals.
tempestsarekind: (mind the gap)
I saw this on a TV news crawl a few days ago, but forgot to look into it until now:

"Black Death pit" unearthed by Crossrail project

I'm not sure quite why, but the suggestion that these skeletons, due to their neat placement, are from the early days of the Black Death is making me very sad... (I mean, even sadder than the presence of Black Death skeletons would normally make me.)
tempestsarekind: (elizabeth)
Do you know, I can't recall ever seeing this before? (Which is not to say that I definitely haven't...) Jane Austen's Last Will and Testament:
tempestsarekind: (ladies in waiting [elizabeth])
1. Thomas Cromwell letter to Henry VIII before Anne of Cleves marriage discovered

It's amazing that things like this are still out there, waiting for a seller's whim to come to light.

2. Summer was most dangerous time for Tudors, research shows

The headline on that one seems slightly misleading (it's about ordinary sixteenth-century people, not the Tudor monarchs), but interesting all the same for the sheer variety of fatal agricultural accidents it mentions (apparently June was Danger Month). This one strikes me as the most existentially terrifying: "Many were killed while chopping wood or cutting down ash, oak and poplar, with one unfortunate soul even falling asleep beside a hayrick which collapsed and suffocated him" (my emphasis).


Aug. 25th, 2011 10:21 am
tempestsarekind: (your strange behavior puzzles martha)
This morning I was watching The Early Show on CBS while eating breakfast, and discovered that their "Health Watch" segment is introduced by the very beginning of "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Florence and the Machine.

This is either wildly inappropriate or unexpectedly philosophic.

I'm also mildly bemused by the use of by Josh Ritter's "Change of Time" in the latest batch of NFL commercials, but that doesn't seem quite as...actively contradictory.


Aug. 25th, 2011 10:21 am
tempestsarekind: (your strange behavior puzzles martha)
This morning I was watching The Early Show on CBS while eating breakfast, and discovered that their "Health Watch" segment is introduced by the very beginning of "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Florence and the Machine.

This is either wildly inappropriate or unexpectedly philosophic.

I'm also mildly bemused by the use of by Josh Ritter's "Change of Time" in the latest batch of NFL commercials, but that doesn't seem quite as...actively contradictory.
tempestsarekind: (eleven and amy)
Because I am a degenerate, I had cause to watch a DVD from Netflix on Friday instead of working on my paper. (It was the first disc of S2 of Being Human, which I still haven't seen. I was only going to watch a little bit, while I ate dinner! Ha.) At the beginning of the DVD, as there are, there were previews. And this voice started saying that the universe was vast and complicated, and sometimes impossible things just happen, and we call them miracles...

I cannot even describe the ridiculous glee-noise I made. It was truly pathetic. And then at the end of the little trailer, I said (out loud, to my empty apartment), "I was not expecting this!" And giggled like an idiot through most of the next trailer.

In other mildly idiotic news, PBS was showing a special on graveyards yesterday. I'd seen it before, a couple of years ago, so I didn't think much of it at the time, because hey--special on graveyards, this is totally normal! It took me several minutes to go, "...oh right. Because tomorrow is Halloween."

Hopeless. I am hopeless.


tempestsarekind: (Default)

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