Crazy busy this week preparing for the
Historical Novel Society conference in Portland OR (I am in transit as you read). Here’s a link dump of various curiosities from AwesomeCon this past weekend:
Legendary Comics Announces New Series “Cursed” from John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis: yes, that John Barrowman, of Torchwood and Dr. Who fame. Didn’t know he wrote, or that he had a sister to write with, but this Celtic mythology-infused comic about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cursed descendant sounds very promising.
ReDistricted: Atypical Stories about Washington D.C.: It’s a webcomic about off-the-beaten-path DC history. It’s free, and every story has footnotes! What’s not to love? I’m shamefully unaware of the huge scope and quality of non-fiction history comics out there; it’s time that changed.
Connections Wargaming Conference: Advancing and Preserving the Art, Science, and Application of Wargaming: lest you get a mental image of weekend D&D campaigns or MMPORGs, wargaming is a serious simulation tool for scenarios military, economic, and academic. Much of the panel on this went over my head, but then I’m not even a recreational gamer. I’m pleased someone does this kind of work.
Witchcraft with a dash of art, and some things which may or may not be:
The hocus pocus of witchcraft: this post from the UK National Archives blog covers the basics but links over to their publication Accused: British Witches Throughout History, a nonfiction book about exactly what it says. Do check out their “We think you may also like” section if you’re into this sort of thing.
A radical new look at the greatest of Elizabethan artists: Two paintings have been newly confirmed as Elizabethan miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard‘s, based on the wood on which they were painted. They’re part of the Power and Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I exhibit that just opened at Waddesdon Manor. Looks like a good one to check out should you be in Buckinghamshire between now and October 29.
Hilliard’s portrait of Elizabeth I’s alleged squeeze Robert Dudley, 1576. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons The spy who hoodwinked the Nazis with sorcery: file under “interesting if true”. As opposed to “Operation” Cone of Power in which British witches actually tried to repel the Nazis, Operation Mistletoe was just propaganda. Allegedly orchestrated by spy and occultist Cecil Williams, this article suggests it’s uncertain whether this fake ritual happened at all. (Tangentially, a whip ’round Google for “Napoleonic magical ritual” nets nothing about the alleged witchcraft used to repel Napoleon mentioned in the article. Still, possible inspiration for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell?)
Because I’m short of time this week:
How ‘The White Princess’ Went Against the Norm and Featured People of Color in Tudor England: “Because when you’re making a show about people who have been excluded from history-as women have-it would be entirely hypocritical to exclude other groups of people who have also been excluded from history.” Indeed. Related: People of Color in European Art History Tumblr; “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe” exhibition catalog.
Mantel to give Reith Lectures on historical fiction: Given Mantel’s controversial statements about the tension between history and fiction I’ll be interested to listen to these once they’re available online. I’m thoroughly impressed by both of her Thomas Cromwell novels, so I admit personal bias.
After 500 Years, Dürer’s Art Still Engraved on Mathematicians’ Minds: And here I was thinking he was “just” an artist. The medieval mind associated the melancholic personality with creativity and intelligence (see this blog’s title); here’s a breakdown of the symbolism in Melencholia I.
Dürer’s Melencholia I, 1515, via Tumblr
A 17th-century alleged witch inspired Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – not just “witches” in general but a specific one, who might have been Atwood’s ancestor.
Séance Through Science: Edison’s Ghost Machine – didn’t know this hard-headed inventor was into “that kind of thing”. Mind, it might have been a hoax. Still, something smells strange in Menlo Park.
Build The Spirit Radio That Creeped Out Tesla Himself – Tesla embraced the weird and now you can too!
This is true – I checked it out. Photo via Tumblr.
Steve Bannon and the occult: The right wing’s long, strange love affair with New Age mysticism: old news, but it seems everyone pulled from this article. Lest you think “New Age alternative spirituality is solely the domain of lefty hippies” indeed. See also: Peter Levenda’s “Sinister Forces” Trilogy (too many links to choose from; you know how to Google).
Mind, the last time alt-righties seriously got into weird stuff it didn’t go well for them. Via FerdyOnFilms.com
Weird Norfolk: The Witch’s Heart of Kings Lynn: a modern reminder of an old crime.
From yob to nabob: the astonishing rise of the Tudor merchant adventurer: Stephen Alford tackles international trade in Tudor London. Alford’s “The Watchers” on Elizabethan espionage was a key and enjoyable research resource for The Book so I have faith he can make this seemingly dry topic just as riveting.
All Tudor, all the time this week:
Crews damping down after ‘suspicious’ blaze ravages 16th century mansion: it breaks my heart that this is lost. As of this writing no word on whether the fire was intentional or not.
Rare Tudor organ on show at Romsey Abbey / Alumnus Charles Metz to perform Elizabethan music on period virginal April 19: that’s a reproduction organ and extant virginal. This kind of “hands-on history” thrills me.
How The White Princess is a Girl-Powered Game of Thrones: short version: the real Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin borrowed heavily from the Wars of the Roses but the history doesn’t need much embroidering: woman has to marry man who just killed her uncle – the uncle who may have killed her brothers to take the crown for himself. Throw in conniving relatives and shifting alliances for spice and I’ll be watching.
Gore blimey! New exhibition looks at Tudor medicine: in case you find yourself in Stratford-Upon-Avon between now and December. More about “Method in the Madness: Understanding Ourselves Then and Now”; the exhibit will include replica surgical instruments and other interactive elements.
Fifteenth century drawing of a urine diagnosis wheel from Johannes de Ketham’s Fasciculus medicinae. This and other fabulous public domain medical illustrations are available in the National Library of Medicine’s digital collections.
Henry VIII clauses and how 1539 compares to 2017: Brexit, sport, and public humiliation – the more things change, the more they stay the same, or do they? What do you think?
Does Bela Lugosi’s Ghost Still Haunt This $3M ‘Hollywoodland’ Tudor? Former residents Jon Cryer and Kathy Bates aren’t saying. Frankly, it doesn’t look all that Tudor-y to me, but the beamed ceiling is nice.
Hazy Cosmic Jive: Bowie and the Starmen, Part One, Part Two, Part Three: Intriguing series about the influences of UFOs and Captain Marvel on the creation of Ziggy Stardust and other Bowie personas. I knew Bowie was into UFOs, but didn’t know about the comic book angle. Huh. Well timed as I found this just after finishing Simon Reynolds’ Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and its Legacy.
David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, courtesy Zimbio. I maintain: Bowie didn’t die, he just went back to his home planet of svelte androgynous people.
Henry VIII’s ‘small country’ Tudor palace for sale: so if you’ve got £3 million lying around you’ll want to jump right on that. Seriously though, some nice interior/exterior photos at the link if Tudor architecture is your thing.
The Tudor guide to colonising the world: in case “Bluff King Hal”‘s old digs aren’t big enough for you, read about Richard Hakluyt’s sixteenth century travel guides of the New World. Mind, he never actually left Europe, so take with a grain of salt.
The Game Developers Who Are Also Witches: not a gamer myself but games are a powerful storytelling medium and it sounds like these games to celebrate and empower traditionally maligned populations.
A handful of UFO-related links as I mine my blog feeds:
Anna Chromý’s “Il Commendatore” sculpture, Prague. Legend has it that if you toss a coin in the empty hood your enemies can never find you. Author’s own.
Icelandic Magic, Witchcraft, and Sorcery and the Tragic Case of Jón Rögnvaldsson: For some reason the Icelandic Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft is all over my Google alerts this week. This article addresses the unusually masculine world of Icelandic sorcery, with references at the end.
Want to Unlock the Secrets of the Occult? Art History Holds Answer regards the newly published The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic: An Illustrated History, though the book’s Amazon UK entry has more illustrations than the article.
The duties of an Elizabethan Lady-in-Waiting: useful to me as Jane Dee served Elizabeth I’s lady-in-waiting Lady Howard of Effingham (yes, servants had servants, and so on down the line) before she married John Dee.
Will This App Turn More Readers On to Serialized Fiction?: yes, there’s an app for this too! Radish‘s most popular author writes historical romance. Will be very curious to see how this develops.