"As the antients had their Capitoline and their Olympian Jupiter, so we had our virgin of Winchester and our virgin of Walsingham: and as there were temples to the Capitoline Jupiter in other places, as well as on the Capitoline hill, and one at Athens in particular; so we had places dedicated to the virgin of Winchester, in other places as well as Winchester; and one at Oxford in particular. The society at Oxford (to which I am obliged more than I could easily express, for passing the best part of my life, in a most agreeable manner) was established before the light of the Reformation had begun to dawn on England; by one of the noblest patrons of learning, that ever was. As he was, in those times, bishop of Winchester, he founded a seminary there; and a college to be supplied with students from it, at Oxford. This college, at Oxford, was dedicated Sanctae Mariae Wintoniensi; and both of them are called, the two St. Mary-Winton colleges, on some occasions, to this day."

---Joseph Spence Polymetis (1747), p 48 note 7
True Fire by Gary Meehan. Teenage pregnancy in rural fantasy setting turns rapidly into a kind of Meg Rossoff's How I Live Now with crossbows and swords and a political-religious movement which makes Boko Haram, ISIS, the Lord's Resistance Army and their likes seem positively cuddly. With an eye to film adaptations, there's a strong supporting role for a fortysomething woman good at archery and being drunk.

The Sea-Stone Sword by Joel Cornah. I've not really started this one yet, but every time I open it I see a fannish reference to some other text. From a smaller publisher and definitely aimed at transmedia-literate genre fans, but with its own narrative concerns too.

Doctor Who Magazine 475; not a book but more words than many of them; the first part of a more-detailed-than-usual interview with Terrance Dicks and the second part of Andrew Cartmel's interviews with the writers he worked with as script editor in the McCoy period add more insight to two already well-explored periods of Doctor Who history. New to me were the suggestion that the insistence in the early 1970s on a 'family' television label and the research to show that most of Doctor Who's audiemce were adult was in part a rebuff to takeover attempts on Doctor Who by the renascent BBC Television children's department (imagine Jon Pertwee arriving at Television Centre to find that his producer is not Barry Letts but [yes, I know she didn't do drama really] Biddy Baxter...), Ben Aaronovitch's belief that in practical terms writing for Doctor Who set his career back twenty years, and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy emerging as a way for Andrew Cartmel to kill an idea John Nathan-Turner had commissioned from Stephen Wyatt while Cartmel was on holiday, for a three-part story to be made entirely in the Doctor Who Exhibition at Longleat House. Oh, and much Vastra, Jenny and Strax, too, with an interview with their real-life alter-egos and a comic strip starring them, with no sign of the Doctor.

Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman. Jefferson is one of those annoying historical figures who can seem so modern and contemporary and yet their careers, their personalities, privileges and weaknesses show that they are their own. Kalman's illustrated children's book on Abraham Lincoln was fascinating and this imagines a Jefferson who said kind words to his (enslaved black) cooks and seemed to live more hours than exist in the day while enjoying both a full political life as well as pursuing his cultural interests, as well as amorous ones: Sally Hemings appears and the opportunity is taken to explain what "pass for white" meant and why it was important in a "PREJUDICED LAND" (Kalman's capitals). My teeth are set on edge by the mention of "the tyrannical rule of an English king" (far too hard on conscientious George III) Above all, Kalman's pictures and text restore a humanity which this observer finds America can strip from its icons: Jefferson and Lafayette are painted plucking figs from the trees at Monticello, and in noting that Jefferson's self-penned epitaph on his gravestone does not mention that he was President of the United States, she asks (of her young readers) "I wonder why", before on the next spread urging her readers to follow "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything", though Jefferson himself might have mused whether such a quest was reasonable or possible for everyone without the benefit of a tobacco plantation.
From The St James's Chronicle or British Evening Post, 27 December 1764:

"We hear that there are Cabbage Roses now blown in the garden of Mr. Snelgrove, at Heytesbury, as beautiful as if it were the Month of June."
sir_guinglain: (George head)
( Oct. 13th, 2010 05:45 pm)
From the Public Advertiser, 2 November 1779:

"The following melancholy Accident happened at Durham on Wednesday the 6th inst. Matthew Carr, of Ryehope, Esq; who had been attending the Sessions in that City, after going to bed fell into a Dream about Fox-hunting, and supposing he was taking a flying Leap after the Hounds, the Force of Imagination acvted so powerfully on him, that he jumped out of the Window of his Bed-chamber, and unfortunately broke his Knee-pan, which brought on a Mortification, and he died the Monday following. He was a Gentleman in the Commission of the Peace, and greatly respected."
From The Craftsman, 9 October 1742:

"Within these few Days the Names of the several Streets, &c. that lead to Cheapside, have been affix'd at the Corners of them, painted in Black Letters on Tin Plates, for the Convenience of Strangers; and we hear the same is to be done throughout the City of London."
sir_guinglain: (George_III_at_Kew)
( Apr. 9th, 2007 08:05 pm)
When not reviewing Doctor Who this weekend, I was in London with my parents and sister, visiting Linley Sambourne House and then London Zoo on Saturday, and then Kew Gardens and Palace on Sunday. These were not the best days to visit either of the two large attractions - the weather was much brighter than on many Easter weekends and consequently both were thronged. London Zoo in particular was full of people who displayed no respect for the animals, endlessly using flash photography despite the frequent requests not to do so, and, especially at Gorilla Kingdom at London Zoo, trying to provoke the animals. People can be sickening. Kew Gardens fared better, but some of the flowerbeds nearest the paths suffered trampling. A touring children's animal zoo had been brought in for the weekend, as had Giant Rabbit Rescue; the queue to see the rabbits was exceptionally long, but I caught a glimpse of their star, Snowman (who appears on the website) over the serried ranks.

Kew Palace has been successfully restored since I was last there, and one of my pictures has provided the new icon shown. The new display concentrates on informing the public about the lives of Queen Charlotte and King George III and their daughters, with some of the rooms redecorated to resemble the rooms as they appeared; the second floor is left undecorated and with wall panels missing to reveal the way the house - originally built for a merchant in the 1630s - was constructed and then altered. Meanwhile shadows of servants are projected onto walls, and conversation fades in and out. While I think that there were fewer items on display than there were when I last saw the house eleven years ago, those that remained were well-chosen - such as the silver filigree rattle presented to the future George IV by his newly-appointed governess, not long after his birth in 1762 - and the quotations scattered around the house were very telling. On the second floor, where the restored house has been left bare, one notice quotes Princess Sophia in the eighteen-teens writing to her brother George, Prince Regent, that she and her unmarried sisters are 'old cats' and she wonders why George doesn't just ask parliament to legislate for them to be put in a sack and drowned in the Thames.


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