undyingking: (Default)
At the pictures the other night, saw a trailer for new film Anonymous, in which the Earl of Oxford writes Shakespeare's plays.

The conspiracy theory that the plays were written by someone other than Shakespeare (who in this version was just an actor) is of very long standing. There are a number of other candidates suggested, but the overall gist is the same: 'the man from Stratford's' contribution to the oeuvre (sonnets and other verse as well as the plays) was nil or negligible.

It seems to me that this theory or set of theories, which I used to think of as being the realm of fringe loonery, has recently gained a bit of currency. What better way to find out than with an LJ poll?

[Poll #1787472]

Discussion )

(The post title is a call-back to this post of a while back.)
undyingking: (Default)
At the pictures the other night, saw a trailer for new film Anonymous, in which the Earl of Oxford writes Shakespeare's plays.

The conspiracy theory that the plays were written by someone other than Shakespeare (who in this version was just an actor) is of very long standing. There are a number of other candidates suggested, but the overall gist is the same: 'the man from Stratford's' contribution to the oeuvre (sonnets and other verse as well as the plays) was nil or negligible.

It seems to me that this theory or set of theories, which I used to think of as being the realm of fringe loonery, has recently gained a bit of currency. What better way to find out than with an LJ poll?

[Poll #1787472]

Discussion )

(The post title is a call-back to this post of a while back.)
undyingking: (Default)
I was reminded recently how humour sometimes doesn't work on the interwebs. A sarcastic comment may just look like idiocy when unaccompanied by frantically wiggling eyebrows and other such facial gurning signifiers.

Research suggests this has been the case ever since the very early days of the internet, back in the Middle Ages.

henry_the_2: that @becky_thomas is like right up in my face i mean haha will no-one rid me of him?
fitzurse_etc: we will!!
henry_the_2: hah yeah lol ur my favourite knights
fitzurse_etc: no yeah we totally will!1!
henry_the_2: haha lol yeh right guys ;-)
...
henry_the_2: hahh u do no i was just jokg right guys?
...
henry_the_2: guys?
undyingking: (Default)
I was reminded recently how humour sometimes doesn't work on the interwebs. A sarcastic comment may just look like idiocy when unaccompanied by frantically wiggling eyebrows and other such facial gurning signifiers.

Research suggests this has been the case ever since the very early days of the internet, back in the Middle Ages.

henry_the_2: that @becky_thomas is like right up in my face i mean haha will no-one rid me of him?
fitzurse_etc: we will!!
henry_the_2: hah yeah lol ur my favourite knights
fitzurse_etc: no yeah we totally will!1!
henry_the_2: haha lol yeh right guys ;-)
...
henry_the_2: hahh u do no i was just jokg right guys?
...
henry_the_2: guys?
undyingking: (Default)
You might have heard the joke that X's books were in fact not written by X, but by another man of the same name. I find it interesting because, while being entertainingly silly as a proposition, it also asks a fairly serious question about what we mean by authorship and how historical record works. But that's not what this post is about! – I'm curious to know, as your recollection serves you:

[Poll #1666257]
undyingking: (Default)
You might have heard the joke that X's books were in fact not written by X, but by another man of the same name. I find it interesting because, while being entertainingly silly as a proposition, it also asks a fairly serious question about what we mean by authorship and how historical record works. But that's not what this post is about! – I'm curious to know, as your recollection serves you:

[Poll #1666257]
undyingking: (Default)
That'll do for now! So a quick poll, if you'll indulge me:
[Poll #1527090]

Flame on!

Sep. 3rd, 2009 08:48 am
undyingking: (Default)
People who don't regularly follow [livejournal.com profile] pepysdiary, it's just got to a particularly interesting bit.
At last met my Lord Mayor in Canningstreet, like a man spent, with a handkercher about his neck. To the King's message he cried, like a fainting woman, "Lord! what can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses; but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it."

There is some really fine, powerful writing in this entry. Most of the diary is Pepys talking about his fairly petty domestic and work concerns; but when he has something important to write about, he can fly.
... as far as we could see up the hill of the City, in a most horrid malicious bloody flame, not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire. Barbary and her husband away before us. We staid till, it being darkish, we saw the fire as only one entire arch of fire from this to the other side the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile long: it made me weep to see it. The churches, houses, and all on fire and flaming at once; and a horrid noise the flames made, and the cracking of houses at their ruins.
undyingking: (Default)
Having talked about the mysterious Voynich Manuscript recently, today along comes the Antikythera Device, also beloved of peculiar conspiracy theorists.

Not quite as mysterious, as we pretty much know what it was for -- astronomical calculations. But there is the puzzle of how it was possible, 2000 years ago, to manufacture such an intricate and precise mechanism. Time travel? Aliens? Very good craftsmanship? Make your own choice.

The new story is that some guy has built a functioning replica, and here's a New Scientist video of him explaining it. You do have to wonder how much "educated guesswork" he had to use to fill in the sizable gaps in what is firmly known about its workings and detailed purpose. But it's still pretty impressive.
undyingking: (Default)
I've often wondered about the accidents of history that have meant that some Western European cities have different names in English. Why do we call Paris Paris, Berlin Berlin, but Roma Rome and München Munich? Maybe there's an interesting story behind each one... It seems curious that in each country there are generally only a few places, or often just one, that we call by different names, while most of them we're perfectly happy to use the real names. It's as though the curve of increasing standardization of English intersects the curve of growing familiarity with distant places at a different point for each country.

And Italy seems to have suffered disproportionately.

These are the ones that sprung to my mind, I'm sure I've missed some (do say if so) though:
  • Portugal
    • Lisboa -> Lisbon
  • Spain
    • I can't think of any Spanish cities that we call by the wrong names, can you? Why should that be?
  • France
    • Marseille -> Marseilles -- this might actually be a change in the French name, I don't know...
    • Lyon -> Lyons
  • Belgium
    • Brussel / Bruxelles -> Brussels
  • Netherlands
    • Den Haag -> The Hague
  • Sweden
    • Göteborg -> Gothenburg
  • Denmark
    • København -> Copenhagen
  • Germany
    • München -> Munich
    • Köln -> Cologne
  • Austria
    • Wien -> Vienna
  • Italy
    • Roma -> Rome
    • Firenze -> Florence
    • Napoli -> Naples
    • Milano -> Milan
    • Torino -> Turin
    • Genova -> Genoa
    • Venezia -> Venice -- and probably loads more

Although Italy also furnished the only example I can think of of an English name that has fallen into disuse. We used to call Livorno -> Leghorn, but for some reason stopped doing so -- it now only survives in the name of the breed of chicken.

Those of you who speak foreign, do Europeans have diferent names for British cities? I know the French call London Londres, and the Italians Londra, but are there more such?
undyingking: (Default)
Heh, apparently Grayson Perry went to the same school as me. He's enough older that we wouldn't have overlapped, but he will I guess have been in the same year as right-wing loon columnist Simon Heffer -- I can imagine they must have been bosom chums.

My own most admired former fellow-alumnus is Mervyn Day, who kept goal for West Ham for some years, although the members of industrial pioneers Nitzer Ebb, and more recently Squarepusher, are also noteworthy. They all have some way to go, though, to match the Elizabethan magus John Dee.
undyingking: (Default)
This morning's Pepys's Diary has introduced me to a new historical person, the rather excellent-sounding Mary Moders ( / Carleton). A summary of the key events of her short life goes something like this:
  • bigamously marries two men in Kent, is arrested and tried, flees to Cologne;
  • there undertakes a wedding with a local nobleman, bus scarpers back to England with the wedding presents;
  • in London, goes under the false identity of an orphaned German princess and marries John Carleton;
  • is exposed and tried, but is acquitted after claiming that Carleton himself pretended to be a nobleman;
  • writes a book about her life so far, which is turned into a play, in which she plays herself (and is seen by Pepys);
  • marries a man who's admired her in the theattre, and absconds with his money;
  • an indefinite series of further masquerades, frauds and duperies;
  • eventually the law catches up with her and she is transported to the Jamaican penal colony;
  • she escapes, returns to London again, and again posing as an heiress, marries a wealthy man and absconds with his money;
  • sadly, escaping penal transportation is a capital offence: next time she's caught, she's hanged, at the age of just 31.
This seems to me to be crying out for a film. Eat your heart out Princess Caraboo!



Source: mostly Wikipedia

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