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The Crumpled Skin of the Day

Alas, I start my last post of this semester. When I am done writing it, I shall “roll up the crumpled skin of the day”, as Woolf writes at the end of part One of A Room of One’s Own. I shall roll it up, cast it aside, and start reading The Hunger Games trilogy, which has been tempting me all semester. Would I really be casting it aside, though? The trilogy is written by Suzanne Collins, a female author, as are two of the other most popular book series in the last decade, Harry Potter and Twilight. What would Virginia Woolf think about this kind of success? Certainly, these series are tailored more for the youthful reader, but they seem to transcend their intended market and reach the adult community as well; not only the adult community, but it permeates the bubble that non-readers live in, and makes readers out of a lot of them. What would Lorde say about that statement? Are these authors breaking down boundaries by using the master’s tools? Or are they forging new tools in their fight against their foes. Or is it really just silly to even consider Woolf and Lorde when we’re talking about magic, vampires, and the 21st Century redux of The Running Man?

Of course is it. Woolf would probably simply compare these current authors with the Mary Carmichael, whose less-than-stellar work she discusses in A Room of One’s Own. Lorde may appropriately point out that these books and these women authors have nothing to do with the more serious topic of racist feminism.  Therefore I shall abandon discussion of these three series for now.

Lorde’s article about the Master’s Tools is quite interesting; I agree with a lot of what she says, though my opinion may waver on some of the topic. I feel her point about not being able to bring about ‘genuine change’ when still using the master’s tools is too severe. I draw on the Bluestockings for this opinion. The women of the Bluestocking society worked within their social boundaries (with the ‘master’s tools) to help bring about major change, change still being discussed today.  I feel that the only tools that the repressed have access to are those tools of the ‘masters’; I can’t see a way to forge and use new tools unless the master turns into a peer and accepts that these are, in fact, new tools. I think what I’m saying may be too abstract, but overall, I feel that the only way to foster change is to convince the ‘masters’ that the change benefits them too.  Though there are revolutionaries that have changed the world by straying outside the norm, there are also pioneers and freedom fighters who make the same advances by using the system to their advantage. Therefore, I feel that it isn’t all just one way or another. In the end though, a perfect world wouldn’t need equality, because people would never have been more or less than anybody else. That perfect world is unfortunately not a reality, so any tools that those striving for equality can get their hands on, feel free to use them.

So, after that vague little rant, how can I apply all of this to the works we read this semester?  “The Wife’s Lament” may have been out-of-the-box for the time, expressing a woman’s feelings of her marital status in a world that is not used to hearing that opinion. As far as I can see, however, it’s using the ‘master’s tools’ with its verse and its structure, and there are questions as to whether it was even written by a women. Askew’s preaching was revolutionary for the time, but she was still using the male preacher’s pulpit (if the Tudors clip is accurate).  Behn’s writing was entertaining and scandalous too, but what was she saying about women at the time? Was it commentary on women or was it commentary on men? Either way, she was using the tool of the play, which was not something history says was created by a woman.  All in all, I think that the master’s tools can be reclaimed, and reshaped, to be used to dismantle his house.  And it is a house that needs to be dismantled; it’s built on shaky ground, has poor support, and is not up to code, even still today.

On that note, I shall depart; teens killing teens for survival, in fictional form, is awaiting me. If I want the real version, I can sadly just turn on the news.  The real version is yet another of the master’s tools that needs to be reclaimed and reworked. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWqx5viZ1J8)

This class has been very interesting. I know sometimes it seems that I didn’t enjoy what I read, or felt it was a waste of my time, but I really never ever meant for it to seem that way.  If I didn’t like what I read, I at least appreciated it for its context; I did enjoy most of it though. I really like Cavendish and I really really like Behn, and I think I would read them on my own time, no syllabus needed. This semester has finally brought Virginia Woolf into my life too; I read A Room Of One’s Own today, for the second time this semester, so I could prepare for this blog entry. The second time, I’ll happily say, was SO much better than the first. If you, who are reading this blog, haven’t read it yet, please take the time. The way Woolf writes is so smart, to begin with, but what she says is educational, thought-provoking, and important.

Until next we blog!

Bryan

I was waiting for the class schedule to be updated to tell us which part of the Dunciad we were supposed to read for class. When it came to reading week and it had not been specified, I decided to be the keener that I tend to sometimes be, and take it upon myself to read the entire work of Pope’s The Dunciad.  Was it ever to my surprise, once class started on that 22nd of March, that we weren’t expected to read any of it! If anybody was impressed that I had read the full piece, however, you can stop being impressed right now. I understood little, and retained even less. Without question it is a work that I would need to read multiple times, and upon which I would need to do heaps of research, in order to fully grasp Pope’s rhetoric. What I do remember is that it was well written; it was a well-written piece of inflammatory fiction (though Pope was speaking of many real people; so does that make it fictionalized non-fiction? Fantastical reality?) Anyhoo, it is one of my new goals, to re-read the work and try to understand who he is speaking of, and why he is being so insulting towards them. Is it a goal I plan on finishing before the end of the summer? No. By the end of my university career? Unlikely. However, it is a goal, and one that I imagine will be very rewarding, as it will introduce me to many new writers and historical figures that I may never have had the opportunity to encounter if it was never put on this syllabus.  So though reading the full text was time I could have used more effectively on different school activities, it was not wasted time.  Therefore, I am not a dunce for unnecessarily reading The Dunciad.

The Bluestocking Society Powerpoint

 

Here is the presentation Amanda and I used in our presentation. Enjoy!!!!

The concept is great!

Delariviere Manley, in order to prevent somebody else from writing her life story, had tasked herself with the undertaking of her own autobiography. Instead of making a straightforward tale of her life, however, Manley chose to write about a woman named Rivella (ie Manley herself), and depict her history on the page.  What I really enjoyed about this reading was both the beginning and the end.

At the start, when Manley describes herself (through the voice of a male narrator), the entertainment keeps coming. “Her person is neither tall nor short” says the narrator Lovemore (who just happens to have been in love with Rivella all his life); “from her Youth she was inclin’d to Fat.”  The narrator also says “Few, who have only beheld her in Publick, could be brought to like her; whereas none that became acquainted with her, could refrain from loving her”.  After a bit more description of her personality and then eyes, Chevalier (the person to whom Lovemore is verbally painting Rivella’s picture) asks “How are her Teeth and Lips?”.  I laughed out loud! (The fact that Manley started a new paragraph with this question made it stand out as well, but I just thought it hilarious.)  I love how Manley is deconstructing herself through the male point-of-view.

Before all of this description starts, however, there is written my favourite lines of the story; Lovemore says, about Rivella, “and yet I have often heard her say, If she had been a Man, she had been without Fault. But that Charter of that Sex being much more confin’d than ours, what is not a Crime in Men is scandalous and unpardonable in Woman…” .  I’m glad she got this astute jab in at the male-dominated society.

Manley takes the same tone of self-deconstruction at the end of the story, when Chevalier and Lovemore discuss whether or not Rivella has the capacity to love. The very last lines are key lines, when Manley, now switching to Chevalier D’Aumont’s voice, says “Allon’s let us go my dear Lovemore…let us not lose a Moment before we are acquainted with the only Person of her Sex that knows how to Live, and of whom we may say, in relation to Love, since she has so peculiar a Genius for, and has made such noble Discoveries in that Passion, that it woudl have been a Fault in her, not to have been Faulty“.  I like how she compliments herself while “insulting’ other women of her time (with I’m sure the intent to make them realize that there is more out there).

So there are my favorite parts about the beginning and the end. The middle of the story, however, didn’t quite excite me.  I felt the writing and the story became somewhat convoluted. I admit, I actually read this story twice, because I thought a second reading would give me the clarification that I needed, but I stayed as confused after the second reading too. Really, it was just the whole court case situation, and why they brought the loathsome Tim Double into the mix, and what they were trying to get from despicable Lord Crafty.  (There weren’t that many characters painted in a positive light; Cleander may have been the only one to escape some sort of major ridicule).  There were still moments I enjoyed, however.  The character of Hilaria is a good villianess, with her jealousy and her gambling and her affairs with royalty, and finally her betrayal from her own daughter.  And another ‘laugh-out-loud’ moment involved the character of Sir Peter Vainlove; depicted as a short man, a story is recalled where Vainlove is at the Mall trying to convince a lady of his worthiness in dating him (or something like that), he offers to go down on his knees for her (drawing a parallel to the ever-enchanting wedding proposal) to show his sincerity. This lady retorts, saying that “she thought he had been upon his knees all this time”.  Just sooo funny!!!  (And I ‘m not a tall guy, so if I can find a short joke funny, then it’s okay! haha)

As with many stories/novels of this era, the names are often created to let you assume the character traits of a person before really getting to know them. Other than the ones already mentioned (Hilaria, Vainlove, Crafty), some others are Mr Meanwell, Bella, and Mrs. Flippanta.  I always enjoy the names authors decide to create when it’s more an adjective than a name, so I thought I’d mention them here too.

Overall, not a horrible review of The History of Rivella. I’m certain that it would have been much clearer to those people who read it when it was first published, as they would have been more familiar with the actual events that transpired in Manley’s life.  That being said, Manley had a strong voice and wit, and the parts I didn’t like were not enough to outweigh the overall positive experience I had reading her story.

That’s it for this blog entry, kids!  Ciao for now!

Bryan

Thank you, Mary Astell!!!

So, I had a new niece born into my family today! (Congratulations to my twin sis Michelle and her hubby Scott, and their daughter Mackenzie, on their new addition, Devyn Spencer! I am an an ecstatic uncle!)

Again, thank you Mary Astell!!!

I can’t believe that women’s education was ever an issue, something that needed to be discussed. The concept seems so foreign to me, as I’m sure it did to so many women who grew up without those opportunities.  Mary Astell was one of those people who did not sit idly by and let her future pass her by. She seemed to care about generations of women who were going without; without education, without independence, without confidence that schooling can give to you.  This is why I fully appreciate her “Proposal to the Ladies” excerpts that we read for class (…two weeks ago…) .  I didn’t seem to appreciate it as much when I read it last semester, but upon my new reading, I have a new understanding and admiration for it. I’ve picked out some of my favourite lines of Astell’s, which I felt were well-written and quite poignant. Some of her ideas are working with man’s idea of women being useless or annoying, some are working with the ideas of women being helpless, but there is an underlying tone, I feel, of Astell saying “I’m playing by your rules, but I’m talking down to you, men, because women are much much smarter than you give us credit for!).

 

From “The First part of the Proposal to the Ladies”

“”there is therefore no reason they should be content to be Cyphers in the World, useless at the best, and in a little time a burden and nuisance to all about them”

“So partial are Men to expect Brick when they afford no Straw, and so abundantly civil as to take care we shou’d make good that obliging Epithet of Ignorant, which out of an excess of good Manners, they are pleas’d to bestow on us!”

In the section where it talks about how parents should want what is best for their daughters; “the Beasts are better natur’d for they take care of their offspring till they are capable of caring for themselves.”

 

Astell’s astute reflections are not only found in her fight for equal education. My favourite line of hers (and some other good ones) is found in “A Fair Way With The Dissenters”.

Here it is:

“If God had not intended that women should use their reason, He would not have given them any, for He does nothing in vain.”

Wow! I’m sure it’s not the first time religion was brought into the debate on equality, but it’s always nice to see religion AND common sense melded together to make an argument.

She also says “we can have no vision unless we open our eyes’. Seems generic, but I still like it.

So again, thank you Mary Astell for being one of those at the forefront of making sure my nieces get the education they deserve, so they have the chance to live the lives they choose to live!!!

 

Anyhoo, time to shut this post down and move on to another.  Ciao for now!!!

(Uncle) Bryan

 

 

 

I just read Part I of Aphra Behn’s The Rover. She gives it a secondary title of “The Banish’d Cavaliers”. I would instead suggest a secondary title of “Annoying Men and the Women They Call Whores” OR “Drama Queens….and the Women They Try To Rape”.

I’m not sure if we’re supposed to read both parts of The Rover (the second part, if what I read is correct, is actually a sequel, written a few years later, due to the popularity of the characters. However, the only characters that repeat their performance are Willmore, Blunt, and seemingly the pimp, Sancho.)  I started to read it and got a few pages in, but due to the multitude of projects to do, papers to write, and midterms to study for, I decided to sacrifice the second part to spare the time needed to read it. Hopefully reading the first part is sufficient 🙂 THOUGH I do want to read the second part eventually, since there is a Woman Giant and her Dwarf sister listed in the Dramas Personae!!! How exactly do you cast those roles?

So, what did I think about The Rover?  I felt that it was a shame that society dictated who women were allowed to marry. I subsequently enjoyed the fact that the women in the play really weren’t planning on following that rule.

We have Florinda, who is promised by her brother (Don Pedro) to wed another (Don Antonio), but instead takes her romantic fate into her own hands and plans for her chosen lover (Belvile) to meet her and whisk her away. (That doesn’t end up happening, other events transpire to throw a wrench in their plan, but they still end up together in the end!)

There’s Hellena, who is intended for the nunnery, but wanting one night of excitement, dons a mask, goes out, and meets Willmore (The Rover, of the title). They end up together at the end, engaged, instead of Hellena turning to service Heaven. (I was going to call this blog post “Heaven and Hellena”, but changed my mind).  I will tell you, however, that he is NO prize! He wanted to have his cake (Hellena) and eat it too (sleep with other women before marrying Hellena).  Research I read said he may have been based on The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot; if that’s true, both he and Hellena better hold tightly onto their noses….  I feel that Hellena knows the kind of man that Willmore pretends not to be. There’s a section where Willmore asks for one kiss of Hellena’s  hand, and then he’ll be devoted to her. Her response (which I loved!) is as follows: “One Kiss! How like my Page he speaks; I am resolv’d you shall have none, for asking such a sneaking Sum- He that will be satisfied with one Kiss, will never die of that Longing; good Friend single-Kiss, is all your talking come to this? A Kiss, a Caudle! farewel, Captain single-kiss.”  This response showed me that she knew the rapscallion nature of Willmore. However, in my disappointment, they still end up engaged at the end.  I guess if it’s a choice between him and a nunnery, well, I may have made the same decision.

Then appears Angelica, who places a picture of herself outside of her home, and a price tag, to say how much men can pay to have her (a thousand crowns a month!!!).  She plans to dictate her own future, which is a very strong stance for a woman, a ‘famous Curtezan”. However, she ends up falling in love with Willmore (her first time ever in love), and feeling lied to and rejected by him, almost kills him. In one of the ‘action scenes’ of this play, she holds a gun to his chest and almost shoots him. Don Antonio stops her, but then ends up offering to shoot him for her. (He really is quite unlikeable! haha) Angelica decides to spare his life.

Like in “The Unfortunate Happy Lady”, which we read and discussed last week, it is the women in this text who are at first the victims and then the saviours.  Angelica spares Willmore’s life, and Hellena marries him.  Florinda escapes rape by using her mind (shows Blunt and Frederick her ring, which signified that she was upper class, not a ‘whore’), seems to forget the situation and immediately goes off to marry Belvile, with one of her almost-rapists coming along as a witness.

I can’t go without mentioning my favourite scene; it reminded me of something that could happen in a Mission Impossible movie (or an adult movie version of one..). Blunt (great name, since he always just says what he thinks…though all he thinks for the majority of the play is that all women are harlots….) goes off to have sex with Lucetta (who in the Dramatis Personae list at the start is listed as “a jilting Wench”).  She takes off her clothes and gets into her bed. He takes off his clothes (except for his shirt and underwear) and turns out the lights. Then, right out of a high-budget spy novel, Lucetta and the bed disappear down a trap-door!  WHAT? I didn’t expect that to happen! Then, as Blunt is stumbling around in the dark looking for her (he doesn’t know she’s gone), he goes down his own trap door and into the sewer, leaving his clothes, and the money found in them, to be taken by Lucetta and her pimp.  I just loved this scene. Unfortunately it’s this scene that turns Blunt even MORE boarish and leads him to almost rape Florinda, so she could ‘pay’ for what womankind did to him. Strong message that Behn was sending, but was a very dramatic and uncomfortable scene for a while.  Blunt says “I will kiss you and beat thee all over” and then continues to say other ways he will shame her. I was afraid this play was going to go very dark, but thankfully it didn’t go that far.

My second favourite scene, which I had to reread to make sure had I read it correctly, is when a group of the men were trying to decide upon something (who was to ‘get’ Florinda), and they decided to take out their swords, the longest sword winning the dispute.  Um, phallic much?  And then in brackets it’s written “[They all draw, forgetting Don Pedro, being a Spaniard, had the longest”.  Aphra Behn, you sly lady you. Did she have a thing for Spaniards? Maybe this wasn’t intended the way my 21st century brain deciphered it, but it’s still hilarious, and raunchy, and inspired the title of this blog post.

(There are a lot of brackets in this post, aren’t there? It’s my version of the ‘aside’; there were a lot in the play, so I thought I’d put a lot in this post :))

Okay kids, it’s almost bedtime! Not really. but I do need to stop babbling on.  I want to get as much done as possible tonight on the Library Assignment, as next week is a crrrraaaazzzzy school week for me, as I’m sure it is for many others. If you read this blog post, I would like to both thank you and let you know that you have style and you have grace, and you always look FANTASTIC!!!  Those of you that don’t read this post, well, you won’t read this either, but I did want to let you know that I think it’s time that you consider hiring a stylist……

Ciao for now!

Bryan

P.S. I will be happy if I never see or hear the expression “adsheartlikins” for the rest of my life. It was used WAY too much in this play! I might even hear Blunt’s catchphrase in my nightmares. Okay, NOW I’m done!

 

I thought I’d take a little break from working on the library assignment to write a little post about it.

I only really started the bulk of the work on the assignment today, due to school and time constrictions, and life in general. I never imagined the project would be this extensive. I had previously put together a bunch of bibliographies, but just tonight went through and got rid of all the doubles and possibly unnecessary works (sorry, student thesis papers!). I posted it all into a word document, changed the font to Century Gothic (I just like the look of it), set the font size at 8, and made sure to only have 1.0 for the line spacing.  There are 2 pages worth of writings done by Cavendish herself (Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle). Then there are 7 pages worth of critical sources! 7 PAGES!!!  SINGLE SPACE!!!! I have some whittlin’ to do!!!

How is everyone else doing on their project?  Hit any snags, or are any you extremely happy with your progress?  I have a lot more work to do on mine, but I know it will come together in the end. The library holdings online look pretty good so far, so I’m not sure how to write the letter to the acquisition department if there’s nothing I want them to acquire…. Maybe just a letter of congratulations, saying ‘job well done’ for being up-to-date on Cavendish creations and criticisms? We shall see, I still have a few hundred to go through…..

May be a late night, friends and schoolmates!  Make sure you’re leaving yourself enough time to read Behn’s The Rover for Thursday’s class too! It’s possibly a long read. I copied and pasted it into word, font at 8, landscape orientation, with 3 columns on each page, and it’s almost 50 pages. Thought I’d warn you, if you haven’t yet taken a look 🙂

Ciao for now!

Bryan

Behn there, Donne that

Okay, Donne was mentioned briefly in class today (regarding The Flea poem), so I can get away with the title of this blog post!

Now, onto the meat of the post. Speaking of meat, how many of you enjoyed Cavendish’s Nature’s Cook?  Anyone else become an immediate vegetarian after reading it, even just momentarily? It’s clear that Cavendish knew the way to a man’s heart. And it seems she also knew how to use that heart to make hors d’oevres.  But enough of Bryan’s comedy stylings; Cavendish did know her way around the mind better than anything else. She was so imaginative and fantastically speculative, wondering about atoms and minuscule worlds housed in earrings, that I’m not surprised she had the negative reception and reputation she had.  To be that forward- and deep-thinking, and also be a woman, must have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.  It’s a shame that so many of these women writers were ignored for such a long time. Enough about Cavendish though. Kyle and Tiffany did a great job on their presentation, and I’m doing my library assignment on her, so I will have Cavendish overload by the end of the week. Moving on! Oh wait! I did want to mention the letter she wrote, from Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1655); it was part of what were were supposed to read for last class. However, what I wanted to point out is that the first paragraph is IN FACT the first sentence. There are around 27 commas and one semicolon breaking up the action, but no period until after the very last word.  I just found that fun, and wanted to share!

Now I’m going to try to edit myself on the topic of Aphra Behn.  After Margaret Atwood (and I don’t know if they can really be compared), Aphra Behn is now one of my favourite female authors.  (The author of the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer, hasn’t even cracked my top 100…).   Her writing just….gets me. It is so well-thought-out, with compelling characters and plots, and is so diverse.  She sticks neither to one topic nor to one genre. She jumps from poetry (The Disappointment, a fantastic poem about premature ejaculation), to amatory fiction (like The Unfortunate Happy Lady, which we were to read for last week’s class), to gripping drama regarding slavery and freedom (Oroonoko, one of the best things I’ve read in university, but also one of the most heart-wrenching).  I really hope I’m not overselling her; I just really appreciate her, and her work. I’m a few pages into The Rover now, and I hope it just strengthens my opinion on her.

That’s it for this blog entry, kids. I didn’t really say much this week, but wanted to show my gratitude for what these authors brought to literary history.

Though he’s not a woman, I wanted to leave you with Donne’s The Flea, since it was brought up in class this week (and subsequently, in my blog title). I looked it up, and liked it, and thought I’d share.

 

THE FLEA.

by John Donne

MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is ;
It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two ;
And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we’re met,
And cloister’d in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck’d from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
‘Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee

 

Off to work on my library assignment! How is every one’s progress on the next assignment?

Ciao for now!

Bryan

Okay, now I’ve taken it to both extremes. The title states she’s the best writer ever. Today in class I made it sound like she bored me to sleep.  (and yes, I would say that ‘boring’ is the opposite of “best”.  I’m sure a lot of artists would prefer to instigate any emotion, either anger or awe, instead of being used for a lullaby…)  Now that the extremes have been expelled, I can go ahead and  form an actual opinion and put it here.

Dorothy Osborne is not the best writer in the history of time. She is not the worst writer in the history of time.  (Just as a point of interest – I would love to know what all of your Best and Worst choices are for literature! Post a comment with your opinions, please!)  Dorothy Osborne was, however, a polarizing woman.  I have reread some of her letters, and have remembered some of the others, in a retrospective rumination, and have found her to be quite interesting and quite entertaining.  The explanation in class today helped with my enlightenment, as I hoped it would, and as it often does.  I cannot imagine being in love with someone, have that love opposed by your family, and have to essentially carry on your love affair through the written word.  It’s like Romeo and Juliet via snail mail!  Okay, there may not have been the bloodshed or the mutual suicide, and there was a happy ending it seems, but other than that, very similar 🙂  There was drama too. OH was there drama!  Her future lover traveled close to her town without visiting her, and she was an angry grrrrrrrrrl.  In her letter (letter 2) she says she can only imagine he couldn’t visit unless “your horse had lost all his legs instead of a hoof, that he might not have been able to carry you further”.  This kind of discourse was discussed in class today; she was able to say things that most women couldn’t say, and get away with it. She was charming and seemingly above reproach, though I’m sure her parents weren’t happy she kept dismissing the suitors they set up for her. She mentioned her thoughts on marriage a few times in her letters. In Letter 5, she says”…I shall never be persuaded that marriage has charm to raise love out of nothing, much out of dislike”, in response to one of the men she was hoped to have married. In Letter 1, she goes as far as saying she was “…much out of love with a thing called marriage”.  Of course, now we know she was just out of love with the idea of marriage to anybody but her man Temple. Either way, PLEASE read these letters from Dorothy to her future hubby. There are even brief explanations above each letter,  so you can get a bit of a historical context or more detail than we would get from the letters themselves.

The other 3 ladies we were to read for today were Lanyer, Rowe, and Wroth. I would say Wroth is probably the most interesting, to me, out of these three. The sonnets are beautifully written to begin with, but the subject matter is, how shall I say it….SCANDALOUS! Okay, not nowadays, but back then I’m sure they could have been.  A woman pictured as the suitor, the one doing the loving and not the one being loved? How dare she? Actually, maybe it would be scandalous these days. With Valentine’s Day coming up, would you say there is more pressure on men to razzle and dazzle their ladies with giant romantic notions? Is it expected that women should be the pampered ones on this special day? OR is there equal or more pressure for women to impress their male counterparts? And, in honour of Prop 8 being deemed unconstitutional in California, what about gay couples on Valentine’s Day? Who is supposed to enrapture whom when you’re both the same gender?  So many questions, so little time!!! All I know is that I’ll get a cute Valentine’s Day card from my niece, and I’ll be the happiest guy around 🙂

Okay everybody, I’m done! Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to comment on any or all of the comment-worthy tidbits I put in here this week.  For those of you who read this post, I hope Cupid finds not just you, but also the one that will love and cherish you for the rest of your life (or for as long as you want to keep them around)!! And for those who didn’t read this post, well, you won’t read this either, but there may be some wilted roses waiting for you on February 14th…..

Ciao for now!

Bryan

 

Two Towers

I have no idea where to start my blog this week.  I feel like I am trapped in my apartment, without direction, just waiting for something to come to me. I may even end up carving some little poem into the wall, much like young Elizabeth did, when her (wicked? misled? emotionally unstable?) sister Mary had her locked up in the Tower of London.  It wouldn’t be as good though. The way I expect this entry to go, I will more likely be likened to a prisoner in the Tower of ‘Babble’….

I’m looking forward to both of the presentations that will be given in class tomorrow.

I know about Elizabeth’s life up until her ascension to the throne; her earlier life was covered in British Experience last term, a class I was in (and ditto for Naomi).  Though she was born daughter to the king, her life was not what one would expect a royal life to be. I’m sure she still had luxuries that we would never quite have ourselves, but she also experience some stress that we will thankfully never have to endure. I won’t say much more on the topic, as I know there will be a presentation on Elizabeth tomorrow.  What I will say is that I surprisingly enjoyed her work.  She was a smart woman who had a way with words, and a way with drama. I do have one question, regarding her speeches. Did she write her own speeches, or did she have a royal speech-writer, much like today’s world leaders retain on their own staffs?

According to the schedule, the other presentation is on Anne Askew. I looked her up on Wikipedia, and then the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (a tool we have through the UNB library online), just to make it seem like I was doing more legitimate research. They pretty much said the same thing. Either way, I just scanned the information about her, not wanting to spoil the information I’m going to learn about her in class. I will say, however, that I saw how she died (only woman ever thought to be tortured in the Tower of London, and then burned….slowly…..at the stake).   I cannot wait to find out what kind of heretical work she was accused of that would warrant that kind of horrifying treatment.

I followed the link from the schedule and read some of Mary (Sidney) Herbert’s poetry, and I really enjoyed it. I LOVED “The Dolefull Lay of Clorinda”.  I quickly adapted to her style of replacing the “u” with the “v”, and vice versa, not allowing it to disrupt the flow of her poem. If I were to suggest one thing to read for this week, this would be the one. It was my favourite, without question. Here’s the direct link.

http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dolefull.htm

The other ladies on the schedule (Isabella Whitney and Jane Anger) did not get my attention this week, and for that, ladies, I apologize.

That is all for this week, my faithful followers. If you read this blog, then I hope you have sweet dreams this evening! If you didn’t read this entry, then I guess you won’t read this either, but I wanted to let you know that I looked up your dream in a dream dictionary………I think it’s time that you made that appointment with a psychiatrist….

Ciao for now!!!

Bryan