Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random History Facts...

...that have contributed to the making of literature as we know it. I'm in a Medieval literature class as well as an Early British Literary History class (there's a lot of overlap) with the same professor- who is quite hilarious and keeps me in raptures every time she begins "lecturing". I thought it would be interesting to share my wealth of knowledge seeing as I had no idea that any of these things happened. Who knew there were so many interesting things about history? (I did- as well as many professors at BYU).

Anne Bradstreet is called the mother of American poetry, though she personally never published any of her poetry- her brother in law took her writing and published it in The Tenth Muse without her knowledge

Thomas Paine helped sell the American Revolution to the people with his pamphlets.

John Adams said there were 3 reasons why he shouldn't write the Declaration of Independence but Thomas Jefferson should: Jefferson was a better writer than himself, people didn't like him as much so they wouldn't take him as seriously, and he thought it should be written by a Virginian.

Herman Melville dedicated The White Whale or Moby Dick to fellow author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The word "hell" and "jello" are etymologically connected. In the North (as in Scandinavia), hell is a place of freezing, not burning- it's so cold you can't move.

There is a different Christ for the Anglo-Saxon's than the suffering Mediterranean Christ.
  • Anglo-Saxon Christ- heroic/king-like, wants to get the job done right now, fully clothed, and "takes it like a man"
  • Mediterranean Christ- sorrowful, pitiful, emaciated, naked
The uncle-nephew relationship was more important than the father-son relationship in Anglo-Saxon times.

Richard the Lionheart was king of England for 14 years and only spent 10 months of it in England.

The word "gang" comes from the Old English word "gangr"- means a person who owns nothing; has no ownership or inheritance, which ultimately results in anger and destruction.

A monster isn't just a destructive force of nature- monsters are scary because they have consciousness that they are a monster.

During the Middle Ages, people bathed probably more than twice a week.

If you got the plague you died within 2 days.

It was the least nourished, and those that were not well exercised that were the ones who died of the plague.

Two good effects of the plague- it raised the language and status of the common people.

When people died of the plague their clothing was tossed into the street; popularity of rag paper came forth because it was so cheap. Half of Chaucer's writings were on rag paper.

Robin Hood is most likely a descendant of the Green Man/Pan.

The Dark Ages changed the climate of England from vineyards to frozen wasteland.

"Fitz" means "bastard son of..." whereas "O' " and "Mac" mean "son of..."
Examples of these are Fitzpatrick- means the illegitimate son of Patrick
MacDonald- means son of Donald
O'Brien- means son of Brien

York in England claims to be the most haunted city in the world- they have tons of ghost tours from the plague.

Jack 'o' lanters are the oldest part of Halloween- Halloween was part of Celtic samhain which is the harvest festival celebrating the death of the crops. Tricksters would steal a chicken or some farm animal if you didn't have lanterns out because you weren't paying your respects to death and how he helps bring life.

A rhyme to help you remember how Henry VIII's 6 wives died/ended up, here's a poem that the schoolchildren of England recite:
  • "Divorce, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived."
  • In order his wives would be: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Kathryn Howard, and Katherine Parr
Henry hired the best French swordsman to cut off Anne's head. (so kind of him)

I hope you enjoyed learning these random facts as much as I did. I'm sure I'll post another fact blog once classes finish.

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