What are you reading?

ConversesElizabethan England

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What are you reading?

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des. 20, 2010, 7:43 pm

Someone reading something new for the period? Or old?

I seem to be on a row: Finished Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen by Tracy Borman, now working through Elizabeth I and Her Age (which is interesting enough even if I find some of the included pieces strange considering some missing ones - but then I do not always agree on the critics' opinion on some of them or some of the actions in the period).

Add to that Edward Spencer Beesly's "Queen Elizabeth" (no touchstone - it does not make it in the top 100 works) (working through it slowly) and Sarah Tytler's Tudor Queens and Princesses (finished this weekend) and I seem to be all over the centuries :)

des. 21, 2010, 11:34 am

Still working my way through Elizabeth's Women, which I have as an ER book. Hope to have more time to read after Christmas!

des. 21, 2010, 1:16 pm

How do you find it so far? I had been looking at reviews after I read it and I am kinda... surprised from most - I am not sure what exactly most people expected.

des. 21, 2010, 1:27 pm

Well, I've found some errors of dating, which could be my error not hers, and she is in the camp that makes Anne Boleyn the elder sister, which I don't think works. But generally it is interesting and well-written.

It was a disappointment that Dorothy Stafford, one of Elizabeth's longest-serving ladies in waiting and one of her Mistresses of Robes, was not included, but not a big surprise. (Dorothy is one of my particular research subjects.)

Editat: des. 21, 2010, 1:50 pm

The only case when I am sure that dates will match is when I read two books from the same historian -- everyone seem to be having their own opinion on a lot of things... I found some dates a bit strange as well and had even put a few markers to check some of them - had been reading it mainly while on a business trip so no other materials with me (not that I have a lot at home after I moved...).

Now that you mentioned it, yeah, she is missing from the book. Not exactly someone I thought about when I picked up the book - although it would have made sense for her to be there.

Good luck with researching Dorothy - I suspect that it is harder than my latest subjects (Leicester -- no surprises there if you look at my Tudor books in my profile -- and Jane Grey).

des. 21, 2010, 2:00 pm

Yeah, Leicester has a lot of material - I loved dipping into his household accounts - so much fascinating trivia!

Dorothy is easier than many other Elizabethan women, partly because she was in service to the queen, so she shows up in the background there, and also because of the family propensity for treason ;-) which makes them show up in records more frequently. Two of her children were also in royal service, and she was related to practically everybody.

des. 21, 2010, 2:08 pm

I see that most of the books we share are about the Tudors! :-D

des. 21, 2010, 2:21 pm

Who was not related back then? I used to try to get all relations in a somewhat organized list of tables... let's just say that it did not work that well. I might try again one of those days :)

The household accounts (and collections of random letters) are always interesting - and sometimes much more important than anything that the history had remembered. I like trivia - it may be useless but that is what turns someone from a historical figure into a real person.

des. 21, 2010, 2:25 pm

>7 staffordcastle:

I am not really surprised - most of my non-fiction reading is Tudors-related (besides my occasional dab into linguistics or just a book that I just like) and that's your non-fiction account :) And I suspect we have a lot more books in common - once I get to adding them and figuring out what I still have - relocation is making things a bit strange just now.

des. 21, 2010, 3:42 pm

I eventually got myself a genealogy program, and have entered some thousands (I forget how many) people from the 16th century and Middle Ages, so that I can actually get a grip on who was related to whom. It won't take marriage into account, but does blood relationships just dandy. I found the Complete Peerage by Cokayne to be a real treasure trove for this.

des. 21, 2010, 5:39 pm

Hm - that book(s) had never even entered my mind as something that can help (and it should have actually). Thanks for the idea :)

des. 21, 2010, 6:06 pm

It's great stuff - I actually went through the whole thing and photocopied the articles for all the peerages extant in the 16th century. Priceless!! I refer to it all the time.

des. 21, 2010, 6:27 pm

Yep - saw a few pages online :) Need to find a copy first though.

des. 21, 2010, 6:39 pm

I used the copy at my local university library. Hard to find one to buy at an achievable price! (Though I'd be tempted if I did!)

des. 21, 2010, 6:48 pm

I doubt that any library in Phoenix will have it :) Need to send a few mails around - see if some of the booksellers I buy from have any copies. Nothing in ebay, one copy at abebooks (outrageous price so did not even check the edition), one copy at Amazon (still high but as long as I manage to talk to the bookseller and confirm what it is, that might be an option)

I see some volumes in Amazon (those strange reproduction ones) but I think they are from the 1st edition - and I need the second - otherwise I would buy even them - I like the fact that they do reproduce old books so I can have them on paper. :)

des. 22, 2010, 12:44 am

Yes, that's a boon, though it doesn't always work out ... I recently got a reprint of a late 19th-century atlas of Egypt, and the people who did the scanning hadn't bothered to unfold the maps! (Expletive deleted)

des. 22, 2010, 12:56 pm

There is a note to that effect on their site (if we talk for the same people) - or at least on the site of one of them :)

But most of my books are Tudors related - no much maps in those and when there are, they are rarely oversized. But I can see where things can get wrong. Better than nothing anyway - I cannot afford to buy most of these otherwise :)

des. 23, 2010, 11:19 pm

Yeah, me neither. :-J

des. 30, 2010, 12:01 pm

Talking about trivia...

I had a few hours yesterday for reading (no internet/TV yet and could not sleep) and I decided to look at Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reigns of Edward VI., Mary, Elizabeth, 1547-(1625): Preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty's Public Record Office (V.1 ) (1856-72) - covering Edward, Mary and Elizabeth until the end of 1580.

Spent probably 5 hours flipping around and having general fun :) Now that book alone will take quite a lot of time - especially when I actually start to cross reference.

PS: Your Dorothy was mentioned once (an entry for a letter from her) -- or at least I cannot think of another Dorothy Stafford (spelled Dorothee) in 1576 - just remembered that you are researching her and decided to check (you probably know that though)

des. 30, 2010, 3:44 pm

Yes, I'm pretty sure I have that one. I went through all the Calendars of State Papers at my local university library, looking up anybody from the Stafford family or their close relations. She often spelled her name "Dorothee."

des. 30, 2010, 3:58 pm

Thought so :)

I am getting into the Calendars for the first time - and having as much fun as you can imagine.

des. 30, 2010, 5:06 pm

Yes, great stuff! Some of them are downloadable as PDFs on Google Books, which is nice, but the coverage is spotty, since I don't think they've scanned them all yet. I check every now and then to see if things have been added.

des. 30, 2010, 5:21 pm

Yep. My problem with PDF (or any non-printed book really) is that I will print it anyway, then misplace it or write on it and then print again... and so on a few times. When I have it in a book format, I do not write on it, I stick notes in the book instead - and I won't loose them next time I throw away a few pages of the printed PDF by mistake. :)

des. 30, 2010, 5:49 pm


Understandable! I don't write in my books either; what a boon post-it notes have been!

des. 30, 2010, 6:06 pm

I used to stick normal note-sheets; these days I do post-it ones. One of the bummers of moving halfway across the world without my books :)

Do you have an idea if the Spanish and Venetian Calendars had been published in English (and when)?

des. 30, 2010, 6:33 pm

Yes, they are in English:

Great Britain. Public Record Office: Calendar of state papers relating to English affairs: preserved principally in the Archives of Simancas: Elizabeth, 1558-1603. London, HMSO, 1892-99.

Great Britain. Public Record Office: Calendar of state papers and manuscripts, relating to English affairs existing in the archives and collection of Venice ... London, HMSO, 1864-1923.

The Spanish and Italian documents have been translated (which is good, since I don't read Spanish!). Several of each are on Google Books, so you can dip in and get a feel for what they have.

des. 30, 2010, 6:39 pm

Great - more books to track down! Thanks :)

And the names kinda explain why I never found them (never searched for Venice -- it would have been logical I guess -- or Simancas). Most bibliographies are listing them just as Venetian Calendar or Spanish Calendar - which does not help much :)

I do not read Spanish or Italian either - but I am not interested in the ones that are not related to England anyway so the translations will do.

des. 30, 2010, 10:39 pm

My pleasure! Always fun to swap resources with like-minded researchers!

des. 31, 2010, 7:37 pm

You should read I Am Mary Tudor by Hilda Lewis. It's about Mary Tudor (of course) :) and how she saw her father King Henry the 8 and her account of how he treated her mother Catherine of Aragon. Wonderful book!

gen. 1, 2011, 12:57 am

Hi, wordfanatic, welcome aboard! If you put the title of a book in square brackets, it will become a link to the book's record, and if you put the author's name in two sets, it will be a link to the author's page, like this:

I Am Mary Tudor by Hilda Lewis

Thanks for the recommendation!

gen. 1, 2011, 2:51 pm

Thank you staffordcastle for the advice! It's greatly appreciated

gen. 3, 2011, 12:18 pm

>28 staffordcastle:
I am back to the somewhat classics (J. E. Neale) - working on Parliamentary and law history in Elizabethan England (all started with tracking down the Treason Laws (in regards of Leicester and him getting his reversed), went to some other laws and then jumped to parliament as the media to approve them... and decided to do it properly and start chronologically through the research - sometimes I DO have a strange pattern of getting on a topic). I know that G. R. Elton kinda disagreed with a lot with him but most of his points are still valid. So... back in time and back in history research at its best.

Which does not mean that I am not jumping on other topics -- The Tudors For Dummies arrived before the holidays and it is better than I expected (and I will say more when I actually finish it and make up my mind):)

>29 wordfanatic:
Guess I have a new book to add to the pile... Mary is the least favorite for me from the 6 Tudor monarchs (Jane was a rightful queen and a Tudor) but I still read about her when I have a chance. And I am trying to read some more Tudor fiction this year anyway :) Thanks for the recommendation

gen. 3, 2011, 4:51 pm

I got Elizabethan Architecture by Girouard for Christmas - it's a huge paving-stone of a book, with gorgeous color pictures. Yum!

gen. 3, 2011, 4:57 pm

Congrats :) Looks very very nice.

gen. 4, 2011, 7:16 pm

want to start 13 year old grandson on Shakespeare...wish I could take him to Merchant of Venice in NYC or the Royal Shakespeare performance of Romeo & Juliet coming in spring to Lincoln center. Alas. But gave him Kill Shakespeare by Anthony del Col and Andy Belanger as his 2011 graphic novel version of our classic comics so despised by our parents. The cleavage is beyond belief. But the villains are there as is dithering Hamlet and others. Maybe maybe he will bite. Any suggestions? Thx Molly Schwartz

Editat: gen. 4, 2011, 8:13 pm

>35 MollySchwartz:

If he is reading manga/comics, a few of the plays had been adapted... and have a few versions, some of them pretty good.

Shakespeare's Hamlet: The Manga Edition is not that bad (careful with the editions - the link leads to the one I mean).

No Fear Shakespeare series is simplified BUT is a good start and it has the original text as well - so technically can lead to the normal text.

PS: Fixing the touchstone.

Editat: gen. 4, 2011, 7:39 pm

And of course you always have the Graphic novels (such as Macbeth: The Graphic Novel which is VERY close to the full text. And there are other versions as well.

PS: OK - that work is a bit messed up - need to get it separated. There are two editions: Plain text and Original text. Plain might be easier for a newbie in Shakespeare. Original is what it says. And there is yet a third one (the Quick text). If you can, look through them and see which one could work eventually - it really depends on the 13 years old.