(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:40 pm
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
I didn't deliberately read up on seventeenth-century English history history in preparation for A Skinful of Shadows; it was just a fortunate coincidence that I'd just finished Aphra Behn: A Secret Life right beforehand (thanks to [personal profile] saramily, who came into possession of the book and shoved it into my hands.)

The thing about the English Civil War and everything that surrounds it is that it's remarkably difficult to pick a team, from the modern perspective. On the one side, you've got Puritans and repressive morality and NO PLAYS OR GOOD TIMES FOR ANYONE, but also democracy and egalitarianism and a rejection of the divine right of kings and the aristocracy! On the other side, you've got GLORY IN THE DIVINELY ORDAINED KING AND THE PERFECTION OF THE ESTABLISHED SOCIAL ORDER, but also people can have a good time every once in a while and make sex jokes if they feel like it.

Anyway, one fact that seems pretty certain about Aphra Behn is that she grew up during the Interregnum and wrote during the Restoration, and was very much on Team Divine Kings Are Great. Would Puritans let a woman write saucy plays for the stage? NO SIRREE, NOT AT ALL, three cheers for the monarchy and the dissolute aristocracy!

There aren't all that many facts that are certain about Aphra Behn, especially her early years -- the first several chapters of this book involve a lot of posed hypotheticals about who she might have been, how she might have got her start, and who might have recruited her into the spying business. It does seem fairly certain she was a spy: code name Astrea, Agent 160. (Me, to [personal profile] aamcnamara, after seeing Or last month: "I don't know that I buy all that Agent 160 business, there's no way that was something they did in the 1660s!" I apologize for doubting you, Liz Duffy Adams.)

Admittedly she was the kind of spy who spent most of her spy mission stuck in a hotel in Antwerp writing irritated letters back to King Charles' intelligence bureaucracy, explaining that she would happily continue with her spying mission and do all the things they wished her to do if only they would send her enough money to PAY HER DANG HOTEL BILL. (They did not.)

Besides her unpaid expense reports, most of what is known about Aphra Behn comes from her context and her publications, and the things she wrote in them -- only some of which can absolutely definitively be traced to her at all; several of her short stories and novellas are disputed, including one of the ones I found most interesting, "Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister." This early three-volume novel is extremely thinly-veiled RPF about a wildly trashy historical trial involving King Charles' illegitimate son, his best friend, the best friend's wife, and the best friend's sister-in-law. All of these people then went on to be involved in a major rebellion, which the second and third volume of "Love-Letters" cheerfully fictionalizes basically as it was happening, in the real world.

One of the first English novels ever written by a woman [if it was indeed written by Aphra Behn], and arguably the first novel written EVER, and it's basically one of Chuck Tingle's political satires. This is kind of amazing to me.

OK, but back to things we think we're fairly sure we do know about Aphra Behn! She wrote a lot about herself talking, and about men judging her for how much she talked; she wrote a lot of things that were extremely homoerotic; she also wrote a lot about impotence; she was often short on money; she cheerfully stole other people's plots, then got mad when people accused her of stealing other people's plots; she rarely wrote anything that was traditionally romantic, and most of her work seems to have an extremely wicked bite to it. She did not read Latin, which did not stop her from contributing to volumes of translations of things from Latin. She was almost certainly not a member of the nobility, but she believed in divine right, and divine order, and divine King Charles, even though it seems likely from her writing that she did not believe personally in religion, or God, and the King probably never did pay her bills. An extremely interesting and contradictory person, living in an interesting and contradictory time.

And now I think I need to go find a good biography of Nell Gwyn - she's barely relevant to this biography (Aphra Behn dedicated a play to her, but there's no other information available about their relationship) and yet Janet Todd cannot resist throwing in a couple of her favorite historical Nell Gwyn one-liners and they're all SO GOOD.

Simply the most...

Oct. 18th, 2017 03:14 pm
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
[personal profile] thnidu
... jaw-dropping "Anywhere's Got Talent" performance I've ever seen.

And another pretty darn amazing one.

Another Caturday

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:09 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Today there was a different third person in the kitten room with me and Virginia. He did good work, but I'd rather have a consistent team working there so we can improve our patterns of cooperation. There was some confusion because one person came in at 7:30 and fed all the cats, which I didn't know when I started. Fortunately, I found out before getting very far into a second feeding.

The number of cats is down from the summer, and there weren't any really hostile ones this time. One white cat with black spots seemed to be getting around awfully fast, till I realized there were two similar-looking ones. One of them, Joseph, was extremely friendly.

Tiny, who had been shut up in the bathroom (and once locked herself in) was adopted, so now we can leave the bathroom door open again. It makes things simpler, since a lot of supplies are in the bathroom.

Dear Google...

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:22 am
thnidu: A maze. www.promrds.com/chapter9/mazegenerator.htm (maze)
[personal profile] thnidu
How can I grant RW permission to an app? SaneBox has modified its code and says that to change from the full access that it formerly required to RW, which is all it needs now, we have to revoke access and then grant RW. If we can do it thru you, please tell us how; if we have to do it through the app (in this case, SaneBox), please say so. Either way it won't take much work or space.

Yuletide and bears

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:05 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
SteelyKid made teddy-bear-pipe-cleaner swaps [*] for her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony last night, which she was justly proud of because she'd figured out a better way to make them that didn't involve cutting up the pipe cleaners, and she distributed them by running up to people, sticking out her full hands, and saying, "Bears!"

Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.

Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.

[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.

Good old days

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:00 am
supergee: (baseball)
[personal profile] supergee
Maybe the world will bring back one of my childhood pleasures: Yankees beat Dodgers

QotD

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
[personal profile] dglenn

"If you want to change the future, start living as if you're already there." -- Lynn Conway, 2013-07-14

[Though I think taking it too far and living as if "I don't have to work toward this because it's already done," might be counterproductive. Still work to make the change you want catch up to you.]

QotD

Oct. 17th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood." -- William Penn (b. 1644-10-14, d. 1718-07-30), +++verify source&work+++

Innumerable Stars reveals

Oct. 17th, 2017 01:26 am
zdenka: The Doors of Khazad-dum. (tolkien)
[personal profile] zdenka
Yes, another exchange! For Tolkien fic and art. The collection is here. (And people have sneakily been adding more treats over the past couple days (sssneaking, precious!), so it might also be worth checking back this weekend to see if there's anything new.)

I have two gifts, and I love both of them:

The Road from the South (1387 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Boromir (Son of Denethor II) & Elrond, Boromir (Son of Denethor II) & Faramir (Son of Denethor II)
Characters: Boromir (Son of Denethor II), Faramir (Son of Denethor II), Elrond Peredhel
Additional Tags: First Meetings
Summary:

Boromir hasn't truly rested since he left Gondor, and he knows that it should rightfully be Faramir on this quest, but that doesn't stop him from following the road north to Imladris.



A Better Lot (300 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: TOLKIEN J. R. R. - Works & Related Fandoms, The Silmarillion and other histories of Middle-Earth - J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Aerin/Rían of the House of Bëor, background Huor/Rían of the House of Bëor
Characters: Aerin (Tolkien), Rían of the House of Bëor
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Fix-It, Triple Drabble, Extra Treat
Summary:

Aerin and Rían change their stories.

attempting embroidery

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:18 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)

Profile

mneme: (Default)
Joshua Kronengold

October 2017

S M T W T F S
1234567
8910 11121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 19th, 2017 03:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios