Thursday, November 24, 2022

Death and Disease in the Medieval and Early Modern World by Lori Jones et al

Available as: Kindle and Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: This collection highlights and nuances some of the recent critical advances in scholarship on death and disease, across and beyond the pre-modern Mediterranean world, Christian, Islamic and Jewish healing traditions.

Across and beyond the pre-modern Mediterranean world, Christian, Islamic and Jewish healing traditions shared inherited medical paradigms containing similar healthy living precepts and attitudes toward body, illness and mortality. Yet, as the chapters collected here demonstrate, customs of diagnosing, explaining and coping with disease and death often diverged with respect to knowledge and practice.

Offering a variety of disciplinary approaches to a broad selection of material emerging from England to the Persian Gulf, the volume reaches across conventional disciplinary and historiographical boundaries. Plague diagnoses in pre-Black Death Arabic medical texts, rare, illustrated phlebotomy instructions for plague patients, and a Jewish plague tract utilising the Torah as medicine reflect critical re-examinations of primary sources long thought to have nothing new to offer. Novel re-interpretations of Giovanni Villani’s “New Chronicle”, canonisation inquests and saints’ lives offer fresh considerations of medieval constructions of epidemics, disabilities, and the interplay between secular and spiritual healing. Cross-disciplinary perspectives recast late medieval post-mortem diagnoses in Milan as a juridical - rather than strictly medical - practice, highlight the aural performativity of the Franciscan deathbed liturgy, explore the long evolution of lapidary treatments for paediatric and obstetric diseases and thrust us into the Ottoman polychromatic sensory world of disease and death. Finally, considerations of the contributions of modern science alongside historical primary sources generates important new ways to understand death and disease in the past. Overall, the contributions juxtapose and interlace similarities and differences in their local and historical contexts, while highlighting and nuancing some of the recent critical advances in scholarship on death and disease - two historiographical subfields long approached separately.

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Europe Views the World 1500-1700 by Larry Silver

Available as: Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: Europe Views the World examines the wide diversity of images that Europeans produced to represent the wide variety of peoples and places around the globe during and after the so-called ‘Age of Exploration.’ Beginning with the medieval imagery of Europe’s imagined alien races, and with an emphasis on the artists of Northern Europe, Larry Silver takes the reader on a tour across continents, from the Americas to Africa and Asia. Encompassing works such as prints, paintings, maps, tapestries, and sculptural objects, this book addresses the overall question of an emerging European self-definition through the evidence of visual culture, however biased, about the wider world in its component parts. Unique to this book, each chapter concludes with an ‘in response,’ analysing representations of Europeans by indigenous peoples of each continent to give a deeper and more multi-faceted account of the impact of Europe’s view of the world.

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Mawde of Roseland by Dionne Haynes

Available as: Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: The Roseland Peninsula, 1513. A child born during an eclipse.

Constance believes the timing of the birth is a bad omen and her grandchild will bring misfortune and shame to the family. Sparing no affection for the sweet little girl, Constance blames her for every mishap the family endures.

When a disaster strikes, Mawde ignores her spiteful grandmother’s pleas for help. The consequences are catastrophic.

Mawde has no choice but to leave Cornwall and enter a life of kitchen service. The work is gruelling, but Mawde has a goal – to return to her mother in Roseland. First, she must find a way to save enough money, and that requires more than her servant’s wage.

Such ambition comes at a price. But is it a price Mawde is willing to pay?

A page-turning tale set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Women, Dance and Parish Religion in England 1300-1640 by Lynneth Miller Renberg

Available as: Kindle and Hardcover

Amazon Blurb: A lively exploration of the medieval and early modern attitudes towards dance, as the perception of dancers changed from saints dancing after Christ into cows dancing after the devil.

The devil’s cows, impudent camels, or damsels animated by the devil: late medieval and early modern authors used these descriptors and more to talk about dancers, particularly women. Yet, dance was not always considered entirely sinful or connected primarily to women: in some early medieval texts, dancers were exhorted to dance to God, arm-in-arm with their neighbors, and parishes were filled with danced expressions of faith. What led to the transformation of dancers from saints dancing after Christ into cows dancing after the devil?
Drawing on the evidence from medieval and early modern sermons, and in particular the narratives of the cursed carolers and the dance of Salome, this book explores these changing understandings of dance as they relate to religion, gender, sin, and community within the English parish. In parishes both before and during the English Reformations, dance played an integral role in creating, maintaining, uniting, or fracturing community. But as theological understandings of sacrilege, sin, and proper worship changed, the meanings of dance and gender shifted as well. Redefining dance had tangible ramifications for the men and women of the parish, as new definitions of what it meant to perform one’s gender collided with discourses about holiness and transgression, leading to closer scrutiny and monitoring of the bodies of the faithful.

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Friday, November 11, 2022

Early Modern Wales c.1536-1689: Ambiguous Nationhood by Lloyd Bowen

Available as: Paperback

Amazon Blurb: This is the first general history of early modern Wales for more than a generation. The book assimilates new scholarship and deploys a wealth of original archival research to present a fresh picture of Wales under the Tudor and Stuart monarchs. It adopts novel perspectives on concepts of Welsh identity and allegiance to examine epochal events, such as the union of England and Wales under Henry VIII; the Reformation and the Break with Rome; and the British Civil Wars and Glorious Revolution. It argues that Welsh experiences during this period can best be captured through widespread attachments to a shared history and language, and to ideas of Britishness and monarchy. The volume looks beyond high politics to examine the rich tapestry of early modern Welsh life, considering concepts of gender and women’s experiences; the role of language and cultural change; and expressions of Welsh identity beyond the principality’s borders.

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Monday, November 7, 2022

The People and the Book: Negotiating Religious Change in Reformation England and Beyond by Caroline Litzenberger

Available as: Paperback

Amazon Blurb: This book tells the story of the people’s experience in dealing with profound changes in religion during the English Reformation. Continental Protestantism influenced the changing nature of English religion, but Catholicism was still the familiar old religion. Official religious policy swung back and forth between different forms of Protestantism and Catholicism, probably causing some to experience some form of spiritual whiplash. But, most clung to their old, familiar faith. Official religious policies provide the backdrop for this story with the people taking the lead. Over time, especially during Elizabeth I’s reign, Protestantism became more familiar, leading most people to accept some form of that new religion by the end of her reign. However, religion continued to change, or at least to shift in subtle ways. And so, the book’s story doesn’t end with Elizabeth’s death. It continues through key religious developments in England and beyond, answering the question of how the church of Elizabeth’s day became the global Anglican church of today.

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Bejewelling Shakespeare’s Women by Tessa Morrison

Available as: Paperback and Kindle

Amazon Blurb:

The central characters in Shakespeare’s plays are predominantly males. There are usually only 2 to 4 roles for women, who are in the minority, as opposed to the 10 to 20 roles for men. Yet so many of the women’s roles demonstrate fearlessness in defying their situation. Recent scholarship has drawn attention to the power of the women, and this book builds on this scholarship. With the exception of Cleopatra, women are not at the apex of political power, but are always looking at attaining power. Shakespeare entwines their character in textual images within his text, whether it is the sharp-tongued Beatrice, the ambitious Lady Macbeth, or the passionate Juliet. Shakespeare leaves no doubt about their character as he builds an image with words that can be interpreted visually.

Paintings of the 16th century show images of historical characters such as Cleopatra in contemporary clothing. Images of the Elizabethan and Stewart stage also show contemporary clothing but often with something that signifies their role. For instance, the only surviving contemporary illustration of a Shakespearian play in action is the Peacham drawing c1595. The drawing is crude and consists of seven figures from the play of Titus Andronicus set in classical Rome. They are wearing contemporary clothing, the men are wearing 16th century armour, and the foreign and exotic Queen is wearing an Elizabethan gown. Titus is shown as wearing a ‘toga’, a shawl draped over his 16th century armour. In the texts of Shakespeare’s period plays there are also references to contemporary garments such as doublets, night caps, and laces of girdles.

The texts of the plays are carefully analysed to identify the imagery around and about the women. Each of these images can be depicted graphically. These graphic images for each woman depicts her character and role in the play. From this textual imagery a necklace is designed that creates a story of the women in the plays. The necklaces are worked in enamel which lends itself to storytelling through texture, colour, and design. The graphic analysis of the imagery and its realisation through jewellery brings alive the characters of Shakespeare’s women.

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Friday, November 4, 2022

The Royal Assassin (Kit Scarlett Tudor Mysteries Book 2) by Adele Jordan

Available as: Paperback and Kindle

Amazon Blurb: 1584, London

When Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to the Tudor Queen Elizabeth, learns of a Jesuit assassin landing on England’s shores, he’s determined to go to any lengths to protect his Protestant Queen. His protégé, Kit Scarlett, discovers a letter revealing the name of the assassin – Gregorio Luca. Together with Scottish agent, Iomhar Blackwood, Walsingham sends them on a mission to track Luca down. It is clear Luca is only coming with one task in mind – to kill. But is his target the English queen?

Kit and Iomhar must scour the coast, keeping an eye on the beaches and searching for priest holes to stop Luca before he gets any further. But when Kit is attacked, they realise they are the ones in grave danger. Why is Kit being targeted? Does Luca know they are tracking him? And can he be stopped before he completes his deadly mission…?

This novel is a thrilling historical espionage adventure set in Elizabethan London with a feisty female lead and is a sequel to:

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