". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BBC/PBS Wolf Hall Episode 5 - "Crows"

So. Catherine of Aragon has died, queen in her mind until the end.

Isabella with one of the books she loved to read.  She fretted from her early years that she'd not been taught good latin. As soon as she took the throne of Castile she got herself latin tutors in order to converse, read and write as an equal in the then lingua france for the international set of rulers and diplomats.  Note that the latin of her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, was feeble to non-existent.
What a waste of this daughter of Castile's Queen Isabella I, who had all her children, the girls too, and everyone else she managed, superbly educated.

Isabella herself, for a brief moment, seemed fated to become queen of England, to be engaged to either he who became Edward IV, or his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. In the context of Wolf Hall, this factoid prickles my skin because right here we see the the coming history of the wars of religion, particularly in England:
John of Gaunt's daughter by his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster, Philippa of Lancaster, was great-great-grandmother to Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII and mother of Mary I of England. John of Gaunt's child by his second wife Constance, Catherine (or Catalina), was great-grandmother of Catherine of Aragon as well.

No daughter of a daughter of Isabella I of Castile, and her maternal ancestors could ever conceive of rebelling against the Church, much less assenting to it, or assenting to being divorced.  O, Mary, you were so beating against the tide of middle and northern Europe, doomed to be hated by the English, even if you had been more politically intelligent than you were. That's the difference between Isabella's descendants and herself -- she was a political genius.

Jane Seymour, Wolf Hall, episode 5, Wolf Hall -- the new one for whom Henry VIII is ridding himself of Anne.
O, Anne, you foolish woman.  Calling perceived rivals names such as "pasty face" only make you look a pathetic mean girl.  So ineffective.  Isabella would have known better. Ah, the crows gather to pick your eyes, Anna Regina.  As they do yours, Crum, but when it comes to your eyes, they are a bit over soon.

Henry VIII -- his life a true life marriage plot, right?

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