". . . 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

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Solstice Holiday Theme Has Emerged

It is Europe, in the 12th and 13th century. We are now listening to the music of female trouvéres of the thirteenth.

We keep bringing up Alfonso X, also known as Alfonso el Sabio. He's currently my favorite European monarch. One of the things I like about him is that he created a Spanish version of the communes that began in Italian city-states of the era, the mesta, an association of 3,000 large and small sheep holders in northern Spain, notably Castile, for reasons that I don't yet know, the usual imports of wool from England had sharply dropped. Wool rapidly became a primary Spanish export. Sheep raised now on commercial scale, as later would be tobacco and sugar in the New World, the sheep soon destroyed the arable lands of Castile. Additionally the sheepholders were granted so many rights, privileges and tax exemptions, they did a great deal to destroy Spain's economy not much later, not to mention create political conflict. But nevermind.

Alfonso was a great supporter of learning, literature and the arts, and was notable for a reign of both intellectual and religious tolerance, in an era that generally elsewhere was not -- with the exception of Occitan, which not coincidentally was a close neighbor. Thus the female trouvéres ....

What other monarchs would one admire ....

Sort of an odd soundtrack to el V's current reading: he's backtracking through a stack of books on the War of 1812, I've read read and taken notes from for The American Slave Coast.  Right now he's marveling at how differently the Canadian author of the one he's currently reading writes of the War for Independence. He's recovering but he's still not there. I won't let him go out because it's cold, the wind is fierce and cuts like a blade of ice.

However, he is well enough to make dinner tonight -- yay! I am burned out for cooking or even planning dinner; wouldn't bother with it at all, would contentedly graze upon all the leftovers stuffed in the refrigerator. He, however, is never, ever, burned out on foods, eating or dinner.

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