Thursday, April 26, 2012

A review

From the unofficial site: In a medieval Europe, the recently widowed Coutess Elisabeth (Ingrid Pitt), rules over her subjects with cold disdain, alongside her lover, Captain Dobi (Nigel Green). In a rage one night she strikes out at a young servant, only to discover that the splashes of the servant's blood have rejuvenated her skin - and hence the Countess embarks on a savage rampage, bathing in the blood of young virgins in order to make herself young again... dvd review Its not the first time that Countess Dracula has been out on dvd in the UK, with a previous edition from Carlton a budget release with no supplemental material. A US edition from MGM on the other hand (double-billed with The Vampire Lovers included a commentary etc). With the MGM edition still available I was delighted to learn that with their acquisition of several Hammer titles Network were promising some substantially different packages. Countess Dracula is the first Hammer title on offer, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend to both Hammer and genre fans. The film itself is a mixed bag. Peter Sasdy is one of Hammer's most promising later talents as director and yet Countess Dracula has never excited me in the way that for example, Hands of the Ripper does. Production design does wonders with the post-Bray studio work, offering a genuinely arresting castle set. The cast is largely entertaining, with Nigel Green and Maurice Denham both providing plenty of light relief. Sandor Elwes makes for a fetching if slightly weak lead. Of course the real star of the picture is the delightful Ingrid Pitt in the second of her two Hammer performances. It says much for Ingrid that in those two short roles she captivated the attention of many and has ensured a lasting legacy as a Hammer horror scream queen. screen grab of title caption card to Countess Dracula from Network's special edition dvd As pointed out on the accompanying commentary, she deftly moves between the ravaged and aging Countess - increasingly mad, and the beautiful young woman that the Countess becomes on contact with virgin blood. Her presence is so strong in the film, its a wonder any of the other actors get a look in. Of course there's also the scenes of nakedness in Countess Dracula that show off Pitt's body - something which she remains rightly proud of. Similar moments in both The Vampire Lovers and The Wicker Man have placed an indelible association in her cinematic appearances between Miss Pitt and bathing for me. screen grab showing Nigel Green and the freshly rejuvenated Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula from Network's special edition dvd transfer The film is presented in a roughly 1.85:1 ratio, with anamorphic enhancement. Colours are fine, although like the Carlton and MGM discs, deal with flesh tones in a slightly odd way. The extras are all sourced from broadcast video tapes and look fine considering the source elements - and all in fullscreen. extras Not being a particular fan of Countess Dracula I looked towards the supplemental features to lift the experience for me, which they do admirably. They place a context on contemporaneous British television, and the genre work from Nigel Green and Ingrid Pitt. The package being rather diverse I'll comment on some of the main features: screen grab of Ingrid Pitt interviewed by Tonight in 1999 - an extra from Network's Countess Dracula Special Edition dvd Screen grab from Thriller: Where The Action Is - an extra from Network DVD's Countess Dracula Special Edition dvd Screen grab showing Nigel Green and Yootha Joyce from Conceptions of Murder: Peter and Maria, a 1970 tv play which appears as an extra on Network's Countess Dracula Special Edition dvd * The Audio Commentary is in fact a brand new one, recorded in the last few months with Ingrid Pitt herself and internationally acclaimed horror experts Kim Newman and Stephen Jones. Pitt herself is on fine form - rather eccentric and over the top, but charming and fascinating too. Newman and Jones do well to balance her memoirs and thoughts with a well-researched historical and critical commentary. Revealing to this reviewer at least is the level of contempt Pitt has for her director Peter Sasdy regarding him as simply terrible. She also passes several comments about her impending Hammer biography and her relationship with Jimmy Carreras (having loved him, she now hates that in writing the book she has to admit he wasn't a terribly nice man - the promise of scandal and intrigue in store perhaps?); and such charming ability to disarm as when asked what it was like kissing Sandor, she replies "He was a poof!". Indeed.... * Archive news clip from 1999 is a short segment from a news report from Meridian tv about the Hammer Bray event that year. A couple of minutes long there's a couple of familiar faces... * Archive interview from 1999 - an interview with Miss Pitt from Tonight, discussing her recently released autobiography Life Is A Scream! and her experiences both in the concentration camps and fighting cancer. * Thriller episode - Where the Action Is - This hour long instalment from the popular tv series sees Ingrid Pitt as the love interest to a big time gambler who likes to use people's lives as collateral. * Conceptions of Murder: Peter and Maria - a 1970 tv play about a serial killer starring Nigel Green and Yootha Joyce (of George and Mildred fame). A nice, taught two-hander, brilliantly executed. Twenty-five minutes of quality and worth picking up this set for by itself. Additional extras include original theatrical trailer for the main feature, and a booklet written by Stephen Jones (which was unavailable at the time of this review).

Dracula's Daughter

I saw this movie again last week; it starred Gloria Holden, 1936. Here is a photo where she is made up to look like Erzebet,and in fact, Holden's charcter is billed as a Hungarian Countess.
This is not as campy a film as Ingrid Pitt's Countess Dracula, though that movie does base itself on the legend of Erzebet. There is some sympathy fo Holden's character, and this is one of the films that influenced Anne Rice in her early writings of The Vampire Chronicles. As I review my notes on women's property rights, I'm reminded that a generation or two later, the female [and male]victims of the Salem Witch Trials actually lost property, or had it confiscated. Some, like the Nurse family, fought very hard an got their legacy back, so that some of their land is still with their descendants. Remember there were no Married Women's Property Acts, and women in the late Renaissance or baroque era had fewer property rights in some ways than they did in The Middle Ages. Women who did manage to hang on to their property were consdiered outcasts or different; cf Nora Lofts novel on a woman who held her own property in the time of Elizabeth I, and who as later accused of witchcraft. The parallel of lost properties coupled with accusations of sorcery fits well with Erzebet's story, too. It is food for thought.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Countess DVD

I bought this today at a closing video store. The cover shows Erzebet looking up, covered, of course in blood. The description from the IMDB database is about as fair minded:

A 17th century Hungarian countess embarks on a murderous undertaking, with the belief that bathing in the blood of virgins will preserve her beauty.

Director: Julie Delpy
Writer: Julie Delpy
Stars:Julie Delpy, Daniel Brühl and William Hurt
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I can't wait to see William Hurt in this. Also looking for information on the 2008 Bathory, but have not found much, though it is quite a hit in The Slovak Republic where the ruins of her final castle/prison are located.

Andre Codrescu, if you are out there, I'd love to hear from you.

I read "For Erzebet/The Blood Countess" yesterday; it got a good reception. I'm also rereading Dracula was a Woman; though called Erzebet's biggist apologist, McNally delights in sensationalism and his eyewitness facts can be questioned. I question the 650 names of alleged victims written in her "blood." What was the population of the village that this many single teenaged girls were around? Hm.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Somewhat of a Contemporary

This 17th c. Mexican Nun and her poem "Foolsh Men" and her essays, including, "Response to Sor Filotea" was living within the time period of Erzebet. Known for her beauty and genius, she was famous in Spain and Mexico. She was the grand daughter of the vice roy, and one interested in her must read Octavio Paz's biography, Sor Juana. She was brilliant and outspoken, and a feminist icon. She had a lot to say about the double-stnadards afflicting women at the time. Also, she was compelled to sell her library of over 2500 books and devote her life to the poor. She died of the plague, or something like it, at 45. This was the fate of the girl who could read at three, and who spoke Latin as a young child.
Here is a photo of her before she became a nun, which she did so she could have asylum to write and pursue her studies without being married off.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A link from The Dark Goddess

This is a wonderful site, blog. I recently read on The Crime Library about the book written in Erzebet's hand writing listing the alleged 650 victims. Are we so sure that's what these lists were? Maybe they were tenants of her estates/fiefdoms.

She plays an interesting role in Anno Dracula, where Neumann calls her an "elegantly revolting alley cat."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From the Crime Library on Erzebet

Written by my colleague and friend, Kathy; this is just the first chapter.

By Katherine Ramsland
The Blood Countess

Portrait of Countess
Bathory (Dennis Bathory-
Hungarian Countess Erzebet Bathory is credited as the first person on record to be murderously motivated by blood—and certainly the first woman.

Legend has it, according to historian Raymond T. McNally in Dracula was a Woman, that she slapped a servant girl, got blood on her hand, and believed that it made her skin look younger. To restore her beauty, she then made a practice of bathing in the blood of virgins and having girls lick her dry. By some accounts, she drank the blood herself. Whether or not this part is true, she certainly used her status to bring about murder and mayhem to untold numbers.

Born in 1560, Erzebet grew up experiencing uncontrollable seizures and rages. She might have been epileptic or suffered some other disorder, but whatever the problem was, it appeared to contribute to her aggression. When she was 15, she married a sadistic man, Count Nadasdy, who shared her interest in sorcery and who became known as the "black Hero." He taught her how to discipline the servants, such as spreading honey over a naked girl and leaving her for the bugs. He also showed Erzebet how to beat them to the edge of their lives, although some accounts describe her lesbian affairs with them as well. She also used them in her diabolical experiments and had a habit of biting them, sometimes to death. It was clear that she favored the dark side and developed a lust for cruelty, mentored by her own childhood nurse, a practitioner of witchcraft.

After Nadasdy died in 1604, Erzebet moved to Vienna. She also stepped up her cruel and arbitrary beatings and was soon torturing and butchering the girls. She sent her maids to lure children and young women to her quarters, so she could satisfy her lust. She might stick pins into sensitive body parts, cut off someone's fingers, slit her skin with knives, or break her face. In the winter, women were dragged outside, doused with water, and left to freeze to death. In a dungeon, girls were chained to the walls, fattened up, and "milked" for their blood. Sometimes they were set on fire. Even when Erzebet was ill, she didn't stop. Instead she'd have girls brought to her bed so she could bite them. The villagers could do nothing to stop her, because she had too much power.

When she turned her bloodthirst to young noblewomen, she got caught. After a murder in 1609 that Erzebet tried to stage as a suicide, the authorities decided to investigate. After finding some dead girls in her castle and another nearly drained of blood, they arrested Erzebet. A search of the castle, according to The Mammoth Book of Women Who Kill, produced eight corpses.

Edge of Death Tower (Dennis
Erzebet went through two separate trials, and during the second one, a register was discovered in her home that included in her own handwriting the names of over 650 victims. Accounts of her tortures by witnesses made even the judges blanch, and they could not imagine how a single person had devised so many different types of tortures. Her accomplices were sentenced to torture and death, and Erzebet was imprisoned for life in a small room in her own castle, where she died in 1614. It was afterward that rumors spread about how she'd bathed in the blood of her young victims.

From one predator to another, let's return to the twentieth century.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Helpful to Feminist Writing: An Annotated Bibligra...

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Helpful to Feminist Writing: An Annotated Bibligra...: 0 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Part I: Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy, 1971. "Freud and Lacan:" This chapter is a summary of th...

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Helpful to Feminist Writing: An Annotated Bibligra...

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Helpful to Feminist Writing: An Annotated Bibligra...: 0 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Part I: Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy, 1971. "Freud and Lacan:" This chapter is a summary of th...

Words of Anne Boleyn

SIR, YOUR GRACE'S DISPLEASURE, and my Imprisonment are Things so strange unto me, as what to Write, or what to Excuse, I am altogether ignorant; whereas you sent unto me (willing me to confess a Truth, and so obtain your Favour) by such a one, whom you know to be my ancient and professed Enemy; I no sooner received the Message by him, than I rightly conceived your Meaning; and if, as you say, confessing Truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all Willingness and Duty perform your Command.

But let not your Grace ever imagine that your poor Wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a Fault, where not so much as Thought thereof proceeded. And to speak a truth, never Prince had Wife more Loyal in all Duty, and in all true Affection, than you have found in Anne Boleyn, with which Name and Place could willingly have contented my self, as if God, and your Grace's Pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forge my self in my Exaltation, or received Queenship, but that I always looked for such an Alteration as now I find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer Foundation than your Grace's Fancy, the least Alteration, I knew, was fit and sufficient to draw that Fancy to some other subject.

You have chosen me, from a low Estate, to be your Queen and Companion, far beyond my Desert or Desire. If then you found me worthy of such Honour, Good your Grace, let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me; neither let that Stain, that unworthy Stain of a Disloyal Heart towards your good Grace, ever cast so foul a Blot on your most Dutiful Wife, and the Infant Princess your Daughter:

Try me, good King, but let me have a Lawful Trial, and let not my sworn Enemies sit as my Accusers and Judges; yes, let me receive an open Trial, for my Truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see, either mine Innocency cleared, your Suspicion and Conscience satisfied, the Ignominy and Slander of the World stopped, or my Guilt openly declared. So that whatsoever God or you may determine of me, your Grace may be freed from an open Censure; and mine Offence being so lawfully proved, your Grace is at liberty, both before God and Man, not only to execute worthy Punishment on me as an unlawful Wife, but to follow your Affection already settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose Name I could some good while since have pointed unto: Your Grace being not ignorant of my Suspicion therein.

But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my Death, but an Infamous Slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired Happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great Sin therein, and likewise mine Enemies, the Instruments thereof; that he will not call you to a strict Account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his General Judgment-Seat, where both you and my self must shortly appear, and in whose Judgment, I doubt not, (whatsover the World may think of me) mine Innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.

My last and only Request shall be, That my self may only bear the Burthen of your Grace's Displeasure, and that it may not touch the Innocent Souls of those poor Gentlemen, who (as I understand) are likewise in strait Imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favour in your Sight; if ever the Name of Anne Boleyn hath been pleasing to your Ears, then let me obtain this Request; and I will so leave to trouble your Grace any further, with mine earnest Prayers to the Trinity to have your Grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your Actions.

Your most Loyal and ever Faithful Wife, Anne Boleyn
From my doleful Prison the Tower, this 6th of May.

This letter appeared in The Life and Death of Anne Bullen, Queen Consort of England, printed by G. Smeeton, Charing Cross, Britain, 1820. The modern spelling of Anne's last name was used to avoid confusion.

19th century engraving of a 16th century woman, possibly Anne Boleyn. Above is what is reputed to be her last letter to Henry VIII. (Engraving, courtesy Dover

Some Fiction in Progress on Anne Boleyn; Another Wronged Woman- Very Rough

"Anne Boleyn"

Girl, mid-twenties, begins to have flashbacks, or weird dreams. She is a professor of history, small midwest school. She teaches Tudor history. Has always identified with Anne Boleyn, and other executed, martyred women. Laughs about a dream she had where Anne, who looked like Dorothy Tutin, sat across from her in the Tower, and told her to go back to grad school. When the girl asked Anne why she was wearing her head, the ghost replied, she only took it off for tourists. She hated for them to come all that way and be disappointed. For the girl, an expert, she would behave as an equal. But, the girl has these dreams, and Anne and she are the same person. She experiences moments in Anne's Life. (i.e., take it to her execution). See Mollie Hardwick, my Anne paper, Anne's writings, etc. Books on Tudor customs and home life. Give Henry a personality. Make him mad. He thinks he is arthur, She is Guinevere. Anne's books, clothes, Hever house, Hampton court, etc.

The girl may be involved in time travel, or in seeing ghosts. She will probably have a love affair, but I don't know if it will be with a Tudor gentleman, which might besmirch poor Anne even more, or a 20th Century Lit. professor. I know some great types for the latter! Also, I think I'll make the heroine Pym-like, an Excellent woman, and give the story a happy ending.

Defiled is my Name, Full Sore

It was midsummer, and there was a steady, droning complaint of Cicadas outside the window. A young woman in a light gray skirt and white blouse sat at a desk. She wore pearls round her neck - not real pearls, mind you - but good pearls, hand knotted of a famous, but tasteful costume jewel manufacturer. Her blouse had a round collar, and short sleeves, and the skirt was good, senisble summer material, a sturdy drindl that had seen many summers before.

She was slender, of a melancholoy countenance, but had to count every calorie, because the women in her family had a tendancy to plump-up. She had long hair, black and rich, and and olive complexion. These, and a searching, piercing gaze that featured coal-black eyes were her best features. For she was unmarried, and knew she was on the “wrong side of thirty,” and she worked in a place where it was more likely lightening would strike her than she would met a suitable man. Funny how she remembered the first time she had heard that dire predicion. It had been some years before, when society still allowed her to call herself a young girl, and she had been sitting in graduate school, in a class taught by a handsome, middle-aged professor who wore a full beard and was very tall, thin, and serious-looking. Even when he was getting a cup of coffee in the teachers lounge at the small, midwestern college she attended, he looked as if he were congemplating some newly-discovered scholary work that would be the key to all wisdom of the universe. He was even more formidable, and even more schorlary in coutnenance, because he could not hear out of one ear at all. Many’s the time in lecture class she sat on the wrong side of the prof, and had to shout, or use hand gestures, tomake her point about women who wrote in the Renaissance, or draw an analogy between marxist criticism and Tudor literature.

One day, in a rare and strange mood of verbosity, Dr. Heckles, the venerable, hoary, but deaf professor, turned to the women in the class and pronounced that they had a better chance of being struck by lightening than of being married when they were over thirty. It was his concession to Feminist criticism, a discipline he was manfully trying to master in order to keep up with what he saw as departmental fads, and what he saw as a gainful, brave attempt to attain the chairmanship of the Dept. Of course, she and the other women had laughed; they were young, attractive, and all had significant others, tall, pale, young men, with the poignant looks of the eager young student just barely on the brink of either despair or survival. Young Werther’s all of them, eager in their quest for love, beer, and good article topics for the next MLA convention. The young girl, whose name was Emilia, laughed, too.

Now, twelve years later, she sat in her dusty little office, on Midsummer’s Eve, and thought about Dr. Heckles. She contemplated her thin, pale hands, with their sensible nails and pink polish, and looked down at her well-shod, feet in their carefully polished Talbot shoes with court heels. Though it was warming more and more with the onset of summer, she wore nylons, even on afternoons like this when she didn’t have to teach Renaissance Women writers to the undergraduates in the small University where she taught.

The wrong side of thirty, orphaned, alone, that’s where she was. She took stock of herself as she flicked a black-hair from her morrocco leather-bound grade book. There was no gray marring her hair yet, and it became for her, a philosophical question whether or not to color it. Her clothes, she knew, were good, but she was more stylish than the possessor of style. Lately, she’d been obsessed with clothing, and with physical appearance, both hers and others. She scrutinized covertly, every mole, every freckle, every asset and deformity she had, or any she noticed on her colleagues and students. Was Dr. Whtiaker’s haircolor naturally the color of daffodils, or was it bottled? Where did Dr. Whitney find blue mascara in this day and age. Was old Dr. Morris wearing a toupe? Were the girls in her class chestier than those she knew as a student, or were sweaters and blouses just being made smaller? Most, she noticed defomities. How did that otherwise handsome young boy come to have a scar from the left corner of his eye to the left side of his chin? Why was Mrs. Twigg, the fussy department secretary, always limping? Why did Mr. Barrow, the janitor, have only four fingers one each hand?

These, and other questions regarding physical attributes filled her off hours, and often the hourse she spent grading papers and devising exams. “I must be doing too much research,” she thught. Her specialty was Tudor women writers and history, with Anne Boleyn, the tragic second queen of Henry VIII being the topic of her dissertation. Other scholars in the area told her she looked like Anne, who also had coal black hair and ebony eyes. People often alughed at faculty parties when Emilia told them doomed, martyred women were her specialties, “Femme Fatalities,” she called them, and they were a good starting point for defensive jokes when inquisitive folk asked her why she wasn’t married.

But, how to explain to them that she didnt’ want what she was supposed to want. Secretly, Emilia wanted to be a Bohemian, an artist who lived by her own rules. Her good clothes, conservative manner, and demure countenance were at odds with the waist-length hair, and the impassioend lectures about Anne’s courage and pioneer, excelelnt education. Above all, otherwise Shy Emilia championed Anne’s outspokenness and her innocence witht he fierceness of a United States prosecutor. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, George Wyatt’s defense of Anne, the poem’s attributed to her, including, “Defiled is my Name, Full Sore,” were required reading in her classes. She hated wax museums who were fond of protraying Anne as some sort of monstrous whore, in scarlet, garish dressees, with wax hands that sported a full sixth finger, as attributed to Anne by legend. “But no none who knew her actually stated she had a sixth finger, or a third breast, for that matter!” It was part of the calumny used to malign her, to brand her as a witch int he eyes of the common people. Nicholas Sander started that rumor; he was a sympathizeer of the King, but was only 9 when Anne was executed; he had never even seen her!” But, it was in vein. The woman who owned the museum didn’t want to take down the exhibit, it drew the curious by the carloads, and historical acccuracy was not her stock in trade. The editor of Empire magazine was no more sympathetic. Emilia had responded to a campy article publsihed in the gossip column abut Anne’s sexual exploits, and claimed that her repuation was still so bad, that Queen Elizabeth II had refused toname a street in Anne’s honor, lest young girls ask who she was an follow her scandalous example. “We know what our readers like,” The editor condescendingly expolained. “They can read a textbook, or theyc an read our juicy little pieces. They can relate more easily to an Anne who sleeps around and gets caught int his day of toe-sucking princesses, and adulterous heirs to the throne. “ If you make Anne a saint, no one will want ot read about her, or visit Hever Castle, or the Tower of London, or any of the sites conencted with her.” So, the Editor had not anted to publsihg the article Emila wrote which corrected all the misinformation. Instead, she had wanted Emilia to write a sequel, and to do research to uncover even racier stories about Anne, especially about Anne and her alleged affiar with Mark Smeaton, the handsome musician who also died for “loving her.” “You know, see what you can find out about kinky sex in the Renaissance.” Emilia suspected the Empire’s readers, many part of a British system that still recognized the importance of marrying within one’s class, were more interested and titillated by the fact that Anne, a queen, would be accused of sleeping with a commoner, than they were disgusted by the fact that an innocent woman had been betrayed, accused of incest, and murdered.

Emilia was tired of “consumer” scholarship. After summer session, she would begin a sabatical to write a book based on her own research of Anne. She had consulted other Renaissance scholars, and lawyers, and historians, to support her thesis that, once and for all, Anne was an innocent woman, and one to be admired as a role model for the centuries. She would begin where the film Anne of the Thousand Days had left off, and give back Anne her name, undefiled and shining clean. It was after she began gathering her notes and contacting people that the dreams had begun.

The first had been in January, she had been reading about Anne’s final miscarriage, the one that had sealed her fate. [Insert paper here] Emilia was touring the Tower of London, but she was alone, and it was night. Outside the Chapel, where Anne was reputedly buried, she heard music. The rich, lilitng, melancholy lute and music of the recorder, playing a minor tune. The door of the chapel was cracked open, and it was the only late in the othewise gloomy passage. Emilia looked in, thinking this was a rehearsal for some mumemr’s play, conducted after the other toruists had gone. The players were adult mena nd women,d ressed in rich velvet, dark, some with yellow, some with white, the women’s overskirtst hidign petticoats of cloth of cold. They wore the French headress, oval, which framed the face, and caught the hair in a veil in the back. This was headdress Anne had introduced to court, and which she had made famous. Emilia saw a beautiful woman sitting in a large, carved oak chari. It almsot looked like a throne. Behnd her, on a crest, was a large whit bird wearing a crown. There were letters below, but she couldn’t read the elaborate script from wher she stood.

After awhile, Emilia realized that she was witnessing a funeral for a wll-born lady, perhaps. A man wearing the robes of an archbishop stood before a bier, and he, and all the company, turned to face the woman sitting on the chair. She stood, and eMilia realized that what she first took for a long, dark veil, was the woman’ long, black tresses, so dark, they looked blue-back, and picked up the light form the candles and torches that lit the room. She wore a black gown over a grey overskirt, and pearls around ehr neck. Some ornament that resemled a letter hung around her neck, too. The woman looked in Emilia’s direction and descende the small steps that lead up to her chair. The company parted for her, and emilia ntoed that men bowed in courtly fashion, and the owmen courtsied. The owman came near and nearer to Emilia, a half-smile palyed her lips. Soon, the woman, who was tiny and slender, stood before Emilia, and looked upt into her eyes. The ornament around ehr neck, surrounded by the pearls, was a gold B. Emilia realized she was face to face with Anne. Church bells began to ring.

Emilia woke with a start, her alarm was ringing, and she had tob e inclass in less than two hours, and she hadn’t graded as single paper. What was wrong with her lately? She felt listless, and caught herself staring into space. Her limbs were leaden,as if to lift them would have taken the strenght of Atlas. Often, she sat at her desk, staring at the maple tree that grew outside her window, the sunlight dancing off its leaves and playing shadow seeming to hypntozie her. She only woke form her transe when the buzzer sounded, anouncing the end of one class period, and the beginning of another.

Lately, emiilia had beenr eading books and articles about derpession. She would go to the Wilson Disk, and punch in “d-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n” into the llittle box, then hit enter. She searched the psych index, read about Woolf and Plath, checked for articles inMLA, anything, but came up with nothing that exactly matched how she was feeling. A therapist might say Emilia was dissatisified with her life, that she was ins ome extended transitionary period, but Emilia was no unhappy. Only listless, and lethargic. And, her “trances” or states, weren’t at all unpleasant. Had she indeed, “left her body,” to wander as someone else in another realm? How she’d laughed at paranormal stuides, and television shows that tried to document ghost sightings and other paranormal events as if they were history and cold, hard fact. And, she laughted to herself at the old joke of, ‘I teach at Catatonic State!” But, lately, the lethargy came on her more and more often, and at inopportune moments.

(Sitwell, and the shadow on ?Anne’s face as she descended the chair. Handwriting analysis and anne’s signature.”\)

Before these bouts of reverie had taken hold of her, Emilia had been a dynamo. She was always up early, early enough to sit out on her old fashioned porch and drink dark roast coffee, that she ground herself each day, and listen tot he birds chirp. Organiztion was her joy and storng point, and she could get ten papers graded, 20 tests, if need be, before she even had to bein her office for fofice hours. Byt he time she had arrived ather favorite campus stirp coffee hosue, her day was planned,a nd a substantial part of her work had been done. By the time the proprietor handed her her favoriteFrench Roast, rich, dark, and fragrant, heavily laced with cream, she felt energy coursing through her, and was at peace with her lot and the world , but lately . . . . .

“ Enough!” Emilia groaned, and heaved herself up from her chair. Warnicke’s Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn was next to fraser’s Six wive on her desk. Seh smiled at the two volumes,which were the topic of her discussion int wo hours. She remembered her own Renaissance lit prof, a slight, beautiful strawberry blonde, with a quick wit, but the suprior attitude of beautiful, smart women who succeed in academia. Hre prof had stood out among the aging, dowdy, often close-minded faculty, but fame and success, albeit in small doses, sometimes went to her head. “Let me see your bibliograpny, emilia, you know that beginningg Renasiiance students never have the right books.” And why did Lady Clifford behave as she did? Well, she was being blonde!” But, Emilia had learned. She had learned what it meant to be in a woman and a writer in the Renaisance and Elizabethan eras; she had devoured Woolf’s tragic parable of the fictious Judith Shakespeare, as Woolf detailed the fate of what a woman author might have usffered. “Whores of the tongue,” a good woman was a silent woman. Occaisonal scholars, like More’s dduahtgers, who spoke latin, and Bloody Mary I herself, were freaks, and perhaps, grew up beliving they were to behave as trained monkeys more than as human beins.

Anne, her Anne, had had a classic education, and ane xpensive education for ehr time. But her flawless French, and musical skills, didn’t serve her that well at ther trial. By then, they were godless tools to enslave men to do her diabolical bidding. She hadn’t heeded Margaret of Anjou, her mentor, well, when Margaret had warned her not to voiceher thougths, and to keep a civil tongue. Anne cound’t coutnenacne outrage, she coudlb e submissive to her husband, but also spoke out when she thoguth he behaved unfairly. Her own tongue, perhaps, lead to her behading, for that was otne only way to silence her. (Cixous).