Friday, December 28, 2012

The Bloody Countess; The Atrocities of Erzebet Bathory; a book

Merry Christmas and Happy New year. My cat, Lady Emma Gaga de Bathory, is sitting next to me, asleep, clutching her assorted cat toys and dolls, all with the last name mouse. Crinkle Mouse, Poodle Mouse, Ikea Rat Mouse, Rocket Mouse, Octo Mouse, etc. She asked me to mention this book by Valentine Penrose, transl. Alexaner Trocchi. Hand and rotator cuff injuries are better, not helped by a St. Vitus' type dance I peformed down an icy drive way; kept my balance, still got hurt.
The book appears to take the usual partytline about the 650 victims, but adds cannibalism to her list of alleged crimes. It is easy to write this kind of book, if one has time. One is adding to what is already out there, regurgitating what has been said. The research for much of these stories was secondary and written long after Erzebet died. But, I will not be unfair, and I applaud anyone who been able to be published and translated. Enlightened views take a long time; this book was published in 2006, and much has changed since then regarding Erzebet. Here is the description from the Edward R. Hamilton Book Seller most recent catgalog, received by post yesterday: "Recounts the true, disurbing case history of Erzebet Bathory, a 16th-century European aristocrat infamous for pathological necrosadism involving torture, blood-drinking, cannivalism, and wholesale slaughter, whose brual acts culminated in the deaths of 650 Carpathians. " (ERBS catalog 44). It is 154 pages long. Enough said. Yet, she was not executed. There was plenty of recent and contemporary precedent for executing royals and aristocrats, all over the world. As recently as 1649, Cromwell had Charles I beheaded in England. The Salem witch trials would take place in the New World less than 50 years after Erzebet died. They were thriving in the Germanic countries, yet, she was spared. Why? What legacy and infamy did Thurzo and her other accusers fear? Were they more than a little unsure? Read this and as many other books possible. I will look and post as time allows to this end.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Please read below, and note that Erzebet's legal problems began at the end of the Christmas Season as celebrated in her time. Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone this year of turmoil and controversy. I spent the evening with friends, and old teacher or two, their families and friends with a wonderful, traditional dinner, the first I've had this season. i\I met a wonderful young girl who was also a talented chef and who brought the most amazing rum balls, born of her own self-descrbed disaster with black/white cookies and the wrong oven. I haven't cooked much, not ye3t, but I love to talk and invent recipes. Kianna, the chef, has wonderful adaptations of dim sun, and waffles with chicken , and pate and duck comfit gravy, her version of biscuits and gravy. As far as some tidbits go, I am happy to see that Hallmark gift bags are over 40% recyclable materials. I wrote many cards, and will this year start a tradition of sending new year cards, a new/old tradition that the Victorians and others used and sent for many years, and New Years was an occasion for sending cards bnad giving gifts before then. Etrennes were New Year's gifts, specialites at French dept. stores like the Lourvre in Paris. "Friends" featured a poster advertising these etrennes on their set. I gave to charities, and we had toys for tots at school. We also sent gifts to the Sun Valley Indian School, our "kids" in AZ. I made some gifts, and sent them early, but met with many financial difficulties and other issues this year. The Sandy Hook tragedy changed Xmas for everyone, and it happened on a night filled with wonderful memories, like my first giymnastics meet at 15, Spanish Club Xmas Parties with my mom and her Spanish Club, these were sometimes at restaurants like Chichis, Tortilla Flats, Chimis, and sometimes in the high ceilinged biology classroom at her school, with pinants, and candy. We spent all year traveeling and finidng miniatures to use. This season, I live with the ghosts of Xmas past. Our family home, once full of Xmas cheer, is now silent. My dad never liked the holidys, and now he has a reason not to celebrate. We eat together, but nothing festive, even if I offer to cook. There are no trees or lights, just a small pewter tree shaped candleholder decorated with symbols of the twelve days of Xmas, and a matching pewter santa, both under one foot tall. These I sneak into my old bedroom; they stay in my hope chest which is still there the rest of the year. Presents are few and far inbetween, but I still send them to family around the country, even the world. These are my mom's traditions, and I carry them on. A rotator cuff injury and my bad hand keep from writing more, but Bless all who read my blogs, and all who write, and who inspireme. A blessed 2013 to all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Doll Museum: More Renaissance and 17th Century Dolls

Doll Museum: More Renaissance and 17th Century Dolls: Here are a photo of Bartholmew Fair, a Baby, and a page from a cookbook about the Fair. Also, some contemporary images, and the Bart. Family...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bathory 2008, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Longitude

On this first of December, anniversary of my grandmother Ellen’s death 11 years ago, [she was 98, only admitted to 94, died suddenly after a freak accident where she fell trying to pull the blinds down], I am multitasking. As an aside, my grandma’s sisters and brothers all lived long lives bar one who died young of something like cancer. Then, they had freak accidents into their late 80s and 90s. My great-grandfather, their dad, was a sea captain, and the girls used to swim out in the Aegean to meet his ship. Hearty stock, that. So, I am multitasking, looking up Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, and blogging. Catherine, a generation or two later than Erzebet, was more powerful as empress, but more formidable and ruthless. Had history been written differently, Massie may have written Erzebet the Great, and Catherine would appear in more books about serial killers and ruthless murderers, though she does appear in her capacity as Russian Empress in a couple books about evil women and evil people. I recommend Bathory, 2008. Anna Friel, whom I believe is British, has done a fantastic job, comparable to Dorothy Tutin and Genevieve Bujold playing Anne Boleyn, or Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth R, and also Vanessa Redgrave as Mary, Queen of Scots. Her name escapes me, but the actress who plays Dr. River Song on Dr. Who and who played in ER, also did an equally fantastic, comparable job playing Boudicca in the BBC production for Masterpiece Theater, yet another powerful, brave, and resourceful woman long vilified by history. Outside the fictional love affair with Caravaggio, which was born because of hints in his paintings and his mysterious absences while fleeing from the law, the film on Erzebet gives explanations for much associated with her. How Thurzo was owed money and turned on her and her husband for wealth and power, how her servants were tortured than swiftly executed as the only eyewitnesses who saw what really happened in her castle. There were explanations for the deaths, for her book of names, which could well have been names of those who had healed, for the “bath of blood,” which was water turned red by certain herbs, and I can tell you myself that eucalyptus and chamomile will turn water red. Also, the religious wars going on, the struggle with the Ottomans, all things that built and built. In the end, one wonders what, if anything, Erzebet could have done. That there were, and are backlashes against wealthy, powerful women is a given. That sometimes when the victors write history, it is skewed, is something we are discovering. There are entire academic departments devoted to the scholarly analysis of revisionist history. The story of Anne Boleyn bears witness to that; she is now a popular topic of fiction, and has become a sympathetic figure nearly 500 years later. A fascinating parallel to Erzebet’s story is what else was happening in the world. It was still the age of exploration, and the beginnings of The Industrial Revolution. A great book to study is Longitude, by Dava Sobel and William J. H. Andrews. The book tells of the perils of sailors trying to navigate solely by latitude, because there was no measurement instrument for longitude until the invention of Harrison’s longitudinal clock in the 18th century, a situation I believe influenced Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.