Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Revved up for ART

The Amateur Historian's favorite artist, outside of the Regency period, is John Everett Millais, whose breath-taking attention to detail (Millais encoded a world of meaning in the remarkable number of flowers he painted into Ophelia's riverbank, above- for example, in the Victorian language of flowers, red poppies represent sleep and death) never fails to please her.

Millais himself was, to the Amateur Historian's mind, extremely endearing. When he was working on a canvas, he would get so worked up he liked to jog around the room before greeting a visitor... and then make the visitor hold his or her arm up so that Millais had the pleasure of jumping over it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy birthday Victor Hugo!

Happy birthday to the Amateur Historian's favorite author, Victor Hugo. Though André Gide once replied, "Victor Hugo, hélas" to the question, "Who is the best French writer?" other Hugo fans have been less reserved in their praise. In the international Vietnamese religion known as Cao Dai Victor Hugo is actually one of the most important saints in their pantheon. Somehow, given Hugo's self-conceit, the Amateur Historian doubts that Hugo would be upset about this fact.

Friday, February 24, 2012

SMBC Theater - Thomas Jefferson

More videos for February. Warning for language.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fashion forward!

As spring fashions begin to come out, it's always nice to look to the past to see how the future might turn out. I very much doubt that any of the trousers below will be featured on Chanel or Dior's runways, but I think we can all agree that the field of haberdashery has sadly disappointed the visionaries of 1893 who thought we would be wearing braided cushions as hats in 1965.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well... it's... better than Napoloen's?

Here's hoping there are some lucky and unlucky tarts (according to one's preferences) this Valentine's Day! Ladies and gentlemen, take note on how to woo that special someone. Be bold, and always make the recipient question the composition of your DNA.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - The Duel

Once again proving a. that Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are made for silly period pieces and b. duels are a rather silly way of settling debts of honor.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Something Nobler and Moister Indeed

Sorry, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie cannot be kept apart no matter the era. Also of note, the truly questionable neckbeard the costume designers decided to give Stephen Fry.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Maybe this is why she doesn't write to you.

Napoleon and Josephine have one of the more interesting romantic relationships in the Amateur Historian's chosen period. This is partly due to the fact that Napoleon has some really... odd letters. Aside from the famous, perhaps apocryphal note "I am coming-- do not bathe" he rails against Josephine for the strangest reasons.

Take, for example, this... I suppose we ought to call it a love letter:

"I don't love you, not at all; on the contrary, I detest you. You're a naught, gawky, foolish Cinderella.

You never write me; you don't love your own husband; you know what pleasures your letters give him, and yet you haven't written him six lines, dashed off so casually!

 What do you do all day, Madam? What is the affair so important as to leave you no time to write to your devoted lover?

What affection stifles and puts to one side the love, the tender constant love you promised him?

Of what sort can be that marvellous being, that new lover that tyrannises over your days, and prevents your giving any attention to your husband?

Josephine, take care! Some fine night, the doors will be broken open and there I'll be.

Indeed, I am very uneasy, my love, at receiving no news of you; write me quickly for pages, pages full of agreeable things which shall fill my heart with the pleasantest feelings.

I hope before long to crush you in my arms and cover you with a million kisses as though beneath the equator.

Napoleon Bonaparte"

After that letter, I'd say the dear Emperor is going to have to wait a long time before crushing Josephine in his arms, even if he does decide that breaking and entering is truly the way into a woman's heart.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Le Lever - getting dressed in the 18th century

If you're looking for a date this Valentine's day, fop 'til you drop with the advice in this video.

Friday, February 3, 2012

All that must please!

February gives us Valentine's Day, a day which the Amateur Historian's friends tend to spend watching Jane Austen and Bronte adaptations. I think any adaptation of a nineteenth century novel would benefit from having Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry derail the accepted script, and, of course, Emma Thompson makes everything better just by being in the shot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pride & Prejudice - Bloopers

The best way to celebrate the run-up to Valentine's Day, I believe, is through period dramas. Particularly things going not quite as expected in period dramas. The Amateur Historian would just like to say that Mr. Bingley is wonderful.