Daily Archives: October 28, 2010

What’s Black and White and Read All Over?

Librivox’s new free audiobook about the life of Blessed Joanna of Portugal, A Crown for Joanna, by a Dominican named Sister Mary Jean Dorcy. It’s illustrated in black and white, it’s by a black-and-white-habited Dominican, and it’s read by Librivox’s finest.

(I know, it’s not funny if you’ve got to explain it….)

Joanna, the Infanta of Portugal, was offered the hand of Richard III of England after his beloved wife Anne Neville died, as part of a double marriage deal in which Elizabeth of York (Edward III’s daughter) would marry the Duke of Beja (the male heir to the Portuguese throne). Joanna didn’t plan on marrying anybody, but was pressured by her family. She apparently had a dream warning her that Richard was dead, and told her family that she’d marry Richard without demur if he still lived. Bosworth Field was already done.

Since Elizabeth of York got stuck marrying Henry VII, who proceeded to judiciously murder most of her relations and maybe her brothers too, instead of Manuel the Lucky, who got to run Portugal during its early glory days of African exploration, you gotta say she got the short end of the stick. Since Manuel’s resulting ambition to marry a Spanish princess set off some very creepy events in Portugal, I’d have to say that Portugal got the short end of the stick too. History has some very odd twists and turns.

However, since the princess by that time had already rejected three very royal suitors in favor of God, and since she was actually several months older than Richard, it leads one to wonder whether Richard was actually planning to marry this woman in the pursuit of kids, or whether he was just seeking somebody to help with admin and keep the councilors from pestering him to marry again. Shrug. He was still in the prime of life, and it was still possible for her to have kids; and royalty did tend to be very hopeful about such things, back then. But if Elizabeth of York was going to go off and become a queen-in-waiting, even illegitimate, you have to wonder whether Richard was just planning to name the Little ex-Princes his heirs, or what? It’s just a really weird development that I haven’t heard mentioned before.

At any rate, the Infanta Joana is a fascinating figure, sometimes a powerful regent of a farflung empire and sometimes kept from following her dreams by the prison of her rank. The Portuguese seem to love her still, but I wonder why we non-Lusitanians haven’t heard more about her.

An album of church music dedicated to her.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Movie of Elizabeth Goudge’s The Little White Horse

There’s some other author named Goudge out there (a distant cousin or niece of some sort), but Elizabeth Goudge is the one we’re concerned with. She made her name with Green Dolphin Street (which became a justly famous Hollywood movie and a famous jazz tune). But she wrote a good many other novels after that.

Most of her novels are historicals, though some were contemporary to her time of writing. They tended to be set in the English countryside or in small old towns. The past tends to be a constant presence. Emotions run deep but don’t show up right away. Sometimes things slip into fantasy. Generally things are either cozy or terrifying, and there’s not much warning of either. She was a favorite of J.K. Rowling, among many other fans of note, but hasn’t gotten much reprinting. Out of her extremely prolific output, I’ve seen about ten of her books and that’s all.

So I’m surprised that anybody filmed the influential but deeply odd fantasy The Little White Horse. I’m even more surprised that they filmed it under the title The Secret of Moonacre, but so it is. Your man Ioan Gruffudd and your man Tim Curry are both in it.

When it comes to reprints, there are a few US editions these days, but mostly you’ll have to look to libraries, used book purveyors, and aged relatives. In the UK, the situation is not much different, alas.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Blatantly Cute Picture of Fannish Dog

Yes, there are many costumes like this one. But this particular one is pretty darned cool.

The one you want is Picture #1 of 15, at Bow Wow Ween. Get it while it’s up.

I have attempted to persuade my mother that on Beggar’s Night, she should ensconce our dog and her bones out in the yard, along with some of those fake skeleton bones just beyond her area. Alas, I have been veto’d, so our dog will not appear to the neighborhood in the character of a friendly anthropophage this year.

(Warning: If you do this, you have to keep a close eye on your dog, because as we all know, some people like to pull mean pranks and steal things on Halloween. But it could be a fun gig for pretty much any dog, and would spare them being costumed.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized