Posts tagged with "history" - Faerye Net 2013-05-27T19:37:06+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Bring Up the Bodies 2013-05-27T19:37:06+00:00 2013-06-03T03:55:34+00:00 <p>I am off series books. It&#8217;s been so for a time: my &#8216;to-read&#8217; list on Goodreads is a shocking 260 books long, and might be longer if I hadn&#8217;t preserved it by the expedient of a &#8216;to-maybe-read&#8217; list. Series addiction would send the thing spiralling out of control.</p> <p>But here I am, finishing <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9781250024176'>Book Two</a> and <em>chafing</em> for the next. How did I get here? (Besides the exemption in my series fear for audiobooks, that is!) I have a sneaking fondness for <a href="" target="links">Booker winners</a>, so I was curious about Hilary Mantel&#8217;s <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780312429980'><em>Wolf Hall</em></a> already. The only thing I knew about it other than its Bookerness was that it and its sequel, <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9781250024176'><em>Bring Up the Bodies</em></a>, were about the reign of Henry <span class="caps">VIII</span>.</p> <p>Now, I was rather interested in the history of the Tudors as a child, due largely to feminist-schoolgirl awe of Queen Elizabeth, but also due to morbid-schoolgirl fascination with messy history. I didn&#8217;t even realize at the time what messy history Henry <span class="caps">VIII</span> was following! Now, Henry&#8217;s story, his desperate quest for a legitimate male heir, seems to me haunted and beset by that of Edward IV, whose legally flawed marriage(s) created such a succession crisis. (See Josephine Tey&#8217;s <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780684803869'>The Daughter of Time</a></em> if you need convincing that Edward IV&#8217;s overactive tendency to put a ring on it, not any evil of Richard III&#8217;s, overthrew his little son.) Anyway, I had a very shallow sort of knowledge of Henry VIII&#8217;s reign, just enough to school my family in &#8220;Divorced, Beheaded, Died&#8230;&#8221; and explain which queen was which when we visited England when I was 13. In college I learned a bit more by taking a class on Medieval and Tudor History of England.</p> <p>I never went in for the recent fad on Tudors, however. There&#8217;ve been some very successful book series and movie adaptations as well as the <span class="caps">HBO</span> &#8220;Tudors&#8221;, but I couldn&#8217;t summon much interest. Elizabeth, after all, is appealing to me &#8212; complicated, cagy, iconoclastic and independent. Henry <span class="caps">VIII</span>? Choleric, wife-killing Henry? Just a stage-setter, an interesting little soap opera backstory for my heroine. So it&#8217;s possible I came at <em>Wolf Hall</em> with precisely the right degree of ignorance and knowledge: broad background in the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation, enough knowledge of the course of Henry&#8217;s marriages to appreciate foreshadowing and see the other shoe about to drop, but enough ignorance to be constantly surprised.</p> <p>Mantel has chosen her hero so well: Thomas Cromwell, a low-born but brilliant man who rose to stand at Henry&#8217;s right hand. I haven&#8217;t read up on what&#8217;s known of his life yet (that might mean <span class="caps">SPOILERS</span>!) but he is a wonderful character for a smart, thoughtful novel (or two, or please soon, three!) on Henry VIII&#8217;s struggle for an heir. He&#8217;s an outsider but not: born in England but educated all over Europe. This allows him to see Tudor English customs as non-transparent, to show them to us and remark on them, without losing any credibility as a character truly of his age. He isn&#8217;t blindered and constrained to the life of the court, so this isn&#8217;t the familiar, gossipy soap-opera version of Henry VIII&#8217;s court intrigues.</p> <p>Thomas&#8217;s life story is interesting, and his upwards social trajectory is appealing to a modern reader who is unlikely to believe in the divine right to rule or the intrinsic superiority of noble blood. His background in Europe and his interest in the Tyndale Gospel and the reformation of the Church make Thomas a big-picture thinker. And somehow, despite my semester of Medieval and Tudor history, this big picture is one that hadn&#8217;t really sunk in. Henry&#8217;s desperate need for an heir (and obligatory assumption that the fault was in his women, <a href="" target="links">not in him</a>) was not only a catalyst but an <em>opportunity</em> for many. Henry&#8217;s easily mocked desire to cast off his first/brother&#8217;s wife constituted a huge challenge to papal authority at a time when many were already chafing to throw off Rome&#8217;s yoke. Thomas Cromwell, early (and secret) Protestant, smuggler of banned texts, reader of the Gospel in English, is the perfect character to lead us through this foment. This is not just about Henry&#8217;s heir or Henry&#8217;s bed: this is the end of the Medieval. This is the cusp of a new world.</p> <p>Mantel writes beautifully but often simply. Her style here, third person present and relentlessly Cromwell-focused (until the second book, she routinely uses &#8216;he&#8217; to refer to Cromwell whether or not there has been another masculine antecedent, which can be a trifle confusing,) serves the story well, lending immediacy to these centuries-old events. The narrative inhabits Cromwell so thoroughly that his asides, his incidental associations, become part of the fabric. His memories, images or words, bob back up in my consciousness a week after finishing the book, as they bob back up throughout the first and second book. I can&#8217;t wait to hear his voice again in the third.</p> <p>Also, how sinister and wonderful is the <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9781250024176'>second book</a>&#8217;s title? Bring up the bodies, bring up the bodies, bring up the bodies&#8230;</p> "Only a novel!" Part I 2010-10-14T15:05:38+00:00 2010-10-14T15:11:30+00:00 <center><a href="" title="Only a Novel Part I illo by Felicity Shoulders, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="374" alt="photo of 2 books, Room of One's Own and Northanger Abbey, and a postcard of a satirical etching of reading women from 19th c." border="0" /></a><br /> <em>A Room of One&#8217;s Own, Northanger Abbey,</em> and a postcard from the <a href="" target="links">Lit Chicks</a> exhibition.</center> <blockquote>Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote, I thought, looking at <em>Antony and Cleopatra</em>; and when people compare Shakespeare and Jane Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason we do not know Jane Austen and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare.<br /> -Virginia Woolf, <em>A Room of One&#8217;s Own</em></blockquote> <p>Whenever anyone mentions Austen and Shakespeare in a breath &#8211; and they often do &#8211; I think of this section of <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780156030410'>A Room of One&#8217;s Own</a></em>. Above you see the heart of Woolf&#8217;s comparison. Of Shakespeare she earlier writes, &#8220;All desire to protest, to preach, to proclaim an injury, to pay off a score, to make the world the witness of some hardship or grievance was fired out of him and consumed.&#8221; In Chapter Four, she argues that many female writers&#8217; work is distorted with bitterness and anger at the oppression they have suffered as well as hampered by those obstacles. But Austen, she says, was unharmed as an artist.</p> <p>It would be easy enough to argue with Woolf&#8217;s entire line of reasoning. In modern novels, digressions such as the example she quotes from <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780955881800'>Jane Eyre</a></em>, where she decries the restraints on women (&#8220;&#8230;they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer&#8230;&#8221;) may not be seen as detracting. One might say that in an age when the model of the artist as genius has retreated, it&#8217;s hard to argue that this writer or that writer &#8220;got his work expressed completely&#8221; as she does of Shakespeare, or that a work which has digressions on the oppression and circumscription of women is growing outside some knowable and natural platonic shape, putting out tumors of misshapen anger. The idea of self-perfected artists putting forth perfect art, however appealing it may be to Austen and Shakespeare devot&eacute;es like myself, seems a little improbable today.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="links">Multnomah County Library</a> exhibit I <a href="" target="links">discussed yesterday</a> classed Austen with Shakespeare in the first case of objects, thus bringing this whole line of thinking irresistibly to mind. As I proceeded, I thought about the exception to Woolf&#8217;s praise of Austen that I&#8217;d recently discovered, and in Case 3 of the exhibition, there was the very quote I had in mind!</p> <p>You see, I recently reread <em><a href='' title='' rel='powells'>Northanger Abbey</a></em> and realized that Austen isn&#8217;t entirely &#8220;without bitterness&#8221; and &#8220;without preaching&#8221;. Her later books, quite possibly, but in <em>Northanger Abbey</em>, her first completed, she hadn&#8217;t yet fired it all out and consumed it. And certainly, she doesn&#8217;t express any fiery frustration at the lot of Woman. No, her ire is for the oppressors of the Novel! I will quote at length:</p> <blockquote>Yes, novels; — for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — <strong>there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. &#8220;I am no novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.&#8221; Such is the common cant. &#8220;And what are you reading, Miss — ?&#8221; &#8220;Oh! It is only a novel!&#8221; replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. &#8220;It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda&#8221;; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.</strong> Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a volume of the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication, of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young person of taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement of improbable circumstances, unnatural characters, and topics of conversation, which no longer concern any one living; and their language, too, frequently so coarse as to give no very favorable idea of the age that could endure it.<br /> -Jane Austen, <em>Northanger Abbey</em><br /> [emphasis mine, to show the approximate quote used in the Library&#8217;s exhibition]</blockquote> <p>Here is a digression indeed! And every bit as long, I judge, as the passage in <em>Jane Eyre</em> Virginia Woolf disapproves (though Austen has placed it at the end of a chapter, thus escaping the &#8220;awkward break&#8221; whereby Woolf declares Bront&euml;&#8217;s &#8220;continuity is disturbed.&#8221;)</p> <p>Now perhaps even the scrupulous Woolf would pardon Austen&#8217;s vigorous asides in defense of the novel, since they come throughout <em>Northanger Abbey</em> and the perusal of novels does figure quite prominently in the plot, albeit not in the a uniformly positive light. But it seems that Austen was not entirely unscratched by the hardness of the world, and did pick a fight or two. Of course, by standing up for the respectability and literary worth of the novel, she was joining a battle in which she could make a difference: one you could fairly say that she won.</p> <p><em>I digress still further &#8211; and perhaps engage in preaching and bitterness? &#8211; in the stunning conclusion to &#8220;Only a novel!&#8221;. Stay tuned!</em></p> Random thought: zombies 2009-10-11T10:03:53+00:00 2009-10-11T10:12:54+00:00 <p>Yesterday I started listening to a fresh audiobook, <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780142001431'>Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague</a></em> by Geraldine Brooks. As the name implies, it&#8217;s set around a 17th century outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in England. When the novel opens, the plague has already swept through, and the main character is coping with the emptiness of her village. I&#8217;ve barely begun, but the story has a lot of interest for its sheer novelty: I could name social effects of the plague or list a few historical facts about it, but I&#8217;ve never read a book set during or after it. But it also made me think of a sort of story I have heard more than once: zombie stories.</p> <p>I know, I know, there are no zombies in 17th century history. But the empty streets, the feeling of being an island of humanity &#8212; those are definitely part of modern post-apocalyptic fiction. And that&#8217;s when zombies came up &#8212; I began to wonder if zombies are a plague fear. I know, a lot of stories refer to it as &#8220;the infection!&#8221; and so forth so this may seem obvious to others, but it had never occurred to me to wonder if that&#8217;s where zombies get their archetypal oomph. I&#8217;ve always figured they were a very literal fear of death, uninteresting from a subtextual standpoint. But in an epidemic, even the people you love can kill you. Especially them, as you stay near them and tend them. Everyone is a threat, anyone could prove the agent of your death. You&#8217;re surrounded by bodies and death and there are few survivors, traumatized and isolated. Zombies!</p> <p><a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> responded to this musing of mine by saying he thought zombies came from someone thinking the dead walking and making you one of them would be a good story. But I think recurring stories &#8212; especially scary stories, like werewolves and zombies &#8212; have to tap into something in the human psyche or they wouldn&#8217;t keep coming back. Like plagues and zombies, these stories keep coming and won&#8217;t lie down.</p> In praise of post 2009-01-28T13:02:53+00:00 2009-01-28T13:03:26+00:00 <p>If, like me, you have a fondness for postal mail and find paper letters a particularly meaningful way to connect with others, perhaps you will appreciate this report from the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake:<br /> <blockquote>&#8230;William Burke, the postmaster&#8217;s secretary, recounted what happened when he took a U.S. Mail sign from a streetcar barn and mounted it on the top of a car he had pressed into service to collect the mail.<br /> <blockquote>&#8220;The effect was electrical. As people saw the machine bearing the mail coming, they cheered and shouted in a state bordering on hysteria. We told them where the collections would be made in the afternoon and asked that they spread the news. As we went into the Presidio there was almost a riot, and the people crowded around the machine and almost blocked its progress. It was evidently taken as the first sign of rehabilitation and, as it proceeded, the mail automobile left hope in its wake&#8230;&#8221;</blockquote>&#8212; Simon Winchester, <em>A Crack in the Edge of the World</em></blockquote></p> <p>Perhaps we take the mail for granted, relying as we so often do now on faster, more ethereal transmissions. But think about it &#8212; for under two bits (for no money at all, in the generous wake of the earthquake) a man or woman you do not know will take your message and ensure it gets to your friends and family. Your piece of paper, your artefact, can cross all the great miles of this country safely and promptly, and assure your family with its very weight and reality that all is well. That&#8217;s civilization.</p> Beauty and erasure 2008-12-14T00:37:07+00:00 2010-08-03T11:30:13+00:00 <p>I recently finished the meaty nonfiction tome <em>The Bounty</em>, by Caroline Alexander. It led me to reflect on youth and responsibility, the totally different worlds that coexist within a given culture and time period, and many other things. One line of thought was inspired by a throw-away line and a series of illustration plates.</p> <blockquote>A surviving, highly stylized portrait shows Nessy [Heywood, sister of a mutinous young gentleman] as the ideal young woman of her time, with large, limpid eyes and a small &#8216;rosebud&#8217; mouth, her slim, pale face framed by a mane of soft curls &#8211; a portrait that does not accord entirely with Peter&#8217;s own fond and forgiving description. His sister&#8217;s features, he allowed, &#8216;were by no means regular&#8217;, although her long-lashed eyes &#8216;redeemed the whole face&#8217;.</blockquote> <p>The portrait, seen <a href="" target="link">here</a>, is reproduced in a plates section further on in the text. It is, in fact, pretty but insipid, a sharp contrast to the <a href="" target="links">portrait of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley</a> on the facing page. Pasley&#8217;s portrait is more detailed and by a noted portraitist, so perhaps it&#8217;s natural that his face shows hints of cunning and perhaps a twist of humor, where Nessy&#8217;s portrait gives no real insight on her character.</p> <p>But turning the page again, I find character after character. The officers at Peter Heywood&#8217;s court martial appear in different media, by different artists, and most of them are strikingly individual. I could very easily label each with an adjective: self-absorbed, stodgy, idealist, bold; or use each picture as the jumping-off point for a character in a story. I turn the page again, and here are more portraits, few of them detailed oil portraits, but most of them, again, with that indefinable spark that speaks, if not of likeness, then of humanity, perhaps of essence. Take a look at <a href="" target="links">Rear Admiral John Knight</a>, small tho&#8217; he be here, and then look at <a href="" target="link">Nessy again</a>. Isn&#8217;t she amazingly devoid of character?</p> <p>Another woman I find myself unable to envision as real from her portrait is Tahitian noblewoman <a href="" target="links">Poedua</a> (<span class="caps">WARNING</span>: exposed breasts). On the other hand, Elizabeth Bligh, Captain Bligh&#8217;s wife, <a href="" target="links">seemed very real</a> to me. But when I turned the page to her portrait, I felt a sting of embarrassment on her behalf. Despite the intellect I know from the text she possessed, there is something weak, perhaps a desire to please, in her face. She would seem puppyish even without the accompanying dog. And there is something unprepossessing in her mouth and teeth. More than Poedua, she seems naked to me. Naked because she is real, unbeautiful.</p> <p>In our <a href="" target="links">perturbation</a> over <a href="" target="links">before and after airbrushing photos</a>, perhaps we forget this earlier precedent. When likeness was a matter both of the skill and of the tact of the portraitist, these flattering lies were rampant (whither Marie-Antoinette&#8217;s Hapsburg chin, <a href="" target="links">Mme. Vig&eacute;e-Le Brun</a>?). There&#8217;s no reason to suppose that the men&#8217;s portraits are immune &#8211; some of these men may have a more dashing set of the head or stronger set of the jaw than they did in life. But those envied physiognomies of manly <em>virtus</eM> are not so demanding and distorting as the fickle ideal of beauty.</p> <p>I remember arguing once with someone who argued that we shouldn&#8217;t have a Sacagawea coin because we don&#8217;t have any contemporary portrait of her, and can&#8217;t be sure our coin is accurate. I pointed out that before photography, only rich, ruling class/race men (and a few women) could have their likeness preserved for posterity &#8211; insisting on a likeness before a stamp or coin could be produced would mean perpetuating the effacement of poor people and people of color throughout the ages. And now I realize that there is another effacement here, that of personality and individuality (and occasionally ethnicity) in many of the portraits that <em>were</em> painted. Perhaps Marie-Antoinette was mortified to be sketched on her way to the Guillotine by Revolutionnaire Jacques-Louis David. Under the circumstances, more mortified than most celebrities enduring the paparazzi&#8217;s flashes can possibly be. But I feel this picture, <a href="" target="links">stark and incomplete</a> as it is, shows more of Marie-Antoinette&#8217;s personality than the many posed and prettified portraits of her I have seen. Her jaw is set and her back is straight. That seems both real and admirable. To be without the veil of beauty is to be exposed, for good or ill.</p> <p>The beauty ideal isn&#8217;t weakening. Rather than allowing a less restrictive and more attainable range of female appearance to be celebrated, our culture is upping the pressure on men to perfect, pore-minimize, depilate and smooth. When you can open a magazine and find <a href="" target="links">Clive Owen</a> in the uncanny valley almost as easily as Beyonc&eacute;, perhaps it&#8217;s time to celebrate the fragmentary, distorted truth-telling the camera <em>can</em> provide. Perhaps next time we look at a photograph of ourselves, we can look, not for the bulge or the pimple or the wrinkle, but the spark of humanity, the essence that has been preserved and transmitted. Something that says, &#8220;I was there.&#8221;</p> End Notes 2007-06-27T19:09:01+00:00 2009-10-11T10:03:25+00:00 <p>Once again, I hear people saying that we have reached the end of days. When I hear or read these words, I stare.</p> <p>Do they not know that every two generations feels the grip of armageddon? That the Visigoths, the Vikings, the coming of Genghis Khan were all seen as clear signs of the end? </p><p>When you say to me that you &#8220;know we are in the end times,&#8221; you say nothing about the world. You tell me that you do not care to consider the sweep of human history. You tell me you are trapped in &#8220;the ghetto of the here and now.&#8221;* You have never imagined the fearful Roman potter listening to the sounds of battle, the despair of the monk whose brothers are slaughtered, the boy running to warn the village of the approaching horde. How can you lack the curiosity, the empathy to realize that this despair is the common lot of man? How can you not even have imagined the thoughts of a woman crouched in a bomb shelter, smelling the top of her baby&#8217;s head, hoping not to hear above the radio&#8217;s talk of Cuba the dim reverberations of the world&#8217;s end?</p> <p>*In a craft talk, David Long described the world without reading as &#8220;the ghetto of the here and now.&#8221;</P> Latest thing to make me cry -- 1/29/2007, 22:49 2007-01-29T22:10:57+00:00 2008-06-08T12:20:54+00:00 <p>An account, in Stephen Ambrose&#8217;s <em>Citizen Soldiers</em>, of the kindness of French farm women to German soldiers fleeing the <a href="" target="links">Falaise pocket</a> in August, 1944. The author said that three veterans of the Wehrmacht with whom he&#8217;d spoken had been sheltered and fed by these women as they fled, alone and terrified, from the devastating Allied artillery and air assault.</P> <p><blockquote>In each case, the women explained that their sons were POWs in Germany, and that they hoped some German mother was feeding their boys.</blockquote></p> How the Irish invented English, episode 1 2006-04-27T10:04:14+00:00 2008-06-08T14:18:58+00:00 <p>As all of you have doubtless gathered, I do love stories, whether true or wildly extrapolated; especially stories about language. I came across this in my audiobook, <em>The Great Shame: and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World</em> yesterday. Since it is not the first time such a word-origin story has crossed my brain, I felt moved to share it; and there will be at least one more, some time.</p> <p>In the late 19th century, there was an Irish activist, Michael Davitt, who believed that the first step towards Irish well-being, let alone Irish independence, should be casting off the system of landlordism. As you may know, for hundreds of years, very few Irishmen owned their land; most were tenants on land owned by wealthy men, many of whom didn&#8217;t even live in Ireland. Many tenants faced summary eviction from land on which they&#8217;d grown up if the weather was harsh or there was a bad crop. Rents were often extremely high, and there was little or no means of recourse for tenants.</p> <p>Davitt&#8217;s views took hold, and eventually a group was formed that brought together people from all spectra of Irish political thought and action, the Irish Land League. The Land League was committed to nonviolence, and the president of the Land League, Charles Stewart Parnell, had this advice about its means of action (vetoing a suggestion from the audience that transgressors should be shot): <blockquote> When a man takes a farm from which another has been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him &#8211; you must shun him in the streets of the town &#8211; you must shun him in the shop &#8211; you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the market place, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him into a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old &#8211; you must show him your detestation of the crime he has committed. <em>-September 19, 1880 Speech in Ennis, County Clare</em></blockquote></p> <p>As it happened, the first man upon whom this tactic was turned was not a man who took the place of an evicted tenant, but an evictor. The land agent of an absentee landlord, he not only refused a request from several tenants for a reduction in rents, but threw the impudent tenants out on their ears. When he tried to hire local labor to work the fields, no one would sign up; his stable workers stopped working and servants stopped serving. Store owners ignored him when he came to buy, and the postman apparently would not bring him his mail.</p> <p>The man&#8217;s name? Captain Charles Cunningham&#8230;Boycott.</p> <p><em>For more information about the Land League and its movers and shakers, consult the excellent articles at <a href="" target="links">Wikipedia&#8217;s Land League entry</a>. If the history of the Irish people and the Irish diaspora interests you, you may enjoy</em> <a href="" target="links">The Great Shame</a> <em>by Thomas Keneally.</em></p>