Posts Tagged ‘Bath’

Psychoanalysis of Blackbeard

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Blackbeard's flagI haven’t seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie yet but I understand that Blackbeard makes an appearance, so I decided to write a few words about that wild and crazy guy.

I do think he was crazy and very easily bored, so probably not a very happy guy at all. He wasn’t the most successful of the Anglo-American pirates by any stretch of the imagination but he is the best known and I think his questionable sanity is the reason.

Now by crazy I don’t mean that he was an idiot. On the contrary, he was pretty smart, accomplishing whatever he wanted in short order. But I don’t think he was ever happy with what he got.

Blackbeard called himself Edward Teach and he was probably born in the English sea town of Bristol, but other than that little is known about him until he joined Ben Hornigold’s pirate crew in the Bahamas around 1716.  He had enough education to read and write well and he mingled with governors as easily as with pirates, so there is reason to believe he was born into a family of education and means.

He knew how to behave in society –he just chose not to most of the time. (more…)

Austen fans take heed

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Anybody who is disappointed that Jane Austen did not write more books should read the stories of Frances Burney. I don’t think her writing is quite as skillful, but her books are every bit as entertaining and because she wrote in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, they have an authenticity that cannot be approached by modern writers who aspire to write stories set in Georgian or Regency England (myself included).

I’m reading Camilla right now. After 500 pages, I don’t find the hero or heroine quite as sympathetic as I’d like, but the host of other characters continue to fascinate and amaze me. Now, in my opening paragraph, I said I didn’t find Burney as skilled at storytelling as Austen and that’s because her stories and plots are a little more exaggerated and so therefore not as realistic. But my judgment was not really fair. Perhaps what I really should have said is that, to a modern reader, Austen is a little easier to handle. For her time, Burney’s farcical style and dramatic plots were probably perfectly conceived to appeal to her readers.

Burney’s stories deal with the trials and tribulations of a slightly higher class of people than those who populate Austen’s books; she uses a mix of nobility and gentility. (more…)