The Fallibility of Memory, or, The Fabulists among Us

Memory is a funny thing. By “funny,” I’m not thinking Woody Allen amusing or Amy Schumer hilarious. No, by “funny” I mean something akin to “strange” or “perplexing” or even “otherworldly.” And indeed memory can be perplexing, making it appear as the stuff of fabulists. Trying to remember what happened last week, much less 50 or…

The New World, through the Eyes of Thomas Hariot

To come upon Roanoke Island on a sun-drenched day, surrounded by Roanoke Sound and Croatan Sound, is to gaze upon a place of mystery,  a place, no, the catalyst that set off the English settlement of the New World. It’s a place where glittering blue waters roll like hundreds of diamonds spilling from a jeweler’s velvet sack,…

How the English Became Americans, according to Malcolm Gaskill

“An acclaimed British historian traces the first three generations of English colonists in America, revealing how our national identity was forged in the terrifying wilderness of a new continent. In the 1600s, over 350,000 intrepid English men, women, and children migrated to America, leaving behind their homeland for an uncertain future. Whether they settled in…

The Culture of Food in England 1200 -1500

And along comes another new book about the history of English food! My cup runneth over! This one – The Culture of Food in England 1200 – 1500, by C. M. Woolgar – looks promising, for he begins Chapter One by referencing a word game from late medieval England: A carve of pantlers (those ‘who looked after…

Peregrinations and Pilgrimages: Egeria and the Flour Soup

Rocks tumbled down the rugged sloping ground and dust spun like little tops as Egeria, a nun from early fourth-century Galicia, climbed toward the rocky summit of Mount Sinai. From that craggy point, she gazed at a world she defined by the holy sites mentioned in the Bible. And from there we saw beneath us…