New Old England

Fairy tales, Illustration, Indigenous culture, Nature, Uncategorized

I want to refind, or redifine my image of England and the UK as a country. There is a broad history, steeped in stories and mysteries. Possible since the Industrial revolution circa 1780 have we lost touch with a more innocent and wonderous inter-personnal relationship with our surroundings? William Blake I’m sure can help start me off on this one.. Leading to more ancient history and times and hopefully, back to the future to a fresher, less dis-illustioned view of this little land.

‘I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.’
William Blake

Samuel Palmer is a favorate English landscape romantist of mine.

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To me, he represents a lost love of the commune with nature

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Click here for an interesting BBC article about Palmer and the relationship of urban and rural life
To me, spending time under the stars at night, seeing sunsets and sunrises, being in nature, can have an awe inspiring effect on us.

Here is a link to St Mary’s church of Warwick which I visited whilst passing through a couple of weeks ago, included is the Beauchamp Chantry, the finest medieval chapel in England apparently.

The church foundations date back nearly nine hundred years, being created by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick in 1123. The only surviving part of the Norman church which de Beaumont had built is the crypt.

Here’s a link to a youtube video of Tony Robinson’s ‘Maid Marian,’ haven’t seen it since I was a kid – It’s good!

 A great depiction for me with some sense of medieval English life – evocative. Of course, funny, and 80’s too..  A great kid’s program I’m still (re)finding funny now!

Robinson’s scripts were always bursting with wit and imagination, injecting something of the spirit of Blackadder and often involving deliberately anachronistic, explanations of historical events.

The writing was ably supported by both the impressive design and the regular inclusion of funny, original songs.

Unusually for a children’s sitcom, there were no child characters among the main cast but even so kids flocked to a show that was offering a fun take on history, directly aimed at them.

Running for four series it was a triumph for Robinson in a notoriously difficult genre, both garlanded with well-deserved BAFTA and RTS Awards at the time and still warmly remembered today.

Bluebeard

Fairy tales, Illustration

The fairy tale Bluebeard is a dark one! Here is a great explaination of it by a fellow WordPressor..! Click here for link:


Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Bluebeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he had a long shaggy black beard with glints of blue in it. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy…
Bluebeard often went away to war, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle. He had had lots of wives, all young, pretty and noble. As bad luck would have it, one after the other, they had all died, and so the noble lord was forever getting married again.

“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wives die of?”

“Hah, my friend,” Bluebeard would reply, “one died of smallpox, one of a hidden sickness, another of a high fever, another of a terrible infection… Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they’re unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Bluebeard took as a wife think it strange either.
She went to the castle accompanied by her sister Anna, who said:

“Oh, aren’t you lucky marrying a lord like Bluebeard?”

“He really is very nice, and when you’re close, his beard doesn’t look as blue as folk say!” said the bride, and the two sisters giggled delightedly. Poor souls! They had no idea what lay in store for them!

A month or so later, Bluebeard had the carriage brought round and said to his wife, “Darling, I must leave you for a few weeks. But keep cheerful during that time, invite whoever you like and look after the castle. Here,” he added, handing his bride a bunch of keys, “you’ll need these, the keys of the safe, the armoury and the library keys, and this one, which opens all the room doors.
Now, this little key here,” and he pointed to a key that was much smaller than the others, “opens the little room at the end of the great ground floor corridor. Take your friends were you want, open any door you like, but not this one! Is that quite clear?” repeated Bluebeard. “Not this one! Nobody at all is allowed to enter that little room. And if you ever did go into it, I would go into such a terrible rage that it’s better that you don’t!”

“Don’t worry, husband,” said Bluebeard’s wife as she took the keys, “I’ll do as you say.” After giving her a hug, Bluebeard got into his carriage, whipped up the horses and off he went.

The days went by. The young girl invited her friends to the castle and showed them round all the rooms except the one at the end of the corridor.

“Why shouldn’t I see inside the little room? Why? Why is it forbidden?” Well, she thought about it so much that she ended up bursting with curiosity, until one day she opened the door and walked into the little room… Of all ghastly horrors! Inside, hanging on the walls were the bodies of Bluebeard’s wives: he had strangled them all with his own hands!

Terror stricken, the girl ran out of the room, but the bunch of keys slipped from her grasp. She picked them up without a glance and hurried to her own room, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. Horrors! She was living in a castle of the dead! So that is what had happened to Bluebeard’s other wives!

The girl summoned up her courage and she noticed that one of the keys – the very key to the little room – was stained with blood.

“I must wipe it clean, before my husband comes back!” she said to herself. But try as she would, the blood stain wouldn’t wash away. She washed, she scrubbed and she rinsed it; all in vain, for the key was still red. That very evening, Bluebeard came home. Just imagine the state his poor wife was in!

Bluebeard did not ask his wife for the keys that same evening, but he remarked, “You look a little upset, darling. Has anything nasty happened?”

“Oh, no! No!”

“Are you sorry I came back so soon?”

“Oh, no! I’m delighted!” But that night, the bride didn’t sleep a wink. Next day, Bluebeard said:

“Darling, give me back the keys,” and his wife hurriedly did so. Bluebeard remarked, “There’s one missing, the key to the little room!”

“Is there?” said the young girl shaking,

“I must have left it in my room!”

“All right, go and get it.” But when Bluebeard’s wife put the key into his hand, Bluebeard turned white and in a deep hoarse voice demanded:

“Why is this key stained with blood?”

“I don’t know…” stammered his wife.

“You know very well!” he retorted. “You went into the little room, didn’t you? Well, you’ll go back again, this time for good, along with the other ladies in there. You must die!”

“Oh no! I pray you!”

“You must die!” he repeated. Just then, there was a knock at the door and Anna, Bluebeard’s wife’s sister, entered the castle.

“Good morning,” she said, “you seem rather pale.”

“Not at all, we’re quite well,” replied Bluebeard.

His wife whispered in his ear, “Please, please give me ten minutes to live!”

Bluebeard replied, “Not more than ten!”

The girl ran to her sister Anna who had gone up to one of the towers and asked her,”Anna, do you see our brothers coming? They promised they would come and see me today!”

But Anna replied, “No, I don’t see anyone. What’s wrong? You look agitated.”

“Anna, please,” said the shaken girl, “look again! Are you sure you can’t see someone?”

“No,” said her sister, “only one or two peasants.”

Just then the voice of Bluebeard boomed up to them, “Wife, your time is up! Come here!”

“I’m coming!” she called, but then said to her sister: “Oh Anna, aren’t our brothers coming?…”

“No,” replied Anna. Again Bluebeard shouted up.

“Come down at once! Or I’ll come up!” Trembling like a leaf, his wife went downstairs. Bluebeard was clutching a big knife and he grabbed his bride by the hair…

“Sister, I can see two horsemen coming!” called out Anna from the tower that very moment.

Bluebeard made a horrible face, “They too will die!”

His wife knelt to implore, “Please, please don’t kill me. I’ll never tell anyone what I saw! I’ll never say a word!”

“Yes, you’ll never say a word for eternity!” snarled Bluebeard, raising his knife.

The poor girl screamed, “Have pity on me!”

But he fiercely replied, “No! You must die!” He was about to bring the knife down on the girl’s delicate neck, when two young men burst into the room: a dragon and a musketeer. They were his wife’s brothers.

Drawing their swords, they leapt towards Bluebeard, who tried to flee up some stairs, but was caught and killed. And that was the end of the sad story. Bluebeard’s poor wives were given a Christian burial, the castle was completely renovated and the young widow, some time later, married a good and honest young man, who helped her to forget the terrible adventure. And that young lady completely lost all her sense of curiosity.

Here is a link to Clarissa Pinkola Estes website.

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The nineteen stories which Estes uses in “Women Who Run With Wolves” convey the traits of the natural instinctive psyche shared by the wild woman and the wolf. Bluebeard is used by Estes as an example of this.

“Bluebeard” demonstrates to the reader the naive woman who finds a need to call up her instincts. It is a tale which uses an evil being who wishes to snuff out the light innocent of souls.
Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who also worked in the health or other professions in tandem, Estés is a poet who uses her poems throughout her psychoanalytic books, spokenword audios, and stage performances as expressive therapy for others.

In Kurt Vonnegut’s 1987 book ‘Bluebeard‘ the protagonist is a person who is betrayed yet simultaneously, the betrayer.
The nature of the books character’s relationship is defined by Vonnegut’s use of the Bluebeard fairy tale. In the novel, Rabo has a huge potato barn that is his painting studio. “Right after my wife died, I personally nailed the doors…and immobilized [them]…with six big padlocks and massive hasps,” Rabo writes (43). When Circe’s incessantly curious nature demands to know what is inside Rabo’s potato barn, he snaps and says, “Look: think about something else, anything else. I am Bluebeard, and my studio is my forbidden chamber as far as you’re concerned” (51). This represents, despite the two position’s philosophical marriage in Rabo’s act of writing, the essential gap between the traditions of high art and popular culture. Rabo has secret places where either Circe cannot, or he will not let her go. This image is strengthened by the curiosity on Circe’s part about that which is forbidden her.

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