Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't Cry For Her, Argentina!

     Eva Peron, or Evita as she affectionately became known has become the subject of many books, movies, and even a couple of musicals. Born in the Argentinian village of Los Toldos in 1919 Eva Peron was not bound for greatness. So, at the age of 15 she left for the country's capitol of Buenos Aires. She dreamed of a career as an actress and actually scored a few roles in B-Grade movies.  She signed a five-year contract with Radio Belgrano, which would assure her a role in a popular historical-drama program called Great Women of History, in which she played Elizabeth I of England, Sarah Bernhardt and the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandria Romanov. On 15 January 1944, an earthquake occurred in the town of San Juan, Argentina, killing six thousand people. In response, Perón, who was then the Secretary of Labour, established a fund to raise money to aid the victims. He devised a plan to have an "artistic festival" as a fundraiser, and invited radio and film actors to participate. After a week of fundraising, all participants met at a gala. It was at this gala, on 22 January 1944, that Eva Duarte first met Juan Perón. Eva referred to the day she met her future husband as her "marvelous day". Shortly after meeting in San Juan, Eva Duarte and Juan Perón began to live together. This move is said to have scandalized some in Juan Perón's inner circle. During this time period in Argentina, entertainers and politicians were seen as two distinct classes of people. Additionally, it was considered improper for an unmarried couple to share quarters. Perón, however, introduced Eva to his inner circle of political associates and advisers. He even allowed Eva to sit in on his meetings with close advisers and members of government. Eva and Juan were married discreetly in a civil ceremony in Junín on October 18, 1945 and in a church wedding on December 9, 1945. Juan Perón decided to campaign for the presidency of the nation. Eva campaigned heavily for her husband during his 1946 presidential bid. Using her weekly radio show she delivered powerful speeches with heavy populist rhetoric urging the poor to align themselves with Perón's movement. Although she had become wealthy from her radio and modeling success, she would highlight her own humble upbringing as a way of showing solidarity with the impoverished classes.Along with her husband, Eva visited every corner of the country, becoming the first woman in Argentina history to appear in public on the campaign trail with her husband. (Incidentally, she was also the first woman in Argentine public life to wear trousers.) She was very popular with the general public who knew her from her radio and motion picture appearances. It was during this phase of her life that she first encouraged the Argentine population to refer to her not as "Eva Perón" but simply as "Evita," which is a Spanish diminutive or affectionate nickname roughly equivalent to "Little Eva" or "Evie."
She developed lung metastasis and was the first Argentine to undergo chemotherapy (a novel treatment at that time). Despite all available treatment, she became emaciated, weighing only 79 lb by June 1952. Evita died at the age of 33, at 8:25 p.m., on July 26, 1952. The news was immediately broadcast throughout the country, and Argentina went into mourning. All activity in Argentina ceased; movies stopped playing; restaurants were closed and patrons were shown to the door. A radio broadcast interrupted the broadcasting schedule, with the announcer reading, "The Press Secretary's Office of the Presidency of the Nation fulfills its very sad duty to inform the people of the Republic that at 20:25 hours deceased Mrs Eva Perón, Spiritual Leader of the Nation." Eva Perón was granted an official state funeral.

Dante and Beatrice- A "Comedic" Romance

          Dante Alighieri was perhaps one of the greatest poets of the Medieval Era. But, before last week all I thought about him was he wrote a freaky book named Inferno. What I failed to realize, however, was Dante a hopeless romantic. Dante was only eight years old when he laid
The famous greeting
(Dante and Beatrice by Henry Holiday)
eyes on Beatrice Portinari, the daughter of a wealthy banker. How many eight year-old boys would notice what a girl wore, let alone remember it for the rest of his life! He wrote she wore a dress of soft crimson  and a belt about her waist. He noted her noble qualities and angelicness. He also stayed at places where he could often catch a glimpse of her. The first time they spoke was when they were 18 and she greeted him while passing him on the street. Her mere greeting caused him to flee to the solitude of his own room where he fell asleep and dreamed what would become the first sonnet in his La Vita Nouva, one of the greatest love poems of all time. In 13th century Florence, arranged marriages were quite normal. So at the age of 21, Dante was married to Gemma Donati, to whom he had been betrothed since the age of 12. Sadly, Beatrice was married later that year, only to die three years after that at the age of 24. Dante was devastated. Beatrice remained his muse for the rest of his life. In the last book of the Divine Comedy Paradise, it is Beatrice who escorts him into Paradise.

Monday, September 26, 2011

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell

    Everyone knows the story of the star-cross'd lovers from Verona. In this novelization the equally doomed lovers hail from Florence, are quite older, eighteen and twenty-five, and Dante Alighieri biggest 15th century fans. When Romeo Monticecco attends a Medici ball in order to gain a peace-making audience with the the city's patron, Cosimo de'Medici. At this ball Romeo meets Juliet Cappelleti, the daughter of the man his father hates. Juliet is the daughter of wealthy silk merchant, Capello Cappeletti. Capello wanting to further his wealth and prominence seeks a partnership with Jacopo Strozzi, whose family's wealth and power is second only to the Medici. In order to cement this partnership he offers his daughters hand in marriage to sweeten the deal. Jacopo, however, is no Prince Charming. He stinks, is cruel, and will do whatever it takes to get the handsome, verse-writing Romeo out of Juliet's head. There isn't a nurse in this retelling, but Lucrezia Tournabuoni de'Medici serves as Juliet's confidante and best friend.
      This retelling make the come to life in a new way. Shakespeare's version is still yet to be eclipsed , but this way way easier to understand. I hate to give any part of this book away to spoilers but the way Juliet's cousin, Marco, not Tybalt, gets murdered creates for far better drama. I would really recommend this book. But one thing that hasn't changed is there was never a tell of more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What to wear to your execution?

     I know this is a macabre subject, but it has always intrigued me. What did royals choose to wear before they lost their heads?
Think about it. You are most likely going to be buried in it and it will be your last public viewing. How do you decide which outfit to wear for such a momentous historical occasion? I think the last choice of clothing says a lot about how royals chose to be remembered.

King Charles I
Charles decided to dress warm for the occasion and broke out two heavy shirts. He was worried that he would shiver in the cold and consequently look fearful. Charles had always been viewed as the weakling in the shadow of his stronger, older brother, Henry so even at his death he was concerned about appearing brave.Charles I strikes me as the kind of ruler who focuses on the details instead of seeing the big picture. At his death, he is worried more about his hair than the head he is about to lose.

Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Anne
Anne traded in her square plunging necklines and went to her execution with a conservative make-over. She chose to wear a loose dark, gray gown of damask trimmed in fur with a matronly mantle of ermine covering her regal shoulders. More interestingly, she adorned her soon-to-be-missing head with the simple, gabled head-dress which was frequently worn by her demure predecessor Jane Seymour. This hairstyle choice is an obvious contradiction to her signature, and far more risque French hood which all her attendants had once copied. With one swipe of the executioner’s sword…French hoods were out and making your head look like a church steeple was back in vogue.

Mary Queen of Scots
Mary chose a crimson petticoat – a clear symbol of a catholic martyr. When Mary was convicted of plotting Queen Elizabeth's assassination, she knew her death would bring outcries from Catholic nations such as Spain and France. By her simple choice of clothing, Mary shifted the cause of her downfall from treason to religious persecution. Although religion was undeniably a huge factor in her death, that blazing red petticoat was one last stir of the pot from a tragic queen.After her death, Mary’s red petticoat was burned for the fear that it would become another saint’s relic

Queen Marie Antoinette
Marie didn’t get much say in the matter. She was even forbidden to wear the tattered and torn, black mourning dress she had been wearing for two months straight, most likely because the revolutionaries did not want any public sympathy for her. Instead, Marie climbed into an old, rubbish cart wearing a clean, white chemise that she had saved for the occasion and a fichu (large, squarish kerchief) over her shoulders. A pleated white cap adorned her famed, strawberry-blond, hair which had been cropped at the neck.
Not as glamorus as you'd think, right?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Becoming Marie Antoinette

    Becoming Marie Antoinette is a novel that was released this August by Juliet Grey. It is the first part of a planned trilogy and the book features an excerpt of the sequel Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow. The first book follows Marie from when she is ten until she becomes Queen of France at 18. To me this books feels a little long at 400 pages, but it is great with the little details that make the French and Austrian courts come alive. Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Twitter Account!

I recently made me a twitter account so please follow me!!!! @The1HistoryNerd


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