On hiatus

June 9, 2006

I undoubtedly will come back at some point to fuss about the usual things. I have a new job so I've decided not to blog here for the time being.


Early modern crime links

February 9, 2006

Thanks to Sharon’s comment I now know the locations of lots of juicy online documents. At this very moment I am jumping up and down and getting all excited about Virtual Norfolk. Let’s see now, what else is there. . .

Ah ha, we have the Powys digital history project. That looks good.

There’s also lots of good stuff on Gathering the Jewels. Some of these websites are vaguely familiar to me, but I was always so busy with the thesis that I never looked at them properly.

There’s hours of fun in the Newgate calendar. Also a reference that might interest Harry Potter fans.

The first line of this extract from Ralph Josselin’s diary made me giggle. I don’t know if the drunkard was a friend of his. My first picture was of a very tottery male stranger just wandering in.

Bewail the horridness of this one.

Oh my. I still don’t know what Cony Catcher means though. Is Cony= rabbit = coniglio?

I’ve managed to answer my question of this morning, although I’m not going to say exactly how because it might not work. It’s a method that allows me to learn, rearrange and re-present. It’s not conventional scholarship but I couldn’t expect to do that in these new areas without access to books. 

17th-century property

February 8, 2006

More about Betty Friedan’s life and legacy. Listen to this even if you’ve never heard of her.

I’ve just been listening to this programme about the history of property. Lots of 17th-century stuff and a good explanation of Locke.


The Harlot’s Progress on Radio 4

February 7, 2006

Go here for an introduction to Hogarth’s famous series The Harlot’s Progress and the drama it inspired.

Early modern rape cases

February 7, 2006

In case you’re wondering why I’m blogging so much, I am actually working alone at my desk and this serves as my concentration break. I wouldn’t want to come across as lazy.

On a less paranoid and defensive note, I decided to type ‘bed’ into the Old Bailey proceedings catalogue. The word appears in quite a few entries because crimes were often carried out at night when the good citizens were asleep in their beds. The word sadly also appears in entries about violent crime.

In this rape case of 6th September 1677 a man was found innocent of rape because no one heard the woman cry out and she didn’t complain about it immediately. (She was probably too traumatised and afraid that no one would believe her.) Again in this case of 1678 the man was found innocent because no one heard the woman cry out and she again didn’t make an immediate complaint. I am guessing from the situation today that rape cases often had this result. I wonder if Sharon knows. If you consider that women had less legal rights (what were a woman’s rights exactly?) and the difficulty in proving rape, it’s not surprising if women thought long and hard before making allegations. (I’m probably not being a very good historian here because I’m assuming that these men were guilty.) In this 1674 case a man was found innocent because the woman waited several days before complaining. (I mean really if she was making it up why wouldn’t she move the date forward?) This case seems less clear cut. Note the description of the woman as a ‘silly country animal.’ I don’t know if it’s misogynistic or towny prejudice.

This case of 1685 sounds like something out of a novel. A woman stood accused of leading another woman from her parents into the hands of the alleged rapist. The rape was committed in a bawdy house (brothel). A witness was brought in to say that the alleged victim slept around anyway. The accused woman and the alleged rapist were found innocent.

What exactly did the woman have to do to prove her case? It sounds like she virtually needed the jury to be present at the rape before anyone would believe her.

In this case of 1686 the man was found guilty because it was decided that the woman wanted money.

Ah, at last, a guilty verdict. Here too.

I know nothing about the history of rape cases in the early modern period. To be fair to the jury if they only had his word and her word, and the sentence for guilt was death, it’s not surprising if they tended to come down on the man’s side. They might have thought it was better to let a guilty man walk than an innocent man die. I’ve no doubt misogyny played its part too.

Well, I’ve finished being a bad historian and I now feel thoroughly depressed so I’d better get back to work.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey

February 5, 2006

The proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1834 can be found online here. What a brilliant idea! Hat tip to Pilgrim/Heretic and the latest edition of Carnivalesque.

Good clarification of animal-human hybrids

February 4, 2006

P.Z.Myers explains animal-human hybrid experiments in reaction to Bush’s attack in the state of the union speech. (When I saw the state of the union speech on tv this week it reminded me of the Queen’s speech. I’m not sure if it serves the same function though.)

Reviving the ancient Chinese lute

February 4, 2006

Cheng Yu is an internationally renowed Chinese lute player. Before the cultural revolution her father was the principal player in the Chinese National Orchestra. Now based at SOAS (in London) Cheng Yu is leading a project to create new music for the lute. Here.

New name

February 4, 2006

I’m not sure that I should call this blog ‘Passato remoto.’ It looks rather pretentious.

Property ownership

February 4, 2006

An interesting looking programme on the history of property ownership will be broadcast on Radio 4 later today. I don’t know how much actual history will be in it, but I’ll be listening anyway.