Thursday, April 30, 2009

IKEA's modern Rococo

I'm not an IKEA person, but I found myself on their site today and I had to share this fabulous discovery. They have an amazing black chest with a mirror which screams modern Rococo. It reminds me of the other modern Rococo accessories (especially plateware) that I keep finding/wanting such as those in these post. This dresser would look amazing with this serving tray displayed on the wall nearby. Oh if only I had a magical interior decoration gift certificate!

School Portraits


Do you suppose that when King George III or his brother Edward Duke of York looked back on this painting of themselves with their tutor by Richard Wilson they were like, "Ugh I hate my 6th grade school picture, I looked like such a dork!"

I also doubt, based on this portrayal, that Tutor Ayscough was generous with recesses.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Femine Fancy-Free

While strolling through Etsy, I made a find that I thought some of you might appreciate. Kirby's shop sells Kirby's own original artwork which, you'll be delighted to find, consists of simplified historical women, including some from our favourite period. Being a frugally-minded artist, she includes both originals and prints of these most affordable and cheery subjects. She also includes fun Gossip Guide approved descriptions which are quite amusing. Some of my favourites include Gentleman with Icecream, The Fan Lady, Lily White, Comely Queene. Do check it out!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Immortal Companion: Thomas Coke


Thomas William Coke was one of the few Georgian men born into money who didn't turn out to be a total brat. Instead of wasting all his money after coming back from the Grand Tour he used it toward, dare I say, productive things. First of all, he set out on improving his estate, Holkham Hall, a task that lasted until his death in 1842. Thomas then involved himself in animal husbandry. He was said to have even made bred a flock a sheep that was superior to the native Norfolk ones, so they soon became all the rage. Thomas' advancements in husbandry were so substantial that he was constantly offered (six times!) a peerage, which he humbly always turned down. It also helped that he was a politician. It was only when Queen Victoria pressed him, that Thomas humbly accepted the earldom of Leicester.

Thomas is pictured here by Batoni in the midst of his Grand Tour. Not only is he quite dashing in his ivory and persimmon Van Dyck-inspired ensamble, he is quite the Enlightened chap as well. Look who stands by his side while he poses. His spaniel, as many dog-owners can relate, is not so interested in posing as he is the fabulous smells coming out of that hat. Is that ostrich, and natural dyes? With a hint of bawdy Roman wench too, I believe! Actually, the dog is a nice compliment to his owner. The flowy qualities of the plumes translates into the dog's fur. The dual-coloured fur mimics Thomas' dual-coloured outfit. He also brings a balance to the painting and aids in the leading the eye to all those important bits. Not only is the spaniel's presence bring a calming sense to the viewer but it also shows the sitter's connection with animals. At this point in Thomas' life his studies in husbandry were just a glimmer of an idea, dogs were more his style at this time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tart of the Week: Mary Toft



Nothing is really known of the beginning of May Toft's life. Nor, I'm sure, does anyone really care of it. Mary was born approximately in 1701. She came from very humble beginnings and was probably employed as maidservant from a young age. She married Joshua Toft whose business kept him on the road often. Yes, life was pretty plain and boring for Mary until she reached the age of twenty-five.

Mary was pregnant and picking weeds in a field with a friend when she came across two bunnies. The women chased the rabbits which, of course, got away. As the little white tails bounced into the horizon Mary felt a longing for the cute little fuzzballs. Not long afterward, Mary miscarried. After the unfortunate event she said she began to dream of rabbits and crave rabbit meat. Not pickles and ice cream? She also appeared to not lose her swollen belly.

Not long afterward, the local surgeon and male mid-wife, John Howard, was summoned to the Toft home because Mary had gone into labour again. Having helped Mary with her miscarriage, Howard was quite surprised by the summons. He was more surprised when he delivered nine rabbits out of Mary. They weren't entire rabbits, mind you, but rabbit parts. Howard was shocked, nonetheless and immediately sent word to London physicians about the event. Two of these doctors were King George I's doctors, and when they told the king, he immediately sent them to Godalming to investigate. Lo and behold, Mary gave birth to more rabbits in their presence. After putting a rabbit lung in water and seeing it float the educated men of medicine decided that the rabbit had breathed air which doesn't happen inside the womb. She really was giving birth to live rabbits! They inferred that the miraculous births were due to maternal impressions, since Mary drempt and craved rabbits beforehand.

As you can expect, such fantastic news gets around fast. Everyone erupted with the report that a woman was giving birth to bunnies. It was noted how rabbit meat sales dropped significantly. Mary was transferred to London and crowds planted themselves outside her house to view the special woman. Strangely though, the births stopped with Mary now being under constant supervision. Then, suddenly, witnesses began to step forward and admit to sneaking rabbits to Mary. What! No, it couldn't be!

When a doctor offered to inspect her uterus Mary relented. She admitted to stuffing rabbit parts in holes that rabbit parts should never be stuffed into. She craved celebrity. Of course this made the medical profession the laughing stock of the day. Mary was put into Bridewell prison for four months being a "Cheat and Imposture in pretending to have brought forth 17 præter-natural Rabbits." Despite Mary admitting to the faux births, many still believed in the phenomenon and rejoiced in her release. Mary herself returned to obscurity and died in 1763.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Maternal Impressions

Although the Enlightenment strove for scientific advancement, there was still many theories and methods that were simply primeval. One of these was maternal impressions, an idea that would last through the Victorian age. Maternal impression was the belief that a pregnant woman's experiences would affect how her child would come out. It was mostly used to explain why a child was born deaf (there was a loud noise that surprised the mother) or blind (the mother looked at a blind person) or ugly (I just made that one up). One of the most famous cases of birth defects credited to maternal impression was Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, of whom it was said his mother was scared by an elephant. You mean they couldn't narrow it down to neofibromotosis? Hullabaloo of course, but I would still recommend pregnant women shouldn't eat too much garlic and stay away from circus clowns...just in case!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rake's Progress, Part 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors


When we last saw our young man about town he was in mourning for the recent passing of his father. Now we rejoin him at his morning levee. And what a crowded levee it is! In fact, while Tom is being groomed for the day ahead he also conducts important business. He must be very busy now that he is the head of the household. You may notice that the somber surrounding of his father's home have now been transformed into the luxurious ones they should have been. Now that's the home of an heir!

The many faces crowding around Tom are the various artists and instructors that are now on his payroll or vying to get on that payroll. A beautifully rendered musical instructor sits at the harpsichord. Amoung the other masters there is a fencing master, quarterstaff instructor, a landscaper, a fox hunt bugler, and even an old drunken soldier offering to be a bodyguard; although I couldn't imagine who would want to kill Tom. Taking center stage, and even upstaging our subject himself is the very french dance instructor in exaggerated dress-a real pet peeve of Hogarth's. Tom's tutor does not look amused at all by the crowded levee. He crosses his arms and grumbles at the zealous fencing instructor.

Oh how will Tom decide between all these neccessary services? He will simply just have to take them all. It is the only means of improving oneself...in the most fashionable way of course!


The Rake's Progress Part 1

Next >>

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Favorites



George Morland, The Tea Garden, circa 1790

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tart of the Week: Kitty Clive


Catherine Raftor was born in 1711 to a family neither well-off, nor poor. Her Irish father actually served Louis XIV in the french army. However, a soldier's salary was not great means of income so by the age of seventeen Kitty was pursuing acting since she seemed to have a knack for it. It also didn't hurt that she was pretty as well. Kitty was blessed with a light complexion, dark hair, and light eyes. But underneath the pretty facade Kitty had a bad temper that would become slightly notorious.

Kitty, being a Londonite, quickly secured a job at Drury Lane. Her story is similar to many other tartly actresses. Being young and full of life, she quickly grew in popularity and had an affinity for comedic acting. So of course, Kitty decided to put a deterrent on her fame by getting married to a George Clive. What is interesting about Kitty is how she was able to keep most of her private life under wraps. Her marriage quickly disintegrated but instead of George abusing or abandoning her, the two agreed to a mutual separation. They probably just grew sick of each other!

Luckily for Kitty, her dappling with marriage didn't seen to hurt her career. She continued on stage as Mrs. Clive. Of course, Kitty had her dalliances with men, and the press was always suspicious; but Kitty was always clever enough to manage to keep her affairs under wraps. Soon she was beginning to get noticed for a singing talent as well. One of the people who noticed her was Handel who she became close friends with. Another person whose friendship couldn't be avoided on Drury Lane was David Garrick. He also noticed Kitty's talent. She became one of his original company members in 1747. Kitty's temper tried Garrick's patience many a time, but she stayed with the company for twenty-two years.

After over forty healthy years on stage Kitty decided it was time for her to let the new pretty little actresses try their hand in the business. She retired to a cozy house in Twickenham that her friend Horace Walpole had secured for her. He called it Clive's Den but she dubbed it "Little Strawberry Hill" after his estate. Kitty died in 1785, after 75 happy years of life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Voting Registry

I was thinking on this fine, sunny day how it was perfect weather for a good canvass. Then I remembered, why this was canvassing season after all! When Georgiana infamously canvassed for Charles James Fox in the 1784 Westminster election, she began in April and went into May. So my faithful citizens of the blogosphere, it is time for you to do your duty and register in your political party of choice. And no, Independent is not an option! We're talking serious politics here! Everyone knows the only two real parties are Tory and Whig. So which one are you?

You might be a Tory if:

  • You support the King's right to the direction of state
  • You support or attended Oxford
  • You would rather have a mad king on the throne than a party-animal prince
  • You are not totally opposed to slavery...the prices of massages these day, sheesh!
  • You tend to be a bit conservative
  • You think religion is very important, and by religion I mean the only religion, Anglican!
  • You are a fan of William Pitt, even if he won't admit he's really a Tory
  • You wouldn't mind kidnapping someone in the name of getting the right person elected.
  • You think of yourself as old-fashioned, because some values should never go extinct

You might be a Whig if:
  • You constantly find yourself out with the lads at the local Gentlemen's Club
  • You support or attended Cambridge
  • You think the King is great and all but...Parliament should have more say than one guy!
  • Any religion is good with you, pass the wine!
  • You are from a great aristocratic family
  • You like free trade
  • You think slavery is abominable
  • You think a good old-fashioned revolution is good for a country
  • You think the colour combination of blue and buff could just never go out of style
You can "register" in the sidebar. Now get out there and canvass for your favorite candidate! Bonus: Show your patriotism with these political party buttons!



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

...And He Clears his Throat When Tickled

Elyse just posted this great story about William Pitt. I found it hilarious because it is a perfect example of the prime minister's stoicism and how he was such a foil of Charles Fox. I think my favourite Muppet, Sam Eagle may have been partially inspired by Pitt.

Immortal Companion: Madame de Pompadour


Although I was about to kill my dog today when I found my new shoes out of their box (and bag!) and on the rug; box destroyed, shoes unharmed (thank the fashion gods!)...I will still proceed with my planned entries on man's best friend, even if mine is in the doghouse right now.

Originally, I had planned to go on about an English bloke and his favourite dog but then this whole event got me thinking, "how many times did this happen to Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour?" Just picturing those fabulous heels in pieces can make a fashion-conscious art historian tear up. These two notorious Rococo ladies were both very fond of their pooches. However, Pompadour was usually portrayed with hers.

Madame de Pompadour, or Jean-Antoinette, was depicted with her beloved pooches in most of her portraits. Of course, the dog is a symbol of loyalty so putting them in her portrait could have also served a dual purpose of displaying her loyalty to the king (and boy was she loyal!) and immortalizing her pet. Her two most well known ones were named Mimi and Inés. It was even rumoured that she would deck her dogs in golden collars that were nicer than some of the courtiers' own jewels.

I am pretty sure that in this particular painting by Boucher, Jean-Antoinette is depicted with her own dog, although I wish I knew which one, Mimi or Inés. The fuzzy one in question chaperones his mistress on the garden bench she placed him on while she poses. Notice the collar. He is a papillon, a breed that was portrayed more than once by master artists and loved not only by Jean-Antoinette but also Marie-Antoinette. Although Spanish in origin, the papillions acquired their French name, meaning butterfly, due to their foxy ears which look like butterfly wings. Unlike other portraits of Jean which exert her education, good breeding, and how hot she is; this portrayal shows the marquise in a rococo-girl wonderland. She is enjoying being out in her in garden with her papillon wearing a FABULOUS gown. She has nothing to prove in this picture except perhaps her great wardrobe, her Enlightenment, and how good she and her loyal companion look together.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Ton: A Unit of Measuring Notoriety


So what exactly is the ton? The tag has been on this blog forever but I do not think I ever took the time to explain what exactly the ton is. I've found varying sources on the origin of the name. Amanda Foreman states that it means "The World" whereas other sources take to its literal french translation which means "taste." Sometimes this would be proceed by "bon," so le bon ton, "the good taste." Both of those translations accurately convey what the ton was.

The ton was an elite group of high society. They were the popular kids in high school. They decided what was in and what was out. In essence, the ton decided what was in good taste and their decisions affected the fashionable world. Think: Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. This didn't just mean fashion, in meant plays, artists, and especially people. Just as with the popular cliques in high school, people both made fun of the silliness of the ton and wanted to become part of it. Members were both friends and enemies and frenemies.

The leading matriarch of the ton when Georgiana first became the Duchess of Devonshire was Lady Melbourne. She gracefully stepped down and allowed Georgiana to take her place as leader of the ton, figuring someone young, full of energy, and more importantly, naive, would be more apt at the position. The position meant hosting many social social events and allowing themself to be the most publically scrutinized of the group. Georgiana rose to the challenge and quickly established herself as having an eye for the next fad; whether that was feathers or fiddlers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate Bunnies

I was just reading this fascinating article from The Independent about the origin of the chocolate bunny and egg we sometimes get as a treat in our Easter baskets. According to the article,

The chocolate bunny, like the chocolate Easter egg, is a much more recent idea, stemming from 18th and 19th-century middle European confectionery traditions, many of which were adopted in Britain.
Hmm very interesting. Perhaps some of the Devonshire progeny enjoyed a chocolate egg or two!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tart of the Week: Anna Nancy Storace


The opera beauty Anna Nancy Storace was born in 1765 in London to an Italian father and English mother. Like many of our past musical tarts with musical fathers, Nancy's dad wanted his children to follow in his musical footsteps and began training Nancy in singing from a young age. Nancy's talent shone and she began performing all over and even had some royal audiences. By the age of 13 she was studying opera in Italy.

By the time Nancy was eighteen she was an opera star on the Vienna stage. The Viennese loved her and Nancy loved the celebrity. Unfortunately Nancy's good fortunes took a turn when her mother encouraged her to marry some old English musician by the name of John Abraham Fisher. The marriage was a disaster. John was cruel and would beat his poor little wife. The abuse was so bad that Nancy would be forced to cake on makeup to hide her bruises. Eventually the gossipers caught wind of the abuse and the news reached the musical Emperor Joseph II, Marie Antoinette's brother. Well, Joe couldn't have his prized opera singer performing Salieri's masterpieces all black and blue! He booted Fisher out of Vienna. If only emperors always stepped in to save our tarts from awful husbands!

Nancy's husband may have been gone but she was now pregnant. Another disaster befell her when she collapsed and lost her voice for a few months. A daughter was born not long afterward but given to a foundling hospital where she later died. After the dramatic hiatus Nancy returned to the stage and back to her celebrity lifestyle. This time her celebrity lifestyle included men...a lot of men. Nancy got around, dating many of the musicians in Vienna. It is even rumoured she dated Vienna's most famous musician, the first ever rock star, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Another supposed love of the loose lady was Emperor Joe. What would his mother say! Tsk tsk.

Beside her romantic involvement with Mozart, Nancy also made a great effort in bringing the rocker to England to compose an opera. However, when Mozart received his royal invitation (from the Prince of Wales, can you imagine the mischief they would have got in? Mozart would never have finished an opera) Mozart was dying and would not be able to make the journey.

Nancy returned back to her homeland to continue her career. It was here she began her longest and most successful relationship with fellow British opera hunk, John Braham. The two would have a son together, Spencer. The rest of Nancy's life continued to be pretty happy. She even struck up a friendship with fellow tart, Emma Hamilton. Sadly though, her last remaining years would not be as blissful. She had a painful breakup (after eighteen years) with Braham which resulted in legal battles. Jerk. A few years afterward, in 1817, Nancy suffered from two strokes and died.

For more information regarding this mistress of music you can visit her biographer's site.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Finally Making it's way to North America!

Look what I found on Amazon: the new cover for the American version of Lady Worsley's Whim! This time it is called The Lady in Red and has a different spicy cover, although I'm sure the content inside will be just as fantastic. If you recall, I simply could not promote this biography enough; it was simply awesome. Sadly, American crowds still must wait until July for this tale of a tart but at least now it can be pre-ordered!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Madame Recamier: The Living Image


Here is a story that Andy Warhol would have thoroughly enjoyed.

An iconic image of regency France, or France in the time of Napoleon, is David's portrait of Madame Recamier, the famous society hostess. In 1800 David portrayed her as the ideal post-revolutionary woman: in the Classical gown (or negligee) of a citroyen, at ease with the non-monarchical state. She is so Enlightened, she can't even be bothered to wear shoes while she lounges on her chaise. How ancient Roman, no, how French nouveaux!

Well, when Harriet Lady Bessborough was in France, she decided to drop in on the icon that was Juliette Recamier. To her surprise, she found Madame exactly as she pictured her. Madame Recamier was in her skimpy white gown lounging in bed. Just like the painting! The only difference, Harriet noted, was that this time she was surrounded by men. How utterly scandalous! What would Lady Spencer say?! Harriet thought the whole thing was too ironic and decided to drop in on her again when she wasn't so exposed imposed. The second time, it was the same thing; Madame Recamier in bed, surrounded by men, her "beautiful white shoulders exposed and perfectly uncovered to view - in short, completely undressed and in bed." Harriet, who had a history being shocked by French aristocrats' blatant sexuality, asked if Madame was indisposed. Out of the graceful pink lips came, not the sweet voice of a Muse, but the shrill protests of big-mouth attention seeker. To Harriet's prudish horror, Madame Recamier proclaimed to everyone in the room that she was not indisposed and she was not pregnant either (if that's what you mean you cheeky Brit!).

Obviously Harriet was not hip with the times.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quotables

"If all my Cuckolds desert, I will be beaten indeed!"


-Prime Minister, Lord North, in response to being told that Sir Richard Worsley would miss a parliamentary vote due to his Crim Con suit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Rake's Progress, Part 1: The Heir


While most of our Hogarthian series tend to end with a death A Rake's Progress begins with one. We are introduced to our hero while he is in mourning for his poor father, whom has just passed away. Tom Rakewell is fresh out of university, having the finest education money can buy. So perhaps his collegiate experience has prepared him for being the head of the household. Look, he is using both his debate and business class skills already! Our rake's pregnant fiancee has just arrived with her mother. As you can tell by the look on Tom's face, he's is giving some lame excuse as to why he changed his mind about marrying her. She cries while her scary mother looks like she's about to beat an heir.

But Tom really does not have any time to deal with these triffles. He is very busy. While his father devoted his life to humility Tom thinks both he and his new pad are overdue for some pampering. The mourning servants, with tears in their eyes for their deceased master set to work putting up the black mourning clothes over the walls of the house. But the first order Tom puts into action is shopping for new clothes. He was being measured for a new outfit when he was so rudely interupted by the pregnant Miss Young. His lawyer takes advantage of the situation to dip his hand in an open pocket of gold coins. He has also instructed the servants to open up all the dusty chests and wardrobes to know the true possessions of his father that had been hidden from him throughout his childhood. Apparently his father was quite the miser, as one servant has found treasures in the chimney. Oh dear, it is beginning to appear to me that young Mr Rakewell is entirely self-centred.

It becomes more and more apparent just how much of a miser Rakewell Senior was. There is even a portrait of him counting money above the fireplace. It appears that this hindering lifestyle has caused the young Rakewell to go on a path in the opposite direction. After so many years of saving money he is ready to be a one man economic stimulus!

Next>>

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tart of the Week: George Anne Bellamy



No, George Anne Bellamy isn't England's version of the Chevalier d'Eon. George Anne was very much a woman and was born in eastern Ireland in 1727. Her mother was the very unfortunate Miss Seal who was not only a Quaker but a mere schoolgirl when she discovered she was pregnant by Lord Trywaley. Miss Seal had already conducted an affair with the Irish aristocrat which resulted in a son. Trywaley went away looking for a rich wife before he returned to the old fling. However, Trywaley still needed a wife and he went to Lisbon in search of one, inviting Miss Seal to come with him. When she realized his true intentions in Portugal, Miss Seal quickly returned to England and married a sailor by the name of Bellamy. But when baby George Anne was born not long after the wedding Bellamy soon disappeared too.

The series of unlucky events continued at George Anne's christening. The hard of hearing priest didn't quite get the name of "Georgiana" when her mother said it. For whatever reason he heard "George Anne" and so became the girl named George.

Unlike many bastard daughters of aristocrats, George Anne had a a privileged upbringing. Her father sent her to France to receive her education like every other proper young English lady. Given this upbringing you would think George Anne would try to nab herself a rich husband and settle down to a wealthy lifestyle. But no, she took a path she was born into rather than the opportunity her father presented to her. She moved back in with her mother who convinced her to pursue acting, figuring George Anne's beauty could make some fast cash. After playing Monimia in The Orphan at Covent Garden George Anne met with the success her mother hoped for and many parts soon followed.

Success was sweet for "Mrs. Bellamy." She caught David Garrick's eye which, of course meant instant success and celebrity treatment. She also became his leading lady since the position was now open due to his recent breakup with Mrs Cibber. George Anne would be seen around town partying it up with her male-friends. Naughty! Not only did she make many friends but enemies as well. There was a notorious rivalry between her and fellow Irish actress, Peg Woffington that supposedly began when they were both in the (appropriately named) Rival Queens. The rumour mills cited jealousy and gowns as to the cause of the rift, but who could know for sure. The rivalry ended when Peg was on her deathbed and she called George Anne so they could kiss and makeup.

Of course, the good life couldn't last forever. George Anne's dapples with men led to pregnancies without marriages. She also was cursed with faded beauty. George Anne's wilted beauty meant no one was interested in seeing her on stage anymore. Meanwhile, debts from her frivilous celebrity days were piling up and debtor's prison loomed in the distance.

In an act of desperation George Anne wrote her revealing memoirs, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy. As the title implies, the book was an autobiography of degregation at the author's social expense. Although the books sold, it was a little too late to save her from monetary ruin. George Anne died not too long afterwards, a fallen woman, her last moments spent hidden in shame.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Internet Toys!

I got an email the other day from Tom who wanted me to check out the website he's been working very hard on, Creative Spaces. The site is a compilation of the collections from some of the UK's most sumptuous museums. So if you're looking for a fab picture of a stomacher, instead of going to the V&A and doing a collections search and then going to the National Gallery and doing the same thing; you can merely go to creative spaces, type in "stomacher" and the site searches nine museums for you. Not too shabby! Just like many of the larger museum sites, you can store your finds in a "notebook" or save them to Favourites. Not bad at all! You can also join similar interests groups; Joanna from the 18th Century Blog already began an 18th Century Fashion group. You can even give status updates from your profile. The end result is like a facebook for art historians.

In order to get a feel for this new site I decided to make my own notebook, collecting various artworks that the museums had in store. It was quick and easy, and there's even links to quickly share it on other social networking sites like Twitter or Bebo. I would recommend checking the site out. Even if you're not into the social networking thing I would bookmark this site for the next time you need a hot picture of the Prince of Wales.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

After months of anticipation I was finally able to dive into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Most of those who have already heard of it made their decision to read it before reading any review, out of sheer curiosity. I was one of those people. A classic and beloved book "now with ultaviolent zombie mayhem"? How will Grahame-Smith do that, and can he do it well?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is just as its title leads us to believe. It's the story of Pride and Prejudice except set in an England that has been ravaged by zombies for the last fifty-five years. Of course we have the normal rules of etiquette that were an important means of survival in regency times but this unfortunate outbreak has also caused the people of England to set some civility aside in order to destroy zombie brains. Elizabeth Bennet is not the same Lizzy Bennet we fell in love with in the original text, she is one of the most vicious and skilled zombie-slayers in all of England, second only to one...but I dare not say who. You will find Miss Bennet to be more of a femme-fatal than the average girl that Austen spoke of.

There will also be many occasions when you'll look up from the book and go, "That makes absolutely no sense! A middle class family of seven could not afford an expedition to China!" This can quickly be amended in the same way we watch cartoons, etc.; stop thinking about how historically inaccurate it is and sit back and enjoy how funny it is. After all, we all know there was no zombie attack on England in the early 1800s, I believe that happened in the rein of Queen Matilda.

However, I still had many questions that needed answering in terms of zombies. Since my expertise lies in history and art I sought out someone whose knowledge is primarily in the undead. Dr. Joel Townsend (although I am highly suspicious of how anyone could get their PhD in Zombie Studies) who can be found working mainly out of USC, gladly volunteered to answer some questions that give us insight into the world of Zombies and why they are so popular with a certain demographic.

[I'll state right now how bad I am at editing down and please excuse my sloppy instant message typing]

me: Are the martial arts of the Orient the only sufficient deadly art in vanquishing the undead?
I know you're a fan and apparently the author is too
Joel: oh no, no no
any art that can successfully remove the head and destroy the brainstem can be used
but clearly the most BADASS way to do it...which in my opinion is the ONLY way to do it would be with the martialest of arts
me: The girls (The Sisters Bennet) use muskets, kitanas, and daggers. Which of these weapons is most successful in vanquishing those of a zombified nature?
Joel: it really depends on the distance between you and the undead, as well as how much time you have to react. I mean, how long does it take to re-load a musket if you miss?
Blades don't need re-loading. I would opt for the kitana personally
me: and why is that?
Joel: well, it's the weapon of a samurai. who, as we all know, were merciless kill factories. Kitanas afford you a distance you don't get with a dagger, but don't hang you out to dry like a musket would. It also depends on the quality of the kitana, whether it's a 1 body blade or as good as a 7. But i'd prob still take a 1 body blade over either of the other two weapons
me: 7 being folded seven times?
Joel: 7 being able to cut successfully through 7 bodies stacked. True fact: they used to test them on convicts
me: zombies bodies I assume would be easier to slice through, being partially decayed
Joel: oh yeah. I assume you could advance the count very similarly to dog years
Joel: so a 1 body blade would easily cut through probably 8 or so zombies
me: I like that estimate
Joel: me too
I’ve put a lot of thought into it
me: I was gonna ask you something but maybe I’ll just ask you to describe your ideal zombie heroine first.
Besides the huge boobs of course
Joel: oh, dammit, those were my first 4 things. I count each one twice
Joel: so are we talkin' heroine who combats zombies...
me: yes
Joel: Well, she's gotta be able to think on her feet. If I'm with a chick and zombiegeddon goes down and she get's all "oh Joel, we're done for! We'll never make it" all she'll see is the bottom of my shoes as I book out of the immediate area and leave her as a noise distraction. I may even shove her into a pile of boxes and ring a dinner bell so she's gotta have brainzzzzz. Which, of course, puts me in the same boat as the zombies.
me: So you don't go for the testosterone loaded zombie babe?
Joel: Noooooo. At the end of the day I still wanna do her
SURVIVE
I said survive
at the end of the day I still want to survive. So she's got to be able to learn how to keep herself, but most importantly me alive but look good at the same time. Asia Argento is a good mold
me: oh I believe it
Joel: unfortunately, her role was squandered in that cinematic abortion, "Land of the Dead"
me: Ah so she was in a zombie flick as well as an 18th century one? Here is where our interests combine, sir
Joel: like a double helix of awesome
me: and lethal hotness
Joel: BAM!
me: Ok so i will ask you then
Joel: Yes? yes?
me: Is the ideal zombie babe a super aggressive merciless killer or one born out of necessity- forced into killing sprees
Joel: Oh it's always better, and hotter, when she's thrown into the situation and actually becomes the zombie killer.
me: Ahhh interesting.
Joel: Yes, she has to still be human and deal with the undead as a human would. Not a McBain
me: Ahhh! So not a merciless terminater totally focuses on killing zombies and nothing more.
Joel: exactly, it's like the girl next door but if a zombie knocks on that door, BOOM.
me: That’s what i thought, oh how I know your sex.
Joel: Yes'm
me: or at least the nerdy ones
Joel: Well I do have tape on my glasses [He really does, this was an earlier conversation we had]
me: Ok so one last question that is probably ill suited to you.
Joel: hmmm
me: Can one find love during a zombie outbreak? Or would that just be the heat of the moment?
Joel: Ohhh, to quote the prophet Campbell from the book of the dead: that's just pillow talk, baby. People do crazy things when faced with their own annihilation by the lifeless husks of their former brethren
me: Well i could never question Campbell
Joel: while the zombie apocalypse may not spawn love, there's no reason that a little sh-boom boom can't take place. We're gonna need the repopulation
me: So you don’t believe in true love during zombie outbreaks?
Joel: Well...I mean, I don't believe in true love outside of zombie outbreaks either so...
haha...double negative, my old friend
me: Yeah that’s why I knew I was wasting my time with that question.