• Phil

A Tangled Web

In yesterdays blog post “Tudors & Technology” I mentioned that I am working on some pamphlets covering various aspects of local history which I am hoping to publish over the coming weeks. I find that my research for these publications takes me off on all sorts of tangents (a bit like my blog on here). My main efforts at the moment are geared towards research for my “Coventry and the Tudors” pamphlet.

A traditional way of delimiting historical events is to package them into some sort of logical time period. My pamphlet by definition should cover the years 1485 – 1603 giving it a pronounced beginning and end.

We are used to internet searches that take us onto unexpected journeys around the appropriately named World Wide Web. Whilst researching the connection between Shakespeare and Caludon Castle I hit upon several literary links including references to Thomas Nashe and William Bagot. It seemed obvious to me that some of this material should contribute to another one of my pamphlets about literary connections to Coventry. Other links led consequently led to referenced to contemporary (Tudor period) works on religion and religious practices - relevant to my subject matter but perhaps better going into another pamphlet about Coventry and religion?

I found myself waking up in the middle of the night wanting to sketch a diagram of connections that I had considered yesterday, doing so and ending up with a very tangled, web like drawing!

One of the problems I have found with historical writing is deciding just how much to filter out. This is not such a problem if the “publication” is a web site as links can cross-reference each other and we can jump around and explore (sometimes tenuously) related subject matter. Although this is a more natural reflection of the world (and of our own thought processes and conversations) it can lead to a constant series of flits around the internet leading to little in the way of “end product” - despite plenty of entertainment and a widening (and shallowing!) of general knowledge.

During my work on the first draft of my pamphlet I found myself justifying including elements of my own family history (quite relevant to the Battle of Bosworth), a general overview of the Wars of the Roses (how would the rise of the Tudors make sense otherwise?), detailed histories of locations in Coventry with Tudor connections (I am trying to promote Coventry so surely Godiva needs a mention with a plug for another pamphlet in my section on the lost Cathedral of St Mary's?) and more or less anything related to the renaissance period (which is more or less everything)! The need for delimiting parameters becomes apparent as does the beauty of a good book – a well defined journey from beginning to end (often with a purpose in mind).

Having promoted the virtues of beginning and end I am going to have to let my nature take over now and ramble off in another direction until my next post.......

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