Monday, September 22, 2014
Sir William Wallace (Medieval Gaelic: Uilliam Uallas; modern Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; Norman French: William le Waleys; died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, and was Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298. In 1305, Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him summarily hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians.
Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of the 15th-century epic poem The Acts and Deeds of Sir William Wallace, Noble of Elderslie, by Blind Harry. Wallace is also the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porter and of the 1995 Academy Award-winning epic film Braveheart.
Some historians such as Andrew Fisher believe Wallace must have had some earlier military experience. Campaigns like Edward I of England's wars in Wales provided a good opportunity for a younger son of a landholder with no prospects in life other than becoming a monk or priest to become a mercenary soldier.
This theory suggests that it would have taken military knowledge to defeat the English at Stirling Bridge. Wallace's personal seal attached to a letter sent to the Hanse city of Lübeck in 1297 may not only reveal the name of his father but also bears the archers' insignia. If Wallace was indeed an archer he must have been a professional, worth paying a reasonable sum of money for military services. The first class long bow (as probably used by Wallace) had a draw weight of up to 170 lbs.
This is in accordance with Bower who states that Wallace was "a tall man with the body of a giant ...with lengthy flanks ...broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs ...with all his limbs very strong and firm". Blind Harry's Wallace stood seven feet.
The first act definitely known to have been carried out by Wallace was his assassination of William de Heselrig, the English High Sheriff of Lanark, in May 1297. He then joined with William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas, and they carried out the raid of Scone. This was one of several rebellions taking place across Scotland, including those of several Scottish nobles and Andrew Moray in the north.
The uprising suffered a blow when the nobles submitted to the English at Irvine in July. Wallace and Moray were not involved, and continued their rebellions. Wallace used the Ettrick Forest as a base for raiding, and attacked Wishart's palace at Ancrum. Wallace and Moray met and joined their forces, possibly at the siege of Dundee in early September.
Wallace evaded capture by the English until 5 August 1305 when John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, turned Wallace over to English soldiers at Robroyston near Glasgow. Letters of safe conduct from Haakon V of Norway, Philip IV of France, and John Balliol, along with other documents, were found on Wallace and delivered to Edward by John de Segrave.
Wallace was transported to London, lodged in the house of William de Leyrer, then taken to Westminster Hall, where he was tried for treason and for atrocities against civilians in war, "sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun." He was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, "I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject." With this, Wallace asserted that the absent John Balliol was officially his king.
In 1869 the Wallace Monument was erected, very close to the site of his victory at Stirling Bridge. The Wallace Sword, which supposedly belonged to Wallace, although some parts were made at least 160 years later, was held for many years in Dumbarton Castle and is now in the Wallace Monument.
Posted by TommyBoy at 2:31 PM
A variety of books are banned in schools and libraries across the US for being too political, too racially-charged, having too much sex or being irreligious, and/or socially offensive. Many of the books are literary classics. That is, legitimate works of art. Somewhere along the line, someone found the content offensive and managed to have the books removed from the shelves.
Among those deemed too political (or racial):
All Quiet on the Western Front -- a war novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.
A Farewell to Arms -- a novel written by Ernest Hemingway about a love affair between the expatriate American Henry and Catherine Barkley against the backdrop of the First World War, cynical soldiers, fighting and the displacement of populations.
For Whom the Bell Tolls -- Another Hemingway novel about the Spanish Civil war.
Animal Farm -- George Orwell's barnyard social commentary.
1984 -- Another Orwell book describing a tyrannical, hive mentality future.
Doctor Zhivago -- Boris Pasternak's tragic tale of love amidst the chaos of the Russian Revolution.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse -- a book by Peter Matthiessen which chronicles "The story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement".
And don't forget The Adventures of Huck Finn -- still considered to be too deprecating to blacks in some places.
The following books have been banned for having too much sex, or overt sex, or any at all:
Madame Bovary -- Gustave Flaubert's classic (1856) debut novel. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the emptiness of provincial life.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles -- An English classic by Thomas Hardy published in 1891. Tess attempts to use a family connection to royalty to improve her station in life. Hardy is a master of the sublime and the tragic.
The Sun Also Rises, by Hemingway already mentioned above. A two-category winner.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover -- a novel by D. H. Lawrence, first published in 1928. The first edition was printed privately in Florence, Italy, with assistance from Pino Orioli; an unexpurgated edition could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960. (A private edition was issued by Inky Stephensen's Mandrake Press in 1929.) The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.
By the way, the phrase four-letter word refers to a set of English-language words written with four letters which are considered profane, including common popular or slang terms for sexual activity and genitalia, and (depending on the listener/reader) sometimes also certain terms relating to Hell and/or damnation when used outside their original religious context(s), and/or slurs. The "four-letter" claim refers to the fact that a large number of English "swear words" are incidentally four-character monosyllables. This description came into use during the first half of the twentieth century.
Continuing with the titillating books, we have:
Tropic of Cancer -- a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as "notorious for its candid sexuality" and as responsible for the "free speech that we now take for granted in literature".
Peyton Place -- a 1956 novel by Grace Metalious. It sold 60,000 copies within the first ten days of its release and remained on the New York Times best seller list for 59 weeks. It was adapted as both a 1957 film and a 1964–69 television series. The main plot follows the lives of three women—lonely and repressed Constance MacKenzie; her illegitimate daughter Allison; and her employee Selena Cross, a girl from across the tracks, or "from the shacks." The novel describes how they come to terms with their identity as women and sexual beings in a small New England town. Hypocrisy, social inequities and class privilege are recurring themes in a tale that includes incest, abortion, adultery, lust and murder. The term "Peyton Place" became a generic label for any community whose inhabitants have sordid secrets.
And more too sexy books:
The following are deemed irreligious:
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. A scientific treatise offering the theory of evolution to its readers. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkein's tale of magic and power among middle-earth characters. The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis. Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya. Harry Potter Series, J. K. Rowling.
The following are termed as just being generally socially offensive:
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin.
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl. Catch-22, Joseph Heller. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote. Cujo, Stephen King. The Color Purple, Alice Walker. Ordinary People, Judith Guest. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley.
In most cases, it is truly hard to understand how people in positions of leadership in our communities can be so short-sighted as to try to prevent the circulation of ideas in a free society. But, it happens, and sadly, more often than you would think.
Posted by TommyBoy at 7:53 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2014
What you say is what you are. Words are powerful. They bring the unseen world into the seen world. We program ourselves by what we say. It is one thing to think a thought but quite another to voice that same thought. On yet another level altogether, talk is cheap and actions speak even louder. -- Harry Irons
Posted by TommyBoy at 11:56 AM