07 December 2007

Being Educated Against Your Will

Trying. To. Restrain. Myself.

I can't, though. I must tell you more British history facts. They are too fascinating (to me) and I'm short on time to post anything that takes more thought today.

I've been reading Bill Bryson's new book, Shakespeare: The World as Stage, part of the Eminent Lives series. (I tried again to read A Short History of Nearly Everything--thanks for the suggestion, Chris--but even well-written science makes my eyes roll back in my head--sorry, Chris. I'll have to stick with Bryson's other works.) Bill is very up front about the fact that we have very few facts about Shakespeare or his family. Books like Loving Will Shakespeare (a good middle-reader book) are almost entirely speculation. Having said that, Bryson goes on to share really interesting information about the few existing documents (other than the plays) that mention Shakespeare and fleshes out the late 16th century world to help readers understand Shakespeare and his work.

Fascinating facts include:
1. Sugar was a good thing in Elizabethan England, and black, rotted teeth indicated that a lot of sugar had been consumed. People whose teeth weren't naturally rotted would blacken their teeth to look like they had eaten a lot of sugar, too.

2. Those huge, starched ruffs worn in the 16th and 17th century were called piccadills, which is how Piccadilly got its name.

3. It was thought that tobacco prevented plague. Students at Eaton were punished for "neglecting their tobacco."

4. Money for plays was put in a box that was kept in special, safe room called, ta da, the box office.

There. That's your learning fun for the day. Sorry.


Annie M. said...

Ew about the sugar and black teeth. Imagine what their breath smelled like!!

Amy said...

Grace will LOVE this new information on stylish teeth.

marmotgma said...

Daddy will love knowing that they loved sugar and it was considered "cool" to eat lots of it. He thinks it's cool, too. mom

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