Entries by Penelope J. Corfield

MONTHLY BLOG 141, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 9: Annual Commemorations of the Battle of Trafalgar & the Death of Nelson

Trafalgar! Most Britons know the name. They don’t all know the date of the famous naval battle on 21 October 1805. Or its location, offshore from Cape Trafalgar, on the Atlantic coast of southern Spain – close to the nautical approach into the Straits of Gibraltar. Above all, however, most Britons do know that the British fleet won a famous victory…

MONTHLY BLOG 140, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 8: Annual Memorial Service at Bristol’s Arnos Vale Cemetery, to celebrate the life of India’s remarkable religious, social & educational reformer, Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)

Eighteenth-century Britain witnessed a veritable ferment of ideas. Religious reformers and traditionalists within Christianity battled with one another, whilst religious sceptics, known as ‘freethinkers’, argued against all forms of revealed religion. It was a time for rethinking and renewal; and not just in Britain…

MONTHLY BLOG 139, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 7: ANNUAL DINNER IN HONOUR OF DR SAMUEL JOHNSON, GREAT LEXICOGRAPHER, MAN OF LETTERS, LITERARY CRITIC, AND WITTY/ PUGNACIOUS CONVERSATIONALIST

It takes more than compiling a famous Dictionary to achieve the celebrity of Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84). A huge, strapping, ungainly and constantly twitching figure of a man, he startled newcomers on first acquaintance. Yet he had a mesmerising personality, allied to great erudition and unforced eloquence…

MONTHLY BLOG 138, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 6: ANNUAL COMMEMORATIVE SWIM ACROSS THE DARDANELLES STRAIT BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA, IN THE TRADITION OF LORD BYRON

Good-looking, debonair, raffish, sexy, attractive to both men and women, a breezy poet, a dog-lover, a radical in his politics, supporting working-class interests at home and Greek independence overseas, and a man with a title – George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), seemed almost too amazing to be true…

MONTHLY BLOG 136, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 4: ENJOYING THE ANNUAL DUCK FEAST

This BLOG resumes the theme of links between the Georgian era and the present. To do that, it takes one remarkable case-history, that of the Wiltshire poet, Stephen Duck (c.1705-56). [Yes, that was his real name] He was the son of an impoverished agricultural labourer. It’s likely that both his parents were illiterate. Yet Stephen Duck not only grew to gain poetic fame during his relatively short life but has been honoured ever since by an annual Duck Feast, held in his home village of …

MONTHLY BLOG 135, A YEAR OF GEORGIAN CELEBRATIONS – 3: THE SCOTTISH MUSIC OF NIEL GOW

At a time of international crisis over Ukraine, it seems heartless to continue normal life. And, in particular, it could seem inappropriate to be writing about something as jolly and convivial as the music of eighteenth-century Scotland’s legendary fiddler, Niel Gow (1727-1807). But it helps to stick to routines, which in this case means posting my monthly BLOG.

Music, moreover, is a mighty medium for expressing the full range of human emotions. Niel Gow, born in Strathbaan, Perthshire, came from a modest background to become feted as a composer and fiddler. And, among his output, are some famous laments. Indeed, in the long eras before the advent of the radio, musicians had to be ready to switch quickly in style from sad to jolly, from slow to brisk, from simple to intricate, as occasion required. They provided their listeners with a soundtrack for both daily life and special events…

MONTHLY BLOG 132, IS TEACHING SEXY?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2021) Fig.1 Symbol for Infinity, referencing the infinite unknown … Image from Wikimedia Commons (2021) It’s the author and playwright Alan Bennett who says that teaching is sexy. And, before the massed ranks of educationalists protest instead that their work is exhausting and under-paid, let’s […]