Yesterday was much better. I worked on a new book, The Stuart Age by Barry Coward. This is a first year undergrad/A Level standard textbook, but one that I think is necessary. I’m very much a Tudor girl by inclination, always have been, and have 20 odd years of reading in that time period behind me which means that I have a basic knowledge that really helps when dealing with primary sources. For example, reading an account by someone describing the rising food prices in around 1548/9, I’ll know what the background to that is – a combination of harvest difficulties, enclosure, and riot problems, depending on where in the UK the person writing was. I just don’t have that same knowledge for the Stuart period, so I’m hoping this (rather thick) book will go some way towards rectifying that, and help give me the contexts for not only primary source material when I get into the archives, but also the more complex secondary monographs and academic articles.
So I worked on creating a timeline. Coward’s book has one, so I worked through that, adding info where I thought necessary. Its very geared towards the religious side of things, obviously, although I’ve included larger events like the death of a monarch or the outbreak of war. Its something that I think will be powerful and useful in the months to come – and as a computer document, I can add to it as I need to.
I’ve also started a vocabulary, to record my own thoughts on words that I’ve either not come across before, or where the meaning can be quite nebulous (epistemology being an example – I know it means the theory of knowledge, but its so much more than that, and it can mean different things at different times). I haven’t had to use a vocab like this since I was about 10. Thanks to a love of reading, I’ve always had a strong reading age – I was measured as having a reading age of 16 when I was about 11 – so I’ve a wide vocabulary and I’m not afraid to use it. However, working at this kind of level and delving into religious history in the way that I am takes me to a different level – with a range of new words linked to theory – like epistemology and ontology (does anyone else hear Maureen Lipman – ‘You got an Ology?‘ every time anything with an ology is said/typed? No? just me then…) but also a range of new terminology, some of which is quite difficult to grasp, such as Manichean (a belief in a dualistic good & evil).
Dragging me down, however, was a soreness in my throat – I’ve come down with a cold. I was able to pop painkillers yesterday but this morning I feel totally out of it. I had to get up to take my partner to the station for his job, but I think now I’m gonna head back to bed for a couple hours and see if that helps. Then I can get back to work on Coward’s book – he’s got a great preface to the third edition that goes extensively into the historiography of the period that I think will be very very useful.