Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grateful Dead in Medieval Romances, Part 1

This weekend offers the much hyped series of Grateful Dead reunion concerts in Chicago. While the band has been entertaining fans for several decades, the Grateful Dead motif has been entertaining through many mediums for centuries. One of the examples of this is in the frequent appearance of the theme in medieval romances in many European countries.

From my introduction to The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series):

The Grateful Dead motif can also be found in several chivalric romances from the Middle Ages in various European countries. All of these romances are lengthy and the Grateful Dead motif is only one element of the stories. It is not necessary to summarize each one here for Gerold takes on that task in his monograph. Additionally, each of these romances are AT 508 (now ATU 505) in which the hero, usually a prince or knight, receives help from a Grateful Dead man in winning the hand of a princess by winning a tournament. These stories are rich with moments in which the heroes hold fast to the chivalric code of honor, morality, and loyalty, as well as battlefield ethics.

With the exception of the English Sir Amadas and the French The History of Oliver and Arthur, none of these romances are readily available in English translation. Most are available online in their original languages however.

Sir Amadas, a 13th century English romance also known as Sir Amadace, may predate all of the other romances listed here. It is a metrical poem and the original is not an easy read for the casual reader. For this reason, a modern prose retelling of the story is offered in this present volume. A few versions of the original text can be found online for those seeking the challenge of reading it.

Richars li Biaus, which translates to “Richard the Handsome”, is a 13th century French romance, one of the earliest known instances of the Grateful Dead motif in that country. It was followed by Lions de Bourges, a 14th century French romance that essentially retells the story found in Richars li Biaus with a few variations.

Novella di Messer Dianese e di Messer Gigliotto, is a 14th century Italian romance. Germany has its own version, too, in Rittertriuwe (also known as Rittertreue), a 14th century romance as well.

And that's not all of the romances. I will share a few more tomorrow, especially my favorite, The History of Oliver and Arthur. After that, I will share how these romances influenced European theatre, too. While I was researching this book, I read some of these romances and read excerpts of others. And you know what? Hollywood is missing out. They would make some fun movies, especially The History of Oliver and Arthur which would need a better title but it has plenty of fodder for a fun film.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Release: Of Enemies and Endings (The Ever Afters) by Shelby Bach

(US/UK Links)

Of Enemies and Endings (The Ever Afters) by Shelby Bach is released this week in the US and the UK, see Of Enemies and Endings (Ever Afters) (UK Link). This is the third book in the Ever Afters series, following Of Giants and Ice (The Ever Afters Book 1) and Of Witches and Wind (The Ever Afters Book 2).

Book description:

Rory and her friends are determined to stop the Snow Queen once and for all in this thrilling conclusion to the Ever After series, which Kirkus Reviews calls a “fast-paced combination of middle school realism and fairy-tale fantasy.”

After three years at Ever After School, Rory Landon is finally getting her very own fairy tale—but it is no happily-ever-after. She discovers that she has an Unwritten Tale, one that has never been told before.

As the war with the Snow Queen escalates, Rory can’t help but be distracted by her friend Chase’s odd and disappointing behavior. Not only is he suddenly ignoring her and letting her down on missions, he’s also dating a girl he doesn’t even remember asking out!

When the Ever After School is attacked, no one can figure out how the Snow Queen got past their defenses. Her sister Rapunzel is a prime suspect, but Rory thinks Rapunzel might actually hold the key to undoing all of the Snow Queen’s terrible magic. Can Rory put the pieces together in time to save her family, friends, and the school she has come to love, or will she fail and leave her tale unfinished?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bargain Ebook: Don't Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis TODAY ONLY

Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned (Don't Know Much About Series) by Kenneth C. Davis is on sale in ebook format today only for $1.99.

Book description:

The latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Don't Know Much About® series -- a magical journey into the timeless world of mythology

It has been fifteen years since Kenneth C. Davis first dazzled audiences with his instant classic Don't Know Much About® History, vividly bringing the past to life and proving that Americans don't hate history, they just hate the dull, textbook version they were fed in school. With humor, wit, and a knack for storytelling, Davis has been bringing readers of all ages up to speed on history, geography, and science ever since. Now, in the classic traditions of Edith Hamilton and Joseph Campbell, he turns his talents to the world of myth.

Where do we come from? Why do stars shine and the seasons change? What is evil? Since the beginning of time, people have answered such questions by crafting imaginative stories that have served as religion, science, philosophy, and popular literature. In his irreverent and popular question-and-answer style, Davis introduces and explains the great myths of the world, as well as the works of literature that have made them famous. In a single volume, he tackles Mesopotamia's Gilgamesh, the first hero in world mythology; Achilles and the Trojan War; Stonehenge and the Druids; Thor, the Nordic god of thunder; Chinese oracle bones; the use of peyote in ancient Native American rites; and the dramatic life and times of the man who would be Buddha.

Ever familiar and instructive, Davis shows why the ancient tales of gods and heroes -- from Mount Olympus to Machu Picchu, from ancient Rome to the icy land of the Norse -- continue to speak to us today, in our movies, art, language, and music. For mythology novices and buffs alike, and for anyone who loves a good story, Don't Know Much About® Mythology is a lively and insightful look into the greatest stories ever told.

Friday, June 19, 2015

N2 by Les Néréides Glass Slipper Cinderella Jewelry


Over two years ago I shared Peau du Bete by Les Néréides N2 and back in 2009 I shared Little Red Riding Hood Jewelry. I found those in Paris during various trips. I am happy to say that Les Néréides is now more readily available in the U.S. with its own site. The lines in the U.S. are different from what are available in Europe. Right now, the U.S. site is offering the Glass Slipper Cinderella line. I am sharing fourteen pieces here. There are fun and kitschy, no doubt about it. But the designs are so clever. I like the horse transformation loops and the Cinderella who is NOT Disney. 

I've planned to share these for several weeks and then found them on Amazon which made getting images and links much faster so here's the post finally. Do click through to see them larger and see the details.