Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

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Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Flickr Quinn Dombrowski Indigenous Peoples Day

Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Columbus Day is increasingly celebrated as the Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S.; for me that’s going to be the case from now on. Furthermore, I’m going to be following, listening and reading more indigenous creatives throughout the year and not just on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

As a Finn, I don’t have any skin in the North-American (or, indeed, Anglo-American) colonization-based racism blame game. (We have our very own problems, thankyouverymuch, and need to do better.)

However, as a citizen of a small nation surrounded by larger ones whose cultures and languages have seemed poised to swallow ours for centuries, I feel enormous compassion towards any groups who have to struggle to retain their identity and who are underrepresented in public discussion or government.

Differences rock, y’all. Our differences are why humanity has come this far as a species. Differences are essential to a vital future.

So, again: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

The Blog Is Back!

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Hello again, all! What a summer it was here; how was yours?

As it seems now – I’m cautiously hoping! – that this blog’s stalker-follower is gone, I’m going to start blogging again.

Flickr Rosmarie Voegtli Writing Cropped

Rosmarie Voegtli via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

It was a very strange, very stressful situation, as I’m sure anyone who has had to deal with prolonged uncertainty can guess.

How will I go forward from here? I confess that I’m not entirely sure. I’d like to keep more or less the same blogging schedule as before: two posts a week, Mondays and Thursdays, with an odd post here and there when I feel like it, and no posting on selected holiday or vacation days.

However, an entirely unexpected, unrelated, huge project came my way in July, and I’ve been very busy with it since. I’m hoping it won’t influence my blogging, but we’ll see.

If you have thoughts about what you’d like to hear or how often, please let me know!

It’s nice to be back. 🙂

Cake Toppers That Look Like Flowers, Embroidery, Geodes and More

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My Modern Met shared some amazing buttercream cake toppers in an article. They are the work of Leslie Vigil, California-based artist and cake maker. And they are. So. Beautiful! All of them!

Among the most interesting to me were these three toppers that include embroidery-like elements:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Embroidery

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

Her geode cakes would make great treats for theme parties for N.K. Jemisin The Broken Earth trilogy:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Cake Collage Geodes

Leslie Vigil on Instagram; collage by Eppu Jensen.

There are also a few explicitly geeky ones, like this Groot cake:

Instagram Leslie Vigil Groot

Leslie Vigil on Instagram.

Visit the My Modern Met article and Vigil’s Instagram for more – there are so many designs to love! Almost makes me wish I were in California, too. Then again, I’m sure my doctor would be much happier if I were to stay away, far away, from cakes. 🙂

Found via Good Stuff Happened Today on Tumblr.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A New Emma Production Is Filming

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Great news for Janeites! Just after I blogged about the casting for Sanditon series penned by Andrew Davies, I found out that we’re about to get a new screen version of Emma!

Instagram Autumn de Wilde Emma Day1

Autumn de Wilde on Instagram.

It’s written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde. Neither name is familiar to me, but I do recognize a few names from the cast list released thus far: Bill Nighy plays Mr. Woodhouse and Miranda Hart Miss Bates – if her previous performances are anything to judge by, she’ll be brilliant! Anya Taylor-Joy heads the film as Emma; I have seen her in an episode of Endeavour, apparently, but unfortunately I don’t remember her.

The director-writer team sound new in the field: Emma is de Wilde’s first feature-long project (she’s previously worked as a photographer as well as music video and commercial director), and Catton has only written one miniseries before (based on her novel The Luminaries which won the Man Booker Prize in 2013; she’s the youngest author to win the literary award). That should guarantee a fresh take on the classic!

IMDB lists the movie as filming at this time, and MSN reports that release is expected in 2020.

I can’t wait – the world can never have too much of Jane Austen on screen if you ask me! 🙂

P.S.: Just FYI: this is not an April fool’s joke.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Congrats: Black Panther Wins Three Oscars!

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Black Panther won three Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday!

Ruth Carter – so, so deservedly! – won the Achievement in Costume Design, Sweden’s Ludwig Göransson won the Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), and the Achievement in Production Design went to Hannah Beachler (Production Design) and Jay Hart (Set Decoration).

Instagram The Academy Ruth Carter w Oscar 2019

Ruth Carter with her Oscar. The Academy on Instagram.

My warmest congratulations to all the BP winners! Keep on busting down that glass ceiling!

Reading N.K. Jemisin in honor of Martin Luther King Day

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Today the U.S. celebrates the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of the day, in support of people of color and in protest of the appalling inequality POC continue to experience in the U.S., I’m reading my favorite (living) author, Nora Jemisin.

Current Reading How Long Til Black Future Month

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? is a collection of short fiction from 2004 onwards and her latest book-length publication. I’m not sure whether she’d describe herself as an #ownvoices author. Whatever the case, her fiction continues to entertain, fascinate, and awe on so many levels.

I’m normally not a great friend of short stories (I prefer novels), but this collection is incredible. Not just her writing is beautiful and technically superb; she continues to open my eyes about the world, give me new ideas and hold me in thrall in equal measure.

Jemisin is also the first writer ever to have won the Hugo Award three years in a row, for all the individual installments of her recent Broken Earth trilogy. (The mere thought of it still gives me chills!) No wonder S.E. Fleenor in an article at SyfyWire listed Jemisin as one the most influential women in genre for 2018.

How are you spending your MLK Day?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Emma Thompson Becomes a Dame Wearing Sneakers

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This newspiece is from June, but I just found out: Emma Thompson was made a dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to drama.

I know her mostly through her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but I’ve seen her work elsewhere, too, and admire it.

The best thing about the news, though, is that she appeared at the ceremony in sneakers!

The News Herald Jonathan Brady Emma Thompson Dame Ceremony

Jonathan Brady / Press Association via Associated Press.

Women wearing sensible shoes get so much undeserved scorn. It’s utterly ridiculous – why on earth would anyone spend time picking on women’s choice of footwear is beyond me. (Yes, I do know why: patriarchy.)

It’s lovely to see a successful woman not giving a darn and wearing what she pleases!

Found via Yashar Ali on Twitter.

A New Hope for a Sanditon Adaptation

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Over two years ago, I spotted news that a screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished last work, Sanditon, was in development by Fluidity Films. To all appearances, their project never got any further than that.

Now there is a another project commissioned by ITV and executive produced by Rebecca Eaton at Masterpiece with Belinda Campbell at Red Planet Pictures. The script is written by Andrew Davies (who also wrote the 1995 Pride & Prejudice, 2007 Northanger Abbey and 2008 Sense & Sensibility, among others), and the eight-episode series will be distributed by BBC Studios.

Re-reading Jane Austens Lady Susan

According to PBS, filming is expected to start in spring of 2019. No casting details have been announced. I also couldn’t find Sanditon on Davies’s IMDB page yet; I guess it’s too early still.

But, nevertheless, hooray! Double yay!! We’ve long been overdue another Austen adaptation.

Relevant reads:

Plus the multiple(!) articles in the Spring 2018 issue of Persuasions (Volume 38, No. 2), accessible online at the JASNA website.

What a great excuse to re-read Austen. 🙂

P.S. Belatedly I realized that my headline sounds like a Star Wars – Jane Austen crossover. If only! I’d watch that! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Two Black Amazons from 1400s

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Oh, goodness! An illumination from a 15th-century French manuscript shows two black Amazons. Have a look:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2R; via discarding images on Tumblr.

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; via discarding images on Tumblr.

This image has clearly been cropped and edited. My source, discarding images on Tumblr, says the two women are Amazons but gives no more details.

Being an early history nerd, I did some additional digging. Below is the whole page via Gallica, the digital library for the national library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF).

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Full Page

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r.

The full title of the manuscript is Le secret de l’histoire naturelle contenant les merveilles et choses mémorables du monde. It was created between 1401-1500, and is currently stored at BnF. The illumination comes from the first part of the book, which presents the great countries and the great provinces of the old world.

Unfortunately, my French isn’t good enough anymore to be confident in my reading; I can understand a word here and there, but not the whole. However, it does look like the first word below the illumination is Amazon.

I’ve cropped into a separate image the bottom left corner of the illumination with the text following immediately after it:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Amazons

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; cropped.

I just cannot make out the full spelling of the first word due to the ligatures that squish up the last two or three letters. It definitely looks like it’s inflected, though. The sequence ma definitely follows the capital A, with most likely a z and o further along.

It also looks there’s a sigil marking an abbreviation on top of the o, which was very common in handwritten Medieval documents to mark inflectional endings, among others. (Unless it’s a diacritic like in modern French – were they even used in Medieval French? If so, maybe Amazonye? Amazònye? Amazónye?? Amazônye???)

Anyway, it seems that Amazons are indeed talked about on the same page. The larger block of text above the illumination mentions the word affricà, too. (Again, not sure whether that’s a sigil or diacritic on the final a.)

In any case, if the two women aren’t Amazons, at the very least they are heralds of some sort leading a column of warriors. The image details, like the mi-parti dresses, are really neat, too.

Found via MedievalPOC on Tumblr.

And speaking of MedievalPOC, I’ve found it a truly valuable source for types of art imagery that’s not usually included in the canon from the Middle Ages onwards. The site is sometimes a little too interesting: on several occasions, I’ve spent much longer than intended there, happily chasing intriguing details down the rabbit hole. If you’ve got the time to spare, I wholeheartedly recommend it. 🙂

P.S. You can also follow MedievalPOC on Twitter. Happy browsing!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.