Top 10 books lost to time

Just ran across this Smithsonian.com article: The Top 10 Books Lost to Time. Neat read, rife with possibilities; every link I’ve seen pulls a quote from the #4 selection, Inventio Fortunata, which does have a bit of a Piri Reis-sounding mystery to it; but the “lost” Shakespeare work of Cardenio interests me more:

Cardenio has been called the Holy Grail of Shakespeare enthusiasts. There is evidence that Shakespeare’s company, the King’s Men, performed the play for King James I in May 1613—and that Shakespeare and John Fletcher, his collaborator for Henry VIII and Two Noble Kinsmen, wrote it. But the play itself is nowhere to be found.

And what a shame! From the title, scholars infer that the plot had something to do with a scene in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote involving a character named Cardenio. (A translation of Don Quixote was published in 1612 and would have been available to Shakespeare.)

Kind of sounds like the ultimate Elizabethan-era crossover.

’05 retrospective (historical)

Looking back on some of the historical events of 2005. For some reason, it seemed to me to be an interesting year for centennial events also.

2005:

  • The Huygens probe landed on Titan (Saturn’s moon).
  • One Pope died and a new Pope was selected.
  • Deep Throat’s identity was revealed.
  • Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans, Bixoli, and the Gulf Coast. It was an unusually dense and destructive year for tropical storms.
  • Civil unrest hit France in the Paris suburbs.
  • A 7.6-magnitude earthquake stuck the Kashmir region in Northern Pakistan, killing nearly 90,000 people.
  • NASA more-or-less successfully launched a projectile into a comet for study.

Centennial notes (1905):

  • Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity.
  • Bend, Oregon became officially incorporated.
  • Las Vegas was founded.

Bicentennial notes (1805):

  • Lewis and Clark arrived and wintered at the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Battle of Trafalgar: Admiral Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish naval fleet.
  • Napoleon, meanwhile, soundly defeats the Russians and Austrians at the Battle of Austerlitz.

Obviously I’m only touching on a very, very abbreviated list. A good one to review (and getting better each day) is Wikipedia’s 2005 page. But, I think it’s a decent touchpoint to start with, and it definitely stimulates the thinking. At any rate, those are some of the first things I thought of or stood out to me when I was looking back at 2005.

What 2005 events are significant to you?

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day in France, their equivalent to our Fourth of July/Independence Day. The Wikipedia article I point to there has a pretty good overview.

On 20 June [1789] the deputies of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (named after the place where they had gathered which was a place where an ancestor of tennis, the “jeu de paume” was played), swearing not to separate until a Constitution had been established. To show their support, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a prison where people were jailed by arbitrary decision of the King (lettre de cachet). The Bastille was, in particular, known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government. Thus the Bastille was a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.

There were only 7 inmates housed at the time of the siege. The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance. No less important in the history of France, it was not the image typically conjured up of courageous French patriots storming the Bastille and freeing hundreds of oppressed peasants. However, it did immediately inspire preparations amongst the peasants for the very real threat of retaliation.

An even more comprehensive history (you gotta love Wikipedia) is found at the Storming of the Bastille article.

Back in the summer of 1989, when I was 16, I spent three weeks in France on a high school trip. We were there for the Fête Nationale (National Holiday), in… Tournon, I believe it was. Not only was it Bastille Day, but it was the bicentennial as well. Sadly, it was half my lifetime ago and I don’t remember nearly as much as I should; I remember fireworks in Tournon but the big action was in Paris (where we weren’t). I did keep a journal for the time I was there—most of it, anyway—I think I’ll dig that up and re-read it. Hell, I’ll post it here, even.

In the meantime, happy 14 juillet.

55,000 year old trees at Yachats

This story from Bend.com last week reminded me of the Stumps posting I made a year ago.

An Oregon State University oceanographer has discovered remnants of an ancient forest in a seaside cliff near Yachats, with exposed tree sections that have been dated at older than 55,000 years.

Those trees, which apparently were flattened during an ancient landslide and preserved in sediment, are now being exposed – and may help shed light on the tumultuous historical natural conditions along the Oregon coast, researchers said.

Of course, those trees at 55,000 (or greater) years old trumps the “merely” 2,000 year-old trees at Neskowin, but it’s amazing to me the kinds of things that are washing up on the Oregon Coast recently.

Historic photos of Pacific City

While researching something about Pacific City, Oregon, I came across the Pacific City Oregon Visitor’s Guide which has some links to a bunch of extremely neat historical photographs. I like Pacific City quite a lot, not just because of the Pelican Pub & Brewery, but also because it’s the quintessential small Oregon coast town (like Bandon, another town I really like). And the Dory boats are cool.

Links to Pacific City history, historic photos, more photos, and historic Dory photos.