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March 2009 - The Master of Verona by David Blixt

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
annis
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Post by annis » Mon March 2nd, 2009, 8:46 pm

This is slightly off-topic, but maybe I'll get away with it seeing it's related to the stars (and a Beatrice) :)
I recently read a biography of NZ astronomer, Beatrice Tinsley
Despite being a brilliant scientist her work was constantly subsumed to that of her husband's, and in the more macho atmosphere of the sixties and seventies she got little recognition. In the end she made the difficult choice to divorce her husband so that she could make progress in her work, only to be diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly afterward. A sad story.

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Leo62
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Post by Leo62 » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 1:17 pm

This book sounds great and I really want to read it, but finding it hard to locate here in the UK :(

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 3:19 pm

[quote=""annis""]It has to be remembered as well, I guess, that the dynamic of the child-parent relationship in the late medieval period would have been very different from a modern one; compliance and obedience to the parent would have been taken as a given. [/quote]

That dynamic makes the politics of this time so interesting... underscores how important father-son relationships were to the success of a continued family line (at least for aristocrats like Cangrande, Montecchio, etc.), and yet fathers and sons sometimes ended up being silent enemies if the political climate exacerbated their competing interests. It's bad enough to worry about your enemies; throw in a few disgruntled family members into the mix (Antony's brother, Luigi, for example), and... well, Shakespeare certainly got enough good stories out of it!

annis
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Post by annis » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 4:49 pm

Posted by Leo62
This book sounds great and I really want to read it, but finding it hard to locate here in the UK
I notice that my old favourite Book Depository has it listed
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/97 ... -of-Verona
but I'm not sure if you might think it a bit expensive,
Would your library be able to get you a copy?

annis
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Post by annis » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 6:08 pm

Posted by Ludmilla
It's bad enough to worry about your enemies; throw in a few disgruntled family members into the mix (Antony's brother, Luigi, for example), and... well, Shakespeare certainly got enough good stories out of it!
Luigi is a toad, isn' he? It's the old problem - you can choose your friends, but not your family! Kinship certainly doesn't guarantee compatibility. (Remembers ding-dong rows with younger sister :) )

For medieval families of noble birth (or pretensions to it) I see the family as a microcosm of the feudal system, with the father the lord and his children his vassals.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 6:15 pm

There are some second hand copies on Amazon. There's a paperback copy for £5.06 plus p&P, but it would be coming from the US.

I like the sound of this book, too. Is it going to be published in the UK (I think Amazon UK sometimes have a quantity of US copies as do Borders)?
Last edited by Vanessa on Tue March 3rd, 2009, 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Amanda
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Post by Amanda » Wed March 4th, 2009, 1:16 am

I just picked up The Master of Verona from the library. I was pretty suprised that they had it, as our shire library does not have a great range really. i should get to start it in a few days!

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed March 4th, 2009, 4:39 am

Ludmilla and Annis mention Luigi, which reminds me how absolutely murderous the relationships of aristocratic brothers could be in certain past centuries. Gregory of Tours wrote about the sons of Clovis, who were always trying to kill each other off. The competition among sons to inherit a share of the kingdom was often deadly. Perhaps that's part of the reason why the French instituted the Salian laws, under which only the eldest son could inherit his father's estate. Clovis's sons divided up the kingdom among them, which sounds very fair, but was quite impractical, especially since each of the sons wanted the whole shebang. His wives and daughters were not exactly gentle souls either. One woman tried to kill her own daughter by banging the lid of a clothes chest down on her neck while the young woman was bent over it looking for something - or so Gregory reports. In comparison with these folks, Luigi doesn't sound quite so dreadful!

I hope you can find a copy, Leo. It's a big, richly textured novel about a fascinating period in Italian history that has been neglected by novelists (if not by Shakespeare).
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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Wed March 4th, 2009, 11:52 am

[quote=""Margaret""]The competition among sons to inherit a share of the kingdom was often deadly. Perhaps that's part of the reason why the French instituted the Salian laws, under which only the eldest son could inherit his father's estate. [/quote]

That's one thing I remember from Edward Rutherfurd's Russka -- the deadly rivalry between the brothers because the kingdom was divided up between brothers (or inheritance went from brother to brother, can't quite remember exactly how it worked). I think that is considered a significant cause for the decline of Kievan Rus.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed March 4th, 2009, 6:49 pm

I think that is considered a significant cause for the decline of Kievan Rus.
You're right, Ludmilla, it was. It's been a long time since I read Russka, but not quite so long since I did a bit of research into the history of Kiev for an article I was writing on Hungarian history. To the best of my memory, as in France under Clovis's sons, the sons of Jaroslav divided the kingdom among them, and then began a savage war.

Volgadon, are you out there? Can you add more details?
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