A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature

According to Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg was one of the three poets of significance who died during the First World War. Although his reputation has been overshadowed by Wilfred Owen (who died in 1918, the same year as Rosenberg), he was an important voice during WWI, as his short poem ‘The Troop Ship’ demonstrates. Here is the poem, followed by a brief analysis of its features.

The Troop Ship
Grotesque and queerly huddled
Contortionists to twist…

Source: A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature

Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)

Source: Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)

Jack Sheppard (1702-1724) is one of my favourite thieves, second only, in my opinion, to Robin Hood. He was rather like an eighteenth-century Artful Dodger, a proper cheeky chappie who thumbed his nose at authority, escaping from gaol no less than four times. This post gives a brief overview of his life and legend.

Jack Sheppard was born in Stepney, London in 1702. His father died when he was young, and Sheppard was placed into the care of the Parish Workhouse, where he remained for some time before being apprenticed to a carpenter named Mr. Wood, of Wych Street near Drury Lane. Contemporary accounts such as The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard (1724), the authorship of which has been credited to Daniel Defoe, tell us that Sheppard was in his early years a perfect apprentice.

Sheppard’s downfall into criminal ways, however, seems to be traced to the time…

Source: Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)

Sir John Falstaff, the Notorious Highwayman – Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood…

So committed to historical accuracy were Alexander Smith and Charles Johnson that in their respective History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1714) and Lives and Exploits of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1734) they give us the life of Sir John Falstaff.

Falstaff lived, we are told by Smith and Johnson, during the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V. Being born of no great or distinguished parentage, they tell us that Falstaff took to the road with three accomplices to support his extravagant lifestyle. He was a very fat man, and his nicknames were:

– Ton of Man (a pun on the Biblical term ‘Son of Man’)
– Chops
– Sack and Sugar
– Fat-Kidneyed Rascal
– Bombast

Apparently Henry IV, who Smith tells us took to life upon the road for a short while, said to him:

You are so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches in the afternoon.

He was also a womaniser, and could often be found in the lowest bawdy houses of London, according to Capt. Charles Johnson.

Then came the wars of the roses, we are told by Smith and Johnson, and as a consequence of his acquaintance and friendship with King Henry, Falstaff received a commission to serve as a…

Source: Sir John Falstaff, the Notorious Highwayman – Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood…

November 5 in Literary History: Guy Fawkes Night

Interesting Literature

The most significant events in the history of books on the 5th of November

‘Remember, remember, the Fifth of November’, as the old rhyme has it – and November the 5th tends to be associated with one particular historical event. But it was also the day of several notable literary birthdays and deathdays…

1605: Guy Fawkes Night comes into being when the Yorkshire revolutionary is caught red-handed underneath the Houses of Parliament. We all know the song: Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. But did it actually happen on the 5th of November? Fawkes was actually apprehended a few minutes before midnight, which means that ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ should probably be a day earlier. The illustration below right is by George Cruickshank for Harrison Ainsworth’s 1840 novel Guy Fawkes.

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Guest Blog: Meeting Catherine – My Journey from Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ to ‘Catherine de Valois’

Interesting Literature

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Henry V is one of the most beloved plays of all time. Though mostly about King Henry’s war with France and his victory at Agincourt on 25th October 1415, the play introduces us to Henry V’s future queen Catherine de Valois from Henry’s decidedly biased point of view.

But was Shakespeare’s version of Queen Catherine truly historical?

Following my successful launch of my short biography Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni aimed at primary- and middle-school children in March, I decided to take on this very question. What I discovered along the way now makes me wonder how Shakespeare ever kept his head on his shoulders in light of the fact that Queen Elizabeth I was Catherine’s – but not King Henry’s – descendant.

Catherine_of_FranceCatherine de Valois was born 27th October 1401 in Paris, the youngest daughter of the paranoid schizophrenic King Charles VI and…

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