Tuesday, June 19, 2007

1604 to 1605

1604. England's James I commissions nearly 450 scholars to re-translate the Old and New Testaments.

1604. James I of England on smoking: "What honor or policie can move us to imitate the barbarous and beastly manners of the wild, godlesse, and slavish Indian especially in so vile and stinking a custome?" He finds it "a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the nose, harmfull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse."

Othello, the Moor of Venice. Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Made jealous by Iago, Othello strangles his wife Desdemona. Iago's wife reveals his treachery. Othello commits suicide: "I loved not wisely but too well."

The Dutch Courtezan. John Marston. British. 1604. Play. Freevil leaves a courtesan for Beatrice. The courtesan arranges his death. The hired killer and Freevil stage his death. The courtesan betrays the hired killer to authorities. Freevil reappears to forestall his execution.

Bussy D'Ambois. George Chapman. British. 1604. Play. Poor countryman rivals a noble for a lady's affections. He succeeds, but is lured to his death.

Measure for Measure. Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Tyrant who rules by the letter of the law is caught breaking the law himself.

The Honest Whore, Parts I and II. Thomas Dekker. British. 1604/05. Play. When his lover is sent to a convent, Hippolito is taken to Bellafont, a courtesan whose advances he resists. She reforms, but he is reunited with his lover. Subplot: Candido, a linen draper, perturbed by nothing, is put into an institution by his wife. In Part II, the characters change personalities. The husband of Bellafont tries to force her into prostitution and Hippolito tries to force his attentions on the now honest whore, Bellafont.

1605. A "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up the Houses of Parliament in revenge against harsh penal laws enacted against Roman Catholics comes to light when English Catholic Guy Fawkes, 35, is arrested the night of November 4 while entering the gunpowder-filled cellar under Parliament.

1605. The world's first newspaper begins publication at Antwerp under the direction of local printer Abraham Verkoeven.

King Lear. Shakespeare. British. 1605. Play. Lear divides his kingdom between his daughters Goneril and Regan who profess their love for him. Cordelia who is honest in saying she loves him simply because he is her father he disowns Goneril and Regan reduce Lear to madness. Cordelia, who truly loves him, is reunited with him, but she is executed. Lear dies soon after. He was blind to the false love of Goneril and Regan and to the true love of Cordelia.

The Advancement of Learning. Francis Bacon. British. 1605. Nonfiction. Extols the pursuit of learning. Critically surveys the existing state of knowledge.

Don Quixote. Cervantes. Spanish. 1606/15. Novel. His mind crazed by reading romances of chivalry, Don Quixote believes himself called upon to redress the wrongs of the world. Alonso Quijano takes the name of Don Quixote whose bony nag is Rocinante. Aldonza Lorenzo, a peasant girl, he names Dulcinea. He is joined by Sancho Panza and his ass Dapple. Is it an ironic story of an idealist frustrated and mocked in a materialistic world? Is it a veiled attack on the Catholic Church? Whatever it is, it's a panoramic view of 17th-century Spanish society. Essential humanity. Does the contrast between Don Quixote, visionary idealist, and Sancho Panza, practical realist, illustrate the duality of Spanish character?

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