A Compendium of Common Knowledge 1558-1603by Maggie Secara
The Compendium of Common Knowedge (1558-1603) offers insight into ordinary lives-both common and noble-in the England of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. In this little book you'll find notes on Elizabethan food, occupations, games, and pastimes, also religion, manners, attitudes, and education-the little details that make up daily life, that everyone knows without thinking. The Compendium, used on-line by Renaissance fairs and schools all over the world, provides a unique reference for writers, students, actors, re-enactors, and Elizabethan enthusiasts of all kinds.
- Popinjay Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)
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There are several tomes out there that are useful to the renaissance fair actor, or anyone seeking information/education on life in Elizabethan England. This book is one of them. The content has existed on line for many years, and before that it was passed around on typed sheets. Now we have it in book form, to lovingly cherish, or set up in a little grotto in your home with candles... But I digress. The cover is a beautiful copy of the Wedding at Bermondsy, and inside are many bits of information that make up Elizabethan life. If you've questions about certain areas of Elizabethan life, you will find the answers through the Index. As each piece of information is presented in 1-2 pages, it does not have the dullness of some reference books where you must wade through page after page of a topic that you find stupidly offensive and either seek lobotomy or stop reading. Our author has your interests in mind--she writes with the short-attention-span reader as her audience--and even the addlepated will be able to gain knowledge from this book. Best of all, this is your script for improv at fair. Yes, a thorough grounding in Ms. Secara's subject matter means when you perform at a fair, you won't sound like the village idiot. Why? Because you know your history. This isn't the dry-crumbly-stuff-used-to-pad-envelopes kind of history you were force-fed in school via history texts that point out Queen Elizabeth showed up, did some stuff, and then died, and maybe Sir Walter was there, too, and he died, and by the by, Sir Frances Drake also showed up and did some pirating, and, you guessed it, he died, too. It's lively and interesting. I mean, most people eventually die, so that's rarely relevant unless the death causes some sort of sensation. What'd they do while they were living? That's what we want to know, and this book answers that. But this isn't like The Life and Times of Elizabeth I, by Neville Williams, which talks about Elizabeth... and her court... and Elizabeth... and her court... and Elizabeth... and her court--all of whom, at the end, die. I know, spoiler, I told you, just in case you hadn't guessed that already. The cliff-hanger is who succeeds her. I'll let you read to find out, as if you can't Google the answer. It's got the specifics about the common man, the cottagers and husbandmen, the goodwives and goodmen, and how they lived. If you're considering whether to get this book or another, then buy this one. It's better than *that book* over there. I know. I've read that book -and- this one.
At long last in a hand-held format, this work is a must-have for anyone who has even a passing interest in the up close and personal of Elizabethan daily life, to say nothing of fans of the Bard. It's the glovebox guide you've been looking for. Originally created with the re-enacting community in mind, its utility far exceeds that somewhat limited circle. I've already purchased three copies: one for my own use, and the other two for teachers. And I haven't been involved in re-enacting in over 30 years! Brilliantly informative and, at the same time, somewhat cheeky, the Compendium gets the message across in much the same manner as 'Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.' You laugh so often during your journey through the book that you don't even realize you've been learning things along the way. I highly recommend this book to one and all.
The Compendium of Common Knowledge, as web fans already know, is a snapshot of daily life in the court and countryside of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I, written for the everyday reader. Well researched and illustrated from period sources, each page id packed with details about food, work, games, and gossip, as well as the windows, weddings, and beliefs of more than 400 years ago. There¿s a detailed index to make it especially easy to use, plus notes on the sources so you can find out more. This new paperback version even features a bonus chapter on persona building that¿s perfect for guildmasters and authors both.
While I usually do not comment on publications (good or bad) this book should be in the library of ever history teacher. A wealth of knowledge which corrects common mistakes made by instructors who are unfamiliar with the subject matter. Ms. Secara has outdone herself. I will have one for my shelf and one to loan out to those who continue to provide children with information which brings me and my child to say 'Well, that's not exactly correct'. Keep up the good work!