TIL the Han Dynasty was founded by a sheriff who was transporting convicts when several escaped. Knowing the punishment for this was death, he freed the rest and organized many into a rebel band, eventually going on to help overthrow the ruling Qin Dynasty and install himself as Emperor.
Talk about rolling with it
You ever fuck up so bad you overthrow a Chinese emperor?
I know what the Han Dynasty is, I swear, but I’m so used to seeing Star Wars content on my dash that until I hit “Qin Dynasty” I literally thought this was a Star Wars novel about the one time Han Solo took a job for the Empire and I was thinking 1) this is definitely something Han Solo would do and 2) I need to find the title of that novel so I can read it.
I spent two years at a top university, was taught by some of the finest modern archaeologists, and THIS is my what I learned.
Historical footage of the last T-Rex serving his country in WWl.
But isn’t that a Jeep? And the T-Rex is holding a…Browning M2? Which wasn’t used until 1933…
So I think this footage is actually of WW2.
I’m living for this historical accuracy
Many people think it’s historically inaccurate because the Tyrannosaur doesn’t have feathers, but a buzz cut is pretty standard for military personnel.
Photograph from the Virginia State University Special Collections & Archives. These are the first African American women of Ettrick, Virginia to vote after passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. They are all members of the Virginia State University faculty, then called the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute.
Front row left to right: Mary Branch, Anna Lindsay, Edna Colson, Edwina Wright, Johnella Frazer (Jackson), and Nannie Nichols; Back row from left to right; Eva Conner, Evie Carpenter (Spencer), and Odelle Green. Taken outside the Ettrick Court House.
it’s sort of funny that the current cultural idea of the flapper dates not from the 1920s, but the 1950s when costume designers took the radical, gender-fluid, sexual, sexually liberated ideas and fashions of the 20s and made them sexy. as in sexual objectifying.
because 1950s and fuck female agency.
If you would like, I would love to hear more about this. What, exactly, happened, and what was the true 1920s aesthetic, untainted by 50s views?
hokay. so it’s the 1950s and it’s the heyday of the studio system and writers and movie makers (and audiences) want rom coms and frolicking films and lighthearted fun, but there’s just one problem.
but that was the 1940s! you say
but in order to set a film in the 1950s, writers and film makers have to establish what the male lead character did during the war or risk it coming across like he didn’t, well, serve. can’t have a shirker or a coward and rejected for medical reasons really doesn’t fly in the 1950s. and there’s only so many times you can write about soldiers and sailors and airmen and the occasional spy before it starts to become stale. and it doesn’t terribly fit with the fluffy writing because, well, war and death and tens of millions of people dead. contemporary films more fall in the line of what we now call film noir. men and women who have been damaged by war, but that’s another topic.
sooooo, you do period pieces. no one wants to do the 1930s because that’s the great depression. so 1920s. frolicking and gay and fabulous!
(Great War, what Great War?)
but the thing is, the 1920s, especially in Paris and Berlin, were a massively transgressive, reversal, and experimental time period in art, fashion, society, and all over. but only a little bit in america because honestly we were barely touched by wwi so it’s not like we’re partying to forget an entire generation of young men killed off and entire towns wiped off the face of the earth using weapons the likes of which had never been seen before. the us as a whole mostly heard about sarin gas, not see it poison entire landscapes and men and animals dropped to the ground and die in truly horrific ways.
the europe that emerged from wwi was massively shell shocked, angry, and living in a surreal dream of everything being upwards and backwards and live now because tomorrow you may die and it’s all nonsense anyway. it’s a world in which surrealism and dadaism and german expressionism make sense because fuck it all.
you get repudiation of the old, experimentation, deliberate reversals, transgressive behavior, and if there’s an envelope to push, you tear it open. France calls the 1920s “Années folles”, the crazy years.
the things we’re doing now, with fluidity and experimentation and exploration of gender and sexuality and presentation? the 1920s did that already. it’s drag and androgyny and blatant homosexuality. it’s extramarital affairs and sex before or without marriage, it’s rejection of marriage as an idea and an institution, it’s playing with gender and gender roles and working women and unrestrained art and
it’s everything the 1950s hated. or more accurately: absolutely terrified of.
the flappers of the 1920s went to college and cut their hair to repudiate a century of a woman’s hair being her crowning glory. they wore obvious makeup and makeup in ways that are not terribly appealing now and weren’t terribly appealing then, but they signaled you were part of the tribe.
they were women who wanted independence and personal fulfillment.
“She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always wanted to do.“
so the 1950s didn’t want that. they wanted films with dancing and chorus lines and pretty girls to be looked at. they wanted spaghetti straps and fringed dresses that moved pretty when the chorus girls danced.
1920s fringe doesn’t. 1920s fringe is made of silk, incredibly dense, incredibly heavy, sewn on individually by hand, and rather delicate. the all-over fringe dress didn’t exist until the 1950s invention of nylon and continuous loops that could be sewn on in costume workshops by the mile on machines.
(this is before “vintage” exists. to the 1950s, the 1920s (or earlier) wasn’t vintage, it was old-fashioned. démodé. out of style. last last last last last season.)
1950s 1920s-set movies have clothes that are the 1950s take on it. the dresses have a dropped waist, but they’re form-fitting, figure-revealing. the actresses are pretty clearly wearing bras and 50s girdles under them a lot of the time. they’re not
the woman on the far left is basically wearing a man’s suit with a skirt. la garçonne. some women went full-out and wore pants. you could be arrested for that. they were. still wore pants. and pyjama ensembles in silk and loud prints.
or class photo of ‘25
not that 1920s dresses could be sexy or sexual; they often were. i’ve seen 20s dresses that were basically sideless and held together with straps. but it’s sort of like how the mini skirt went from being a thing of sexual liberation to an item of sexual objectification.
it’s ownership and it’s agency and it’s hard to put a name or finger on it, but you just know. sex goddess versus sex icon.
My darlings, my sweeties, my beautiful lovelies… I get it. I do, honestly. Everyone has different sensibilities, and quite a lot of us like clean romances. In fact, I myself prefer the slow burn of non-explicit romance to the hard and fast erotica.
But, please, please, I beg of you, do miss me with that ‘the moral purity of the olden days’ crap when you complain about sexuality in Historical Romances, especially those set in the
and Victorian time period.
People in Georgian/Regency England had veritable tons of sex (fuckotons?), and a lot of it was before marriage – roughly 40% of brides married at the time were pregnant at their wedding, and as many as 25% of first-born children being born out of wedlock. And this wasn’t even treated like some shameful secret; everyone knew perfectly well what was happening, and I do mean everyone.
Pornographic literature was popular and easily obtainable, as were contraceptives. Fashion for both men and women was designed specifically to be as revealing as possible – in the form of the infamous Regency dresses made of thin muslin (which women often dampened with water so they would cling to their bodies and show off their figures) and trousers deliberately sewn tight so that the outline of the man’s penis could be plainly visible. Sex clubs and brothels operated freely, and you could buy pamphlets on the street that listed the names and locations of these establishments, along with the most famous of their workers and what kind of services one might purchase there.
Affairs were also unbelievably common, especially among the upper classes, with spouses rarely caring about what the other did once the heir and a spare were provided. Hell, the Duke of Devonshire lived with his wife and his mistress in the same freaking house for 25 years, and you best believe all three of them were very welcome guests in society. And, lest you think the poor little women did nothing but put up with that crap, I give you the glorious example of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne, who had eight children and only her eldest son was fathered by her husband. Again – everyone knew, nobody cared, and nobody cared because it was a common occurrence.
And as for the Victorians? Oh, my sweet darlings, they were even dirtier than their Georgian/Regency predecessors. The perceived prudishness of the time came from the desire to appear more sensible than their forbearers, but in reality not much changed other than dress and mannerisms. Yes, a lot of people who thrived on feeling morally superior to others for denying themselves (and forcing others to deny themselves) any pleasure thrived because of the enormous social pressure to maintain an image of moral purity… but dig just a little bit under that ‘pure’ veneer and you will realise that all those sexual shenanigans of the Georgian/Regency era were still alive and well – they were just moved from the public eye. The brothel culture flourished (BDSM parlours were gaining particular popularity at the time), STDs were rampant, the pornographic novels and pamphlets became even more available (and now included pictures!), and the number of bastard children actually grew rather than diminished. For crying out loud, Queen freaking Victoria wrote erotic love letters to her hubby and described their sexytimes so graphically in her journals that her kids wouldn’t let them be published before they were heavily redacted!
So, yeah. I do not and never will, look down on you for disliking sexual scenes in romance. Clean Romance, as a genre, is just as valid as any other. Just don’t pull the ‘it isn’t historically accurate’ bullshit on me, K?
The days of yore you like to idealise? Never happened.
And yeah, I get it – there are a lot of assholes out there who would mock you and call you sex-negative and prudish for preferring Clean Romances, and pulling out the ‘historical accuracy’ card is easier than facing all that negativity. But you know what? That’s on them and their shitty personalities, not on you. You 100% do not need any excuses for your preferences, and your love of Austenian romanticism is just as valid as another’s love of steamy erotica. Openly celebrate the romance that makes you happy and be proud of what brings you joy! And those jerks baiting you with sneers and comments? Ignore them and continue gushing about the kind of romances you love. Trust me, nothing can hurt a troll more than when their chosen target gives them zero attention and continues to enjoy their lives unperturbed by their jabs.
Retire the excuse already. In this day and age, with so much information freely available to everyone, it really doesn’t hold water.
This! People thing Regency (and Georgian and Victorian periods) were so staid. No they were not. Part of the reason I think Regency is so fascinating is because it’s so contradictory. On one hand, yes, you had very strict rules, but on the other, people were absolutely batshit about the stuff they did. The mind, it boggles. As for Georgians, I just recently ran across this article about sex scandals. I also recently read the biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and yeeeeeah it shows you some of the depravity of the era. Venetia Murray’s An Elegant Madness is good if you want to know about all this upper-class Regency drama. (NB: I mostly know about the higher classes, alas.)
As for the other point, yes, do not let anyone make you feel bad about the type of romance you like. You like it clean, that’s fine. You like it steamy af, that’s fine. That’s why all of it exists, readers want different things. I don’t mind sex, but seriously, I’ve been asked to rec romance with good sex scenes and I never can think of any particularly good sex scenes; I just don’t really care. (Interestingly, I also can never remember any good declarations of love, as I discovered this spring.) You get to decide what you want to read, and I really don’t see how it’s any of anyone else’s business.
It’s so important that people differentiate between ‘I did not like this’ and ‘this was bad’. When I read a fairly steamy Austen variation in November, a lot of the reviews on Goodreads were ‘there was too much sex in it so it was bad’, when that is not how it works at all! If you read a book and its level of steaminess is not what you were expecting or looking for, that means it’s not the right book for you right now. Don’t shame people for reading and writing what they enjoy and call it ‘historical accuracy’ (funnily enough, this also goes for gay people in fantasy!).
And on top of all that, historical romance isn’t meant to be 100% ‘historically accurate’. At this point, it’s almost become a kind of fantasy, too – there’s the basic groundwork that’s the same, but, y’know, with more feminism and less syphilis.
Oh my gods yes, the fact that Regency in Regency romance is a THING OF ITS OWN is a fantastically fascinating thing
like most of the things we expect to see in Regence rom is not historically accurate, but we NEED to see those things there for it to feel like a proper Regency romance. (I think I’ve read one book where the waltz was accurate. But we expect the waltz, and Regency waltz doesn’t really sound very intimate to us these days, whereas the sort of waltz we dance these days is understandably intimate to us. So Regency authors use that instead. ANYWAY.)
I have another book to recommend, Roger Sails’s Jane Austen and Representations of Regency England; it talks about how the Victorians (and Austen’s descendants directly after her death) prettified her and her novels, and because of this our understanding of the Regency is skewed these days, and how adaptations cater to this by keeping things neat and tidy and picturesque and so on. It’s absolutely fascinating!
I have nothing to add to this – since you all covered it fabulously – I just love the smell of discourse in the morning.
More fun facts about ancient Celtic marriage laws: There were no laws against interclass or interracial marriage, no laws against open homosexual relationships (although they weren’t considered ‘marriages’ since the definition of a marriage was ‘couple with child’), no requirement for women to take their husband’s names or give up their property, but comedians couldn’t get married
It’s Adam and Eve not Adam Sandler and Eve
I want to expound upon “comedians couldn’t get married” thing because it’s actually really interesting.
Satire was respected in Ancient Ireland. It was thought to have great power, enough to physically maim the subject one was making jokes about. Satirists could bring down kings with a witty enough insult. That was actually their original function. When the king didn’t do right by his people, a bard was supposed to compose a poem so scathing it would raise welts on the king’s skin to oust him (it was illegal for a “blemished” king to rule.) Unwarranted satire was considered a form of assault.
So what it boils down to is ancient Celts being like “These people are too dangerous to reproduce. DO NOT TRUST THEM WITH CHILDREN. EVER.”
“…supposed to compose a poem so scathing it would raise welts on the king’s skin…”
“…So what it boils down to…”
Well, well, well. Looks like we got a comedian among us.