[Artemisia] An Odd query for the True History Wonks

Bruce Padget bapadget at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 15 07:35:09 CST 2003

One frustration in researching social pastimes (dance,
games, sports) in England is that some of the best
documentation is just a little bit OOP.  Of course,
because so much remains untranslated, even those of us
who don't specialize in England often face the choice
of recreating England or recreating nothing.  And
because of cultural cross-pollination, English sources
can shed light when the Continental sources are vague
or incomplete.

Spain had a great treatise on games in the 13th
century.  Italy had some great dance works in the
early 15th.  But you get to England, and it's nothing
but a few scattered private notes or vague literary
mentions pre-1600.  Then, in 1651, _The English
Dancing Master_, in the 1660s Willughby's _Volume of
Plaies_, and in 1674, Cotton's _Compleat Gamester_.

I realize the risk in trying to plot a trend from
three samples, but I can't help thinking that
Something caused this movement from bupkis to riches
within 25 years.

Some speculations of mine so far:

Some change in the publishing business? 
(Technological?  Legal regulation? New business

An intellectual paradigm shift toward encyclopedic
descriptive folk life research?

The idea of social how-to books spreading outward from
Muslim Spain?

A result of the Commonwealth and its demise?  (Maybe
feeling an urgent need to preserve traditions when the
mortality of those traditions was realized?)

Thoughts?  Do trends with cookbooks or in other areas
shed light?

Abbastanza Buon Non E Abbastanza Buono
bapadget at yahoo.com
(Who someday may gain the patience to leave a theory
in the oven until it's fully baked.)

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