And Shakespeare, obvs…

In answer to the request for a post on “Historical personages who inspire and/or fascinate me, by Electrical Dragon, in response to this post.

For most of the last year I have had a bit of a thing for Isabella Bird, after visiting the Mull Historical Museum in Tobermory with my lovely little mother. She was included in it (Isabella, not my mother) as her sister, a woman of great faith and charity, had lived in Tobermory for years, and done great works for the poor and unfortunate there. Isabella, meanwhile, had not. Isabella was a sickly child who turned into a sickly adult, only perking up and improving in health when she was given leave to go off travelling somewhere.

And she did. She went all over the place and wrote about it. On her own. Up mountains, into rainforests, across deserts and boldly where no other female traveller at the time went. And was, mainly, breathtakingly rude about the places she went and the people she found there. Not because she was being snarky or trying to be funny about them – just because while she wasnt an average Victorian woman in the sense that she couldnt think of anything worse than staying at home in a rainy country and doing what was expected of her, she still wildly disapproved of people who didnt adhere to her standards of Victorian British Ladyness.

Just go and read The wikipedia page about her. Shes brilliant. One of these days Id love to recreate, particularly, her journey from California up through the Rocky mountains, where she was grumpy about practically everything, and fell in love with a wild frontier man (but never quite wrote about it, not in the published version, anyway), but I suppose Ill just have to wait until I can get someone else to pay for it

– Other people. Including another Victorian woman who wrote a decidedly opinionated and very dismissive guide to the countries of the world without ever actually going to any of them. Shes responsible for something else I want to work on when I have the time, too.

– Jim Henson. I dont think he counts as a historical personage, as he died within my lifetime I feel odd describing him as such – same goes for Douglas Adams. But I find both of them spectacularly inspiring when it comes to work. They (and the people above) would both be invited to that mythical dinner party that people talk about having, inviting the living, the dead, the famous or the fictional.

Related: thinking about this happened to make me think of the archives. Which I have been thinking about also in the sense of wanting to get them organised by the time this blog turns ten (TEN!) years old later this year. I remembered I had at some point written something about someone I admired from history, Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, in fact, who I apparently fell in love with for about a day in 2002. And then there were also

Twelve Historical figures I would not invite to a dinner party (And why)

Ten Fictional figures I would not invite to a dinner party (and also why).

And some people that the luminous Non-working Monkey, in a guest post, said that she, in turn wouldnt invite to HER dinner party, with her reasons.