epershand: A picture of a castle with an arrow next to it. (Castle)
The terrible-amazing-terrible tell-all biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother I've been nibbling away at for the last month or so has just outdone itself.

Yet Edward VIII's beliefs and style were far more in keeping with those of our age. Had he been given a fair chance, the British Empire might not have gone into the terminal decline it did as soon as his brother succeeded him. For the fact is, King George VI oversaw the immediate and precipitate decline of the British Empire's fortunes. He oversaw the beginning of the dismantling of the Empire, which continued under his daughter, and might well have been averted had a more progressive king been on the throne. And a progressive king with an American queen might well have been just the antidote to much of the the antipathy which saw nationalists like Gandhi and Jinnah prevail.

- Lady Colin Campbell. The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. p 356, Nook edition.


(Every time people ask me the title of the book I'm reading, I'm like "uh, something involving the words 'Elizabeth' and 'Queen Mother' repeated a lot of times? I can't remember the order?" If it were up to me the title would be A Very Catty History of the Twentieth Century, By A Determined Partisan of Edward VIII.)

I am just enjoying this book SO MUCH, in, ironically, very much the same way I enjoyed the V&A museum. I'm so used to the historical accounts I read, however biased they are, spend a lot of time appearing to be neutral and objective. It's oddly refreshing to see something so coldly pleased with its own biases that it wears them on its sleeve.

(I'm also in the middle of listening to the audio books of Jo Walton's Small Change Trilogy, which I last read a few years go. I am really excited that I got to the Abdication Crisis in this book right as I got to the Edward VIII bits of Half a Crown. But ACCORDING TO LADY COLIN CAMPBELL that whole "Nazi sympathies" thing was just a nasty rumor Elizabeth started. *nodnod*)
epershand: One stick figure beheading another. (Beheading)
This is the post that was keeping me from posting to DW/LJ for the last month. I wrote it in London.

Hope it was worth it?

---

Doesn't the subject line sound like a great action book for kids? Anyway, today was the day where I finally watched "Waters of Mars"* and also the day where I went to the V&A.

I only had enough energy for one floor, but I kind of fell in love with the V&A because it's so great from a historiographical perspective. Every museum has an agenda; the V&A is awesome in that it continues to wear its own on its sleeve so long after the end of the British Empire. May it never change.

Example: the India section claims to have only one small wall on "India and Britain" but the entire section is largely composed of:
  • European Dresses made out of Indian cotton, with a special focus on printed floral patterns. (By European, I mean, of course, English, with some influences from France and Holland.)

  • Dishware and candelabras made in India with British supervision.

  • Explanation of the local governments c. 1890, all of which were established by the English.

  • My personal favorite bit. As I described it to [personal profile] oliviacirce: "Here is that traditional trope of Indian art, the European being eaten by a tiger. It is a well-known allusion to the the Mahabharata."


Anyway, the conclusion is that the Doctor is clearly a symbolic representation of the British Empire )

* I THINK THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER WATCHED WHO LEGALLY. Three cheers for timing a trip to England with an episode release!

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