Not the Real Site? Facts about the Tower of London

If you wish to watch my vlog of the Tower and Bridge, click here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb1WQ61ktVw

 

 

Every stone on this building, has seen it all. This isn’t History – these events really happened.

This quote, above, are the exact words from one guide, who’s also a Yeomen Warder at the Tower. It’s a true statement that not only presents the History of the Tower of London, but of all the Historic Buildings in the world. It provides that History isn’t created by people – it is by all.

London is full of wondrous sites, including The Shard, The London Eye and Big Ben. But the Tower of London is my favourite landmark; to me, it’s the icing on the cake – there’s so much to explore and learn – facts and all. But what are the true facts of the Tower? And what isn’t?

The Internet can amazing, but sometimes, the facts you read can be incorrect. It may sound ridiculous, but this doesn’t affect me. What amazes me, however, are the facts that are spoken by word and/or written beside an artefact in a Historical Palace, House or Museum. And it’s a shame that everyone is being incorrectly taught; all wrongs can make a right, though. That is how this blog became to be.

There are many facts of the Tower, to which, I’ve learnt during my visit. However, I won’t include all; instead, I will include my favourites.

So, here are my favourite facts about the Tower of London:

  • As I mentioned in my vlog, the term Beefeaters (another name for the Warders) doesn’t originate from France at all! It’s not even in the French Dictionary. It’s an English word. But were did it come from? Well, turns out that there were several events (when the White Tower was a Royal Palace) when the sovereign went to bed, the guards would eat the leftover beef on their plate.
  • The site of the Executor’s Block – Tower Hill – is inaccurate! It was constructed by the Victorians, who got everything wrong. The real site is now where Tower Hill Tube Station stands.
  • The timber roof in the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula was ordered to be constructed by Henry VIII for his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, so she could remember her homeland, back in Spain. This was before Henry broke from Rome and divorcing Katherine.
  • To be a Yeoman Warder, you have to be a former Warrant Officer – either in the Royal Navy, Army, Marines or Air Force – and must have worked in this position for at least twenty-two years.
  • The Warders call the Tower of London their home. With their families, they have their own homes, with all the living comforts of home. They also have entertainment, including a pub. But although they have everything, we mustn’t forget that the guards – men and women – are heroes who have bravely served their country.

 

Well, that’s all for now. If you want to go to the Tower of London,

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Romantic Ruins, More Beaches and Delicious Restaurants’ – My Second Review of the South Coast

For first review of the South West, click the link here:

 

https://actingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/peaceful-walks-sandy-beaches-and-something-inbetween-my-review-holiday-to-the-south-coast/

What more than just the countryside? Well, look no further. The South West Coast reviews are back again!

Nearly a year after our last visit, my Mother and I decided to spend another trip to see our family again for the Easter Holidays. Although the weather isn’t warm (unlike London), we decided to make the most of it. We didn’t stay long this time, as it was approaching to the end of my break. We would have liked to stay longer; alas, that wasn’t to be. Despite this, we have enjoyed our mini-holiday. Again, I offer a huge thanks to them for being wonderful hosts; it’s a pleasure (as always) to have their company. This is what happened:

Day One – Took a walk on West Bexington beach, before heading to dinner at the No 6 Restaurant in the heart of Dorchester. 

Arrived in the afternoon. Had a steady walk on the beach, minus the strong, heavy wind. Walked for about half-an-hour.

In the early evening we travelled to a decent, yet quiet restaurant. In fact, we were the only one’s there. To be honest, it was in a tight street corner, which made it impossible to be seen. If there isn’t anyone who hasn’t been to the restaurant before, then where have you been? The owners of No 6 were extremely friendly and provided excellent hospitality. The food was top-notch. Rather than your usual heat-eat ready meals, the chief provides customers fresh, ready-to-eat meals on your plates: from the small appetisers to the breakfast-plate desserts. I also have to give them a huge credit to how they dealt with those who have allergies. Not only they give you clear information of what they could replace with on your dishes, but they also kindly give you food substitutes to replace the usual bread, and butter (before your main dish, or with your starter) and explaining to their customers about what’s in them, i.e., ‘the rice cakes are made with corn, and are gluten and wheat-free’. No problems with my experience at all: however, one small tip – dress casually, as No 6 is very posh.

Day Two – Went to visit Corfe Castle, headed to the Tea Shop for Morning Tea and looking around the village. Then, travelled to Studland Bay; had an hour walk, before making a stop at The Halfway Inn Pub and Restaurant for some late lunch. In the evening, we went for a walk in the countryside, near Frampton Village.  

School holidays never fails to disappoint all. So, it’s no surprise that Corfe Castle is the King of entertainment. Come rain or shine, activities are provided for all ages; from the tiny tots to the energetic over sixties. There are demonstrations of Medieval weaving, cooking and historic talks of swords. You can even practice your archery skills and see how you go. But the main attraction has to be the castle. Considered to be England’s romantic castle, Corfe is a crown jewel for every historic eye. It has a one thousand year history, full of excitement and wonder. Every crenellation and stone is worth stopping for; even the breath-taking view from the Keep is picturesque.

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View of the Castle grounds and village, from Corfe’s Keep tower.

 

To end our morning, we stopped at the Tea Rooms and we’re served, with the fashionable displays of tea, cappuccino’s and apple juices. Afterwards, we went around the shops before heading back to the car park, via the New Inn.

Next stop was Studland Bay. The beach did have a couple of walkers, even though it was getting close to high tide. We had fun and there was plenty to see, including a training exercise with the Coastguard and the Lancaster.

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View of Studland Bay.

We got hungry after our walk, so we paid a visit to The Halfway Inn, a pub and restaurant in the middle of the countryside. The Inn was in a cosy, friendly environment. And like No 6, the staff were really friendly and were very good with customers who had dietary requirements. The only downside we had however, were the waiters, serving the incorrect meals. This meant that we had to wait for an extra four to six minutes to the right ones to arrive. It was only a small issue, so there was reason to make a huge fuss about.

Later on in the day, we decided to walk around Frampton Village. Starting from the Village car park, we pasted Millennium Park, went over The White Bridge, and headed through Metlands Wood, via Tibbs Hollow. We then ended our evening constitutional, down the Roman Aquaduct and Frampton Park, before heading back to the Hall.

What’s a way to spend a beautiful day by spending quality time with your family. From Stonebarrow Hill, the views of the sea were spectacular and breathtaking (especially when the sun was out). When we went on the walk around the Hill, and Golden Cap, I noticed that there were a lot of steep steps and hills. But in between  there is farmland, landscapes and St Gabriel’s Chapel, a small, romantic, thirteenth century ruin, which is now a place of worship. My uncle, auntie, cousin, parents and I have enjoyed our afternoon, from the picnic to the walk – it was a wonderful experience. I recommend the Hill and Cap, as a wonderful day out. Also, I suggest to bring a picnic but near the car park, as it would be easier than carrying heavy bags and walking around the steep cliffs.

Day Three – Spend our last morning back in Frampton Village; this time, we took a longer walk …

The weather was calm and bright; a prefect end for our mini-holiday. We decided that before hitting the road home, my Mother and I would join our family on a last walk outside Frampton Village. This walk was in Nunnery Mead, a nature reserve. We started via the same route, only to change direction when we approached Southover. Then, we continued past Maiden Newton and into the woodland, before arriving at the reserve. Nunnery Mead is full of woodland; it also has two excavation sites – one was a Roman Villa and the other a Medieval Village. And to top it all off, there are short pathways where you can walk, whilst listening to the peaceful sounds of the River Frome. If you lucky, you might also hear the distant sounds of resident peacocks or newborn Spring lambs.

 

Overall, we’ve enjoyed our second stay in the South West; in fact, it was bigger and better than the first time. Each time we come down, I feel I’m already home. A home of which I can belong too, as well as for those who enjoy the taste of the English Countryside. In my last review, I remember saying:

It has been a wonderful experience and we are sad to leave. But as we do, we leave behind the memories of our week’s stay and the wonders we’ve experienced and enjoyed. I’m delighted to share them with you in the hope that one day, you will share and have many experiences when you visit the South West Coast of England.

While the feelings for leaving are so strong, I’m already seeing the positive vibe I have about the South West. There’s no doubt that they’ll be more experiences to come. It may not have tall buildings or have the shine factor (as to the Shard in London); but it has everything to offer.

If you get a chance to visit the South West (especially during the holidays), I would recommend visiting West Bexington beach and Studland Bay during low tides. They should occur during the lunch hour, but check before you travel. For a fair, decent timetable for Tide Forecasts, I would recommend using The Beach Guide. However if you ever visit the beaches during high tide (especially in rough weather), NEVER EVER under any circumstances go near the waves. A lot of deaths have occurred, mostly at West Bexington due to strong currents.

If history is your thing or a simple country walk, Corfe Castle would be a good place to start. However, there are three things to bear in mind:

  1. You’ll be walking up and around the hill, within and around the grounds. So, wear some decent shoe wear.
  2. Wear warm clothing, as there you likely to bump into very cold wind.
  3. Be careful where you go, if you walk around the hill (before the main entrance). There are lot’s of pathways that are close to the edge. It is also really steep and any accident could be seriously fateful. Always stick to the path and keep an eye while you walk.

If you want to walk around Frampton Village, I would highly recommend Tibb’s Hallow and Nunnery Mead. But if you come across any wildlife, do not approach them for they maybe protective of their young. Also, wear sensible footwear and be careful when you walk near the River Frome.

If you want to stop for a late luncheon, I would recommend both restaurants. For No 6, I would look out for the Special’s on their board/menu’s; especially anything with fish involved. As for The Halfway Inn, I seriously try the vegetarian Five Bean & Lentil Chilli. It’s gluten-free and tastes amazing when you blend the chilli, rice and nachos together. You’ll really, really enjoy this; it can also be served without cheese.

Anything is made possible and nothing is possible when your there – in the South West.

HistoricTale Lecture Special: Connections and Truths About Katheryn Parr

Title: The Taming of the Queen

Author: Philippa Gregory

Date of Publication: 2015

Genre: Historical Fiction

Not all historic figures are what we think they are. Described in history books as “good”, “bad”, “mad” or “sad”, its hard to see the truth of their lives, through text and pieces of paper. Historical fiction sets alight on this area; authors may not know the actual, daily lives of famous monarchs or people but they show how hard it is to live in a time of fear and corruption, through pain staking research and powerful imagination. Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire where on a day before its publication, Philippa Gregory held a lecture at Dr Challoner’s High School, announcing her latest novel, ‘The Taming of the Queen’.

philippa_gregory

 Philippa Gregory, the author of ‘The Taming of the Queen’. 

About: Story Plot

Katheryn Parr, recently widowed from her second husband is just about to marry the love of her life, Thomas Seymour. However, she catches the eye of King Henry VIII; he falls in love with Katheryn and commands her to marry him. Having no choice, Katheryn accepts and faces danger when the King’s noble subjects turn against her. Will Katheryn Parr survive her ordeal and live to see her marriage to Thomas Seymour? Or will she lose her head?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvZQOvceuzQ – Video link to ‘The Taming of the Queen’.

How Did Philippa Gregory Come to Write ‘The Taming of the Queen’?

Confessing she didn’t know much about Katheryn Parr, Philippa did a lot of research and grew fond of her, while the book is in development. Philippa said that as she was writing the novel, she developed “a feeling and understanding of Katheryn”.

What and How Did Philippa Gregory Start to Write ‘The Taming of the Shrew’?

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Katheryn Parr – the main character for Philippa Gregory’s new novel.

Facts About Katheryn Parr 

  • During her time as Queen, Katheryn commissioned her portraits herself.
  • Katheryn’s role as a nurse to the ‘old fat Henry’ were completely false. This goes the same for her first two husbands. Those myths was created by the Victorians, properly because they want to point out what a woman’s role should be when it comes to caring and respecting their husbands. When he was first married to Katheryn, Henry was still a strong monarch and still wanted a son. So, he turned to Katheryn; she was attractive, rich and still able to bear children. In all, she was the prefect choice for Queen.
  • Katheryn kept her initials, when she was Queen. This is her full signature when she signed documents and letters:

parrsig2

  • Katheryn never had a proper education when she was growing up. But that all changed when she was Queen. She taught herself about the reform of Religion and was the first woman to publish books, under her own name. Katheryn didn’t publish until Henry’s death, in case she would face consequences if she did.
  • Katheryn was clever, intelligent and supportive as Queen. She was also a family woman, who brought all of the Royal children back in Henry’s favour, ordering them to restore the right to ascend the English throne. One summer while Henry was at war with France, Katheryn invited Mary, Elizabeth and Edward together to stay in residence with her until Henry returned to England. In that time, Elizabeth and Mary would also watch Katheryn work. Katheryn was especially close to Elizabeth and Edward; responsible for her education, Elizabeth had picked up Katheryn’s skills that helped Elizabeth and proved to everyone that females can rule as monarchs.
  • Thomas Seymour and Katheryn married in secret; their marriage took place four months after Henry’s death.
  • Katheryn was a shoe lover. In her first year of her third marriage, she owned over a thousand shoes.
  • In his previous marriages, Henry didn’t say goodbye to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard when they were banished or executed. Why? Because he thought it would be awkward to do so. However, he never had any awkward conversations with Katheryn Parr. She was obedient to her husband, and always addresses issues with Henry when she felt they’re incorrect.

What Does Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ Have to Do With Katheryn Parr?

Most of the conversations between Henry and Katheryn Parr Philippa wrote in ‘The Taming of the Queen’ are based on several resources. All of them are what we refer to as ‘shrew stories’, where women think they are higher than their husbands, but men tame them to switch roles within their wives. But the most notable is William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.

Philippa says that in Katheryn’s lifetime, there may have been a performance of a shrew story in the Royal court. And she may have possibly watched the performance with the King. Philippa also says that as a playwright, Shakespeare did write a play on Henry VIII’s life. But one question hangs in the balance – did Shakespeare write ‘Taming of the Shrew’ and researched Katheryn’s life as inspiration? Did Shakespeare dig into her life and Henry’s as inspiration for his two main characters – Petruchio and Katherina? It could be possible. There’s evidence for this, as at one point, Philippa discovers Henry’s obsession with Katheryn. In public, Henry would tame Katheryn, instructing her to kiss him. She obeys and Henry kisses Katheryn “like a chambermaid, who has just come through the door”. Although ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ is a problem comedy, Katheryn and Henry’s married may have a different matter. Did Henry abuse Katheryn, in order to tame her and get what he wants? We can only guess.

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Elizabeth Taylor as Katherina and Richard Burton as Petruchio in the 1967 film version of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’; the inspiration for Philippa Gregory’s new novel. 

What Questions Did The Audience Ask Philippa Gregory? And What Were Her Answers?

  • Why Did You Not Write a Book About Jane Seymour?

Philippa already has mentioned Jane Seymour in other Tudor novels, including ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’ and ‘The King’s Curse’. But, she also said that she doesn’t want to write a solo novel for Jane Seymour because she has appeared in many places that there is not much to be said about her. Also, Philippa said that Jane was a “dippy girl”. And that’s were we will leave this question.

  • How Was Katheryn a Tamed Woman and Survived the Ordeal of Henry VIII? 

Philippa believes that Katheryn survived because she was just “jolly clever”. In her lifetime, Katheryn had a spirit, which could never be broken. Henry tired and failed miserably to tame Katheryn, to prove to her that her was right, not only as a King, but as a husband too. Instead, Henry and Katheryn would make up for their beliefs and put their differences onto a shelf and leave at that. Katheryn also used her brains and beauty to lie when she wanted to marry Thomas Seymour. But, you may have to read the book for this one.

  • Who is Your Favourite Historic Queen?

Philippa replied by saying that she has many Queen favourites. Her old favourite was Catherine of Aragon. That was until she discovered Catherine’s treatment to King James IV of Scotland at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Then, she mentioned a new favourite – King James’ wife, Margaret (who is also one of Henry VIII’s sisters). Going back to the Battle of Flodden, Philippa said that she was on Margaret’s side and it was like “being in a relationship wither her”. Also, she has favourites from the Medieval period; more notability Jacquetta Rivers and her daughter, Elizabeth Woodville from the Cousin War series. In conclusion, Philippa said that her favourite Queen is Elizabeth Woodville. 

  • What Were Katheryn’s Feelings Towards Elizabeth When Her Husband, Thomas Seymour Sexually Abused Her?

Katheryn didn’t take this situation too well. According to Philippa, it was common in the Tudor period for a married man to take a mistress if his wife was with child. Katheryn was shocked and heartbroken when she discovered Thomas Seymour’s affair with her stepdaughter.

As for Elizabeth, Philippa said she enjoyed her bed-time romps, cuddles and kisses with Seymour. Before she discovered Seymour’s true purpose, Elizabeth didn’t understand why Seymour was really flirting with her. However, others did; they tried to warn her but she denied them, as well as Seymour. One, new and stunning example of this comes from a letter to Elizabeth from Mary, telling Elizabeth to come and live with her because there was gossip of the affair. Elizabeth refused.

  • Who is Your Favourite Historic Man?

Philippa confessed that she currently has many crushes on men from her novels. They include Thomas Seymour and Henry VIII – when he was a prince and in his early years as King (between his accession to the throne and marriage to Anne Boleyn). Her overall favourite though is John Tradescant from her 1998 novel ‘Earthly Joys’ – ‘I do have a fancy for fictional men’, she concluded.

  • What If Jane Seymour Didn’t Die of Childbirth Fever? If She Continued Living as Queen, Would She Live Happily Ever After With Henry VIII?

‘No’, Philippa said. By the time Jane married Henry in 1536, Henry was already driven into madness. If Jane displeased Henry following the birth of Edward, Henry would have had replaced, with another woman (to become his mistress or his new wife). Then, he would divorce Jane, and either send her to a convert, in exile (like Catherine of Aragon) or have her executed (like Anne Boleyn). These possible positions would certainly disgrace her family and put them to shame.

  • Is There New, Scientific Breaking Research of Henry’s Blood Disease?

Yes. According to Philippa, she has recently discovered (and theorised by accident) a new group of blood disorder while she was writing both her Tudor and the Cousins’ War series. This, X-linked genetic disease is the case for Henry to produce unhealthy children, leading to miscarriages, still-births and illnesses through children, who survive into adulthood. Also in the cases of child bearing with Catherine of Aragon, and Anne Boleyn, Philippa believes that if a pair wants to produce a child; one with a negative gene, and one positive, there’s very little chance that the pair would convince children. If their child/children are convinced, it’s likely that either the children wouldn’t survive before birth, die following birth or die before they could reach adulthood.

This gene that passed down to Henry was through the female line – by the Woodville family. In this, Philippa believes that the disease was through Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville, Jacquetta Rivers, members of the Baux family and beyond. Also, Philippa believes this disease may have crossed Henry, to make him paranoid, and anxious, and diagnosed with other diseases like Dementia and Obesity, right after his forth birthday.

Philippa wants to have this theory broadcast, but she is still in the process of waiting, hoping to give it the go ahead.

  • What Books Have You Read?

Philippa has read many of the big and English classics from authors like George Orwell. Also, she reads other works from novelists aboard. Her favourite novelist is Elena Ferrante, who is best known for her works including ‘I giorni dell’abbandono’ (The Days of Abandonment) and L’amore molesto (Troubling Love). Philippa highly recommends Ferrante’s novels and guarantees to read them.

Philippa then concludes this question by giving advice to current and future writers. She advises to choose and read good books, especially if they are long. This is excellent for writers’ creative writing skills; through this, writers can collect ideas and decide what style they want to choose for their novels.

  • Would You Consider Writing a Book about Thomas Cromwell

Philippa replied, with a straight forward ‘no’. However, she said that she would love to write a novel on Sir Robert Cecil, who was advisor to Elizabeth I and James I.

  • Do You Believe That Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur Had Sexual Intercourse On Their Wedding Night?

Philippa truly believes that the consummation between Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur did take place. To make her point, she used her 2005 novel, ‘The Constant Princess’. Philippa explains that Catherine and Arthur were young and very much in love. ‘You wouldn’t travel to Wales and live there for the rest of your life, just to be apart’, she remarked. But there’s more evidence for this. A year after Prince Arthur’s death, one vital source was sent to the Pope, Julius II. This was a dispensation from Catherine’s mother, Isabella of Castile. This dispensation, gave permission for Catherine to marry Henry VIII, who was Arthur’s younger brother. Philippa confessed that Catherine had wanted to be bothered to Henry, so she can ascend to the English throne as Henry’s Queen Consort. She had help from her mother before Isabella’s death in that same year. But to do this, she had to lie her way to Henry’s heart; opposite to Katheryn Parr, who (in ‘The Taming of the Queen’) had to lie, in order to find her way out of Henry’s marriage, and to marry Seymour without losing her possession as Queen or her head.

  • Also, Do You Believe That Anne and Boleyn Had Sexual Intercourse, So She Can Produce a Son for Henry VIII?

Again (like Catherine of Aragon with Prince Arthur), Philippa believes that Anne Boleyn did commit incest with her brother, Lord Rochford. After her last miscarriage, Anne was desperate to convince an heir for Henry. Anne believes that Henry was weak to father another, healthy child and knew she had to take action. Since she wanted a boy, Anne properly trusted her brother to help her convince a child. Philippa also thinks that Anne had possible, multiple lovers – more than historians thought originally she had.

  • Do You Set A Timeline For Your Books?

Philippa trained as a Historian and has a passion of writing Historical novels. While she was studying, Philippa had to attend libraries for research. Now with access to the Internet, Philippa finds her research really easy.

Following this question, Philippa said that she publishes one novel, within half a year – she spends one year doing research and spends six months writing, before publishing her work.

‘The Taming of the Queen’ is out now. For more about Philippa Gregory and her novels, visit: http://www.philippagregory.com/books

It All Started With A Small Tank Engine – Happy 70th Anniversary, Thomas and Friends

“There was no doubt in my mind that steam engines all had definite personalities. I would hear them snorting up the grade and little imagination was needed to hear in the puffings and pantings of the two engines the conversation they were having with one another: ‘I can’t do it! I can’t do it! I can’t do it!’ ‘Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!'”

Those were the words of the late Reverend Wilbert Awdry, whose memory of hearing trains, travelling past his house in the night (while listening in his bed) later became the inspiration for Edward and Gordon, one of the first stories in the Railway Series books. Now, seventy years later, it’s hard to imagine children not seeing their favourite number one tank engine. But today, Thomas and Friends haven’t just won the hearts of children.

It seems that Thomas’ fans are children and adults on the autism spectrum. So why is Thomas so popular? For so many, Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends play an important role for helping their social and creative skills, such as human emotions, imagination and communication. Through these experiences, both children and adults begin to have strong relationships with Thomas, when they have a few or no friends of their own. Thomas can also give comfort, and make children and vulnerable adults safe in their world, when they are frightened and/or upset. Because of this, Thomas’ relationships with the children and adults last longer than their siblings.

As a child with autism, I used to love Thomas; I would watch my old videos of every early episodes (between 1984 and 2000) and Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Watching them made me feel safe and secure whenever I had a bad day. I loved Thomas, as much I loved watching my other favourite children’s shows including Fireman Sam and Postman Pat. Like so many children with autism, I was fascinated with the scenery, background, colours, the stories, storylines and the imaginative play. Looking back on certain episodes as an adult, nothing has changed. I guess I can say I’m young at heart.

I wonder what Awdry will think of Thomas and the small blue engine changed the world? All it took was pure imagination, and amazing creativity to make Thomas and his friends a reality. It’s hard to believe that seven generations of children and adult alike still remember Thomas the Tank Engine. Along with eighteen series’, two hundred and forty-one episodes and eleven films, I can see that Thomas and his friends will continue to live on forever and possibility the next seventy years.

And with that, I leave you with this final sentence:

Thank you, Thomas

For making our childhood,

And for being there when we needed you.

So, Happy Birthday Thomas

And many happy returns to you,

On the year of your seventy birthday.   

Sigmund Freud – The Man behind the Theories

Please note: This is independent research and I have taken great care to not copy from other websites (which I have used for this report). I know that I might be graded for this, since it’s for Drama school but I thought I would share this with you guys too. Please let me know what you think in the comments section below. 🙂

Last week, I had a lesson at Drama school, where I learnt about Sigmund Freud. Alongside my peers, we gathered together, researched a few facts about him and shared them amongst each other. Afterwards, my teacher asked us about what we would like to find on Freud; I said that I want to focus on Freud’s books and how his work continues on into the twenty-first century.

After my lesson, I decided to do some independent research and send it, as an assignment to my teachers; when I finished, I found that my research on Sigmund Freud was more interesting than I thought it was going to be. During my time, I began to feel as though I was Sherlock Holmes and I was uncovering Freud’s life and work. This is what I found about Freud; his life, work, discoveries on his most famous study cases and how they still intrigue us today.

Facts

  • Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born in Freiberg, Moravia, the Austrian Empire (now Pribor in the Czech Republic) on 6 May 1856.
  • Little is known about Freud’s early life; that’s because he destroyed his personal papers twice – in 1885 and 1907. However, Freud’s later papers are guarded in the Sigmund Freud Archives. These papers aren’t available to the public as they can only been seen by Freud’s official biographer, Ernest Jones and a few psychoanalysis members.
  • In 1877, Freud changed his name to Sigmund Freud.
  • Freud studied medicine at the University of Vienna. After graduation, he began to work at the Vienna General Hospital.
  • In 1885, Freud went to Paris as a student of the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-93). On his return to Vienna the following year, Freud set up in private practice, specialising in nervous and brain disorders.
  • Freud married Martha Bernays; the marriage produced six children. Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud is a distinguished psychologist too. Her particular field is child and developmental psychology.
  • Freud’s grandchildren are painter Lucian Freud, and comedian and write Clement Freud. His great-grandchildren are journalist Emma Freud, fashion designer Bella Freud and PR man Matthew Freud.
  • In 1902, Freud was appointed Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Vienna. He held that post until 1938.
  • After the First World War, Freud decided to spend less time in clinical observation and began consecrating on the application of his theories into History, Art, Anthropology and Literature.
  • On 10 May 1933, the Nazis publicly burnt a number of books, including Freud’s in Berlin. Freud’s books were burnt because his theories, ideas and opinions were “UnGerman”.
  • After the Nazis annexed Austria, Freud with Martha and Anna left Vienna and headed to London for safety.
  • In 1923, Freud was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw; he underwent more than thirty operations.
  • Freud died on 23rd September 1939 of cancer.
  • On New Year’s Eve 2013, “callous” thieves tried an attempt to steal an urn, which contained Freud and Martha’s ashes in a raid. This happened at the Hoop Lane Cemetery in Golders Green, North London. The plan was to take the urn (which was 2,300 years old at the time of burglary) from the cemetery during the night. As a result, the thieves “severely damaged” the urn. Since then, the urn has been moved to a secure location.

Works

Freud is the twentieth century’s most famous figures; as well as writing three-hundred books, essays, and articles, he also drafted up theories of human psychology and became a prolific writer.  These works include:

  • Studies on Hysteria (1895)

 

  • The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

 

  • The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)

 

  • Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905)

 

  • Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905)

 

  • Totem and Taboo (1913)

 

  • On Narcissism (1914)

 

  • Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1917)

 

  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920)

 

  • The Future of an Illusion (1927)

 

  • Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)
  • Moses and Monotheism (1939)

Theories

Through his work, Freud became an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. He had made revolutionary ideas that have changed the world, and the way we believe of the human body, mind and today. Here are, I believe, three important key discoveries, through pure interests Freud found during his lifetime:

  • Freud had an interest in hypnotism and he believed that it could help those who are mentally ill. An example of this theory comes from his time at the Vienna General Hospital, when he worked with Josef Breuer (1842 – 1925) to treat hysteria by recalling patients’ painful experiences under hypnosis.

Freud would later abandon hypnotism; he replaced this interest with free association and dream analysis in what we now know as “the talking cure.” These became the basic elements for psychoanalysis.

  • When he began to take an interest in dreams, Freud analysed his theories in The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud did this to understand the aspect of personality, in order to the relation of pathology. Freud believed that dreams happen when unconsciousness motivates actions and thoughts. He believed that to live in a civilized society, a person has to hold back on the urges and repress of their impulses. The urges and impulses are released as they have a way of nearing the surface in disguised forms; one way to realise them is through dreaming.

Freud also believes that the unconscious reveals itself in a symbolic language since its contents could be disturbing or harmful. This aspects of the mind categorized into three parts:

  • Id – This element is centred on primal impulses, pleasures, desires, unchecked urges and wish fulfilment. *
  • Ego – Consecrating with the conscious, the rational, the moral and the self-aware detail of the mind. *
  • Superego – the censor for the id; this is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego. *

*     All three aspects of the mind were published Freud’s 1923 novel, ‘The Ego and the Id’.

Whilst dreaming, dreamers are able to see into their unconsciousness or id; when the body guards aren’t operating, they give dreamers opportunities to act out and express the id’s hidden desires whilst they are in a dream state. However, the strong feelings of id could be disturbing and psychologically harmful, like a censor coming to play and translate the id’s disturbing content into an acceptable symbolic form. This helps to conserve sleep and prevent the dreamer from waking up, shocked with the images that’ll go through the mind. This leads up to confusing and cryptic dream images.

When a person awakes from sleep, that the urge and desires of id are conquered by the superego. And while the superego is working, it protects the mind from disturbing images we see in our nightmares and desires.

Also, Freud had a passionate interest in hysteria, which since then has been renamed as conversion syndrome. Conversion Syndrome (or Conversion Disorder) is a mental disorder were patients suffer from psychological distress, due to neurological symptoms. These include fits, blindness and numbness. One case study of Conversion Disorder (which was to be Freud’s well recognised theories) involved a young woman. This study became known as Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (published 1905); it centres on “Dora”, whose real name is Ida Bauer, who had limb pains and aphonia (or loss of voice). In it, Freud digs into “Dora’s” life and inner thoughts so he could see what was going through her mind. At home, “Dora” lived with her parents and through them, her and her family were close to another couple, Herr and Frau K. This relationship worries “Dora’s” father, as he believes that Herr K properly had inappropriate sexual conduct with his daughter while Herr K was still married. Whatever the outcome was (whither Herr K may have or haven’t had sexual intercourse, sexually assaulted or had any sexual activity with “Dora”), Herr K had denied any guilt towards “Dora” which her father didn’t believe. However, “Dora” also told Freud that her father had a relationship with Frau K; during this time, “Dora” confessed that her father was making, then tricking her to have an affair with Herr K because he believed it was correct for a daughter to become a mistress to a friend. According to “Dora” (which is also believed by Freud), Herr K started the sexual advance when she was fourteen 14 years old.

Once he found information on “Dora”, Freud proceeded to treat her, through research and experience; this was completed with eleven weeks (because “Dora” left her therapy sessions, much to Freud’s disappointment). In another case, Dreams and Hysteria, Freud also conducts a dream analysis for “Dora”, in which she recounted two dreams to Freud:

Dream #1

[a] house was on fire. My father was standing beside my bed and woke me up. I dressed quickly. Mother wanted to stop and save her jewel-case; but Father said: ‘I refuse to let myself and my two children be burnt for the sake of your jewel-case.’ We hurried downstairs, and as soon as I was outside I woke up.

Dream #2

I was walking about in a town which I did not know. I saw streets and squares which were strange to me. Then I came into a house where I lived, went to my room, and found a letter from Mother lying there. She wrote saying that as I had left home without my parents’ knowledge she had not wished to write to me to say Father was ill. “Now he is dead, and if you like you can come.” I then went to the station and asked about a hundred times: “Where is the station?” I always got the answer: “Five minutes.” I then saw a thick wood before me which I went into, and there I asked a man whom I met. He said to me: “Two and a half hours more.” He offered to accompany me. But I refused and went alone. I saw the station in front of me and could not reach it. At the same time, I had the unusual feeling of anxiety that one has in dreams when one cannot move forward. Then I was at home. I must have been travelling in the meantime, but I knew nothing about that. I walked into the porter’s lodge, and enquired for our flat. The maidservant opened the door to me and replied that Mother and the others were already at the cemetery.

 

Reading both dreams, Freud can easily refer to “Dora’s” life, based on the events that have been occurred or waiting to happen. Examples include:

  • The jewel case (representing as “Dora’s” virginity), being at risk because of the misuse of trust from the one person who is responsible for the safety of “Dora”, i.e., her father. This shows that “Dora’s” father wants nothing to do with his daughter’s interests at heart, by protecting her from Herr K.
  • The railway station: this presents “Dora’s” authority over herself. The person who wished to accompany her to the station represented her anxiety over Herr K; the fear to say ‘no’ when he wants sexual attention towards “Dora”, the fear of him being around/near her, or his name being mentioned and the fear of herself in this situation.

Through these symptoms, Freud was able to identify “Dora’s” jealously of Frau K’s relationship with her father, the mixed feelings towards Herr K, her sexual feelings and memories of the abuse.

But although Freud’s case studies have been questioned, studied, modified and fictionalised through stories and novellas, no one really knows of the happenings between Freud and his patients, which is still high debated to this day.

How Freud’s Theories Continue to live on in the Twenty-First Century?

Psychoanalytic theory has changed over the years. During his lifetime, Freud’s ideas are discussed and analysed as works of literature. However, his theories and treatment of his patients are still debated today, since no one really knows what happened during this process.

Despite this, Freud (through his work) had changed how we recognise human behaviour. He was the first to insight the inner selves of human beings, and though this, he opened new doors towards ways we study and think of our inner and outer selves; Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and special importance on the unconscious gave ways to shape years of pain staking research. Even his work helped traumatised soldiers during the First World War.

Today, Freud’s studies are covered in most categories/careers we know and do including sociology, heath, and care, literature and drama. His theories have also inspired literacy critics alike including:

  • French theorists Claude Levi-Strauss, and Jacques Derrida (who have studied Postmodernism, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, supporting Freud’s own theories as pure evidence).
  • Freud’s work with the soldiers during WWI and his theories in Beyond the Pleasure Principle inspired the character, Septimus Smith in Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway.
  • Peter Brooks unearthed Freud’s work on his dream theories, for proof as to how story plots in novels are made in his 1992 novel, Reading for the Plot.
  • And that’s not all; Freud had also taken his own research for his work, using characters from theatrical performances, and the written language by poets, and novelists so he could understand and outline the behaviours, figures of speech and actions of dreams while unconscious. These include the likes of Sophocles, Goethe’s Faust and Shakespeare (especially Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth).

Conclusion

In conclusion, I feel that Sigmund Freud and his works inspired the next generation of theorists, performers, nurses and sociologists alike. Freud has proved to show that there’s more to a people than we think. Without the findings, stories of his patients, and Freud’s own accounts, we would have never known the spirituality, emotions and inner feelings of the human body. As a student in a performing arts school and a passionate writer, Freud’s findings prove to be extremely useful for developing characters for the stage, screen, stories and poems. It shows that not all characters, story lines and poems can share the same inner feelings (for example, Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons, is sad all the time because she feels utterly miserable for no reason).

Reading Freud’s theories, especially “Dora’s” case, has taught me that every person (in the real and fictional words through novels, television, stage, etc.) desires to want they wish for, what holds them back and how they could achieve them. I believe Freud is the master of dreams and inner feelings towards his patients; he has used clever meanings of dreams to describe their lives and situations, like he was a living dream dictionary.

Now, I will treasure Freud’s findings; not only for research, but for personal issues too such as anxiety and dreams. I applauded this great man for his hard work and I hope he’ll be remembered for generations to come.

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their second baby; a little girl. :)

Congratulations

And celebrations

On the birth of your baby girl,

May your Royal Highnesses be blessed,

With your beautiful princess and your amazing family.

© 2015

Women

Why?

Why take away a life

When she stood up for what was right?

Representing women

Who may one day be equal,

Why treat them unfairly,

When we see the hurt clearly?

Women are equal,

Women are fair and wise,

Cause they are God’s children

Through his and everybody’s eyes.

© 2015