Saturday, June 23, 2012

Self-Doubt, Medieval Surgery, and Jane Austen's Ring: Saturday Links

Today's collection of Saturday Links are an eclectic bunch.

Christy English, a fellow historical novelist, posted on her blog this week about a feeling every writer is familiar with: self-doubt. Is what I'm writing any good? It's a quick read, and what's more, she suggests what you should do when you have that feeling.
There are so many times when I’m beginning a draft or a synopsis that I simply do not know where I am, where the book is going, or even if there should be a book. As I stare at the blank screen with my few scribbled notes beside me, I get overwhelmed by nerves and more than a little fear.... (read more
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The Lady of Winchester over at Medieval Reader posted last week about a gruesome injury Henry V received on the battlefield and even more gruesome surgery to remove the arrowhead from his face. This week she followed it up with a more general post about medieval surgery, debunking some myths about human dissection and women practicing medicine.

My favorite part, of course, is the end where the Lady of Winchester evaluates medieval medicine on its own terms:
What really appears to have hampered advances in medicine and medical knowledge was not so much ignorance and superstition, but the over-reliance of Medical professionals on ideas and theories deriving from ancient Greek and Classical authors such as Galen and Aristotle. As well as this, the risk of infection of wounds was also much greater in the Medieval period, although anti-septic remedies and substances (often herbal) could be used, and the lack of antibiotics to effectively treat diseases did not weigh in the favour of Medieval medicine. This said, it seems arrogant, and unfair in the extreme for modern people to become contemptuous and scornful of Medieval Medical men (and women) for their lack of Medical knowledge and expertise in methods, remedies and cures which were not discovered or originated until well after Medieval period came to an end. (read the rest!)
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If you have a spare £20,000-£30,000, it may interest you to know that a ring worn by Jane Austen is up for auction next month. Of course, that's just the starting price, and it's expected to sell for much higher. Isabella/Susan over at Two Nerdy History Girls gives the details on this piece of memorabilia.


  1. Hi Roseanne!
    Thanks for mentioning my article on Medieval Surgery and Im glad you liked it. I should tell you I have tweaked the last sentence a bit to make it clearer so I apologise if it is no longer exactly the same as quoted (its only a few words different though).

    BTW I have found a way of adding the Goodreads 'books read and reviewed' widget to a wordpress site! You have to insert the 'Text' Widget into your sidebar, then copy and paste the HTML, save, and delete any of the html that shows up in the widget afterwards.

    1. No worries! I have updated the blog post to reflect the current version of your article.

      Thanks for the tip on the GR widget--if I ever get around to working on my book review site, I will try adding it there again.

    2. Oh you didnt have to but just thought I ought to let you know.

      TBH I dont think the widget is exactly as it should be, but it looks alright to me.


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