7 Ways in which Saruman is like John Dee

The Vinciolo Journal turns 1 year old January 5th, two days after J.R.R. Tolkien's Birthday, so in celebration of both events, I am making a series of Tolkien-related posts. This is the first of several ... 7 ways Saruman resembles Queen Elizabeth's court astrologer and geographer John Dee. . In comparing these two figures (the …

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Behind Guy Fawkes: the History of Catholic Conspiracies

“But as a nation—continued he in his reveries—these Spaniards are all an odd set; the very word Spaniard has a curious, conspirator, Guy-Fawkish twang to it.” -Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno." “The imaginary is part of history.” -Michel de Certeau, The Possession at Loudun. “[A] good case could be made that the last unchallenged and most …

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Behind Guy Fawkes II: The Gunpowder Plot

"But 'The Gunpowder Plot'--there was a get-penny! I have presented that to an eighteen- or twenty-pence audience nine times in an afternoon. Your home-born projects prover ever the best; they are so easy and familiar. They put too much learning i'their things nowadays, and that, I fear, will be the spoil o' this." -Leatherhead, Bartholomew …

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Machiavelli and the Problem of Memory in Tigana

"Tigana, let my memory of you be like a blade in my soul." -Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana . Alessan's mantra for his beleaguered nation, erased from history by the tyrant sorcerer Brandin of Ygrath, forms a central node in the theme of exile and memory in Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana. A novel set in the …

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Bloody Caesar; or The Ides of March

Several years ago, I wrote an experimental short story: the assassination of Julius Caesar told from the perspective of his blood. I'm still quite proud of it, and I thought I'd share it with you here.  A nice short story that de-familiarizes the familiar, it was originally published online at the SPACE website, an arts-sciences …

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The Battle of Culloden Part. 3: The Bonnie Prince Escapes!

After the disaster of Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland continued to repress the rebellion, to put it lightly. Really, he opened the way up for genocide. Having captured Lord George Murray's orders to the Jacobites, which had been issued the day before the battle, he supposedly found a line that revealed the Jacobites were to …

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Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

A group of editors gets together to write a parody of a conspiracy theory. What if the parody ends up becoming perceived as the source of ultimate truth for an actual underground group that styles itself after the Templars and Rosicrucians? The answer lies in the pages of Umberto Eco's intellectual thriller Foucault's Pendulum. In …

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Christopher Marlowe : An Elizabethan Assassination Conspiracy?

On 30 May 1593, Christopher Marlowe, illustrious author of such plays as Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Tamburlaine, walked into the Deptford house of the widow Eleanor Bull. There, he encountered three men: Robert Poley, Ingram Frizer, and Nicholas Skeres. Marlowe never left the place alive: a knife wound in the eye dispatched him …

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