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I was absolutely going to trim myself back down to one project at a time, and focus, but then my new books came in! Now I just can’t stop reading. And I shouldn’t. It sets a good example for the child, right? Right.

First, I love the fact that you can now buy scanned copies of very old books on Amazon. I now have “original” copies of some books I could never afford otherwise. The type, the drawings, they’re just a pleasure to read.

I’ve bought several now from a company called Wentworth Press. If you’re into old books, I’d recommend them. I’ve only had one so far that had any issues with the scans. Sadly, it’s the current one, where some of the pictures didn’t scan correctly. Including one family tree that probably would have been interesting.

Dedication page of Traité Historique et Critique sur L’origine et la Généalogie de la Maison de Lorraine… by Charles Louis Hugo, 1740, published by Wentworth Press.

Also, I think every sort of early-ish modern history book I’ve read, the historian opens the book swinging, and I love that. They like to name the names of fellow historians with whom they disagree, and then openly insult them and their work. Makes for much more entertaining reading. Charles Louis Hugo, who wrote this treatise on the origins of the Counts of Lorraine, was not a fan of Chantereau Le Febvre. I googled to find they never met, Hugo wasn’t born until after Chantereau’s death, so the personal drama I was envisioning sadly never happened. I pictured two old men arguing and mean mugging through every dinner party they attended together.

Oh well.

I also got this one:

Fabliaux érotiques by Luciano Rossi and Richard Straub

Dirty stories from the 12th and 13th centuries! The stories are old, so that makes them academic, and totally legit.

In the first of these fabliaux, which I am reading for academic purposes, a man brags that he can never be cheated on, so his wife, to prove him wrong, arranges for her lover to come in disguised as a female bloodletter. The wife tells her husband she’s been having some pains down there, and so she and the bloodletter go upstairs and get it on. Then the wife gives a full account of the bloodletting session to her clueless husband. ‘Oh, I’ve had a working-over, I had to get poked more than a hundred times, I’ve been beat to death. But then there was a white ointment that fixed everything, it was stored in an ugly little bag, and applied through a hose.’ The husband’s just glad she’s cured now, and he’s all – well don’t forget to pay for the bloodletting.

My translation is not as good as Rossi’s, whatever. These are great, and I can picture the laughs they’d have gotten in the old feasting hall. I’m completely sidetracked now.

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