Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gone A-Black-Berrying

As I mentioned elsewhere, I’m reading Katherine by Anya Seton. I am really enjoying this historic fiction about the real love affair between John of Gaunt and Lady Katherine Swynford in 14th century England. Despite its chivalric subject matter and foreword by Phillippa Gregory (good foreword by the way, I just couldn’t get past page 70 of Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl) it’s not a bodice ripper, but an interesting, informative, and most of all, engrossing story. The familial connections in the story are fantastic in themselves, not to the mention the historic background of the Hundred Years War, the plague, stirrings of the Reformation, and the Peasants’ Revolt.

At one point, in describing Geoffrey Chaucer’s distraction from the matter before him, Ms. Seton has him say “my mind went a-black-berrying”. The similarities between Chaucer’s expression (which he actually used in his writing) and the symptoms relating to constant use of the eponymous PDA over 700 years later cannot be ignored! I’m going to use that expression to relate to my too-oft habit of starting to research one thing, finding something else totally fascinating, then meandering on to several completely different ideas until I look at the time and find it is an hour later and my initial research has gone undone. When I get distracted without aid of electronic devices I shall refer to it as the simple, but equally well-imagined expression “gone a wool-gathering”.


Christina said...

I thought perhaps you'd gone out into nature today to find wild blackberries. : )

But the phrase is a great one--would be perfect for a literary edition of Orijinz!

Where are you in Katherine? I'm still in the trying to remember to get it at the library stage.

Lynne said...

No way - not this avid indoorsman!

I think you should work on developing Orijinz: the Literary Edition - you'd be perfect for that job.

I am on page 406 of 500. In short, I can scarcely put the book down these days and am ahead of schedule to start The Enchantress. (I can't possibly read good novels in parallel.)

Jenn Casey said...

Oh I'm so glad you're enjoying it! One of my favorite books EVER. I'm getting all goose-bumpy just thinking about it. Let us know when you finish it.

Lynne said...

I will. Thank you so much for the recommendation! I predict an early finish tomorrow.

Lynne said...


Though it took me longer than I thought it would - darn rest-of-the-stuff-you-have-to-do-in-a-day!

I loved it. I lent the book to fiddler so I'll save my comments on it for a bit.

Jenn Casey said...

Ooh! Yay!