Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Love Affairs with Historical Figures

I used to be in love with the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon. Now I’m in love with Cesare Borgia. Maybe not so much in love with as obsessed with. But fascinated all the same.

I’ve recently developed a new delusion of grandeur to add to my long list. A PhD in European History, focusing on the Renaissance. To become a professor, a real scholar, and to live with all this fascination surrounding me and my work. To write dissertations interpreting real events of the Renaissance, to share them with other people eager to learn, and maybe even dabble in historical fiction of my own. I want to learn everything about the time period, all the royalty.

I want to immerse myself in the past and visit all the countries, specific cities, in which these events took place. I want to see the art in the Vatican that Cesare looked at when he was walking through the halls as a cardinal, then as Captain-General of the Papal guard, then as the devoted son of the Pope with a French army at his back. I want to explore the courtyard where Anne Boleyn was put to death by a famous French swordsman, as a last act of some kindness from Henry VIII. I want to see her ghost walking around, eternally in Purgatory, at the Tower of London (if ghosts exist). I want to see the castles where these people lived, loved, died.

My mom has said before that I probably know everything there is to know about Anne Boleyn. She’s said I would be great at writing historical fictions. My friend Erin’s mother once asked Erin if, like in the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl”, Henry VIII raped Anne. Erin told her to ask me.

When Tom and I watch these TV shows, I explain to him the historical inaccuracies, how certain figures came to relate to one another, furnish further insights and information as to who certain people are. I want to become fluent in French and Italian. (My Italian pronunciation is getting a bit better, although my translating skills are based solely off what little French I can grasp). I want to touch the books they touched, see letters they wrote, piece together facts and establish my own opinions. Maybe I’ll fall out of love. Maybe I’ll meet new loves. And maybe, if there’s a Heaven and if these people managed to find their ways to God’s grace, they will be interested in meeting me if I make it up there myself.

These are delusions of grandeur because I knew that, with simply a diploma in my hand, I could get a job in the field in which I currently work. So, I didn’t exactly apply myself whole-heartedly in Undergrad. Plus, my fascination, while the most stable of all my obsessions, with these histories will most likely dissipate soon enough. But, I wrap myself in the comfort of imagining what my life would be like. Who knows? Maybe out there is a university that will accept my academic past and see through it to my passion. A passion I did not have for Political Science.

My dad said he wouldn’t pay for me to go to an expensive college just to wind up with a useless degree. So, I did not major in history. I never had any intention of getting a Master’s or PhD until recently. And I certainly would not have put my parents under the financial strain of 4-8 more years of school. But with my own means, with my own credit and my own life already begun, maybe it’s not so far-fetched after all. We’ll see.


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