A couple of years ago I had this very werid idea for a history book. But this isn’t your ordinary history book. It would be mentioning several different stories that most of us grew up with or read as teens. I can’t remember excatly how I had it planned out but something like this:
But one section would be about family
Orphans would be the last.
Another section would be jobs. (Even though I only have one particular complaint that I want to clear up about a certian teacher in Sleepy Hallow story).
a third section would royalty (I think I have like 4 things to talk about in these section, princess’ rank, marriage, coronation and something else I can’t remember=inheirtance maybe?)
Fourth might be about inheritance-but I would have to think of stuff to write for it.
The whole idea came to me due to the fact there’s several questions or theories(?) that really pisses me off about stuff (ie: Crane is a gold digger!", or “Why does Anna need to ask Elsa to marry Hans?”, among other questions).
But now I think it wouldn’t even seen the light of day since whom in the world would want to read such a book?
if you have other ideas for this “story book history”-write it down in your post. But it must pertain to a story (wether from fairytales, or from a different storybook, or even a particular Jane Austen novel -"cough, Pride & Prejudice cough or in one instance a TV show Downton Abbey), I might not be able to answer everything but I will try-
I think it’s entirely possible for something like that to work. Look at Xiran Jay Zhou, for instance, who accidentally launched themself a YouTube career by discussing the historical (in)accuracy of Mulan (2020). They got over 2.5 million views on that first video alone.
The main problem is that it sounds really broad and unfocused. I mean, a book that looks at fairytales (judging by the list of topics) and puts them into historical context sounds like a very good idea. Problem is, a lot of these stories have been reinvented over a long period of time. For instance, Sleeping Beauty. You didn’t mention it, but I’m using it because it’s fairly straightforward compared to some of the others. It’s been around for about 700 years (first published in Perceforest) and has been published countless times all over Europe. Are you going to look at how family, jobs, royalty, and inheritance worked in all of Europe over the past 700 years? Because things changed quite a lot in that time and from region to region. The royalty of pre-Black-Death 1300s Netherlands (Perceforest) is very different from the royalty of 1600s France (Perrault) or 1600s Italy (Basile). You can’t say “this is the way royalty worked in Sleeping Beauty” because whatever you say can’t be true of all historical versions. And Sleeping Beauty is by no means the oldest fairytale. Beauty and the Beast is thought to be over 4000 years old. Then there’s Cinderella, which has literally thousands of variations across Eurasia, and the Middle East and China definitely don’t work like any part of Europe.
That being said, the idea of a book that goes over every iteration of a fairytale and puts them into historical perspective would be pretty interesting. Look at the Basile (1634 Naples) and the Perrault (1697 France) versions. What are the differences between the Basile and Perrault versions of Sleeping Beauty, and what was the culture like around each of them? How much did the differences between 1634 Naples and 1697 France contribute to the differences in the versions Basile and Perrault produced?
Even if you don’t want to do that, then just picking a time frame and a region would be very helpful. For instance, this is how things worked in France in the 1690s, and so this is why Perrault’s version of Sleeping Beauty turned out the way it did. Or this is how Denmark worked in the 1800s, so this is why The Little Mermaid and The Snow Queen turned out the way they did.
Though there is another potential issue. If you’re writing a book about specific intellectual properties like Downton Abbey and trying to answer fan complaints, then you could get sued. Blogs and YouTube videos are one thing, but actually publishing a book and making money off of someone else’s IP could violate copyright law. (This is another reason I focused so much on fairytales: they’re all public domain and safe to write about.)
In any case, maybe it would be a good idea to start a blog. You can talk about whatever you want on the blog.
It just I got tired of complmaints like “Icbhod Crane is a gold digger!” because all people think of is about the fact that all he wanted to do was married the rich Dutch girl. Or people assuming cornation is when a royalty becomes the next royalty (not realzing, that there has to be someone in the fictional driver’s seat at all times), or people assuming that the “older woman” firgure in Alice in Wonderland at the beginning/ending is Alice’s (step) mother (in reaility its her sister), or people not understanding the reason why Anna in Frozen has to ask her sister (the Queen) for permission to marry Hans. Just Downton Abbey and Pride&Prejudice would be in what I can only call the inheritance section-since both estates are what I believe are called Entailments?
I’m not looking at the stories themselves but putting them into a context-like for instance people somehow think the Lost Boys are orphans because “they can’t remember their parents”- But since they’re only babies (according to the novel) when they “fell from their pram” that they’re probably with a nurse (which means like the Darling children-they’re at least middle-class). I mean in Mary Poppins how much time did the 10 year old Jane Banks and 8 (?) year old Michael Banks see their parents? Only twice a day-in the morning and then again at night.
Okay, so you’re talking about at the very least 1800s America, 1800s England, 1900s England, and 1800s Norway, and only going to touch on one or two things in certain categories? That’s still way too unfocused for a historical book. Historical non-fictions need to be about a specific thing. You’ve got at least four topics to touch on and only plan to talk about a few things about each topic before moving on.
I mean, the idea of a book that specifically puts certain things in historical context is a good idea. Again, there are people who have succeeded at those types of things. But honestly, it sounds like you mainly just want to talk about things that other fans get wrong and nothing beyond that. Which is more suited for a blog or vlog, not a book. Blogs are allowed to have specific entries on specific things and then never touch the subject again. That would allow you to discuss how Ichabod Crane’s job worked in 1800s America without having to write an entire section about all the jobs through all of history, or even all the conditions in 1800s America.
okay actually Icbhod Crane story is pre-1800s really. It’s the late 18th century (the 1700s). And actually you’re wrong about history books only focusing on one thing-the history books I have read talk about a lot of different stuff. why else would we go from the 15th century (1400s) (when Newfound was found by a British person), to the mid-18th century, to the 19th century (1800s) and then finally the 20th century (1900s).
Only specific books like “Policing Black Lives” are focused on ONE theme. But there’s still a lot of history involved in them. But most of the rest of the books are talking about more then one thing.
There’s a similar confusion over an older relative’s identity in “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”. Many readers assume that a tall male is an adult and a parent of the children, but it’s intended to be an older brother. Whether an older brother - or a father - should allow this activity is another important question.
Some questions arising in stories don’t affect everybody, but only the prosperous or powerful. The Bennet family in “Pride and Prejudice” are quite rich, although their property is only theirs for the father’s lifetime - doubt has been cast on whether this would actually happen. There are household servants, mostly invisible. Mr Bingley is seriously rich, Mr Darcy is colossally rich, and the Gardiner family have money but they earned it, which puts them below almost everyone else.
The Bennet family is like the Darling family, I believe middle-class. They only have 5 servants compared to the army that a place like Mr. Darcy’s needed. The only reason the property is only the Bennett’s in their father’s life time is due to an entailment which means an male heir (ie: a son at least) can inherit the property or else it goes to a the nearest male relative (Mr. Collins) which could be a bad thing in some cases since it means if there are unmarried girls in the family when the Dad dies they (and their Mom if stil alive) could be kicked out of the else like I believe in Sense and Sensibility.
There’s a similar problem in the1st Season Downton abbey when the Titanic sank killing the heir of the Estate who was also a cousin to Lady Mary. That’s why they tried to find someone else (Mathew Crawley)-whom if he hadn’t died after his son was born, would have become the next Earl, after his Father-in-law died.
I had to look up the Gardiner family-since I couldn’t remember whom they were.
Yeah, it’s set in 1790, and it was published in 1819. Close enough to call it the 1800s.
The history of a single region through multiple centuries can count as a single topic. But if you’ll notice, they tend to be very general and focused on broad strokes, not on stuff like how jobs worked (unless it caused a major political problem). You don’t normally get detailed depictions of daily life in century-spanning books, except maybe as brief factoids for flavor, because they’re focused on broad things that affected the region as a whole. The theme there is “what affected this entire region over these centuries”.
And sure, maybe 1800s England and 1900s England could be a single topic, but not if you’re bringing the US and Norway into it.
the only way I’m bringing Norway into it is only talking about why “Anna has to ask Elsa to marry” … but otherwise it’s not involved at all. Just because you don’t like the idea… doesn’t mean other might not.
Oh and I don’t mean how jobs worked you got the wrong impression there
like I will be explaing why Icbhod Crane was so desperate to marry the Dutch woman because being a teacher didn’t pay well so there were only two choices- go on and become a Preacher (minster of a church) or to marry a wealthy girl.
I’m not saying I don’t like the idea. I’m saying that bringing up that kind of detail for a single, completely unrelated factoid, is not a good idea in a book. I think it’s an excellent idea for a blog post.
you’re stll have the wrong impression. I’m not talking about how jobs work in the job section (that would be something completely different!) unless I can think of other questions or theories about jobs in storybooks-I only have one job to talk about and its teaching. Instead of just assuming the “job” section of this non-book was “about how jobs worked” how about you ask what I mean to talk about in that section?
At the moment I only have one thing for the job section-and that’s about teaching. Unless you have some other ideas for me?
Talking about how a single job pays poorly and has no options is explaining how that job works. If you’re going to have multiple jobs in that section, then you will be explaining how plural jobs work. That is how explanations work.
Maybe you could talk about how fairytale heroines had very few jobs available to them and that’s why many of them relied on men to improve their lot?
Nope talking about jobs work is something completely different then what I’m planning for the job section. Even though now you reminded me what you mention of how heorine had very few jobs avaible to them- was going to be enough section of the jobs. (I’m even going to mention how in Perraults’ Cinderella that all the jobs expected of her in the family home would be too much for one person to handle- that in reality they would need an army of servants: upstairs/downstairs maids, footmen, butlers, there would have needed three ladies’ maids-one for the stepmother, one each for the steps-sisters, carriage driver,people who worked w/ the horses,etc).
So you’re not planning to explain Ichabod Crane’s salary and lack of promotion prospects? Because that would be explaining how being a teacher worked.
yes I am doing that. But that’s only explaining how one job works. I’m not explaing how other jobs works. I mean there really wasn’t such things as promotions for teachers in the 18th century (nor in the 19th century now I think of it-like for Anne of Green Gables, or the real-life Laura Ingalls-Wilder)
My view was that Ichabod Crane should not be pursuing his own school student for marriage. Any other personal faults, such as maybe avoiding physical hard work, are secondary.
Also, it seems clear to me that he doesn’t actually have an experience of the supernatural, although a great many people prefer a version of the story which is supernatural.
Actually in the actual novel he had two jobs-one as the school teacher and the other as the church choir director. I believe that Katrina van Tassel was in the latter not the former. I don’t think any women went to school in the 18th century. They’re were taught at home I believe by their moms, aunts, or an older sister (or a neighbour). But Kathrine is 18 in the story so even though she’s a student she’s could marry Ichbod (or Brom Bones) if she wanted too.
And also Kathrine Van Tassell wasn’t the only one that Ichbod had his eye on since his job was so poor that he would feed in the evenings at students’ houses (if he wasn’t boarding with the family) so sometimes he would carry small children home from school who “had pretty sisters” (or good housewives for mothers).
Why not make it a book series and have each one touch on a particular story? Bringing up Sleeping Beauty, one book would be about that story alone, the historical era(s) behind it, so on and so forth. I’m a history nut so I’d happily read a whole series like that.
except it’s not looking at the fairy tales themselves. It’s about social history aspects which might cover more then one fairy tale. Or story from a storybook
So like in the last part of parents-I’m going to be talking about Orphans and I’m going to be mentioning how the Lost Boys are not orphans. and talking about Lost Boys will make me mention the Jane&Michel Banks from Mary Poppins.
Royatly covers a ton of stories. Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel (or least the prnce in Rapunzel in the actually story), The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, etc.
Jobs section will cover a lot of stories as well-only think off hand is about the lack of stuff avaible for Ichbod Crane which is why he was trying to court Katrina Van Tassell. But I might also point out that it would be impossible for Perrault’s Cinderella to keep care of an estate which is big enough as Downton abbey without other servants helping. And also the fact there wasn’t a lot of options for women-so that’s why they get married. I might mention what happens to Fantine in Les Miserables-so that’s another storybook (even though it’s one that we probably wouldn’t read to children).