emergency research!

Can anybody provide me with or point me toward sources for Elizabethan-era legal contracts or treaties? I need to see the style in which they were written.

And then try to mimic it.

By close of play tomorrow, if I can manage it.

0 Responses to “emergency research!”

  1. novalis

    recommends Edward Coke, who should be available at any law library.

    • Marie Brennan

      I hadn’t thought to look at the sumptuary statues, though I had that page bookmarked. For the rest, thank you; I was getting lost in the wilds of JSTOR.

      This thing really ought to be in Latin, but even if I could dust off my skills enough to fake sixteenth-century legal Latin — not likely, especially by tomorrow — it wouldn’t serve the purpose.

  2. khet_tcheba

    Does the text of a charter help? I’m not certain which aspects you’re most concerned about duplicating.

  3. wrathchylde

    This may help

    Technically it is categorized as medieval, but I seem to recall finding a lot of info on the Elizabethan area either on this site or by following links from it … sorry I can’t be more specific.


  4. boannan

    These are transcriptions of records of legal disputes. Not contracts, but might be helpful.


  5. boannan

    and here’s a lecture summarizing some of the main legal sources from that era, if you do have to go to a library:


  6. unforth

    If primary sources will help, it’s not an area I know about, but there are some good bibliographies on early English Law – they could help you at Lilly, assuming you’ve got the time for that kind of research. You also might be able to tract something down on Early English Books Online. Secondary sources I don’t know a thing about, unfortunately.

  7. Anonymous

    Actually, I can imagine that pretty easily. Make magical healing a reasonably common thing, which will lower the rates of infant mortality and maternal death in childbirth; once you’ve done that, your population replacement rate can keep up with your attrition rate without any trouble at all. Which means now it’s more feasible for women to choose paths that don’t involve them being pregnant for most of their fertile years. And that doesn’t have to change things until it’s nothing like “any other real society,” medievalish or otherwise.

    I can’t remember who it was — maybe ? — who brought up the way in which magical birth control gets dismissed as trite wish fulfillment, nevermind all the other, non-female-gendered wish fulfillment that goes unexamined in fantasy. But there are any number of authors who have written about medievalish societies with more gender equality, though not all of them necessarily think through the logical underpinnings of how that might happen. It doesn’t mean they have nothing to say about real humanity.

  8. Anonymous

    The Interesting Professional’s Family Member is my favorite. 🙂 I still want to write a story parodying that formula a little bit.

  9. Anonymous

    If I say that The Stolen Throne may be Gaider’s first novel, it’s also, structurally and in terms of character, probably his best, I’d lie. But there isn’t much to choose between it and The Calling. The Calling’s premise is rather less plausible.

    I never read Asunder after that, for obvious reasons. If they expand the franchise to people who’ve also published original work – like Halo did, or that fractured megalith Star Wars – I might try again.

  10. Anonymous

    Oh, feh. I mean, I’m really only reading them for setting info, and (having played Awakening) I know the gist of what’s up with The Calling, so I already know at least some of the crackiness there. I was hoping characterization might improve, though. Does he at least get better at prose?

  11. Anonymous

    I agree, no mourning for her actual Kevin is bizarre, as is the streamlined swap-in for new-Zoe with Carter.

  12. Anonymous

    I think I’ll try this one. I haven’t done an exchange since 2010.

  13. Anonymous


  14. Anonymous

    For me, approaching all these stories here, I wasn’t always sure of the context of the fanfic, i.e., the header material that notes what world this story launches from. So something like “He falls” had no context for me–he who? fall where? (Con-text is a whole other kettle of fish, maybe best save for 14 year olds?)

    In a way it reminds me of what Wells said of science fiction and historical fiction, about the work that the author has to do for the writer to make the world comprehensible when it’s not a shared world. If you share a world, you can shorthand things by naming them (cellphone, auror) instead of describing them (as you may have to do with unshared things, whether fantastic, merely historical, or culturally distant, e.g., “milpa”).

    That said, in short fiction, I think I am most drawn to those stories that start with some conflict, tension, or movement. To be honest, if the king is dying and nothing can save him, well then, I expect the king to die, so why read on? But if there’s a new milpa, then I know that things are happening–and that comparison to a scar gets my tension attention, etc.

    (I’m not sure if I’ve always read like this or if it’s just how Nancy Kress’s Beginnings, Middles, and Ends has influenced me.)

  15. Anonymous

    awesome name! and yes, it must appear on a map, would be fabulous!

  16. Anonymous

    Brains. They are like Hobbitses. Tricksy, and false.

  17. Anonymous

    I absolutely agree with you when you say “you pick which hook you want to sink first.” Like in “No Harm Ever Came…” (which is a hell of a hooky title), some writing advisors might ask for more action, but the tension of the contrast between these two gets my attention. There’s more than one way to, ah, hook a cat, I guess.

    For instance, I’d hate for people to read Poe’s stories and say “these are all so slow to start–I hate his rambling philosophical introductions when what I really want to get to is the murder.” I don’t mind “why does Poe always start this way?” because then we get into talking about philosophical/thematic hooks.

    That said, as a slush reader (first for the Chicago Review, now for a genre magazine), I’ve seen plenty of hookless openings, from dull first lines to blunted paragraphs. But even with that, I can see the argument that many current/popular writing-advice books over-emphasize the first sentence. (I only wish some writers might look at some of those books, even if they take that advice with a grain of salt.)

    I might have some theories about that tendency (e.g., a structural corrective to spec fic writers’ love of world-building, a historical reaction against lit fic’s legacy of faux-Carver mood pieces, a market-driven imperative towards hookiness, etc.), but that sort of survey would require a lot of annoying research into the history of writing advice.

    (Also, any over-simplifying or plain wrong-headedness here is mine, not Kress’s. Like: Freud is more interesting than most Freudians, Marx more complex than Marxists, and Kress more nuanced than I make her seem.)

    One last comment: when trying to come up with “best/memorable opening lines,” I’m having some trouble coming up with lines from short stories, but am awash in novel openings. Is that just a fluke of memory this morning? Or I wonder if, novels tend towards hookiness because of their greater time-cost? Coffee! (Well, tea.)

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