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JB has posted 8 annotations/comments since 25 December 2018.

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About Monday 17 December 1666

JB  •  Link

San Diego Sarah - Thanks for the reminder regarding the cheese! I had been wondering about that as well.

About Friday 7 December 1666

JB  •  Link

And, in an interesting coincidence given the timing, just ran across this at http://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writ… :

"On this date in 1660, a professional female actress appeared on the English stage in a production of Othello. It’s one of the earliest known instances of a female role actually being played by a woman in an English production. Up until this time, women were considered too fine and sensitive for the rough life of the theater, and boys or men dressed in drag to play female characters. An earlier attempt to form co-ed theater troupes was met with jeers and hisses and thrown produce.

But by the second half of the 17th century, the King’s Company felt that London society could handle it. Before the production, a lengthy disclaimer in iambic pentameter was delivered to the audience, warning them that they were about to see an actual woman in the part. This was, the actor explained, because they felt that men were just too big and burly to play the more delicate roles, “With bone so large and nerve so incompliant / When you call Desdemona, enter giant.”"

About Friday 7 December 1666

JB  •  Link

I've long wondered about the actor/actress usage thing. Some thoughts (circa 2006) from https://painintheenglish.com/case/703 :

"English is not a language that uses separate nouns to distinguish between sexes regularly enough for there to be strong rules regarding such usage. The mixture of linguistic roots in English makes it difficult to apply consistent suffix rules to all of the nouns involved and use of suffixes isn't strong in English for other purposes...During the two world wars but particularly during and after WWII, women became active in professions where men had previously filled almost all positions. There was also some expansion of women's roles in the middle-ages after plagues. Where there had previously been no need for separate masculine and feminine versions of such nouns, the lack of any consistent rules that could be applied made it difficult to find satisfactory solutions in many cases. Combined with social pressure for equality between men and women, the result has been neutralisation of nouns so that they are used non-gender specifically.

The exceptions tend to come with latinate words that remain strongly preserved and have clear modifications for gender specificity. These are the ones that still seem to hold on, but are rapidly disappearing as the language becomes more and more neuter oriented.

An example of a language with much more consistent usage of such nouns is German which consistently uses such nouns. The consistency of usage makes differentiation intrinsic to the language itself and there has been little or no social pressure to change this.

It's also noticeabe that languages that use masculine, feminine and neuter pronouns and noun endings to agree with the gender (like French) have also experienced less pressure to neutralise gender specific nouns.

There are a few gender specific nouns that remain very strongly embedded in English though: Husband and Wife being perhaps the best example. Spouse could be used here just as effectively, but despite considerable pressure on nouns defining gender roles, 'husband ande wife' seem remarkably resisilient in usage."

"...Anyone who speaks a language that draws the distinction consistently will tell you how useful it is.

Words that arrived in English from Latin and French often maintained the distinction with Actor/Actress being an example from the french words Acteur/Actrice I belive.

In English though, the lack of rule consitency, noun agreement etc make these inherited distinctions less resilient to being dropped and even encourage these separate forms being lost due to complexity (languages tend toward simplification on the whole)."

"Another consideration is that, if you don’t use “actor” in a gender-neutral manner, there’s really *no* gender-neutral term to people who act. This is as distinct from "husband/wife", where there is always a term "spouse" that one can use in generic situations."

About Thursday 25 October 1666

JB  •  Link

Was wondering if the phrase "wear and tear" originated during this time period.

From https://www.etymonline.com/word/wear :
"wear (n.)
"action of wearing" (clothes), mid-15c., from wear (v.). Meaning "what one wears" is 1560s. To be the worse for wear is attested from 1782; noun phrase wear and tear is first recorded 1660s, implying the sense "process of being degraded by use.""

About Sunday 4 February 1665/66

JB  •  Link

And, to extend the literary vein, but retreat a little further back in time, Robert Louis Stevenson finished "Treasure Island" in a Swiss sanatorium as well.

About Sunday 24 December 1665

JB  •  Link

I was just thinking many of the same things about people in the future, Al. And Nate, I envy you your pasty.

I’ve been reading for two to three-ish years now. Drawn by Steven Pressfield’s discussion of the portion of Roseanne Cash’s book about her evolution as an artist, I listened to a talk she did at the New York Public Library and she mentioned this site.

I also wonder about the folks from the first round as to whether are following along again or have moved on to other pursuits. In any event, all the best to everyone in the coming year!