Author Topic: Katherine Swynford  (Read 42241 times)

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Offline Kimberly

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2008, 12:46:33 PM »
Well, folks I have just finished Alison Weir's bio on Katherine Swinford and I have to say I have found it extremely readable and fascinating to boot.
She has a lot to say about Anya Setons  Fiction novel... "Katherine" and IMO very gently shreds its "credibility".
I can only recommend this book as a window on the life of Katherine and mediaeval women in general. Excellent stuff.
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Offline Mari

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2008, 02:23:42 PM »
Give us a hint... :) what does She gently shred in Seton's book which I also read and loved years ago? Notes or specific sources? not enough?

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2008, 09:46:55 AM »
Weir acknowledges that the novel exerts a tremendous influence over peoples' idea of who Katherine was. Anya Seton made "impressive and commendable" efforts to get her facts right but it is not a valid portrayal of the historical Katherine Swinford. Seton applied Freudian Psychology in determining reasons for her characters behaviour but the morality of the book is very much that of the 1950s and not of the 1300s. A marriage based on love is a concept foreign to the 14th century mind.
"Katherine" is essentially a romantic novel riddled with romantic cliches- unrequited love, cruel conflict and lonely exile yet it has even been listed in the bibliographies of works of historical non-fiction, resulting in it achieving more credibilty than it deserves.
(personally, I still love the book but recognise it for what it is- a delightful old favorite!)
For me, 2 of the most dramatic parts of Seton's novel are;
Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster's death from Bubonic Plague at Bolingbroke Castle.- In reality, Blanche died at Tutbury Castle one month after the birth of her 3rd daughter, Isabella. This would suggest that Blanche had contracted Puerperal Fever.

Katherine barely escaping with her life when The Savoy is burned to the ground during the Peasants' Revolt........Katherine was almost certainly NOT there!
 Katherine married Hugh Swinford certainly before 1365 and probably in 1362. This puts Katherine's age at around 12-15 years old at the time of her first marriage. the children of the marriage were; Margaret (professed as a nun at Barking Abbey), Blanche, Thomas and ? Dorothy.
There are indications that John of Gaunt had symptoms of a Venereal Disease and it was this illness that ended his life. Symptoms alluded to were intermittent attacks of illness in the late 1390s, putrifying genitals and blindness. This is not conclusive but Weir speculates that this was in fact, Gonorrhoea (Syphillis then unknown in Europe and was thought to have been introduced from the Americas in the late 15th Century)
 

Anyway,  Weir points out that nearly every monarch in Europe was/is descended from Katherine..including Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, the late POW.
She also lists Sir Winston Churchill.
                  Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
                  Bertrand Russell, and 5 American Presidents as descendents ;    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,John Quincy Adams, FDR and George W Bush.
I cannot recommend Weir's book highly enough, it really is well worth the money. It has lots of notes, references and sources.
 
               
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 09:49:24 AM by Kimberly »
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Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2008, 01:35:12 PM »
Many early American families descend from Katherine Swynford.

I know her father was Paen de Roet.  Has anyone come across the name of her mother?
Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2008, 02:48:15 PM »
Yes and I have forgotten it...... shame on me. I will look it up tomorrow (if I remember :-) )
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alixaannencova

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2009, 05:19:07 AM »
I assume Anya Seton never sold the rights to 'any' of her novels!!!! Is one right in this assumption?


I personally feel that 'Katherine' would make an absolutely bloody marvelous film!!! (As long as it was absolutely loyal to this wonderful book!!!!!!).....goodness I have seen it in my mind's eye enough times ...... it jolly well aches in my mind's eye like a 'real' memory!

Does anyone know why there have never been even the remotest rumours of screenplays and 'options' of 'Katherine', when surely it is the most 'beautiful' love story in all of English History?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 05:23:15 AM by Toots »

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2009, 02:33:44 PM »
Hey Toots, Charlton Heston and Rita Heyworth......lined up to make the movie but Hollywood decided that it was too "racey"
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alixaannencova

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2009, 04:11:55 PM »
I can't believe Chuck was going to play John of Gaunt!!!!!! Thank goodness the studio baulked on puritanical grounds!

As to Rita Hayworth playing Katherine......hmmmm. I may like Ms Hayworth but I think that casting her in the lead would have made the characterization of Katherine a bit tarty IMHO!

I do hope that one day a producer will be brave enough to commission a 'faithful' adaptation and will get a marvelous director and cast together to make Katherine! Goodness I could have fun playing 'make believe' casting director!!!!!

 

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2009, 06:22:47 PM »
Hi Kimberly & Toots,

Don't know what to make of Charlton Heston as John of Gaunt as I don't know what JG looked like and when this movie would have been made.  Were CH and JG the same age when Katherine came along?

As to Rita Hayworth: -
Love her but she wouldn't have registered as an historical figure, I don't think...
They tried it with Lana Turner as Diane de Poitier and she bombed!!

Larry

alixaannencova

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2009, 06:50:37 PM »
John of Gaunt would have been about twenty seven when he stood as godfather to Katherine's daughter Blanche Swynford. At this time the pair were not lovers, but it would be reasonable to put this part of the story at the beginning of an adaptation in order to demonstrate just how difficult Katherine's life was during her first marriage.

I would also love to know when the adaptation of Katherine was being planned as it would show how old Hayworth and Heston were at the time!

Interestingly Heston was, in real life, five years younger than Hayworth whilst John of Gaunt was ten years older than Katherine!!!!

Anya Seton described John as follows:-

'...narrow hips and wide muscular shoulders...He was tall...In John's face the Plantagenet stamp of long nose, narrow cheeks and deep eye sockets had been soften but not coarsened by the Flemish heritage. His eyes were as bright blue as his father's once had been, his thick hair was tawny yellow as a lion's pelt. His beard was clipped short and his face shaven to disclose a full and passionate mouth.'

 It sounds rather soppy and 'breathless' when quoted like this....! Especially the 'narrow hips', broad shoulders and 'passionate mouth' bits!!!!!





« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 06:58:03 PM by Toots »

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2009, 09:15:52 PM »
Hi Toots,

Well, not to prolong this discussion on Heston & Hayworth but:
Heston was only hitting his stride around 1952 -1956;  and Hayworth was pretty much finished about then.  Also, they were at different studios;  so I can't see them making a movie together, as you said earlier.  And, I agree!!!.

Further & interestingly, Hayworth did play Salome in 1953 at 35 years of age - 20 years older than the purported Salome and a little long in the tooth.
She did however, do a marvellous Dance of the Seven Veils (quite good actually!!) and managed to take off 6 veils before the censors stepped in.

Somehow, I don't think this all would serve as a rehearsal for Katherine S.
I think she managed to keep her veils on!!!

Larry


alixaannencova

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2009, 09:27:38 PM »
I am so glad when it isn't just me be prejudice and too 'set in my ways'! It re-assures me when others see where I am coming from...thanks Larry!

Personally I would have loved to have seen Peter O'Toole and Julie Christie in the mid 1960s in the lead roles in a David Lean directed epic a la Zhivago!!!!! He O'Toole is nine years older than Christie and I can just 'see' them as John and Katherine! Rather than a scenery chomping Heston and vamp-ish Hayworth!!!





Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2009, 09:57:26 PM »
Hi Again,

Yes, I always liked Peter O'Toole and he has always given good value in his performances.  I cannot understand why he never won any of those 7 or 8 Oscars he was nominated for.  When you consider the garbage actors and actresses who have an Oscar - - my question is "What happened??"...  Poor Peter...

And, Julie Christie would have been just right for a "fair English rose"....

Larry

alixaannencova

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2009, 10:08:22 PM »
I often muse over O'Toole's repeated failure to win the 'lovely bugger'! I suspect that like fellow heavy drinkers, Burton and Harris..... it may have been something to do with his 'hoovering' habits which may have caused a sentiment of prejudice amongst the more puritanical voting members of the academy! All three were notorious for their penchant for liquid lunches so to speak! O'Toole has been nominated eight times for the award and threatened to decline his honorary one! Burton received seven nominations and failed to win and to my great surprise, Harris was only nominated twice! I always assumed he was nominated a few more times!   

Personally I really did think O'Toole would finally win it for 'Venus'.... but then Forest Whittaker did give that extraordinary performance as Idi Amin!

I am still musing over who could possibly play John and Katherine in an adaptation today! I guess it may be tricky as the film would really have to span a period of some thirty odd years to really do the book justice! For any actor that is a big ask! Hmmmm...I shall ponder on!



 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 10:23:51 PM by Toots »

Offline ilyala

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Re: Katherine Swynford
« Reply #59 on: May 02, 2009, 03:57:20 AM »
Hi Kimberly & Toots,

Don't know what to make of Charlton Heston as John of Gaunt as I don't know what JG looked like and when this movie would have been made.  Were CH and JG the same age when Katherine came along?

As to Rita Hayworth: -
Love her but she wouldn't have registered as an historical figure, I don't think...
They tried it with Lana Turner as Diane de Poitier and she bombed!!

Larry

here's a portrait of john of gaunt:



as far as i can tell, he was dark haired - very much unlike charlton heston
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya