Monday, June 29, 2009

Connections: Early Medieval and Enlightenment Edition

I've been reading a book about Capt. Cook that I referred to in an earlier post and when I finish the book, I will post here a bit more. Ok, so I've also just finished The University in Ruins which will earn a post over at Modern Medieval, but I digress. Anyway, I like Bede. I like thinking about Bede, and early Anglo-Saxon England, writing about Bede and early Anglo-Saxon England, talking about Bede and Early Anglo-Saxon England.....

So I was a bit surprised to learn that Capt. James Cook (not Kirk who was from Iowa) was not only a Yorkshireman, but spent some time working in Whitby and it is from that town that he first took ship and the fledgling steps on his way to becoming the Captain Cook of well deserved fame. The author refers to the "7th century ruins of an abbey" on an outcrop of hill overlooking the town (ahem: Hild's place). He also attended services as part of a Cook celebration at a Norman era church, St. Mary's that has furnishings and additions that date from many subsequent eras. Being largely a fishing and shipping town, the church has pews made from lumber salvaged from ships and other such features.

I personally have little direct "Cook" connection. I've been to the Bering Sea where he sailed on his third voyage searching for the NW Passage. I've been to Cook's Inlet in AK, and to Vancouver Island, though admittedly I never made it to Nootka Sound...I was too preoccupied then with other beauties on the island and the wonderful city of Victoria (or at least it was 25 years ago). I have more connection in that sense with one of Cook's men, George Vancouver, having sailed and/or driven over much of the territory Vancouver explored after Cook's death.

Nonetheless, the personal connection of having been where Cook went myself as a deckhand, my interest in Whitby, Bede, and Hild, only to find another connection in that way to Cook who lived in the town early in his career. My one and only trip into Yorkshire so far only took me to York, but not to Whitby. So I guess I'm just going to have to go again.

Another item of interest to me in connection to Whitby is that apparently Bram Stoker used the town as a model for the seaside town in Dracula. I had no idea. I have to say that I've never been into vampires and the like, but the of a medievalist I become the more I've come to appreciate Stoker's work in Dracula as a medievalism. Anyway, it was another medievalesque connection that piqued my interest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you go to Whitby at the right time of year, you'll get the vampires connection pretty strongly :-) And also a slightly less rowdy town, but no available accommodation...