Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Other Hugh le Despenser, and a Too Perfect Heroine

I'd like my blog entry today to honor Hugh le Despenser (d. 1349), eldest son of Hugh le Despenser the younger and Eleanor de Clare, who on August 24, 1346, as a prelude to the Battle of Crécy two days later, stormed the town of Le Crotoy, killed hundreds of French troops, burnt the town, and obtained plenty of provisions for the English troops, who were sorely in need of them at that time. (Granted, the French would probably take a rather dimmer view of Hugh's feats, but c'est la vie.) 660 years ago today--time flies, doesn't it?

Hugh is the subject of my work in progress ("progress" being used advisedly, but then even a snail moving forward is making some sort of progress, I suppose). I'm rather fond of him, not the least because he started out his adulthood in the most unpromising of circumstances, landless, imprisoned, and with a disgraced family name, and ended it as a respected solider and (apparently) as a loved husband. Not a mean feat when one considers that a different sort of man might have wasted his life in bitterness and grudge-holding.

You can read more about Hugh here.

On the historical fiction front, I found it amusing that the same day I read Sarah Johnson's post about finishing novels, I put down a novel after about 30 pages. (I won't name it because (a) I read so little of it and (b) I no longer have it here to double-check.) The heroine had nearly every virtue imaginable except one--humility--and on the few occasions when someone wasn't standing nearby to tell her how magnificently she had handled a situation, she told us herself. As there was hardly any room in the house for her ego and the rest of us, I decided that something had to go, and it wouldn't be the rest of us. Back to the bookstore for you, baby.

2 comments:

Alianore said...

Loved the article on Hugh the Even Younger! I'm very fond of him, for some reason. And yippee, Ill be visiting his tomb at Tewkesbury in just over a month!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks! And I'm jealous . . . say hi for me!