Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books.
1) The Declaration of Arbroath, signed on April 6, 1320, is one of the most famous documents in Scottish history. Jamie was obviously very familiar with it:
"Though as to principle, Sassenach—” He leaned back in his chair, folded his arms over his chest, and closed his eyes.According to the website of the National Archives of Scotland,
“As long as but a hundred of us remain alive,” he said precisely, “never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom--for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."
"The Declaration of Arbroath,” he said, opening his eyes. He gave me a lopsided smile. “Written some four hundred years ago. Speaking o’ principles, aye?”
(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 53, "Principles". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The document in the National Records of Scotland is the only surviving copy of the Declaration. It was kept with the rest of the national records in Edinburgh Castle until the early seventeenth century. When work was being done on the castle, the Declaration was taken for safekeeping to Tyninghame, the home of the official in charge of the records. While there it suffered damage through damp and it returned to the custody of the Deputy Clerk Register (the predecessor of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland) in 1829. Conservation staff at the NRS monitor the Declaration to ensure it survives for many centuries to come.If you want to get a close-up view of the Declaration of Arbroath, go here. The Declaration was written in Latin, but you can see an English translation here.
2) This is an 18th century monstrance from Lyon, France. (Photo credit: larryorquejr, on Flickr.) I like to think that the one Claire saw in the Abbey might have looked something like this.
The Sacrament itself was almost obscured by the magnificence of its container. The huge monstrance, a sunburst of gold more than a foot across, sat serenely on the altar, guarding the humble bit of bread at its center.I'm Jewish, so I'm not very familiar with Catholic religious practices. But according to this site,
(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 38, "The Abbey". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
At the beginning of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it in the Monstrance on the Altar for adoration by the faithful. "Monstrance" is the vessel used in the Church to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host, during Eucharistic adoration or benediction. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning "to expose". It is known in Latin as an Ostensorium.Even if you don't share Claire and Jamie's Catholic faith, you can certainly appreciate the monstrance as a beautiful work of art.
3) This video shows Archie Bell and the Drells performing "Tighten Up". Evidently Claire was very familiar with this song, which was a huge hit in 1968.
I glanced out the window and saw [Mrs. Bell and her daughters] making their way down the street, clustered together in hopeful excitement, staggering into the street occasionally from the effects of wine and emotion.I had never heard of this song before I read ECHO, so I was baffled by the reference at first, until I looked it up.
“We don’t only sing but we dance just as good as we walk,” I murmured, watching them go.
Jamie gave me a startled look.
“Archie Bell and the Drells,” I explained. “Never mind."
(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 18, "Pulling Teeth". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Did you ever wonder where Diana got the name "Tranquil Teal" for one of the ships in AN ECHO IN THE BONE?
I hate Boats. I despise them with the utmost Fiber of my Being. And yet I find myself once more launched upon the dreadful Bosom of the Sea, aboard a Craft known as the Tranquil Teal, from which Absurdity you may deduce the grim Whimsy of her Captain. This Gentleman is a Smuggler of mixed Race, evil Countenance, and low Humor, who tells me, straight-faced, that his name is Trustworthy Roberts.Here's Diana's explanation, from a post on Compuserve in April, 2009, a few months before ECHO was published:
(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 25, "The Bosom of the Deep". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As to details...people always ask writers where they get their ideas. I can't always recall exactly where this or that came from, but in the present case, I happened to be writing this particular scene at our place in Santa Fe, during which time we were having the window frames all repainted. Happen the color of the paint we chose was called "Tranquil Teal." <g>The image above is a sample of a paint color called "Tranquil Teal" (Dunn-Edwards DE5703, to be precise). I'm not positive that this is the exact same paint that Diana used as the inspiration for the ship's name, but it's probably pretty close.
There is also a brand of duct tape that comes in a color called "Tranquil Teal".
5) This is the cover of the 1910 edition of FANNY HILL. This infamous erotic novel, written in 1748 by John Cleland and originally published under the title MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE, was one of the first works of pornographic prose in English, and became one of the most banned books in history. No wonder Claire was appalled to see six-year-old Jemmy reading it!
[Jem] was retrieved from Jamie’s study, where he had been spelling out words in--Here's an article from the Boston Globe from July 7, 2013, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the book's first commercial printing in the United States.
“Jesus Christ on a piece of toast!” his grandmother blurted, snatching the book from him. “Jamie! How could you?”
Jamie felt a deep blush rise over him. How could he, indeed? He’d taken the battered copy of Fanny Hill in trade, part of a parcel of used books bought from a tinker. He hadn’t looked at the books before buying them, and when he did come to look them over...Well, it was quite against his instincts to throw away a book--any book.
“What’s P-H-A-L-L-U-S?” Jemmy was asking his father.
“Another word for prick,” Roger said briefly. “Don’t bloody use it."
(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you want to read FANNY HILL for yourself, it's available on the Project Gutenberg site here.
I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts. And please come back next week for more!