Saturday, June 24, 2017

A History of England

M. A. Rundall - A History of England, in Which the Most Remarkable Events are Illustrated by Numerous Symbolical Engravings (1829) direct link
Open Library main page

The start of the title promises yet another school-aimed history but the remainder sounds a bit intriguing.  In fact what the author has done is give each period or ruler a page of symbols (supposedly easier to remember) and then several pages of explanation.  (The original edition was published in 1822 as Symbolic Illustrations of the History of England.)

It's an odd approach and often too oblique, at times even comic with toothpick-shaped figures and clip-art icons.  That image of a Druidical wicker man seems more like a jaunty Halloween icon.  (And also an unintended notice about the date of the book - more recent research shows there was almost certainly no real life wicker man sacrifices.)  Or one from Henry VIII showing persecutions, but then most of the ones for him seem a bit strained.  Symbol pages for the Wars of the Roses are repeated battles and I think it would be harder to remember what the symbols represent than the actual names of the battles.

I can find almost no information about Mary Ann Rundall.  She was from Bath and also wrote an Easy Grammar of Sacred History (1813).