There are different ways to think of something, different points of view, as there are different people. There are people that find that History is peeking in other's life... (but, just for you to know, I hate the gossip magazines). There are people that are completely indifferent, and others abominate History completely because they must study hard and remember the date of a battle for Monday's test.
It's alright, I understand. I thought that too. But the opinion that the people have of the study of History, and its events, also have much to do with the way they discover it. It is obvious that if in the sixth year of school the only thing that students do is to study dates and to say that in the XIX century appeared the train and that this was very good for the development of the transports and communications, they won't feel excited. They only study for the sake of the next test or exam, and not for the sake of History. Clearly this does not have great interest; the worst of everything is that they don't understand why they should waste such precious time studying History!
It is very difficult to have teach History in an attractive way, that's true. But when we study something voluntarily and not because we just have to, things change completely. Deep inside, there's nothing to say. I like History just like others like soccer of video games, and that's it. It all started with a visit to Versailles, two or three years ago. We met a very comic and hiperactive guide, a guide very passionate for history. She wasn't definitively a guide who only made her work; she was a guide who followed her passion. We (I and my parents) and two more pairs of lucky tourists were invited by the guide to a small guided visit. We weren't counting with what came next.
She took us to places that, well, were not open to the public: apartments of the small Trianon that were closed for renovation, for example; or the opera of Marie Antoinette, close to the Trianon. We saw apartments that were not touched since the Revolution: with the paper ripped from the walls, the dusty ground and furniture, everything! It looked like Marie-Antoinette had left yesterday without packing. The guide spoke of everything with such passion that I was astonished. In the end, she advised me a book about Marie-Antoinette. The best was that she spoke with me as if I was an adult, and not a child (I was twelve, I think).
Anyway, that made one " clic" inside me, and I, who was not in the least bit interested in that, started to adore everything of it, to speak with people about History, to read, to research, to visit museums… I didn’t immediately read the book that the guide had advised, Marie-Antoinette, of Stefan Zweig, because well, that was not exactly easy literature to start. But now I’ve read it (and loved it, by the way).
One thing I’d love to do would be to go see that guide and tell her that her visit really changed something inside of me. That it worked. Because, deep inside, i tis always a kind of personal victory when we see that we managed to make someone interested in something.
And now, I have a bookcase full of historical books (fictional and non-fictional), of magazines from museums; I have a huge list of interesting historical blogs and sites; I spend whole afternoons researching on books and on the internet, comparing books, watching historical movies… When I go to museums, I can recognize the persons that are in the paintings, say which was the painting, what is the year of the painting (most of the time I can guess that because of the clothes the persons in the paintings are wearing). In museums, even if they’re biiig ones, if there are plenty of XVIII and XIX century paintings, I never get tired, even when everyone is already exhausted.
And I do feel very happy that way. It’s great to have an interest that makes us research and read and just be passionate about it.
I’ve only got a problem: no one I know has that interest (at least, not in the passionate way I do). Sometimes there are people that like it when I explain to them this and that, when I start to talk with in a very outraged way, because Marie-Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake”, and that is was a lie, etc. There are other people that like to jump in the museums hiding the labels of the paintings and tell me to guess the year of the painting.
Well, I like doing that to. But, in fact, I’d also like to have someone who would feel as fascinated as I do and that wouldn’t roll eyes and call me an addict if I’m reading an interesting book about, I don’t know, Marie-Thérèse, for example!
And I still haven’t found someone with that interest, but I’m not giving up! And that is why I’ve started this blog, to anyone that is interested in reading whatever historical things I post here (and whoever is ready to forgive me for any English spelling mistakes; I’m very sorry about that, but Portuguese is my native language, not english).
So stay alert, will’ya? Maybe something here will catch your eye. Remember, suggestions and comments are always most welcome!
And perhaps I’ll meet that guide from Versailles again, one of these days.
So, to conclude, here’s one painting from one of my favorite artist, Fragonard. Isn’t it beautiful?
P.S.: This post is called Prelude Or Overture because it’s a kind of introduction to the blog, and I’ve always thought that music and history went very well together… ; )