Norman: Chronicles of a Curiosity Seeker

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They engage evil in order to defeat it. They engage evil in order to collaborate with it. And they engage evil because they are apathetic about it. They look for some sensation. As films, they leave a lot to be desired. Pennebaker and a few other professionals to act out his half-baked skits convinced him that he could accomplish something significant on the cheap.

Paperback , pages. Published April 12th by Createspace first published February 28th More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Norman , please sign up.

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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 18, Jan rated it it was ok. I received this book for free in exchange for writing an honest review. I'm sorry I made that agreement because I hate to be negative. A narrator takes the reader through the story of a young man who meets a mysterious stranger, named Norman at a birthday party.

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The stranger has the ability to change into anything he wanted to become and took the narrator on various adventures. The kid and the adult narrator asks many questions and Norman seems to delight in frustrating him by not answering him. The book was too long and reading it became tedious.

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Sabrina Wilson rated it it was amazing May 05, Dorothy J rated it it was amazing Mar 26, Carol Ann rated it it was amazing Jun 04, Susie Spizzirro rated it really liked it Jul 05, So cathedra meant the seat or throne of a bishop. Hence cathedral, a church containing a bishop's chair. The houses of the better class of Englishmen of that day were not imposing structures; from the chronicles we can picture to ourselves the groups of low buildings, usually of wood, where one or two rooms had been added year by year, according to necessity.

In good weather people lived in the open air far more than in our own day; there was not a complete system of house existence as we know it now. The northern fashion of living in halls has lately been made to live again in delightful verse by Mr. William Morris in his "House of The Wolfings"; we can see in imagination the huge room where the master of the household had his high seat upon the north side while his people had their places on either hand about the walls, their beds and benches and footstools, with their armor hanging on the wall above. A great fire blazed on the pavement in the middle of the floor and its smoke went out at the openings in the high, carved roof.

Hospitality was chief among the virtues and toward the north of England especially there was still something of the old Norse way of living; in fact the great halls or assembling places of old and new English houses are the direct descendants of the ancient common rooms. Little by little in the old days, according to the needs of civilization, rooms were added for store-houses and for workshops and guest-chambers, and at last for those who wished to be alone, until the great halls and their dependencies looked like villages.

There was sure to be a strong room for the safe keeping of prisoners among the rest, but we do not get an idea of stateliness and dignity, such as seems to have belonged to the Scandinavian folk-houses. In every-day life there appears to have been almost unnecessary discomfort; all the rooms must have been cold and dark and smoky, and the servants, with those strangers and wayfarers who had no claim to distinction, slept like dogs in the lower rooms on straw or on the rushes strewn by way of carpet. The high-life in hall, the fashions at table, the rudeness of dress, and lack of certain minor morals would strike us strangely if they could be reproduced.

It is not too much to say that there are people now, living as all except the most comfortable of our ancestors lived and keeping up many of their fashions, in England and in our own city streets, but we think that the Boards of Health cannot keep too close an oversight, nor the messengers of charity work too eagerly for their uplifting and possible amelioration!

In Edward the Confessor's time a better mode of life began to reach the apprehension of the more refined, and when it is claimed by the chronicler that the English consumed their substance in mean and despicable houses while the French and Normans lived with frugality in noble and splendid mansions, we understand that great gains had been already made, and that England, to use a homely phrase, had already begun to "live like other people. There is an unmistakable likeness between these Saxon churches and those of early Italian architecture, and the priests and pilgrims of Durham and Peterborough and Canterbury had already shared in the continental rage for church building.

Some of the beautiful, simple towers of pre-Norman times are standing yet; many of the ancient country churches date back in part to the years before the Conquest, in fact, after the great Norman cathedrals were rearing their walls, in the years that followed the Conquest, towers and churches were still built after the old designs. If England had nothing to show as the result of the Norman Conquest save her cathedrals, one would be tempted to say that she was well repaid for all her hardships.

Here on English ground the Norman architects and those English architects who were quick to learn from them, built the most wonderful and beautiful stately roofs and towers and chiseled them into rich tracery as years went by; a noble heritage from church and state, for centuries yet to come, but in the days of their building a means of education and true enlightenment in arts and crafts. Ruskin has said that a great architect must be both painter and sculptor, and it is a marvel to think of the thousands of men besides the planner, who worked in wood and stone and glass and metal to finish the great buildings, learning from their masters and teaching in their turn.

We cannot help feeling a great reverence for the church builders of England and for that superstitious faith which wrought so devoutly in what it believed to be the cause of truth and righteousness. We should "regard intolerant religion merely as a mark of imperfect development; its cause the ignorance and timidity of man; its cure, increase of knowledge and safer abundance. We have the picture before us of a conservative, self-indulgent, easily prejudiced people; essentially aristocratic in the sense that they paid great court to their leaders and heads of families and took great pride in their wealth and possessions.

Such a people as this, who valued their comforts of life more than their means of growth and development, were forced to submit to the presence of another sort of men, scornful, ambitious, greedy also of gain and power, but full of radical and unsettling ideas. They too wished to be great land-holders, and at the Saxons' expense; they meant also to be great builders and laughed much of the primitive architecture to scorn.

They ridiculed the huge feasts and the drunkenness and made themselves unwelcome at both fireside and council of state. Their very quickness and ability, their instinct toward manners and style, were aggravating to the Saxon sluggishness and that already well-worn theory of letting well enough alone -- a poor theory to frame character by. It is like reading the story of a self-involved, comfortable household which suddenly has a new inmate thrust upon its affections, a person who is pretentious and bustling, who insists upon new and more exact ways of doing things and laughs at the antiquated bourgeois fashions and speech; nay, more!

One likes to think that there were some who held to higher aims, who were glad to have the Normans come, if only they would rouse a lazy England with whip and spur. England must no longer be great in little things and eminent for her commonplaceness; now she must learn from Lanfranc of Pavia the lessons that Italy could teach, and from Norman William a northern power of doing the things that were to be done. When Duke William heard the news of Earl Harold's being crowned king of the English, he left the chase and went home to his castle hall in Rouen, and his retainers followed in silence, watching with curious eyes his excitement and restlessness.

Nobody dared to ask what misfortune had befallen him. He leaned his head against a stone pillar and covered his face with his cloak. Here was an ancient custom of the earliest Saga times still instinctive in William the Conqueror; the plain country woman of our own day who throws her apron over her head as she sits silent among her people, makes it a signal of deep disturbance of mind and claims by it a sort of seclusion far more striking than if she went away by herself.

There seems to be evidence of a profound self-consciousness and determined thought which the loud outcries and excitement of shallower minds never show; it is the trait of a different nature; the germ of great projects and achievements is in that power of withdrawal from one's surroundings, and in demanding respect for such withdrawal. England has been the mother country of such men in the years that she has been coming to her greatness and power, it is her northern blood still stirring in her veins.

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One of the conqueror's clearest intentions was to bring England under strict government. She already had her parliament, her Witanagemot, or meeting of wise men, who considered the country's needs and petitions, and "with the king sat in Winchester at Easter and in Westminster at Pentecost, and in Gloucester at Christmas-tide. The horror that fell upon English hearts at the news of William's great survey of England, and its record, which the world knows as Domesday Book, strikes a student to-day with mingled pity and amusement.

William certainly needed to know the military strength of the country, as the chief of its armies; as a prudent governor he must have records of the population and the resources of the landholders. His deputies went over England "to know how this land was set and of what men," and made careful survey of every man's land, setting down who had been the former owner under Edward, establishing titles, and hearing complaints.

The exasperated people supposed themselves insulted and outraged, as if the great census were nothing more than a method for making taxation easier and more rewarding to the king. It was to them a heart-rending forerunner of thievery and extortion, but to us it marks a step upward in the condition of England and English government.

In when, after the great survey was finished, William gathered his subjects out of the whole country to the plain of Salisbury and every landholder and man of influence swore fealty to him, it was a great day for England. In the fact that every man held his lands direct from the king and that his duty to the king over-ruled his duty to any under lord lay a sure promise of well-being and safety. On that day the unity of England's national power was welded, the common people had become of consequence, they had a clear way opened before them to better things. The strong hand that since the bloody fight at Senlac had often seemed only to crush and to check, had in reality removed many hindrances.

The horrible slave trade of Bristol was stopped, there were no longer any thralls who were sold with the land, or even bound in feudal fashion to serve the selfish ends of their masters. There was a certain sense in which William was not a man of blood, he dared in that early time to forbid capital punishment, though in the later reigns of his successors, not long before our time, a man might be hanged for sheep stealing.

The stories of war are always sorry reading, and those of the Conqueror's time are no exception with their truly Oriental recklessness of human life. If a man were a danger and terror to the community, if he were vile and despicable, he was put out of mischief by having his eyes torn out, or his thievish hands cut off, and was turned out into the world to wander at the world's mercy, but in William's reign the taking of life in cold blood as punishment for crime was forbidden.

In many ways the people of England learned slowly that they had become responsible to a stable government; they were impelled to steady thrift in order to meet steady demands for national purposes. No advance can be made toward national or personal breadth of view, largeness of character, true prosperity of any sort, without pain and stress; those must lose something who would win more, and must put down a small thing that is in hand if they would take up a larger.

All the poverty and suffering of England in those dark days was the price of great advance and of gaining a steadfast and permanent place among the nations of the earth. What William with increasing avarice wrung from the country for his own satisfaction must be forgiven him, both his Great Hoard at Winchester and all his grasping ways. It is well to remember that his score of years in England was no holiday.

Only those who are rulers know the unreckoned restraints and lack of personal liberty to which they are made subject.

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No one citizen is the servant of his king to the degree in which the king is the servant of the citizen. So the churls of England, and the very thralls, their bondmen , came to own themselves Englishmen, instead of the harassed and unrewarded vassals of a petty over lord, and had a king who was a king indeed. They had taken oath to the crown, and the crown would remain when he who wore it that day at Salisbury had long been dust in a Norman crypt or scattered to the Norman winds.

The future of the English nation was shaped for it in William's reign; if he had lived long enough to begin in Ireland what he had begun in England, the state of that unhappy country would have been far better.


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We can see in her history what England might have been save for William the Conqueror. There is a great proportion of names of Norman descent in every list of English colonists and adventurers by land and sea. They came to America, they went to Australia, they were among the New Englanders who hurried first to California in ; they make the positive side of society, the reformers, the seekers for new truths, they are still the leaders of those who speak the English tongue.

The possibility of apathy and short-sightedness, and of relapse into too comfortable and casual habits of life always lurks in the national character; there have always been times when England has grown dull and blindly prudent -- and then comes the cry for the old Norman pride, bright, fierce, enthusiastic, ready to listen to the voices and responsive to the call of visions. Those who instinctively take the Anglo-Saxon side in discussing the movements of this great epoch would have students of history believe that it is throughout, a noble Saxon development, and that William and his followers came under its influence to their great enlightenment and advantage.

This is true, but it is not the whole truth; Saxon England alone never would have reached great results of national life and character. It was to having her share of that rekindling of light in the far North that England's real advance was due, that spark of quickening fire and new beginning of intellectual force in the countries of the Saga heroes and the Saga writers.

For themselves their fault of treachery was rebuked by Saxon honesty, and their shallow quickness by Saxon painstaking, their fickleness by Saxon loyalty and steadfastness. Still, as we regard the dark and stormy years of the English Conquest, the figure of Norman William grows again distinct, and a mournful figure it was in the latest months of his great and significant reign.

He had set an example, rare enough in that licentious age, of proverbially pure and sober life, he had uncommon virtues for his day and generation. People called him extortionate, people called him cruel, his own conscience was sharp within him as he lay on his death bed. But when all is said that can be said of any unrighteous advantage that he took as victor with his spoils, of harshness incident to conquest and antagonism in that cruel, almost merciless age, we must own that he was truly the benefactor of the country over which he came to rule.

We must judge that sovereignty of England at its best, not in its decadence when he grew weak and spent and old. There were temporary aspects of his later reign that were anything but admirable, but the general trend of his statesmanship was that of a master and a true king. The word is used in two ways which Webster distinguishes as follows: "That which usually falls out or takes place," and "That which happens aside from the main design.

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The word is Englished from the Italian romanesco , where the suffix is from the Latin iscos , Greek iskos , which corresponds to the English ish. The Greeks successively developed the word from mustos , one who is initiated, muein , to initiate into the mysterious; mu , a slight sound with closed lips.

So the origin of the word is found in the imitation of closing the lips. The French borrowed these two words from the Latin tongue where they appear as manus and tenere. Prefixing re they had reluctari , to struggle against. This essay appeared in three parts in The Chautauquan , , , Meadville, Pa. As it re-presents material contained mainly in the final two chapters of The Story of the Normans , a reader may wonder why Jewett published this essay.