Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Would Georgie Do? Shortages of Salons

I love 18th century history, absolutely everything. I spend days searching the internet, I love historical movies, and for the books... don't even mention it!!! I don't know much about Georgiana, my speciality is Marie-antoinette and her relations, and that is why I'm following your blog - to know more about Georgiana.
Anyway, this is what is happening. People just don't approve my passion. By this, I mean several things. Sometimes they mock me. Sometimes, they say I read to many non-fiction historical books. Sometimes they roll their eyes when I talk about it. Sometimes they're horrified when they learn that I want to have History in University, and go around screaming "Are you mad, don't you see there is just NO jobs in History?" (let's say that I live in Portugal, and there is basically no job anywhere, but that's another thing!).
The worst is that there are almost no historical reenactments here. I love to talk about History, but not if I'm just the one who's talking and the other's listening. You know, who doesn't like to share interests with someone who is fascinated by History too? But I never met anyone like that. Some people just like to listen to me talk about Marie-Antoinette... Sometimes it's absolutely desperating, I feel alone. Your blog's a blessing, really. So, what would you (or what would Georgiana do?!) in such a case?


Well, one of the things that I have always admired in Georgiana is that she dared to go against the grain and do things different. Luckily for her, she had good taste and her risks usually resulted in others following her lead. When Georgiana was in exile on the continent she began to explore geology and other sciences, a hobby that she would have for the rest of her life. It was also a hobby that not many women were even interested in, especially her old friends. So how was she able to cultivate this hobby? She networked, and found others who shared her love. She held scientific discussion groups at her house and attended lectures.

This task is even easier for us in this fantastic age of the internet. We can connect with those who have a similar interest from all over the world; as you have discovered! If Georgiana was here today would she have a blog or twitter? Absolutely! I think you are doing the right thing by finding an internet community. If you want to participating in discussions on Marie Antoinette rather than giving them I would recommend joining a Forum. If you google 'Marie Antoinette Forum,' you shall find plenty! That way, you are in more a salon setting than a classroom.

Never underestimate the power of becoming a member of a museum or signing up for their newsletters. Many museums and colleges have open lectures you can go to and also network in. I've never paid a cent to hear a lecture and I've seen (and learned) from some amazing people.

The most important thing you can learn from Georgiana is that it is okay to try something different, even if you are criticized by others. The worst that can happen is you fail, and then you just have to get up on your feet again. It happened many times to her and it just made her all the more interesting of a personality!


  1. Júlia, when I was reading your problem, I was thinking "did I write this in my sleep or something", because it is exactly the same problem I have, right down to the Portuguese thing! My friends even dubbed my mini-history lessons as "historical moments" before rolling their eyes. Just so you know, you're not the only portuguese whose more into the past than present and I wish you all the luck.

    And Heather, need I mention what an abolutly delightful blog you have going on here? I check every day to see if there's any new 200-year-old gossip. I also need to complement you on the way you talk about these people, as people and not a boring textbook.
    Btw, have you ever heard of the marquesa de Alorna? She's absolutly fascinating! It's like Marie-Therese of France meets Georgiana, with some affairs, scandals and poetry thrown in.

  2. Júlia,PLEASE don't let people discourage you from your passion!

    I am an art historian...and I can tell you that studying any kind of history will always make you a more well-rounded, informed, and tolerant human being.

    And following your passion will never let you down even if you don't make your living as an academic. In fact it is quite the opposite...if you are a free-lancer you treasure/appreciate your passion even more. THIS blog and many others are evidence of this...Finally, research skills and attention to detail are applicable to any profession you choose so they are never wasted.

    Keep reading...and learning...and if you need a further will keep you forever YOUNG...

  3. Julia don't give up- you're seriously not alone! And, I get this all the time (when people start nodding politely I know that's my cue...)This blog really is wonderful- it's 'well-rounded' ;)You' get to learn and share so much great stuff!

  4. Júlia, DON'T GIVE UP!!I'm a Portuguese historian & I can tell you that many people don't understand what History is. They thing it's just about remembering dates & names, when it goes so far beyond this : it's about studying human beings & societies in a precise time & Judy said it gives you powerful research & analyzing tools. And browsing this & other wonderful historical blogs & sites you'll find that you're absolutely not alone!!

    I got many problems in college that made me question my choice, but, against all odds, after fighting hard to get my degree, I had to wait just a couple of months to get an internship in a e-commerce company where my skills as an historian got recognize, it's not my full time task but historical research represents about 10 to 20% of my work. And there's no one who could have predict that. So CHEER UP & follow your dreams, because college time is also (and mainly) about discovering yourself!;)

  5. WOW, I can't tell how happy I am with so much support!!

    It was just so frustrating. At least now I know I'm not alone... And to hell with those who roll their eyes! I'm doing what I want!

    Thanks so much!

    By the way, here's a little advertising about my blog:

    This blog is much better, but remember I'm a beginner!!! And thanks again!! ^^