Hi there! Yes, I'm afraid that the day has come: time for a bit of weighty scholarship!

So, today, I was at the library, looking for a Nelson biography to cherish, and there were two to choose from. I won't name the books or authors concerned, but one was what we might call a 'conventional' view of the man, with a particular emphasis on the military side. I had also been for it for quite a while. However, the other book was a 'revisionist' view, and from what I had read about it, seemed like a pretty mean-spirited one at that. I decided to take the more conventional book, but while walking to the bus stop, I couldn't help but wonder who was right about Nelson.

The problem with some revisionist studies, at least from my experience, is that they focus on one or two specific events and use them to drag the subject into disrepute. In most cases, revisionist Nelson scholars tend to focus on his affair with Lady Hamilton or his sycophantic conduct at the Neapolitan court, although the two might be said to go hand in hand. They argue against a hagiography of Nelson that in fact rarely exists among today's scholars, and in fact has not really existed since the age of Victorian heroic idealism. Reputable scholars both acknowledge and censure the way he behaved at Naples, not only in the context of the actual event, but also in the way that it shows us a more general picture of his character; a man who slavishly devoted himself to those who represented the ideal royalty for whom he was fighting, his love of flattery, vanity and his love of gaining new titles - in short, being a hero. However, the affair with Emma is a more thorny issue. Some biographers side overwhelmingly with Emma, while others point out that his callous abandonment of Lady Nelson was unforgivable. Still others choose to avoid controversy entirely, stating the facts and offering only rather anodyne speculation as to what really went on. 

Hmmm... That was very heavy! Feel free to put your own ideas in the comments box!
Rosie :)
 
 
It's hard, isn't it? I suppose it's the same for anyone with an eccentric interest, but it's particularly troublesome when the one Nelson fact people know is that he was 'the guy with one arm'. However, it's not all bad, as I will be exploring today!

GOOD: It's unique, so you can really stand out from the crowd. So uncool that it's cool, really!
BAD: No-one, by which I mean NO-ONE of my age is interested (except my dear friend Rae-Rae), which means that any Nelson-related conversation is short-lived and generally thanks to extraordinary patience on the other person's side.
GOOD: It's easy to look clever if no-one knows when you're making mistakes!
BAD: People think it's weird and stereotype you as a nerd - it's easy to become a caricature of yourself.
GOOD: The books are always in the library. Some of the popular teenage bools at my local library have WAITING LISTS! However, Nelson biographies are always there on the shelf, and they never have waiting lists.
BAD: It's lonely if you don't know any other fangirls. I am very fortunate to have found Rae-Rae, but before I did it could be quite hard all alone with my books.

I hope you can relate to some of these points! I'll write more soon! :)