Friday, March 29, 2013

A Description of a New World, or, The Blazing Script

Video Intro to Margaret Cavendish's A Description of a New World, Called the Blazing-World 

[scene: otherworldly-looking beach, with several strange creatures in the background--Fish-men, Bear-men, Fox-men, Bird-men, maybe even Steve Tyler.  There are several stars visible in the sky even though the sun is up.  Our two heroes have washed ashore and are looking about.] 

Sailor 1:  Arrgh!  Where be we? 

Sailor 2:  So we're talking like pirates now?

Sailor 1:  What else be we talking like, matey?  We be sailors!

Sailor 2:  Uh huh.

[enter a Bird-man, which I'm sorry to say is the gender-neutral term]

Bird-man:  Well, hello, strangers!

Sailor 1:  What be ye, strange creature?  Arrgh!

Sailor 2:  And where are we?

Bird-man:  I am a Bird-man, and.... 

Sailor 1:  [interrupting] A bird!  By Poseidon's beard, I'll gut ya and fry yer innards!

Sailor 2:  He actually won't.  Not only are we unarmed, but he hates fried food.

Bird-man:  No, I understand.  Anyway, you are on the Blazing World!  A human woman from your world named Margaret Cavendish once wrote about it.

Sailor 1:  Women-folk writin' stuff!  Preposterous!

Sailor 2:  And how did we get here?

Bird-man:  Well, according to Margaret Cavendish, our Blazing-World rests atop your North Pole.  As she says, "[I]t is impossible to round this World's globe from Pole to Pole, so as we do from East to West, because the Poles of the other World...."

Sailor 2:  [interrupting] Whoa, whoa, whoa.  We've only got ninety seconds, buddy.  Save your quotations for the next section.

Bird-man:  Sorry.

[Text pops up asking the viewer how to proceed:  "How does the sailor respond?  Option 1:  "It's okay, I'd love to hear more about Margaret Cavendish and The Blazing World."  Option 2:  "I'm pretty sure our viewers are familiar with The Blazing World.  Let's just go to the quiz."]

Option 1: Tell Me About Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World

This would be another short video, perhaps five minutes long, of narrated scrolling texts.  It would give a brief (20-second) overview of Cavendish, then outline The Blazing World and including some quotes and passages.  It will, of course, provide a link to the full text.  It would end with a link to the quiz.

Option 2: The Blazing World Quiz

1. The book A Description of the New World, called the Blazing-World is usually referred to by which nickname?

a. The Blazing World
b. The Description
c. The New World

2. Who wrote A Description of the New World, called The Blazing-World?

a. Margaret Thatcher
b. John Winthrop
c. Queen Elizabeth
d. Margaret Cavendish

3. Where is the Blazing World in relation to Earth?

a. underneath Earth
b. on top of Earth
c. at the center of the Earth

4. What does the Emperor do when he first sees the Lady?

a. worship her
b. ask her to marry him
c. order her execution

5. Which of the following creatures is NOT mentioned in the text?

a. Fish-men
b. Bear-men
c. Goat-men
d. Ape-men

5. Why does the Empress eventually return to our world?

a. She misses her family.
b. The Blazing World is drifting away from Earth and she does not wish to be trapped there.
c. Her homeland is under attack.

6. What was the occupation of the Bird-men?

a. They were Philosophers.
b. They were Mathematicians.
c. They were Astronomers.

7. The Blazing World is an early example of what genre of fiction?

a. science fiction
b. travel fiction
c. utopian fiction

(Trick question--all answers are acceptable, even if some are better than others.)

8. Write two paragraphs or record a short video describing why The Blazing World relates to the theme of the Brave New world.  Include an explanation of why we should study The Blazing World today.  Post your paragraphs or video HERE (imbed link to our website).

1 comment:

  1. Wow, my throat is still sore from doing that pirate voice. Now I understand why Andy Serkis needed his Gollum juice during filming.