Born Too Late
I think all history lovers sometimes feel they were born in the wrong time. Speaking as one of those history buffs, we’ll cast our mental gaze backwards over the years and feel a certain longing for simpler or more exotic times. Maybe we even feel that we might have, in some past life, lived during those times. I don’t really go in for the reincarnation thing, but I do somewhat subscribe to the theory of “race memory,” the belief that collective human memory can be imprinted somehow on our DNA, and that we can rarely access some of this stored memory through our subconscious minds. If I were to pick any one time, other than the present, to which I should belong, I would have said the Victorian era. So, so many of the stories that I love most dearly originated in that time. DRACULA. FRANKENSTEIN. DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. My personal idol, Captain Richard Francis Burton, was leaving his indelible mark on the world, during this time. Jack the Ripper was haunting the East End of London. And across the pond, the Old West of Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock, and Billy the Kid was taking place. It was an amazing time.
Except that it wasn’t, as this list proves. That’s why I said I WOULD have picked the Victorian era. After reading all about dead kids; and the ridiculously high mortality rate due to diseases like consumption; the basic lack of sanitation; the still-primitive state of medical care; and perhaps most importantly of all, the lack of air-conditioning–I think I’ll just stay here. Maybe a short visit to the Victorian days would be okay.