Armchair Historians

Kristyn J. Miller Talks about The Schleswig-Holstein Question

August 19, 2020 Anne Marie Cannon, Kristyn J. Miller
Armchair Historians
Kristyn J. Miller Talks about The Schleswig-Holstein Question
Chapters
Armchair Historians
Kristyn J. Miller Talks about The Schleswig-Holstein Question
Aug 19, 2020
Anne Marie Cannon, Kristyn J. Miller

In this episode Anne Marie talks to writer Kristyn J. Miller about her most unusual and hardly known favorite history, the Schleswig-Holstein problem. The most succinct explanation of this can be found on Wikipedia:

The Schleswig-Holstein Question was the name given to the whole complex of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century out of the relations of the two duchies, Schleswig and Holstein, to the Danish crown on one side and the German Confederation on the other.

Kristyn is a writer and casual literary critic with a passion for the intersection of Germanic language, cultural history, and literature. She graduated magna cum laude from University of Redlands with departmental honors for her critical essay on Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian epic literature. Since then, she founded a blog focused on linguistics, literature and cultural history, which updates on Tuesdays.

Blog: Kristyn J. Miller

Kristyn on Social Media:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Resources:

Schleswig-Holstein Question, Wikipedia Page

Second Schleswig-Holstein War

Danish Series
1864, Series Trailer
186, Series Wikipedia Page

Support the show:

Become a patron on Patreon

Buy us a cup of coffee on Ko-fi





Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Anne Marie talks to writer Kristyn J. Miller about her most unusual and hardly known favorite history, the Schleswig-Holstein problem. The most succinct explanation of this can be found on Wikipedia:

The Schleswig-Holstein Question was the name given to the whole complex of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century out of the relations of the two duchies, Schleswig and Holstein, to the Danish crown on one side and the German Confederation on the other.

Kristyn is a writer and casual literary critic with a passion for the intersection of Germanic language, cultural history, and literature. She graduated magna cum laude from University of Redlands with departmental honors for her critical essay on Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian epic literature. Since then, she founded a blog focused on linguistics, literature and cultural history, which updates on Tuesdays.

Blog: Kristyn J. Miller

Kristyn on Social Media:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Resources:

Schleswig-Holstein Question, Wikipedia Page

Second Schleswig-Holstein War

Danish Series
1864, Series Trailer
186, Series Wikipedia Page

Support the show:

Become a patron on Patreon

Buy us a cup of coffee on Ko-fi





Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining us today for armchair historians. I'm your host Ann Marie Cannon . Armchair historians is a Belgian rabbit production. Stay up to date with us through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, wherever you listen to your podcast , that is where you'll find us. You can also find [email protected] Armchair historians is an independent commercial free podcast . If you would like to support the show, you can buy us a cup of coffee through Kofi , or you can become a subscribing member through Patrion. You can find links to both in the episode notes today. I am talking to writer, Kristen J Miller about her most unusual and hardly known favorite history. The slight big Holstein problem. The most succinct explanation of this can be found on Wikipedia. It says the slight fig hosting question was the name given to the whole complex of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century, out of the relations of the two Dutchies slights , fig and hosting to the Danish crown on one side and the German Confederation on the other. Kristen is a writer and casual literary critic with a passion for the intersection of the Germanic language, cultural history and literature. She graduated Magna cum laude from university of Redlands with departmental honors for her critical essay on Anglo Saxon and Scandinavian Epic literature. Since then she founded a blog focused on linguistics, literature and cultural history, which updates every Tuesday, Christian J. Miller . Welcome and thank you for being here.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited.

Speaker 1:

So am I am I'm really excited

Speaker 2:

Because this is a new part of history that I really don't know a whole whole lot about. What is your favorite history that we're going to be talking about today? So today I want to talk about the Shalisa big Wars or the least big whole shine Wars , uh , which were some Wars that took place in the mid 19th century between Germany and Denmark. I have no ,

Speaker 1:

No frame of reference, except for , I was telling you

Speaker 2:

Trying to read the Wikipedia page. And so it's completely

Speaker 1:

New. Why don't you set it up and give us a background

Speaker 2:

During the mid 19th century or kind of, I guess the whole 19th century, you sort of had this really complex time in German history. There was like this massive unification going on all these small, independent kingdoms or Dutchies as they called them were sort of coming together under a cohesive German identity. And the concept of being German was starting to really solidify at this time. Of course you had Germanic tribes that had been around since Roman times the culture had existed, but as far as a national identity and an ethnic identity , uh , this was sort of a key point in that formulating, which of course ended up being very significant into the 20th century as well. This is sort of a precursor for some of the stuff that happened during the world Wars and what have you, but Shirley fig and Holstine were two Dutchies that were in the North close to the Danish border. Shelley's Vick being a little bit further North Holstine being beneath it. And they had always kind of had this sort of complex history where people always thought these two Dutchies should be unified, but you had Holstine, which had historically belonged to the Holy Roman empire for a while . Um, and you had Shirley's big, which since the middle ages had sort of been connected with Denmark. So you sort of had this confusion. And so then with this, when this whole sort of unification was happening with all the different German Dutchies , there came into question, this , this issue of what do we do with [inaudible] and that's sort of the root of the Wars. And it became known as the [inaudible] Holstine question. So yeah, that's basically the background of how things sort of kicked off.

Speaker 1:

So they were, it is confusing. Uh , they were apart of Germany or they were not a part of Germany or when did Germany become Germany? I know I'm going to ask a really stupid,

Speaker 2:

No , it's not stupid. It's actually, it's sort of hard to answer because modern day Germany, I mean, historically Germany has kind of been all over the place. There are some people who still argue today that Germany has always been multiethnic because even within what we would define as, you know, Germany proper, and even within what we would call the German ethnic group, you have like massive massively different cultures. I mean, somebody from the North near Schuster called shine speaks a totally different dialect than somebody from the South. And so like even into the modern era, people don't always necessarily identify with each other. And so historically the borders were constantly, I mean , expanding and then shrinking and then dividing. And I mean, it was really just all over the place, but , um ,

Speaker 1:

Well I do have a frame of reference that a little bit, my mother was born in Belgium, which sounds very similar and I'm just really this past few years learning about the history of Belgium. And there is that, you know, sense, the different influences you can see when you go there. I don't know if you've been to Belgium before.

Speaker 2:

Unfortunately I have not. I really want to visit, I'm not as familiar with Belgian history at all, but

Speaker 1:

It's very, it's similar and it makes sense. So, and of course it borders , uh , Germany.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So historically you have Shelly STIG had been sort of connected to Denmark. Uh , whereas Holstine had once been a part of the Holy Roman empire, which some people get a little confused with that. The Holy Roman empire wasn't the Roman empire, as I'm sure you're aware. Um, but just for context for anyone listening, who's maybe unfamiliar the Holy Roman empire was just a , it was a completely different entity, sort of this complex of territories in central and Western Europe during the middle ages. But a lot of it was centered around Germany. And so that's where Oracle idea that whole shine belong to Germany or the forming German Confederation and Shirley's VIG belong to Denmark. That's where that sort of found its roots. And so then at the beginning of the 19th century , uh , that's around the time that the Holy Roman empire sort of collapsed and broke off into different pieces. And that's also around the time that this German Confederation , uh, began to form , um, maybe kind of stepping into the shoes of the Holy Roman empire and whole shine almost immediately went with the German Confederation. So you had this really strong German identity forming in Holstine. There was a Danish minority , uh , living in there at the time, but overall they identified themselves as German and chose to side with the German Confederation. And then that's where this whole question of the division of the two Dutchies came into sort of question that's bad wording, but that's, that's where the division of these two different Dutchies was called into question. Because again, there was this historical idea that they needed to remain United. So when Holstine went with the German Confederation, what was, [inaudible] going to do?

Speaker 1:

I was reading about this, like I said, on Wikipedia and I , this is a very specific history that I love it because it's not something I know about. I think listeners probably don't know about it, hopefully talking about it will, you know, make people interested in, go off and read about it or whatever, but there was an interesting choice. And I do, I want to read what it says here in Wikipedia. It says the British statesmen Lord Palmerston is reported to have said only three people have ever really understood that slight swig hall .

Speaker 2:

How do you say it ? [inaudible] ,

Speaker 1:

Sleets big Holstine business, the Prince consort, who is dead, a German professor who has gone mad and I who have forgotten all about it. And now there's a fourth person,

Speaker 2:

I guess. Yeah. I love that. Cool , actually, because it is, it is this really weird sort of complex issue that occurred. And there's so much backstory that goes into it. I mean, you're talking hundreds and hundreds of years that sort of led up to this two Wars, but they're very brief Wars in history. One lasted three years, one lasted less than a year. So it's interesting to see how all that history just led up to these pivotal moments.

Speaker 1:

So what ended up happening? So

Speaker 2:

You had the first war in 1848 was the one that was a little bit longer and that one ended in a Danish victory. So the Dutchies did not unite at that time. However, again, separated

Speaker 1:

Into two different countries.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. But then you had in 1863, there was this whole issue of succession going on with Denmark as well, which is sort of why this happened exactly when it did , uh , in 1863, the King of Denmark King Frederick, the seventh, I believe died childless. And so that's when the next war kind of happened. And that one was really brief and it ended in a German victory. So at that point Shalisa big was United with whole shine. Uh, in , in the modern day, it is the Northern most state in Germany called still called [inaudible] . But then also at the end of the first world war, I believe part of [inaudible] was given back to Denmark because you had an area in the North of [inaudible] that was still majority Danish and they didn't really want to be a part of Germany. And so you ended up, you had Northern Shirley STIG going back to Denmark and Southern Shirley stayed , remained United with whole shine and they're still United to this day.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So they were re uh , United and, but a piece of it stayed in Denmark.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. After the first world war, I always get confused. First world war is when the Northern most piece went back to Denmark. But , uh, yeah, it , it really, it was just a line of division was drawn based off of ethnic identity, more or less. So you had the war in 1848 , um, which in English we call the first Shalisa big war. Uh , I think in , uh , Danish it's actually called the three years war.

Speaker 1:

So that war was specifically over the territory. Okay .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That war was specifically over the territory and that's the one that ended in a Danish victory. So at that time they didn't unite. And then it was the second one in 1864, which was very brief. I think it was roughly January to August or something. I mean, it was less than a year.

Speaker 1:

Is there anything else that you want to tell us about this period in history about this specific as the events leading up to , um , the unification of, I don't even want to say it Leeds VIG Holstine

Speaker 2:

Yeah , I know. It's probably hard to remember. And it's one of the, as one of the German state names that kind of trips people up in general. So

Speaker 1:

What is the area today called? Are they different? What are the , what is that area called today?

Speaker 2:

Uh , it is still called [inaudible] shine. That's the name of the state? It's it's now a state not Dutchies or anything anymore, but , um, yeah, the state is still called [inaudible] .

Speaker 1:

Got it. How did you get grant drawn into the details of this history?

Speaker 2:

So it sort of happened in like a few parts or phases, I guess you could say a first, my family is from [inaudible] my grandparents actually. Um, so yeah, my family comes from there's a little, a very small Island in the Baltic. That is a part of , um, Shista culture . I'm called [inaudible] , uh , and that's where my family's from. So that was sort of where the initial interest in the history came from. You know , um, my family came obviously, so it was my grandparents. So they came along long after this occurred. When did they leave ?

Speaker 1:

When did your grandparents come to the United States? Was it before world war II

Speaker 2:

Or after it was before first because my family was from Shalisa speak shine. And then second, when I was at university, I sort of delve into the history a little bit as part of some research sort of independent research, but also incorporated into some classes. And then lastly, more recently I sort of started researching it independently last year, you know , outside of anything related to school, because on sort of on the side of everything else I do, I write fiction and I would love to center a fictional piece around this very pivotal era in German history, but I haven't necessarily perfected where I want to go with that. So that's why I'm kind of still in the researching phases of figuring out how I want to depict that. And , and what I sort of want to say through that fiction.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. So you write a historical fiction, she write historical fiction.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I write historicals. I write a lot of different fixtures . I also write contemporary. I've also dabbled with fantasy a little bit, but in general with my fiction, I love incorporating lessons I've learned from history and questions that are raised in history, even when it isn't historical fiction. I think we can learn a lot about the human sort of psyche from studying history and incorporate cultural dilemmas and questions and things like that into fiction in any era, basically.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. I also write historical fiction. I have a series I'm working on and it takes place in 16th century, England.

Speaker 2:

That's all my favorite areas too .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So, I mean, I'm not published, been working on the series for a long time and I'm hoping to eventually get published in the near future. Maybe, I don't know, we're kindred spirits because I feel the same way. I feel like history has always been, you know, part of my, like psyche. I've always thought about history. You know, when I started writing it was historical fiction because I feel the same way that we can learn from history. And what can we learn from history? I I'm working on a documentary about my mother's experience in world war II and also her family's experience in a world war one. You know, it's an uncomfortable history to talk about and I get that. So are any of your books published or any of your work? Can I find any of your work anywhere?

Speaker 2:

Um, none of my fiction is published currently. Now I've sort of, again, I haven't necessarily settled with the historical fiction side of things. I haven't settled exactly what I'm doing. Um, I have been querying for a contemporary fiction piece, but , um, it's out with five agents that have the full manuscript right now. So fingers crossed

Speaker 1:

Full man you've written full manuscript , so that's amazing. Yeah . Well I'm right. I'm right there. I'm, I'm , I've written things and I've queried and all that, but I've not published. So

Speaker 2:

It is a tedious process. I mean, it goes, it feels like it goes on forever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it does. I'm probably going to self publish though. That's kind of where I'm leaning towards. I'm just not ready to do that. Yeah. What is it about that particular history that resonates with you?

Speaker 2:

I think it's really interesting that the root of the war , um, was sort of in this idea of like a cultural and ethnolinguistic identity, maybe not necessarily on the political level, cause obviously there's politics that go into every war and, you know , issues of power and everything that comes with that. But when you really look at what the concern of the people was, the general population, it was really rooted in identity. Um, and I find that really interesting because I think that ethnic identity is always going to be complex. I mean, it's still a complex issue today. I don't foresee it ever not being complex because in a way we're always trying to attempt to draw these lines, these clear cut lines around something that is more of a gradient. And even in modern Germany, for example, as I mentioned a little earlier, you know, you have Northern Germany where they speak, they speak the plat Deutsche dialect, and you have Southern Germany where you have like [inaudible] and [inaudible] , and there are almost different languages. They're almost not even mutually intelligible. And they have very different identities. You have from a northerners perspective, a lot of people argue that Bavarians are closer to Austrians than real Germans and things like that. So you still have these complexities surrounding identity into the modern. It really resonates with me because I still see it happening today.

Speaker 1:

Why do you think we're, you know, we have this need for an ethnic kind of identity.

Speaker 2:

I think as humans, it's almost in our nature to want to identify with something and you know, the more the world modernizes, you know , people find other things to identify with whether it's a sports team or where they went to college or, you know, but we all have this, this sort of instinctual need to feel like we're part of something greater than ourselves. And you know, I'm not an anthropologist. So I don't know, maybe I sound foolish saying this, I've always sort of assumed that it's probably rooted in, in , you know , very early humanity and almost a tribal instinct in a sense,

Speaker 1:

You see this happening like in the United States or in other countries. And why is it important today to look at this? Or is it even important today to look at this? Is it important or is it just interesting?

Speaker 2:

Um, well, I mean, to me, I do think it's important to look at it . I don't necessarily think that it's something that we can learn not to repeat because I do think inevitably again, cultures are always evolving. Ethnic identity is always evolving. It is always, there's like this ebb and flow and so much that goes into that. So I don't necessarily think that it's one of those things where we can look at history and say, okay, let's avoid that happening again. Because I think in a sense, you know, that sort of defies human nature, we're always going to divide into little clumps and groups and things like that. Um, but I , I do think that it's worth looking at just because it does give us that insight into how things can play out. You know, we get this broad perspective where we can look at these, these massive events that we maybe don't necessarily notice so much in our own day to day lives or in this modern era. But looking at history gives us that sort of overview, I guess you could say , uh , of how these, these issues can , um, impact us and influence us.

Speaker 1:

I just think of I'm going straight to today and I'm thinking of the maskers and the anti maskers you're either for or against, it seems like, and it is that desire, you know, I don't know if it's that desire, but it is about , um, you know, what group do you identify with? And even in my posts on Facebook, you know, who are my people out there who are with me on this issue? It's, I mean, I think it is human nature. And , um, I do think that we can prevent things from happening and maybe this is really naive of me. My stance is that it's important to look at a history and to try and understand it. And, you know, in doing that indirectly, we can impact how we behave as politicians, as, you know, people of a country or whatever, but , um, history does repeat itself. So maybe, you know, maybe it's, it is black and white. Maybe we can't stop things from happening. Maybe all we can do is look at what's going on in the world today and say, Oh, this happened before it was, you know, different flavor. It happens . Um, so it's a lot to think about everything you've said is , uh, you know, it's making me think about a lot of different ideas and, you know, that's why I like doing this and having these conversations is because we were all coming from our own place and we all have, you know, a different angle on things in history. So , uh , I appreciate that. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I do think we can look at this sort of history. It definitely is a cautionary tale. I guess maybe my cynicism comes from, even if a historian is sitting there saying this happened before people don't always listen,

Speaker 1:

I think it can shed insight. It's kind of like there's a microcosm would be the human being. And then what happens as you go out into communities and countries in the world, it's all connected, you know, and it's all kind of the same inner turmoil I believe, playing out. So , um , um, let's talk about your, your background and where you come from. I know that you definitely have a strong , uh, history background.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, so I sort of take an interesting approach, I guess, to a lot of history, which is more or less the foundation of my blog. Um, I actually, when I was in, at university, I majored in literature, not history, I minored in history. Um, and so I, I kind of approach history from this intersectional sort of viewpoint of wanting to analyze literature as a primary resource for cultural history , um, and things like that. Uh, and so that's, that's more or less the root of my blog is, is looking at the intersection of things like literature and stories with history. And then I also kind of get into comparative linguistics, historical linguistics , uh , that sort of thing. So it's, it's sort of just this melting pot of a bunch of things that I enjoy coming together into different articles. And then I , um, I also feature other writers from various backgrounds , uh, occasionally as like guest authors.

Speaker 1:

And , um, so what's the name of your blog?

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's just called Kristin J Miller because apparently I'm uncreative and couldn't come up with anything better than that. Um , where do you see yourself

Speaker 1:

Going with this? I mean, you're young. And are you in school or are you moving towards something or are you still trying to figure that out?

Speaker 2:

I'm actually going back from my master's this fall and I am switching over to , to making my focus a little bit more history oriented. Like I said, I minored in history before with a major in literature. Uh, the program that I am going for is history and archival studies. Um, so I'm, I'm looking at wanting to work with like historical manuscripts and things like that. Um, yeah. Yeah. And , and the school that I'm applying to actually , um, sort of has the relationship with the Huntington library here in California, which houses some medieval manuscripts and things like that. So I'm thinking it could be a really good opportunity. It could be hopefully really fun, but I graduated with my bachelor's in 2018. And so I've sort of just spent the last two years , uh, determining where I wanted to go next. And , uh , the root of this platform was partially in wanting to begin building sort of like a reputability for if I do publish historical fiction down the road. Um, and also just an outlet for the things I sit around thinking about because on a, on a day to day basis, especially during a pandemic, like right now, I don't exactly have a ton of people that I'm getting to talk to about these things. So it's , it's nice to have an excuse to just write an article when a thought strikes, you know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I really appreciate that you reached out to me and , um , I'm always looking for, you know, some, I'm always looking for some, somebody who wants to talk about history and like I said, it doesn't matter, you know, it's just about this like idea of history and what conversations evolve as a result of it. Oh yeah. So here's another question that I usually ask is , um, where do we see this issue in pop culture, which we don't, we don't really see it doing,

Speaker 2:

Not particularly, especially not in the English speaking world. There is a Danish TV drama called 1864, which I've heard really good things about, I have not watched it,

Speaker 1:

You know what, just cause it's not , uh , American or whatever, it's still popular culture. So, and it , it really is. I'm sure that there's all kinds of great stories that can be had in , um, this time period when they're fighting. So 1864. Is that when the , um, the second? Yes. Okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So that one , um , from what I've heard about the show and I feel bad saying I haven't watched it, it's just, I think it's on Amazon and I didn't have Amazon the last time I tried to look or something. I don't really know. Um, I do have Amazon now. So

Speaker 1:

Is it an English show?

Speaker 2:

Uh , well, I believe it's in Danish, but they have captions, I think. Um , well I'll link to it if I find it on Amazon, but yeah, I , I believe it's told from the Danish perspective sort of surrounding, you know, the losses that they took during that war. But again, I haven't actually watched it so

Speaker 1:

Well, I think it's interesting. One of the things that you were talking about is this idea of identity. Getting back to my mother, I always thought growing up, my mother was French. She's French. That's what I would tell people. She, but her family really originated in Belgium. Which, what does that mean? And you know, it, it is interesting because it is a totally to me, what I've learned is it's a different history. And I really feel that there is a strong German connection in my DNA while I know that because I did my DNA and I've always felt like I said, my mother, I felt like she had this stature that was very German. And I don't know how else to explain it, but

Speaker 2:

It's interesting when you get into this, this relationship between language and DNA and how that affects our perception of cultures, because obviously language is so, so inherently tied to an identity. And, you know, I know a lot of people I'm from Germany and I'm sure other European countries as well, even if an American is completely of German descent, if they don't actually speak the language, if they haven't spent time in the country, then they think that you maybe shouldn't really claim German American or, you know , whatever other identity, because that language is so tied into it. Um, and it's interesting that you mentioned DNA tests because talking all this , um, as I said, my family being from Shalisa called shine , they were relatively close to the border and I've done DNA tests and they come back significantly Scandinavian, like not quite as much as German, but they do come back significantly Scandinavian. I have almost my entire family tree and I don't see anybody Scandinavian in there, but I can assuming that the DNA test is accurate. It might very well have something to do with this complex identity that they may have identified as German living in. [inaudible] speaking the language of German, but it doesn't mean that they didn't have other ancestry mixed in. And that's, it just goes back to the complexity of ethnic identity. Right ?

Speaker 1:

Right. Well, another thing is another point and this is where the , um, the conversation goes off the rails. So , uh, my father was a very proud Irishman. His grandfather was born in Ireland, came to the United States in the 1860s. He was a coal miner. Um, and my father always had this idea that he was pure Irish, whatever that means. Um, and he was against the English. That was one of his big things. Well, it turns out that his grandfather was pure English and I found out after he passed away, he's rolling over every day in his grave. But , um, and I really connect to our English heritage. In fact, the book that I told you that I'm writing is , uh , the series , uh , is I went to England and I did a research in my senior year for my master's degree, which was my master's is in creative and professional writing , um, with folks on historical fiction. So I went there per semester and I did research and I made , um, at some point I figured out this heritage and I made my main character come from the area that I traced back my father's ancestry. And I went to , uh, the small little village, which I had to hike to . There was no transportation that I could get that

Speaker 2:

Day that I was there. So I had to hike there. It was like ,

Speaker 1:

Like I'm a six mile hike. And I went to this little village and I just felt really connected to it. But I believe in all that DNA and that we're , we carry our memories, our history I've only I, and there is research. That's been done scientific research that has been done, but I'm the only one in the family who's right .

Speaker 2:

Really connected to that history.

Speaker 1:

Well , that's maybe not so true, I think as time has gone on, but I don't think that my siblings believed me when I stumbled onto this and what I found out through the DNA. And then the genealogy, actually, it was a gene genealogy and then the DNA. So at first it was just the genealogy and I was like, Oh my God, we're English. And my siblings are like, Oh, that's so cute that you're coming to that . And then we did the DNA and yes, in fact, we're like 50% English, 50% Irish. And , um, so then what happened is that I was able to verify it through my DNA, not only through the DNA, but the DNA matches that I have the strongest ones. I have line up with what I've done in the genealogical , uh ,

Speaker 2:

For research and the records . So , um, anyways, I like, it's interesting this whole idea of

Speaker 1:

What is, and I believe in some way that, you know, subconsciously

Speaker 2:

Clear whatever that is ,

Speaker 1:

The English has been passed down to us without us knowing it through the subtlety of behavior. I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I totally know what you're saying. I agree with that. Um, I mean, obviously I wasn't raised in Germany, my parents weren't raised in Germany, but there are cultural attitudes and sort of posturing that I think whether it's, you know, is it nature versus nurture? Is it something that's being passed down because their parents behaved a certain way. And so then they behave a certain way. And so I learned to behave a certain way, or is it something that is truly ingrained? I guess we don't necessarily really fully know at this point. I know that the nature versus nurture question is still just a question. It's a huge, huge topic of discussion for a lot of people. Um, but I know, I know what you're talking about when you talk about that feeling of connecting with like a land or with, you know, a certain identity and how it's, it's almost ingrained. I've always said to people, you know, I know that I'm , I'm not native to the U S my family is not native to the U S and I , I live here and I was raised here, but in a sense, it's not my native land, and I've always felt more of a connection I've been to Germany a few times. Um, and I definitely feel more of a connection to Germany as a , uh , physical country, I guess you could say, not necessarily as a political entity, but just to, to the land itself. And that gets very, I guess, hypothetical spiritual.

Speaker 1:

I get it. I do get it. It's like when I went to England is every chance I get, I go back to England and I, you know, I go back to the places that my ancestors are from, and I really connect to it. And why is that? I don't know, even so talking about German. So I have more German DNA in me than I do French, like French doesn't hardly even show up

Speaker 2:

On the radar and

Speaker 1:

I've not been to Germany. I have been to Belgium and Belgium has, is such a combination of the different kind of cultures. It is a melting pot of the three different countries. So there's this heavy architecture that reminds me of , uh , Germany. There's also, you know, the Western kind of feel from France and then up North is, and I'm blanking on the country. That's

Speaker 2:

No it's in the Netherlands is right above Belgium.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think so. So there's, it's this really unique blend. I think Turkey is kind of similar with, within the middle East and Greece and whatnot. There's this, and there's this identity that has evolved there that is, you can see the connection to French . You can see the connection to German. You can see the connection to the Netherlands, but it's distinctly its own at the same time. And I love German food.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I make German food all the time. I love German food.

Speaker 1:

I do. And I'm , I'm really open to exploring my connection to , um, you know, this German connection that I do have. I don't know how, I don't know where my grandfather was an orphan. I don't know if his parents were, you know, one of his parents German, I don't know. But , um, I can, I do feel this connection to it and like you were , yeah. It's just interesting. It's amazing. Yeah, definitely. But , um, and I, and I feel that way about the United States too, because, you know, I don't, I'm not one of those people who goes, well, obviously indigenous people were here first. So this is, you know, I kind of say that the Europeans came in and I do believe that we invaded their country, but that's a whole other political story. So my mother came here in the fifties, you know, so that part of my , um , kind of family is very recent. My father's family came in the 18 hundreds and they came from Ireland and apparently England. So I know people who are like, my family came from the Mayflower, you know, that type of thing. And they feel this connection to more to the United States than they do to whatever their European roots were. But I do feel that I'm more , um, I never thought of it until you said what you said, and that is that I feel more European. I feel more English. I feel more Irish.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, and it gets, you know, it gets complicated talking America in general because we obviously don't necessarily have a cohesive, established cultural identity. And we are such a melting pot that I think there's, there's something beneficial in maintaining those connections with one's roots that I just, I mean, it's, I guess grounding in a way for me. And again, maybe that just goes back to that whole desire of identifying with something, you know, and belonging to something greater than yourself.

Speaker 1:

So I have , I have, here's another example, my friend, Kevin, who was my first , uh, interview for the show , um, he's executive director of a museum in Georgetown here, and he's always had this connection to Eastern Europe, Siberia, that type of thing. Like, there's always, it's always just kind of resonated in him and , you know, it kind of sounds weird, but , uh , then he had his DNA done. And what he found out is like the national geographic does, or they did, I don't know if they do it anymore, but he has a connection to Gangas Kahn , you know , so it's all Eastern Europe and he's just like, I don't get it. I have no, it's interesting to hear him talk about it, but that does that history doesn't really resonate with me as far as wanting to know more about it, like through my own research , um, you know, just other Japan's doesn't interest me, although it's interesting to hear people talk about it that are passionate about it. So now that he's like really passionate about that history, and he's always posting stuff on Facebook about it, he, you know, his , his dream trip is to go , uh, you know, to go over there and experience all the things. So,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, it's interesting because are we, are we drawn to our own history in a sense, you know , um, I don't know. I mean, for me, my , my passion for history has been really rooted in what started sort of as a passion for ancestry and just kind of grew from there. I mean , um, outside of just the big Wars and the [inaudible] question , um, you know, I've always been really drawn to Germanic Europe in general, throughout a number of areas. So I think it's, it's, I don't know . It's an interesting question,

Speaker 1:

This conversation, because now I feel like we've come full circle because I thought that is such a specific, weird kind of history. Now that we've talked , it's like, I, I, I can see where this all comes from and why it's, you know, marinading inside of you. And , um, I , I'm really excited to see where you're taken , you know, like I've written a book where my main character comes from this place that , um , I've traced my ancestry back to recreate, you know, history is my muse. I always say that history is my muse. And , um , you know, I feel some people say that I went to school with, especially that they, they think it's harder to build a story fiction world, but I don't I've I see it as I think it's harder to create this world that we live in with all, you know, the , um, the settings and that type of thing that doesn't interest me. And it seems very difficult, but for me, and it may be it's the same for you. It's like history draws me in and it's easier to write about a different period of time and imagine it, I don't know.

Speaker 2:

Well, I feel like there's one of the things I find really enjoyable about historical fiction is that there's such a wealth of information to draw upon. And again, I, maybe in a way it goes back to , um, I don't remember what exactly I said earlier. Oh , I think it was when I was talking about , um, you know, what we can learn from looking at history that we have this perspective on history that we don't necessarily have on the era we're living in, that we can look at it in the broad sense. And I think it's really hard to look at things in the broad sense when we're kind of in the midst of them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're right about that. I've never considered it that way. That's that makes sense

Speaker 2:

For me, that definitely plays into, you know, the enjoyment of writing historical fiction is being able to understand that broad scale and then take it and narrow it down to individual stories. It's just sort of an interesting thought experiment in a way, for lack of a better way to describe it.

Speaker 1:

What's your favorite , uh , historical fiction author? It changes over time. I know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, I'm trying to, I don't know. I'm always really bad at picking favorites. I will say that , um, you know, I like, I like some similarly popular historical fiction. I do like, like the Outlander series and stuff like that. I find enjoyable very, for the most part, very well researched. I know that there were some issues with the galaxy , I think in terms of the research where you get into, like, I'm having to research linguistics and stuff novel .

Speaker 1:

I love Outlander. I read the whole series and I'm watched, I don't know. I kind of lost steam though. I haven't watched the latest , um ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't , I don't want to , I don't want to publicly critique it or anything, but I feel like the show may be lost its aim a little bit as it went on and the books probably as well, only because I feel like in the first few seasons, the first two books, we very clearly had like a destination, like what the characters were working towards. And I feel like, I feel like in like the most recent installments, it's like, like there will be little things, but there's not, there's no grand scheme anymore. And so that's kind of where I find it hard to stay invested. I did watch the most recent season, but I don't know how excited I'll be for the next one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I did lose interest. So Outlander that's one of them. And um, any other ones?

Speaker 2:

Uh , well, it, it depends on if I'm reading for, for like a factual depiction or strictly for enjoyment. Um, I do enjoy reading like some of the stuff by , um, Philippa Gregory, like the other Boleyn girl, but I've also, I know a lot of people have critiqued her because she, she takes liberties with the history. To me, that's sort of the nature of historical fiction

Speaker 1:

Circle fiction. Like I'm not looking, you know, I am looking to be drawn into , um, a book about history and if there's any blaring, like anachronisms yes. So if there's anything really glaring then, you know, not, not cool, but you know, it's all about the suspension of disbelief and no one, you know, I've learned this as a writer that no one , uh , author can know everything that there was. And one of the other thoughts I've had about this is that the people who are going to read my book are not scholars. They're going to be reading books about, you know, they're going to be doing research about history

Speaker 2:

Perhaps . Yeah .

Speaker 1:

You know , from the medieval period or whatever. But , um, yeah, it took me about five years to get to the point where I decided I, I can only do my best, you know, and if somebody points something out to me, then, you know, I'll change it if it makes sense. But there's also a lot of things we don't really know about history.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, especially when you're, you know, you're writing about individuals and if you're writing about people that really existed, if you're not making up your own lead characters for this era or whatever, I mean, we can't know all the things those people didn't said. So of course there's going to be liberties taken the one, the one critique I've heard a lot at Philippa Gregory is, and the other Boleyn girl, people disagree with her depiction of Anne Boleyn as being, I guess , just taking a lot of liberties, I guess. Um , and I'm a huge fan of tutor history. I love Anne Boleyn. She's one of my favorite figures. Um, but I just, I guess I didn't really mind it cause I know it's fiction.

Speaker 1:

I don't remember. It's been such a long time since I read that book and I never watched the movie, but trying to remember how she was depicted, she was, she depicted as like a villain

Speaker 2:

A little bit. I think the problem, a lot of people took, but that was the heavy implication that some of Henry the AIDS allegations against her were true. Um, like particularly like the incestuous allegations and things like that. It's like heavily implied within the story that maybe she did do that in a desperate attempt to get pregnant with an error. So yeah, a lot of people took that offensively, but to me, I mean, it's, it's a story at the end of the day. And if we want to know the real history history, we , we read history books and research , the real history historical fiction is there to put us in the moment and entertain us. So yeah,

Speaker 1:

Yeah , yeah. And , and it draws me into the history too. I , um, I remember when I watched the series, the tutors

Speaker 2:

Serious .

Speaker 1:

Oh , did I? It was, I mean, there was, it had everything, it had everything. Um , and , and I would go and I research it, you know, I'd look and say, Oh, well, you know, some people say that there really weren't carriage is like that or whatever, you know? Um, although I have , I've done a lot of research with that because it makes it easier. My book for my characters to be in carriages and I've, I have come to the conclusion that they really don't know.

Speaker 2:

So is your book roughly tutor era? Cause you didn't say 16 century.

Speaker 1:

It is tutoring era and, and we do have a guest appearances by the monarchs. Um,

Speaker 2:

Thanks Henry. The eighth,

Speaker 1:

Not Elizabeth yet. Elizabeth will be in the last book, but , um, Mary, so , um, we're going it's through that whole time period. So it starts out like the twenties, the 1520s and it'll end up at the beginning of the 16th century.

Speaker 2:

Oh wow. That's awesome. Covering a large span. I'd love to read that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, okay. Um , maybe, you know, if you want to be a beta reader, I'd love that.

Speaker 2:

Sure. Yeah. Okay. I'll keep that in mind.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, we've kind of gone off on a tangent and that's okay. Um, is there any, the other thing I've been, I forgot to do the last interview I did, but um, what podcasts are you listening to besides mine of, but ,

Speaker 2:

Um, I've been listening to the Northern myths podcast , uh , and that kind of goes into some of the other Germanic literature and history that I get into, which is like the , um, uh , the Epic literature and stuff of the medieval era and everything along those lines. Um, and then I also listened to the keeping up with Joe podcast , which I was actually a guest on before. Um, and that one's just with Joe. Yeah. And that one is just , um, he sorta just interviews different creatives , um, whether they're musicians, artists, writers.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Yeah, no, cause I want to start having links to these podcasts that my guests are listening to. Do you speak German?

Speaker 2:

I do. Which I, I, I suspect maybe could have contributed to my good experience because a lot of the people I know that have complained said that they spoke English and maybe some people in the more rural areas kind of got like annoyed with it.

Speaker 1:

People really appreciate it when you try to at least make the attempt. I've always heard. So when I travel, I need to , um , I always need to attempt at least to try. So

Speaker 2:

Yeah, my German is by no means perfect at all. I , uh, I don't really know what goes on with my accent. I have a , um , cause my family being from the North when they came over, they spoke plat noise , which is sort of similar to Dutch in certain ways. Like instead of saying each, they say eat in certain versions of the dialect, but I have a friend here that lives nearby and he actually immigrated from Bavaria and he always wants to correct my accent, but it's not because it's an American accent it's because he thinks I should have a Bavarian accent. So I don't really , I don't really know what my act , I think it's sort of like this weird mixture of like proper school German or like hot standardized , and then like the plot village that my family uses and now this little helping of Bavarian for some reason. Um, do you speak any other languages? Not, not to speak of now? I , um, I have a working knowledge of Anglosaxon or old English , um, because I did a lot of research surrounding , uh, Beowulf and like comparative Germanic epics. So I was kind of working with Beowulf and then you have destiny balloon indeed from Germany. And , um, the, as soon as saga from Iceland and I did this like comparative work where I was looking at like heroism and symbolism, whole bunch of different things. So I , I sort of gained a small working knowledge of old English, but I can't speak it because well , one there's nobody to speak with . Um, but uh , beyond that, it's just, you know, I haven't delved far enough into it beyond just being able to read it somewhat on a page. But it's really interesting because like old English still carries over some Germanic traits from its relationship to you had like , um , prodo Germanic, like that's kind of like the ancestral language of German and English and all the skin, Navy languages. And so in old English you still have some, some things that are carried over, like the way the verbs function and, you know, sentence structure and things like that that are more similar to German. Um , which makes it really fun for me. Cause I guess I'm weird, but I don't really know.

Speaker 1:

Like I love that, you know, you're interested in it and that you, you know, you you've taken the time to explain something completely new to me. It's now it's on my radar. And now I know if I look at the globe that if I look at the map and I look at that area, I know a little bit more about it.

Speaker 2:

I'm actually wearing a German shirt. I just realized I did not plan that today. It's just what I happen to be wearing. I just looked at it right now. I was looking and I was like, Oh yeah, this is a CUNY exam in the South. Actually not the North where my family's from, but

Speaker 1:

Oh, interesting. Yeah . So , but your parents were born here. Yes. Okay. And they're both German.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, and they don't, I don't want to say that don't speak it cause they know a little bit following world war two people didn't really want to pass it on. Um, so my parents, they have like a very limited knowledge and I kind of went out on my own, starting in my teens. I really wanted to reconnect with the language. And so I took what I had learned from my parents and then started studying independently for years. And then finally ended up, I took like , um , two classes in college to kind of hone the grammar. Well ,

Speaker 1:

I , I admire what you're doing. And if you ever want to come back and talk about something else or uh , you know, just reach out to me, you know where to find me now. I really appreciate that you tapped on my shoulder and that we have this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This was really fun

Speaker 1:

There you have it. Kristen J Miller, the slice Dean Holst . Big question for more information about Kristin and the topics discussed tear today. Check out our episode notes. Thanks for listening today and have a great week.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .