Monday, December 30, 2013

Genealogical Spanking: The Count's Discipline

I venture to say that's a phrase you never expected! What can genealogy and spanking have to do with one another? The answer is in my fun new medieval spanker (I think I may have coined "spanker"--it's like "oater," the word for a Western that's admissible in Scrabble. . .).

The Count's Discipline begins with a little section in which I write as myself, and talk about how I "found" the chronicle that makes up most of the book. It's even true of my "actual" self that I get obsessed and lose hours and hours to trying to fill in the little gaps in my family history in the medieval period. I'm from an old New England family on one side, and that means--mostly because of the snobbery of the 19th-century Bostonians--that I have documented links to the royal houses of Medieval Europe (unless of course, as is very possible and has been proven in several cases, some of the amateur genealogists of the 19th century forged those links!).

I'm really not exaggerating, then, about how it's changed my view of the medieval period, when I open The Count's Discipline thus:
I go through periods during which I'm obsessed with genealogy and family-history, the further back the better. It's given me a great deal of pleasure over the years to reach far back into the past and to touch the life of for example a 28th great-grandfather who conquered England. 1066 never meant much to me until I realized that the guy who so rudely did the conquering, William the Bastard, was my grandpa plus 28. 
Most of the sources I find while doing this kind of work are pretty dry. Late one night clicking through some newly digitized records, however, I found a document about an obscure ancestor of mine that, thanks to my classical training, I was able immediately to recognize was quite different. 
First I noticed that the narrator seemed to be using the Latin word for "ass" or "bottom" a lot. The first time I ran across the Latin phrase that I realized had to mean "spank" I knew I had something really special. And then I hit the first sex-scene, where an unsuspecting young count Robert gets a blow-job (seriously!) from his more experienced countess. 
I don't think I've ever been quite as diligent in my Latin translation as when, with one hand on my keyboard and the other, um, elsewhere, I rendered the scene where the count has all the women of Beaumont-sur-Louen stripped naked and spanked in the market square. 
And I'm not even telling you about the incredible (and incredibly hot) love story between the narrator and the count. I don't want to spoil it--but I promise you, if you push through all the medieval stuff at the beginning, you're not going to be disappointed! 
So I present the first part of the document here, translated and in certain respects modernized. From time to time I intrude, to offer such annotations as I hope may be helpful. I hope you get as much pleasure as I have from 
The Private History of Robert de Lourcy, Comte de Gassein, and of his so-called "monstrous" practices of discipline 
as written and gathered by a chronicler appointed by him, Sophia by name, born in Rouen nineteen years before Duke William's conquest of England
Here's the blurb! Buy the book by clicking here!
When Robert de Lourcy’s wife spurns his desire to spank her, the young count contents himself with disciplining other women of the court, until a rash decision to chastise the women of a captured castle arouses the ire of the local bishop and Robert is forced to seek absolution. In an act of penance, he visits a cathedral and stumbles upon a young girl named Sophia who has been set upon by robbers. Remembering his promise make amends for his sins, Robert takes pity on the destitute child, placing her in a convent so that she may be properly educated.  
When Sophia comes of age, the nuns at the convent grow more firm with her. The young woman is simultaneously drawn to their discipline but also unconvinced that their motivations are particularly noble. After Sophia’s education is complete, Robert brings her into his household to serve as his secretary. Though he has decided never again to spank another woman, when Sophia begs him to chastise her as the nuns did he cannot resist the opportunity to take her over his knee.  
The two begin a happy relationship based on Sophia’s acceptance of the count’s discipline, but he remains devoted to his wife until she dies tragically in childbirth. After that sad event, Sophia expects the count to marry another noblewoman, but will that new wife be jealous and send her away? Is she doomed to be cast back onto the streets from whence she came, or will Robert break the shackles of society and wed a commoner?  
Publisher’s Note: The Count’s Discipline is an erotic novel that includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.  
Also note that this book is written with a unique style: the story is told through a modern woman who has discovered an account of the life of Robert de Lourcy which was written by his secretary and chronicler, Sophia.
(If you happen to be interested in the genealogical side of things, there are a great many resources available these days--I'd be happy to point you in some helpful directions!)

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