February 20th, 2010

Film - The Old Guard

POW/MIA letters and censorship in WWII France

I've Googled quite a bit, but everything seems to be about overseas communication, and I'm looking for info restricted to France: I know a lot of French soldiers were taken prisoner by Germany in 1940 when France fell and the armistice was signed, so my question is: would those soldiers' families have received letters that they were prisoners/missing? Or would they just have heard nothing because the country was occupied and everything? Second, if a soldier managed to evade being taken prisoner and wanted to write to his family (within France), would the letter have been read/censored (i.e., would it have been smart to write it in code, sort of)?

Merci for any help!
exploding dog

Day-to-day life for a young widow in 1912?

I posted here earlier asking for some insight into sleeping arrangements for a young woman and her new husband in 1912, and received some incredibly helpful answers. Well, I have now gotten the young woman's husband successfully killed off, and I am trying to get a handle on what her life would be like afterward. Notable details: the setting is Boston, and the woman is fairly well-off, having come into the bulk of her husband's fortune after his death -- let's say upper middle class. She is not exactly a radical women's rights supporter or anything, but is fairly independent and also something of a misanthrope, so she would be looking for an arrangement that didn't involve too much interaction with people.

I want her to no longer be living in the house she was to share with her husband. I am leaning towards having her live in a single apartment, which as far as I can tell from my research was not totally uncommon for that time period, but I'm still uncertain about the particulars of house management. If she's in apartment I assume any sort of maintenance tasks would be taken care of by the landlord. For cleaning etc., I'm guessing she would have servants -- but like, a maid who stops in once a week or a full battalion of live-in servants. What about cooking? Would she do it for herself, eat all her meals out, have a chef...? And so on and so forth.

Please be assured I'm not asking for somebody to hand-hold me through all these particulars (though of course I wouldn't say no were it offered ;)). What would be great is if somebody could just point me at some good reference material. I really don't even know where to begin. Most of what I've been able to find has to do with conditions of family life etc. at the time, and not so much about young single women of means (not exactly common back then, I guess).

Thanks in advance for your help!

Viking names + forearm armour/jewellery

Setting is a fanstasy-esque world, something of a culture mishmash but leaning towards Western Europe/Scandinavia c. 800-1000 AD. I'm in the early stages of writing anyway so liable to change.

First, I'm researching Viking names and have found a good deal of information, but one thing I can't find is whether they are class-determined. I can find some specific names that were definitely used by higher-ranking Vikings by looking at historical figures and names in sagas/eddas, but would thralls/freemen and free landowners have used the same general stock of names (assuming that the thralls were not from overseas)? I've looked through a fair few books about Vikings and searched on the internet for "viking names thralls" and "viking names rank" and close variations. I've found a lot of name lists and explanations of how given and family names work, but no answer to the above question.

The second question is regarding a piece of armour worn on the forearm, of the sort that Spartan soldiers and Greek/Germanic gods are often depicted wearing. Something similar to this, perhaps made of leather or more confined to the wrist side of the forearm:

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I've found out from looking up information about plate armour that it's called a vambrace in that context, but I hadn't heard the word before and I can't help thinking there must be a more common term that I can't remember. (Maybe I just don't read enough fantasy books...) What word could I use to convey the right idea without sending readers scurrying to the dictionary? And might there be a different word for something like this that's worn more for decoration, as jewellery, than for function?

I should also note that due to the vagueness of the setting I am not particularly concerned with correlation to a particular time period for either of these questions. Thanks in advance for your help.