The Trickster Prince

Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.

Can the (subaltern) parrot speak?


As a self-confessed and uncurable cultural historian, I think I’m used to making the most of sources and snippets that many other historians would find just plain daft. In the past few months I’ve analysed a coroner’s report against a melodramatic radio play; I’ve teased out the historical significance of Jingle Jinks, the Talking Monkey (it’s all about interwar cultures of domesticity and childhood); and I’ve written a 12,000 word essay about a vamp’s newspaper ‘confessions’ that turned out to be almost entirely faked. I’ve taken romantic fiction and adventure films as seriously as social surveys and census records (however much as my colleagues here might bitch about them to students as somehow ‘not serious’). ‘No source left behind’ has been my motto throughout my career: that approach has served me well, kept me interested and—I hope—allowed me to find ways of thinking differently about modern British society and culture.


But this one, I have to admit, has me a bit stumped: what am I supposed to do with something as random as ‘Pets of Royal Personages’, published by the famous—and later notorious—biographer Evelyn Graham, in Ward Lock’s prestigious Windsor Magazine in May 1929? There must be something significant in the King’s Parrot, but for the life of me I can’t see it.





One comment on “Can the (subaltern) parrot speak?

  1. Matt Houlbrook
    February 21, 2013

    <html><head></head><body style="word-wrap: break-word; -webkit-nbsp-mode: space; -webkit-line-break: after-white-space; ">I like! Have posted to Twitter to share your pearls of wisdom with the world at large.<div><br></div><div><br><div><div></div></div></div></body></html>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: