Mistris Parliament–part blog, part website–is a meeting place for the six members in a history tutorial on the English Civil Wars at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in the spring semester of 2010. For now, it’s mostly a storehouse of websites and other resources, with emphasis on politics, religion, women, and print culture, but we’ll see how it evolves.
The name? It comes from a series of four royalist political pamphlets written in April and May of 1648 when it became clear that negotiations between Charles I or Parliament would end in stalemate, the result being God knew what sort of monstrous state. The first pamphlet imagines Parliament as a woman about to give birth to that monster in a “room … strangely overcome with darkness,” where the candles go out by themselves and there can be heard “thunderings, intermix’d with the wawling of Catts.” The baby is horrifying–“a deformed shape, without a head, great goggle eyes, bloody hands growing out of both sides of its devouring paunch.”
Post-partum adventures of Mistris Parliament continue in “Mistres Parliament Her Gossiping,” “Mistris Parliament Her Invitation,” and “Mistris Parliament Presented in Her Bed.”