Sink or swim: Elizabethan style

Reblogging on Archer’s Aim – some of my reading from earlier this week. Details can be important for effect and then what happens in the story.

Quill Pen and Blotter

I have a scene in my Elizabethan work-in-progress that requires several of the characters to jump into the water, and one of my critique partners asked, “Would they know how to swim?”

That’s an important question. It would be awkward to have the book end with all the main characters drowning (or worse, miraculously developing a skill they shouldn’t have), and Elizabethans were generally wary of water. I was pretty sure I’d read that Elizabethan men sometimes swam for fun (they “bathed” in rivers and ponds anyway, at least during the summer), and I assume people who worked in and around the water could at least dog paddle, but I thought I’d better make sure. Luckily, I found a charming work by Everard Digby, “De Arte Natandi,” a swimming manual written in Latin and published in 1587 (overlapping with when my book takes place).

The fact that it’s…

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