Historical Research goes Scholarly

As yesterday was Sunday, I was working on the Alejandro novella rather than the normal WIP.*  (Sunday’s my day to ‘play’.)

The Alejandro novella will be set post WWI (early 1921), and for that setting I need some rather specific information about the Portuguese army in WWI.  Not too surprisingly, English language sources pay very little attention to the Portuguese, and very little Portuguese information has been translated into English.

That’s been a constant source of research angst for me. I don’t read Portuguese well enough to do serious research in that language, and those things that are translated into English have a strong bias to them (that’s often anti-Portuguese.)

So in researching for this particular novella, I was despairing of finding any real specific information about the 2 Portuguese divisions involved in the Battle of La Lys.  (This is, BTW, not the setting of the novella, but it does provide some backdrop, so it would help to know dates and locations, etc.)

And then I googled the Battle of La Lys and came up with this:

THE PORTUGUESE EXPEDITIONARY CORPS IN WORLD WAR I:

FROM INCEPTION TO COMBAT DESTRUCTION, 1914-1918

Jesse Pyles, B.A

It’s a Master’s Thesis from 2012, made available online by UNT. AWESOME!!!!!

Not only is it well-written and -sourced, it’s actually just what I need, providing numbers and locations and dates of the battles and skirmishes the Portuguese found themselves in. That helps me set up the date of the timeline for Alejandro’s personal history.  It also includes names of officers, a good deal about the relationship between the British and the Portuguese on the battlefield, and some racial slurs that I can use**. (The British seemed to prefer goose-related insults for the Portuguese soldiers. Go figure.)

Sadly, I doubt that the author intended his work to be used by a silly Historical Fantasy author….

But still, whenever I do get this novella finished, I’ll definitely be in debt to this guy!

(I may also go after some of the sources that Pyles used for further data, which is why such clear sourcing is invaluable to a reader!)

#SFWAPro

*I posted about the Alejandro novella just the other day.

ETA: ** I finally figured out the goose slurs. It’s because the English called them the Portu-GEESE.  Get it?  That took me longer than if should have…..

One thought on “Historical Research goes Scholarly

  1. Reblogged this on J. Kathleen Cheney and commented:

    I’m reblogging this today for two reasons: One, it’s about Historical Research and unusual sources, and Two, because it mentions the Alejandro Novella, which I’ll be working on finishing today. (I have to get the last section to my Patreon people next week, so no more dallying!)

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