Monday, 18 April 2011

Fitz-Henry the wolf

In the on-line gaming community, there is a game known as Minecraft. You can read more about it here, but in short it is a game where you dig mines and avoid being killed in a variety of interesting ways by a variety of enemies.

I was intrigued to see the following post on the Minecraft forum posted by a player styled as BZ Anathema:
I want to hear your epic fail stories. Here's mine: I had just made a diamond pick and had 10 obsidian, so I decided to go make a Nether portal. Unfortunately, instead of lighting the portal, I lit the wood floor of my house, and the entire thing (3 stories!) burnt to the ground. I had to rebuild in a day, and in the process both of my wolves died.
R.I.P. Jasper Connigans Fitz-Henry IX and Frederick Winkleheim Collins.
If BZ Anathema is out there, we would really love to know why his wolf was named Jasper Connigans Fitz-Henry IX.

There is also a more serious side to this (well, slightly more serious). In early nineteenth century literature, the name Fitz-Henry was often given to middling nobility - not kings and dukes, but Marquesses and Lords. It had an air of slightly dissolute nobility and the characters reflected this. (see here for my reviews of two such novels)

At least two stage performers took the name. The singer Emily Soldene performed under her own name and also as Miss Fitzhenry.
Augusta Matilda Perrott, the actress and daughter of a baronet also adopted the name Miss Fitzhenry for her stage performances before her untimely death in 1818.
The painter Hugh Lane restyled himself as Fitz-Henry Lane.
If you've seen any more instances of the use of Fitz-Henry or Fitzhenry in more modern literature or as an alias, please let us know.

And yes, we think Jasper Connigans Fitz-Henry IX is a great name for a wolf.

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