Katherine (Katherine) This classic romance novel by Anya Seton tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.
Katherine “Kate” Minola (The Taming of the Shrew) Kate is the sharp-tongued, wild and “shrewish” elder daughter of Baptista in Shakespeare’s much-performed 1590/94 play, “The Taming of the Shrew”. Kate has what we today would consider some very valid objections to the institution of marriage and the roles of men and women therein. Poor Kate – she is being forced into an unwanted marriage because her father will not allow the sweet younger sister, Bianca, to be married before the elder. (Bianca, in fact, is being auctioned off to the highest bidder, in the usual Shakespearean whirl of subterfuge, chicanery and double identities.) Long criticized for the physical abuse enacted by husband upon wife in a comical setting, the play remains one of Shakespeare’s most controversial. Whether or not Kate actually succumbs willingly to Petruchio, or whether she only appears to do so and works within the limitations of her circumstances, she is one woman not to be taken lightly. Our suggestion: put it in the context of its time and enjoy it – a little politically correct attitude goes a long way. We’re voting on the side that says #1 – it shines an early light upon the ancient inequality of the sexes, and #2 – it’s all in fun.
Katherine of Oregon - a song by Al Stewart
Katherine the Grateful - a song by Knapsack
Katherine, Please - a song by Tokyo Rose
An Abundance of Katherines (John Green) - Right after intellectual child-prodigy Colin Singleton graduates from high school, his girlfriend (who, like the 18 young women and girls whom he claimed as girlfriends over the years, is named Katherine) breaks up with him and sends him into a total funk. His best friend, Hassan, determines that he can only be cured with a road trip. After some rather aimless driving, the two find themselves in Gutshot, TN, where locals persuade them to stay. There, Colin spends his spare time working on a mathematical theorem of love, hypothesizing that romantic relationships can be graphed and predicted. Recommended for ages young adult.
Half Magic (Edward Eager) - Jane discovers an ancient that grants half of any wish. She and her brother Mark, and sisters Katherine and Martha start double wishing with coin and all sorts of strange things start to occur. They travel back in time, meet Merlin, see the Sahara Desert, and make one more special wish before they pass the coin onto someone else. The New York Times said: ““Half Magic is a funny, charming, timeless book, as much a pleasure to read to a child now as it was forty years ago. Those who had it read to them then may even have an obligation to pass on the pleasure.” Recommended for ages 9-12.
Famous People Named Katherine - Katharine Hepburn (actress); Katherine Heigl (actress); Katherine Anne Porter (writer); Katherine Jenkins (Welsh singer); Katherine Mansfield (writer); Katherine Swynford (14th century English royalty); Katherine Dunham (dancer/choreographer); Katherine Harris (politician)
Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Katherine - Adlai Stevenson (politician); Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor/politician); Ed McMahon (TV personality); Gene Wilder (actor); Jane Seymour (actress); Joan Collins (actress); Maria Shriver (journalist); Martin Short (actor/comic); Ross Perot (politician); Tim Allen(actor/comic); William McKinley (U.S. President)
Saint Catherine of Alexandria (4th Century) - Almost all living women named Catherine today can thank St. Catherine of Alexandria for their name. As her legend and cult grew in the Middle Ages, she gained quite a following (particularly among women who began naming their daughters after her in veneration). Often referred to as “Catherine of the Wheel”, St. Catherine was martyred in Alexandria, Egypt around 307 AD yet “herstory” was largely unknown until around the year 800 when her relics were purportedly discovered on Mt. Sinai (apparently her hair was still growing and healing oils were secreting from her body). Um, yah, kind of creepy, but such stories of saintly relics were hugely popular in medieval times and Catherine was a glowing example of the so-called Virgin Martyrs. Catherine of Alexandria was born a pagan princess at the end of the 3rd century in Alexandria, Egypt, but converted to Christianity before the age of 20. She was renowned for her beauty, intellect, education and articulation. She took her religious arguments to the Roman Emperor Maxentius in an effort to stop the cruel persecutions of Christians under his rule. In doing so, Catherine managed to convert almost all of those around him to Christianity, including his own wife. When Maxentius tried to thwart her by proposing marriage, she refused, declaring herself the wife of Christ to whom she consecrated her virginity. Incensed, the emperor ordered her death on the spiked wheel (a rather cruel method of execution during Antiquity). Legend has it that the wheel miraculously broke and freed Catherine as she prayed. So her executioners switched to Plan B instead: they beheaded her (the angels then swooped down and carried her off to Mt. Sinai). The name Catherine became a particular favorite among the French after Joan of Arc declared that St. Catherine of Alexandria was one of the saints who appeared to her in a dream instructing her on what she needed to do. St. Catherine is remembered among Catholics as a woman who would not abandon her true faith and stood bravely against the opposition despite the consequences. She is now the patron saint of philosophers and preachers, and her feast day is November 25.