Is Modern Privacy Better than Medieval Privacy?

Recently I was reading about medieval privacy in Barbara Tuchman's 'A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century' when I began to see a series of privacy-related stories pop up in the news. Around the same time, I was starting a writing project at work related to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, a new privacy law with wide-ranging implications for businesses and consumers. I started to wonder: how does medieval privacy compare to privacy today? Does the contrast between the two teach us anything interesting or valuable about modern privacy? Is what we have today really "better"?

Writing Inspiration: Architectural Capriccio by Filippo Juvarra

In 'Steal Like an Artist,' Austin Kleon encourages artists of all stripes to curate a collection of whatever captures their imagination, whether pictures, movies, books, quotes, etc.---things that resonate powerfully with your personal artistic tastes. In that spirit, I recently added something to my collection that I think other writers of fiction might appreciate, and in particular writers of fantasy fiction.

Dungeons and Dragons and Historical Memory

The reason I first got into Dungeons and Dragons was to use my imagination to go on Tolkien-esque quests, and to get ideas for fantasy fiction stories I would like to write one day. I achieved both of these goals: D&D is a wellspring of inspiration for fantasy writers, and an excellent narrative testing ground for anyone brave enough to try their hand at being a Dungeon Master. But looking back I can also see how the game allowed me and my friends to encounter our mythical western roots. We weren't just goofing off and having fun (though there was plenty of that), we were accessing what James Poulos calls our "historical memory."