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Category: Author

Celebrating Pride

In Pride month, Sally Minogue reminds us of a time when writers couldn’t easily be out and proud. A couple of weeks ago I was wandering through the cool paths of the Cimitero Acattolico – the Protestant Cemetery – in Rome, with fellow-blogger and friend Stefania Ciocia as my companion and guide. It was our… Read More

‘Money, money, money, and what money can make of life’

‘Money, money, money, and what money can make of life’ Our Mutual Friend, first published in 1864, was Charles Dickens’ last completed novel. This late work gives one of the author’s richest and most comprehensive accounts of modern society, as well as perhaps his bleakest. It is true to say that this is one of… Read More

Book of the Week: The Mayor of Casterbridge

‘Life is an oasis which is submerged in the swirling waves of sorrows and agonies’. Thomas Hardy’s novels of rural life in his fictional county of Wessex (standing in for Hardy’s own county of Dorset) are filled with dark moralising and pessimistic philosophy, epitomized by the author’s assertion in the final lines of The Mayor… Read More

Sumer is icumen in – finally.

 Sally Minogue reflects on evocations of Summer by some Wordsworth authors. ‘Sumer is icumen in –/ Lhude sing! cuccu.’ Not by one of Wordsworth’s authors, but by one of that large and motley crew, Anon., this early 13th century lyric is still widely recognized because it was set to music and is still sung today…. Read More

Elizabeth Gaskell and ‘Lois the Witch’

The name Elizabeth Gaskell probably conjures up associations with her more well known social realist novels such as Mary Barton (1848), North and South (1855) and Cranford (1853).  Yet, during much of her writing career she remained fascinated with the supernatural and produced numerous ghost stories.  In her biographical work The Life of Charlotte Brontë… Read More

Great Expectations: reduced imaginations

Sally Minogue and Stephen Carver give a final overview of the BBC One adaptation of Dickens’s novel. The first episode of Steven Knight’s adaptation of Great Expectations was a pleasant surprise to both Stephen Carver and me. Stephen will speak in the later part of this blog; but for both of us, I think, this… Read More

Book of the Week: Desperate Remedies

 Desperate Remedies is the first published novel written by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) and as such is a wonderful amalgam of gothic mystery and an exploration of the themes and ideas about life, fate and the way unpredictable circumstance can dictate the path one takes through life, which were expanded upon in his subsequent… Read More

Book of the Week: Faust

The basic premise of the story of Faust is generally well known. It concerns a magician who  agrees to surrender his soul to Mephistopheles, an evil spirit, for a certain period of time in exchange for otherwise unattainable knowledge and magical powers giving him access to all the world’s pleasures. It is believed that the… Read More

Book of the Week: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ ‘It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language. As a narrative of war and adventure it is unsurpassable.’ Winston Churchill Thomas Edward Lawrence (1886 – 1935) was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat and author, best known for his legendary was activities in the Middle East… Read More