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Category: Book

Scene at Christmas

David Stuart Davies looks at festive moments in literature It is perhaps not surprising that many writers have included a Christmas scene or passage in their novels. It is a time of year when passions are roused and the potential for great comedy or chilling melodrama is rife. Christmas is like an isolated moment in… Read More

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Sally Minogue takes a winter journey into Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles When I am preparing a blog, I often dwell on the novel or poetry I am writing about, and sometimes the author, for a few days or even weeks beforehand, so that other experiences often chime with that inner conversation. So it… Read More

The Railway Children

The Timeless Story of The Railway Children The story of The Railway Children is one that has resonated with readers for over a century. Now, beloved children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has put her own twist on E. Nesbit’s tale, modernising the narrative for a whole new audience of young readers. The Primrose Railway Children, her… Read More


Emily, a film loosely based on Emily Brontë’s life, has hit the screens. Sally Minogue finds herself at odds with the rave reviews. As soon as I had seen the film Emily, I knew what the first sentence of this blog was going to be: ‘Emily is pure codswallop’. But me no buts. But …… Read More

Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey was Anne’s Brontë’s first novel, written at the time when her sister Emily was working on Wuthering Heights and sister Charlotte on The Professor. David Stuart Davies takes up the story. ‘The statistics touching lunatic asylums give a frightful proportion of governesses in the list of the insane.’ – Fraser’s literary magazine, 1844… Read More

What if?

How might a different marriage have impacted on D.H. Lawrence’s writing career? David Ellis considers a literary counterfactual. There are some historians who are inclined to ask `what if’ questions: what if the Spanish Armada had managed to land on these shores, or our air force had lost the Battle of Britain?  These speculations are… Read More

Robinson Crusoe

The story of Robinson Crusoe is familiar to us in many forms; here Sally Minogue re-evaluates Daniel Defoe’s novel some 300 years after it was first published. I touched briefly on Robinson Crusoe (1719) in my final ‘Empire’ blog as an example of a novel whose depiction of power relations received a countering fictional response in… Read More

Spooks on Screen

As the nights draw in, the leaves turn red and gold with a chill wind easing them from the branches to provide a rainbow carpet below, and so we move into the Haunting Season. It is the time of Hallowe’en, when all the ghosts and long-legged beasties come out to taunt us poor mortals –… Read More


‘A Literature of Cosmic Fear’: An Introduction to H.P. Lovecraft A blasted heath where nothing grows yet dead trees seem strangely animated; an abandoned well that glows with a colour that has no name; a disastrous expedition to Antarctica written by a survivor only to warn others to stay away; cathedral-sized buildings from before the… Read More