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Showing posts from February, 2015

The New Realistic Novel by Samuel Johnson.

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The New Realistic Novel is an article by Samuel Johnson for his periodical The Rambler, and was published on Saturday, March 31st 1750. The Rambler was all his own work, and unlike other popular periodicals of the time (The Spectator, for example, or The Tatler) it was more academic in style, and he wrote on a variety of subjects from morality, politics, religion, and literature. Examples include:

Stoicism (1750)Pastoral Poetry (1750)Sorrow (1750)Capital Punishment (1751)The Need for Enterprise (1751)The Need for General Knowledge (1751)A Rural Tyrant (1751)'Rules of Writing' (1751)A Prostitute's Story (1751)An Astute Young Lady (1752)
There were, in total, 208 articles, each quite short, and The Ramber ran between 1750 to 1752 at the time when Johnson was working on A Dictionary of the English Language, which was later published in 1755.

The New Realistic Novel was the fourth article for the periodical and in the collected edition it was titled 'The modern form of romanc…

The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne du Maurier.

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The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne du Maurier wasa chance discovery. I found a picture of the cover online whilst searching for something else (Charlotte Brontë related, I think) and there it was, and I bought it straight away. It was written by Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca (1938; said by some to be a re-telling of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre), The Birds (1963), Don't Look Now (1971), and many other novels and short stories. The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë is her 1960 biography of Branwell Brontë. 
Branwell Brontë is, of course, the brother of Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë. He was the fourth child of Patrick and Maria Brontë. born on 26th June 1817 and died 24th September 1848, a year younger than Charlotte (born 21st April 1816), a year older than Emily (born 30th July 1818) and three years older than Anne (born 17th January 1820).

But du Maurier begins the biography not with his birth but his death:
He died on Sunday morning, the 24th September, …

Perkin Warbeck by John Ford.

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I've been reading some of John Ford's plays for Fanda's Renaissance Month (part of the Literary Movements Challenge) and so far I've read:
The Lover's Melancholy(1629)The Broken Heart(1633)'Tis Pity She's a Whore(1633)Perkin Warbeck is my final play, and whilst I can't say I thoroughly dislike John Ford, reaching the final play in my book has rather come as a relief! That said, there are still plenty of other Ford plays I've yet to read:
The Witch of Edmonton (written with Thomas Dekker and William Rowley; printed 1658)The Sun's Darling (written with Thomas Dekker; printed in 1656)Love's Sacrifice (1633)The Fancies Chaste and Noble (1638) The Lady's Trial (1639)The Queen (dubious authorship; printed 1653) The Spanish Gypsy (dubious authorship; printed 1653)I won't rule out reading these one day. For now, though, to Perkin Warbeck.
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Perkin Warbeck is John Ford's fifth solo play and was published in 1634. It's a historical …

Home of the Gentry by Ivan Turgenev.

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Home of the Gentry (Дворянское гнездо), also known as The Nest of Gentlefolk or The House of Gentlefolk, is the 1859 novel by Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (Ива́н Серге́евич Турге́нев). I haven't read Turgenev for many years and I don't believe I've ever written anything about any of his works. He wrote many short stories, novels, and plays; perhaps his best known novels are On the Eve (Накануне, 1860), Fathers and Sons (Отцы и дети, 1862), and Home of the Gentry. His short story collection, Sketches from a Hunter's Album (Записки охотника, 1852), was credited as changing the Russian public's opinion of serfdom, which was eventually abolished by Tsar Alexander II in 1861. He was a Realist, was admired by American novelist Henry James, and associated with Émile Zola, Gustave Flaubert, and Alphonse Daudet. His relationships with Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Leo Tolstoy were, however, strained: whilst travelling in Paris together, Tolstoy called him a bore, and Dostoyevsky p…

To A Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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To a Skylark is a 105 line poem by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and it was published in 1820 accompanying his five act drama Prometheus Unbound, which also contained several other poems: The Sensitive Plant, A Vision of the Sea, Ode to Heaven, An Exhoration, Ode to the West Wind, An Ode, written October, 1819, before the Spaniards had recovered their Liberty, The Cloud, and Ode to Liberty. I read it for the Deal Me In Challenge, in which, so far, I'm getting a disproportionate amount of poetry!

A skylark is, of course, a bird: a little bird slightly larger than a sparrow, which may be found in the UK and parts of Europe (the Skylark's song can be found on the RSPB website). Mary Shelley, the wife of Percy Shelley, describes how they heard the Skylark one evening in Italy:
In the Spring we spent a week or two near Leghorn (Livorno) ... It was on a beautiful summer evening while wandering among the lanes whose myrtle hedges were the bowers of the fire-flies, tha…