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Kyra Kramer recently shared this post on Austen Authors. It speaks so poignantly of the loss of Jane Austen that I thought it appropriate to share here with you on the 200th Anniversary of Jane Aus…

Source: 18 July 1817: The Death of Jane Austen, a Guest Post by Kyra Kramer | ReginaJeffers’s Blog

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On the 7th of October 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, America. He was one of the world’s most renowned crime and horror writers, credited also with inventing the detective and science ficti…

Source: Edgar Allan Poe: Death in a Gutter | A R T L▼R K


FROM THE ARCHIVE 12th May 2013

“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Worstward Ho

As you might imagine, Worstward Ho, Bec…

Source: “Fail Better” — Samuel Beckett | First Night Design


dorothy75

“There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”

Source: Dorothy Parker says: | The Muscleheaded Blog


Can anyone resist Pooh? I think not.

A R T L▼R K

On the 14th of October 1926, Alan Alexander Milne’s iconic collection of children’s stories Winnie-the-Pooh was first published by Methuen in London. The story of the actual brown bear which inspired Milne’s cartoon teddy is a lot less known, even though it has been the subject of books, such as  Real Winnie: A One-of-a-kind Bear (2003) by Val Shushkewich, or even Hollywood movies, such as Bear Named Winnie (2005), starring M. Fassbender.

winnie-the-pooh “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.” 

(From A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh)

In the movie, Fassbender played the role of Captain Harry Colebourn, the real discoverer of Winnie. Colebourn was a veterinary surgeon in the Canadian military, whose war-time diaries recorded the way he came across the bear. Born in Birmingham in 1887, Colebourn first came to Canada at the age of 18, worked in Toronto in the shipping industry to…

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A R T L▼R K

41P-Kylyx0LOn the 30th of August 1797, English novelist Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley was born in London. She was the wife and muse of Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley, daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and of philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, she was most famous for her Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818)Much of Mary Godwin’s personal life was fraught with misfortune and grief. Almost as soon as she had given literary birth to her hideous creature Frankenstein, her world began to disintegrate.

Tragedy was present very early on in Mary’s life when she lost her mother at only eleven days of age. After her publication of Frankenstein, however, something akin to a curse seems to have descended on her circles. In 1816, Mary’s troubled half-sister Fanny Imlay Godwin checked herself in to a hotel in Wales and committed suicide with…

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Re-jigged post from 2013.

English: Image of American author Louisa May A...

Louisa May Alcott, from a photo taken just previous to her going to Washington in 1862 as a hospital nurse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.”


What? Louisa May Alcott said that!  Surely not.  In case you’re thinking that the author of Little Women was not the woman you had always thought, fear not.  She put this absurd thought into the mouths of one of her characters in Work: A Story of Experience, a semi-autobiographical novel published in 1873 about a determined young lady intent on finding satisfying and worthwhile work.

As if one could ever read too many books; as if a fondness for the written word could ever addle the brain.

littlewomen

The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo’s Boys

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on The Library Time Machine.

First, let’s sort out the local connection. Fanny, or more properly Frances, Burney the 18th century novelist lived in Chelsea twice. Once with some of her family in an apartment at Chelsea College when she finished working as Second Keeper of the Robes for Queen Charlotte, and later in her life at an address in Lower Sloane Street.

Which is good for me because although Frances Burney / Madame D’Arblay was a very remarkable woman and one of the first great English novelists, this week’s post is really about a particular edition of her first novel Evelina.

Now I’ve written nearly 200 of these posts you must have had all my basic thoughts and the variations on them. One thing I seem to say quite often is that things in the past resemble things in the present. People seem to do the same things in the past as they do now and the things they entertained themselves with are like the things we use now for the pursuit of happiness.

One day I went to the Reference store looking for a book illustrated by someone who is nothing to do with this post. In an odd corner of the Dewey Decimal Classification you can find novels, plays and poetry all together at one number, 741.64 classified by the artist who illustrated them. And there I found a 1903 one volume edition of…

via 18th Century escapades: Evelina and Fanny | The Library Time Machine.


The Genealogy of Style


Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo shared living quarters on the Left Bank of Paris at 27 rue de Fleurus from 1903 until 1914, when they dissolved their common household. Their residence, located near the Luxembourg Gardens, was a two-story building with adjacent studio. It was here they accumulated the works of art into a collection that would become renowned for its prescience and historical importance.

The joint collection of Gertrude and Leo Stein began in late 1904 when Michael Stein announced that their trust account had accumulated a balance of 8,000 francs. They spent this at Vollard’s Gallery, buying Paul Gauguin‘s Sunflowers and Three Tahitians, Paul Cézanne‘s Bathers, and two Renoirs.

Leo Stein cultivated important art world connections, enabling the Stein holdings to grow over time. Bernard Berenson hosted Gertrude and Leo in his English country house in 1902, facilitating their introduction to Paul Cézanne…

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A re-blog from the archive.

First Night Design

International Women's Day 8th MarchInternational Women’s Day 8th March 2014

To mark the day, I am paying tribute to a woman whose influence has been remarkable, whose work has inspired generation after generation, and to whom I just happen to be distantly related!

When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I found her difficult to read. This was partly because she was labeled a ‘classic’ writer that we had to study at school, along with Dickens and Shakespeare and so forth, and our English teacher was evidently an actress manqué whose renditions rendered us speechless with horror.  I loathed Shakespeare until my parents took me to an RSC production of Twelfth Night with Judi Dench, Richard Pasco and Elizabeth Spriggs.  Immediately I understood what the fuss was about.

My parents introduced me to many artistic delights but the time when they would have urged me to read Austen was a time…

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The Chronicles of Narnia

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

C S Lewis in Mere Christianity

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


In my opinion, New Zealand-born Katherine Mansfield was one of the greatest exponents of the short story. I devoured her work as a teenager and promptly tried to write just like her. Reader, I did not succeed! I am sad, now, that I threw these efforts away. Who knows what I might not have been able to do with them now. (Don’t answer that!)

“A. [Rice] came early and began the great painting — me in that red, brick red frock with flowers everywhere. It’s awfully interesting, even now. I painted her in my way as she painted me in hers: her eyes … little blue flowers plucked this morning.”

“Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.”

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.” 

[Wikimedia]

[Wikimedia]

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.”

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

“I have such a horror of telegrams that ask me how I am!! I always want to reply dead.”

“I adore Life. What do all the fools matter and all the stupidity. They do matter but somehow for me they cannot touch the body of Life. Life is marvellous. I want to be deeply rooted in it – to live – to expand – to breathe in it – to rejoice – to share it. To give and to be asked for Love.”

The Garden Party and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)

Related articles

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


MAXIM GORKY 28 March 1868—16 June 1936

‘You must write for children the same way you write for adults, only better.’

‘A good man can be stupid and still be good. But a bad man must have brains.’

‘Lies are the religion of slaves and masters. Truth is the god of the free man.’
Lower Depths, And Other Plays

‘You will not drown the truth in seas of blood.’

‘Writers build castles in the air, the reader lives inside, and the publisher inns the rent.’


My Childhood

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


To mark the day, I am paying tribute to a woman whose influence has been remarkable, whose work has inspired generation after generation, and to whom I just happen to be distantly related!

Embed from Getty Images

When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I found her difficult to read. This was partly because she was labeled a ‘classic’ writer that we had to study at school, along with Dickens and Shakespeare and so forth, and our English teacher was evidently an actress manqué whose renditions rendered us speechless with horror.  I loathed Shakespeare until my parents took me to an RSC production of Twelfth Night with Judi Dench, Richard Pasco and Elizabeth Spriggs.  Immediately I understood what the fuss was about.

My parents introduced me to many artistic delights but the time when they would have urged me to read Austen was a time that the family was wrenched apart by my mother’s manic depression. Perhaps if they’d told me at that time that there was a blood connection, I just might have approached Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park a little differently. I don’t know. As it was, I didn’t read Jane Austen for myself until my late teens, at which point I fell utterly and completely in love with all her work and everything about her.

Embed from Getty Images

One of the best books I’ve read about Jane Austen is a fascinating volume by Fay Weldon, Letters to Alice in which she casts fresh eyes upon Jane’s work through a series of letters to her niece. She debunks the myths and pours scorn on some of the theories that have grown up around the name and the work.  Weldon does this with humour that matches Jane’s. It is well worth reading.

Embed from Getty Images

As for the blood connection, I didn’t learn about that until the late ’80s, early 90s.  I’d known forever that Leigh was a maternal family name but not where it came from, only that my mother had chosen it for her stage name when someone told her that she would never see her name in lights with the number of syllables contained in ‘Benedicta Hoskyns’! I also knew of several forebears whose middle names included Leigh and others whose surname was Leigh. If you know your Austen, you will know where I’m heading! When I did some research, I discovered exactly how we were related to Jane. Even my mother didn’t know the details.

frontis-tb

Jane’s mother was Cassandra Leigh. Cassandra’s father, Thomas, was part of the Leigh family of Adlestrop, Gloucestershire. He had a pugnacious brother, Jane’s great-uncle, Theophilus Leigh (1693-1784), who was Master of Balliol for more than 50 years and known for ‘overflowing with puns and witticisms and sharp retorts‘. These are the words of Jane’s brothers’ descendants, William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh in Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters, which was published in 1913 as an updated follow-up to Jane’s nephew, James Edward Austen Leigh’s memoir — A Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections — from 1870. These two later Austens go on to say that Theophilus’ ‘most serious joke was his practical one of living much longer than had been expected or intended’!

So where do I come in?  Theo, as I feel I can call him — somehow I doubt that was ever the case in his lifetime! — had several children, one of whom, Mary, went on to marry Sir Hungerford Hoskyns, 4th Baronet.  I come down from there but I won’t bore you with the details! To cut a long story short, Jane Austen’s great-uncle was my great-grandfather seven times removed — or near enough!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

 

 


Foyles, Charing Cross Road

Foyles, Charing Cross Road
[photo: Wikimedia]

Last night I dreamed I went to Foyles Bookshop again. The old Foyles, the Foyles where you could never find the book you wanted but had so much fun in the trying; the Foyles in which every employee knew exactly where you would discover the desired volume.

Roald Dahl was there.

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl
[photo: Wikimedia]

Harry Dean Stanton was there.

Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton
[photo: Wikimedia]

Roald Dahl told me I should read Harry Dean Stanton’s autobiography.

Harry Dean Stanton said it was up to me if I wanted to buy his book or not.  He could care less.

I bought it. Stanton had written it under the pen-name of ChlsLachlos.

“I don’t understand.”

I woke up.

Discuss with reference to symbolism, children’s literature, iconic cinema, dreams and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Answers on one side of a postcard only.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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