The Best Linen And Cambric For Her Underclothing

Middlemarch by George Eliot (or rather by Mary Ann Evans writing under that pseudonym) was published in 1871/2 and is about the lives of characters in a fictional English Midlands town. There’s a lot of focus on marriage, family, courtship, hypocrisy and disgrace, and it’s generally considered her best work, but today I’m just goingContinue reading “The Best Linen And Cambric For Her Underclothing”

Victorian Gammon

I know that I’ve written about Dickens a few times now – my first ever post was about the dinosaur at the start of Bleak House – but, well, posts about his work pretty much write themselves. I’ve talked specifically about Nicholas Nickleby before, and I still maintain that the bit about The United MetropolitanContinue reading “Victorian Gammon”

Beards and Beer Milkshakes

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was published in 1945 and is set during the great depression, but is significantly less depressing than some of his other novels. It technically has a bit of a plot but it mostly reads like a series of interlinked short stories or vignettes about the deadbeats, the general store, theContinue reading “Beards and Beer Milkshakes”

Odd Colours in The Odyssey

Homer was a Greek poet writing around 750BC and we think he’s the author of The Odyssey. It’s an epic poem about Odysseus and his ten-year journey back to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. There’s an awful lot of intelligent discussion to be had about this important piece of literature but today I’m justContinue reading “Odd Colours in The Odyssey”

In My Day…

One of the many things I like about novels from different times and places is when something is said that is so utterly timeless that it reminds me that we aren’t all that different. Last month I talked about how even the ancient Greeks knew what it was to really fancy a particular food forContinue reading “In My Day…”

Ovid and Medusa’s Backstory

Ovid was a Greek poet writing in around 4AD and the fact that he’s still being read suggests he was quite good. I don’t think he took it terribly seriously until he got exiled (for a poem and a mistake, he claimed), coming out with work like Medicamina Faciei Femineae (which translates to something likeContinue reading “Ovid and Medusa’s Backstory”

The Phantom Pun-Master of the Opera

Do you know the story of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux? The book is better known to English speakers as The Phantom of the Opera, and while the musical has made the character far more famous than he might otherwise have been, there are some important differences. Okay, so Leroux’s phantom is calledContinue reading “The Phantom Pun-Master of the Opera”

A Monstrous Mother

If you’ve not read Beowulf, you probably still know it’s an old tale about a warrior called Beowulf fighting a monster. It’s an epic poem from around AD700-1000, possibly from an oral tradition that goes back much further. Hero fights monster – it’s a tale as old as time. But are the monsters really theContinue reading “A Monstrous Mother”

Use Your Intelligence

Waiting for Godot was originally written in French by Samuel Beckett as En Attendent Godot, then he translated it himself into English in the early 1950s. I’m given to understand it doesn’t make much more sense in French though, but then that’s really the point. The plot is simply that two men wait for aContinue reading “Use Your Intelligence”

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