March 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Athenian Stuart…Single Speech Hamilton…Capability Brown
March’s Literary Review goes in for a little of one of my favorite topics – Capability Brown. In her atrociously titled piece, “The Earth Moved for Him”, Amanda Foreman reviews Jane Brown’s biography of the über influential master landscape gardener, The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown 1716-1783, likewise absurdly titled.
But I’m indebted to Foreman’s otherwise cracking piece for putting me on the track of art historian Dorothy Stroud’s 1950 biography, a work I hadn’t heard of and will now endeavor to find.
March 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
As some of you may know, one of my majors at university is Medieval Studies, and yesterday Jane Austen popped up on campus in the most unlikely of places – my Europe in the Middle Ages history class. Yesterday’s lecture dealt primarily with a comparison between English Common Law and the Laws of Cuenca, one of the pertinent points being that facets of English primogeniture, such as the entail, were already in use in the 12th century.
And on this point our professor commented, “And anybody who’s seen Pride and Prejudice knows what an entail is. All those daughters left without estate or income because the property is legally entailed away from the squire’s natural children in favor of a male heir.” And a murmur of understanding rippled throughout the lecture hall. Nice one, Austen.
June 19, 2010 § 2 Comments
For the first time in my life I’ve won a prize. Okay, I won an Easter raffle in elementary school. But this one’s actually based on merit. I am the winner of the 2009/2010 essay contest held by the literature department at my university. Sweet action.
March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Ever since coming across Graphics Classics‘ Gothic Classics edition featuring graphic novel adaptations of Northanger Abbey, The Mysteries of Udolpho and Carmilla, I’ve been a big fan of the Graphics Classics collection, and own several editions. Today I came across another publisher specializing in graphic novel adaptations, Self Made Hero. Self Made Hero’s publications are very different from those of Graphics Classics and both publishers provide something unique. Self Made Hero’s editions are scrappier, edgier but with less focus on classic or obscure literature. Self Made Hero’s comic book stylings will make them more appealing to some, while Graphics Classics illustration-heritage graphics will be preferred by others. I’m keen to order several editions from SMH from their Eye Classics, Crime Classics and Graphic Biography collections, including of course an adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s 1759 The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.
March 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
More Georgian Gothic from Valancourt Books!
This is really one of those books I would buy based only on the title: The Caledonian Bandit: or, The Heir of Duncaethal, A Romance of the Thirteenth Century by Catherine “Mrs” Smith. How good does that sound? I, like Jane Austen, enjoy the Gothic pulp fiction of the Regency. First published in 1811, it is reproduced here in it’s original, unabridged two volume edition. According to Valancourt Books, only two known copies of the original text survive. Valancourt’s edition includes an intriguing introductory essay focusing on Scottish Gothic fiction.
December 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
“At times beneficent in its effects, as when the philosophes campaigned against torture, the Enlightenment has also been disastrous – as when Lenin and assorted neoconservatives endorsed or turned a blind eye to torture as a means of speeding up human progress. No differently from other traditions, the large and quarrelling family of thinkers and movements of which the Enlightenment is comprised has always partaken fully of human folly.”
John Gray’s fascinating review Wishful Thinking in Literary Review not only dissects Enlightenment fundamentalism, but suggests that all forms of fundamentalism, be it religious, political or philosophical, engender ramifications that can’t be detached from their source no matter how stringent and convinced the apologist.
March 28, 2009 § 2 Comments
In reference to the Northanger Canon I’ve often featured Valancourt Books on this site. Valancourt Books in an independent micro press that seeks out and publishes rare and often forgotten works from the past, including several titles in the Northanger Canon. The boys at Valancourt are doing great things for 18th century literature by editing and publishing the likes of Canon titles The Mysterious Warning, Clermont, The Castle of Wolfenbach, lThe Midnight Bell, The Necromancer and The Italian. Valancourt also publishes many other titles, all in beautiful editions, relevant to the era such as The Cenci by Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Two Emilys by Sophia Lee, Azemia by William Beckford (author of Gothic classic Vathek), Six Gothic Dramas, a collection from 18th century Gothic playwright Joanna Ballie, Glenarvon by Lord Byron’s one time lover Lady Caroline Lamb featuring Lamb’s characterization of the poet in the form of the titular hero, Marmaduke Herbert by famous Regency courtesan turned literary hostess and writer Marguerite, Countess of Blessington and many more from other periods, including one of my personal favorites, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.
You can help the Valancourt boys to keep doing their important work by following them on Twitter, joining their facebook group, reviewing their publications, recommending the publishers to your school or public librarian and of course purchasing your Northanger Canon and 18th century titles, or selecting something special from their stock of rare and second hand books.