Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

I can't find the edition I read, which is certainly at least 120... I’ve written before about how my parents renovated rambling country houses, and the problem of those many empty bookshelves my mother filled up with bargain job lots from auctions, which often consisted of late Victorian and early Edwardian popular fiction. That was … Continue reading Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

The Inner Life of Characters in Classic Early Novels – Some Musings on Rinaldo Rinaldini and Richardson

Recently, I did some reading, and re-reading of several 'classic' novels of varying merit. These included Joseph Conrad's 'The Heart of Darkness' – a brilliant classic which should be appreciated in all the complexity of its moral vision  – Elizabeth Gaskell – generally very good, sometimes brilliant, often uneven. Also, Christian Auguste Vulpius – an … Continue reading The Inner Life of Characters in Classic Early Novels – Some Musings on Rinaldo Rinaldini and Richardson

Structure in Novel Writing, James Scott Bell’s ‘Write Your Novel From the Middle’ and a Certain Way to a Unique Writing Voice – Joy In Writing.

I read something the other day that made me think (unaccustomed exercise: new pathways created, and all that). It was actually in an intriguing book about how useful the novel (excuse that Freudian slip) approach of ‘writing a book from the middle’ is, in giving a clear, effortless structure. This is, in fact, a book … Continue reading Structure in Novel Writing, James Scott Bell’s ‘Write Your Novel From the Middle’ and a Certain Way to a Unique Writing Voice – Joy In Writing.

Interview of Harley Venn, Anti-Hero of ‘The Villainous Viscount’ by a Modern Interviewer…

https://www.amazon.com/Villainous-Viscount-Curse-Venns-ebook/dp/B01KXU8QUC   Interviewer (trying hard not to stare at the anti-hero’s startling golden and athletic looks):  Lord Venn – that is the correct form of address for a viscount, I believe – it is a pleasure to meet you. Harley Venn (stooping to kiss her hand):  Charmed, Ma’am. You may call me anything you like, … Continue reading Interview of Harley Venn, Anti-Hero of ‘The Villainous Viscount’ by a Modern Interviewer…

Heathcliff – No Romantic Hero: Vengeance and Forgiveness in ‘Wuthering Heights’.

I have recently been reading Marianne Thormählen’s fascinating book ‘The Brontës and Religion’ (Cambridge University Press 1999). I shouldn’t be. Really, I should be doing more research,  but I couldn’t resist it. I came across it through its mention in the notes of the 1994 Wordsworth Classic Edition of ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ as … Continue reading Heathcliff – No Romantic Hero: Vengeance and Forgiveness in ‘Wuthering Heights’.

Review of ‘The Tryst’ by Michael Dibden (1989)

"'One of my patients thinks somebody’s trying to kill him,” Aileen Macklin says to her husband over breakfast. A psychiatrist with a fading marriage, Aileen is haunted by the glue-sniffing lad who comes to her in a panic, begging to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for protection. Gary Dunn clearly needs help: ravaged by … Continue reading Review of ‘The Tryst’ by Michael Dibden (1989)

Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

In my last post, I was talking about my new fledged writer friend being upset at the savagery of a one star review (though she felt a bit better when I showed some of the fine specimens I have come by). Readers of this blog might remember that the main criticism was that her book … Continue reading Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

Review of ‘Lady Adelaide’ by ‘Mrs Henry Wood’ (Ellen Wood)

To start with the positive, like a good reviewer. I may not generally admire 'Mrs Henry Wood's' writing style, but I do admire the way she managed to write a string of best sellers to save her family's financial situation after Mr Henry Wood went bankrupt,and obviously that style was perfectly adapted to the tastes … Continue reading Review of ‘Lady Adelaide’ by ‘Mrs Henry Wood’ (Ellen Wood)

Twelfth Night and Traditional Revels and Feasting

It is an interesting thing, that it is very easy to get the impression that life in the UK of  pre-industrial times was, for the majority of the population if not for the tiny upper class, one of unrelenting toil  and uniform drabness. This image is surely mistaken. Everyday life was certainly hard, and life … Continue reading Twelfth Night and Traditional Revels and Feasting