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Review of ‘My Lady Ludlow’ by Elizabeth Gaskell.

‘My Lady Ludlow’ could be classed among Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels, being over 60,000 words long. Still, it's a good deal shorter than the three volumes that were considered a respectable length for a novel by Victorians, and is included among her shorter and more minor works. Besides, the structure is frankly faulty; or anyway, the … Continue reading Review of ‘My Lady Ludlow’ by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Review of ‘How Woke Won: The Elitist Movement That Threatens Democracy, Tolerance and Reason’ by Joanna Williams (2022)

This isn’t going to be a popular post. It will be a highly contentious one. In fact, I’m expecting to lose a good few followers by publishing it. But people should speak  out about the threat to free speech  and democracy created identity politics and woke cancel culture. I was dismayed to find that I … Continue reading Review of ‘How Woke Won: The Elitist Movement That Threatens Democracy, Tolerance and Reason’ by Joanna Williams (2022)

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

Review of ‘Swimming in the Rainbow’ by Rebecca Lochlann

I thought that the fireworks and thunderclaps of the climatic end to the former theme of this series would make it a hard act to follow. I was happy to find myself proved wrong. The reader doesn’t need to worry. Though the action in this concluding instalment starts on a minor key, the dramatic tension … Continue reading Review of ‘Swimming in the Rainbow’ by Rebecca Lochlann

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

Inspired Endings – That State of Transendence

I have written before about the inspired ending to Patrick Hamilton’s ‘The Slaves of Solitude’, which is, along with ‘Hangover Square’ considered to be his masterpiece. I won’t do it justice here,  unless I explain something of the story, which is essentially a dark comedy. It concerns the grim – and often ludicrous – experiences … Continue reading Inspired Endings – That State of Transendence

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’.