Review of the Book The Boy in the Bush

Here is the review of the book The Boy in the Bush written by D. H. Lawrence and Mary Louisa Skinner.

 

Review of the book The Boy in the Bush by D. H. Lawrence and Mary Louisa Skinner

 

An Australian lady, Mollie Skinner, wrote a novel about the daily life of an English Youngster settling down in the West Australian bush. The story was unpublished, when Lawrence it saw. He liked the work and adapted it for publication. I could imagine that he was highly attracted by a life on his own instead of all the years constructing love affairs which resulted in the books he lived on. A simple life in natural surroundings might have been his dream.

At D.H. Lawrence’s suggestion, a nurse and author, Mollie Skinner wrote about a young Englishman’s reactions to late nineteenth-century Western Australia; then Lawrence completely rewrote it. This is the first critical edition of that novel, The Boy in the Bush. The reading text eliminates publishers’ censorship and the miscopyings of typists and typesetters. The compositional development and the variants of the typescripts and first editions are given in the textual apparatus. Explanatory notes distinguish local and historical material. Appendices include maps, an outline history of the colony and two of Lawrence’s essays about the collaboration, one of which appears here for the first time in English.

 

About the Author: Mollie Skinner

 

Mary Louisa (Mollie) Skinner (1876–1955) was a Western Australian author, best known for the story The Boy in the Bush co-authored with D. H. Lawrence.

Mollie Skinner was born on 19 September 1876 to a Western Australian family that had established itself during the early years of settlement, distinguishing her position an “ancient colonist” in the local society from the “t’othersiders” who arrived in Western Australia from the eastern states. The family’s religion was the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Her mother was Jessie Rose Ellen, the daughter of George Walpole Leake, who had married James Tierney Skinner, a captain in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment. While born in Perth, her family took the infant Mollie to England and Ireland. She began her education in Edinburgh, but a painful condition of the eyes inflicted shortly afterward was treated by placing her in a darkened room for five years. The successful restoration of her health allowed her to begin composing poetry and stories and other tasks, and Skinner later enrolled at two children’s hospitals in London to begin a career in nursing.

Skinner returned to Perth with the rest of her family in 1900. She operated a convalescent home and guest house with a friend Nellie Beakbane, located in the foothills suburb of Darlington. On the recommendation of a friend, Pussy Jenkins, D H Lawrence and his wife stayed at this house while visiting Western Australia; their meeting would be influential to their respective literary careers.

Mollie Skinner died on 25 May 1955 at the town of York.

Before leaving England in 1900 she was published in the Daily Mail newspaper.

She wrote a memoir describing her experiences during the First World War, as a volunteer aid worker in Burma. Mollie was the co-owner of a guesthouse in Darlington, where D. H. Lawrence stayed, shortly after arriving in the country in 1922. Skinner’s Letters of a V. A. D. was given to Lawrence by Margaret Cohen, another friend residing at the house, he became interested in her other works. After Lawrence read the work he remarked, “You have been given the Divine Spark and would bury it in a napkin”. Her draft novel The House of Ellis was rewritten by Lawrence and published as The Boy in the Bush in August 1924. Her brother Jack was the subject of Lawrence’s novel Kangaroo.

Two years after the issue of her work with Lawrence, she met with Edward Garnett to discuss publication of Black Swans. His critique of the work as “so damn, damn bad …” was interpreted by Skinner’s tears and cries, before he finished by declaring it was also so “damn, damn good” that he intended to publish the work. Skinner’s autobiography, The Fifth Sparrow, was edited by Mary Durack and Marjorie Rees while Skinner’s health was failing and published posthumously in 1972.

 

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Review of Book The Immortals: Masterpieces of Fiction, Crowned by the French Academy

Here is a review of the book The Immortals: Masterpieces of Fiction, Crowned by the French Academy.

Book Title :The Immortals: Masterpieces of Fiction, Crowned by the French Academy
Author :Various
LoC Class :Language and Literatures: Romance literatures: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Subject :Literature — Collections; French fiction
Contents :An Attic Philosopher by E. Souvestre — Madame Chrysantheme by Pierre Loti — Conscience by Hector Malot — Gerfaut by Charles de Bernard — Fromont and Risler by Alphonse Daudet — The Ink-Stain by Rene Bazin — Jacqueline by Th. Bentzon (Mme. Blanc) — Cosmopolis by Paul Bourget — A Romance of Youth by Francois Coppee — L’Abbe Constantin by Ludovic Halevy — Cinq Mars by Alfred de Vigny — Monsieur de Camors by Octave Feuillet — Child of The Century Alfred de Musset — A Woodland Queen by Andre Theuriet — Zebiline by Phillipe de Masa — Prince Zilah by Jules Claretie — Monsieur, Madame and Bebe by Gustave Droz — The Red Lily by Anatole France — Serge Panine by Georges Ohnet.

Review of the book The Immortals: Masterpieces of Fiction, Crowned by the French Academy

20 Volumes Complete

The editor-in-chief of the Maison Mazarin—a man of letters who cherishes an enthusiastic yet discriminating love for the literary and artistic glories of France—formed within the last two years the great project of collecting and presenting to the vast numbers of intelligent readers of whom New World boasts a series of those great and undying romances which, since 1784, have received the crown of merit awarded by the French Academy—that coveted assurance of immortality in letters and in art.

In the presentation of this serious enterprise for the criticism and official sanction of The Academy, ‘en seance’, was included a request that, if possible, the task of writing a preface to the series should be undertaken by me. Official sanction having been bestowed upon the plan, I, as the accredited officer of the French Academy, convey to you its hearty appreciation, endorsement, and sympathy with a project so nobly artistic. It is also my duty, privilege, and pleasure to point out, at the request of my brethren, the peculiar importance and lasting value of this series to all who would know the inner life of a people whose greatness no turns of fortune have been able to diminish.

In the last hundred years France has experienced the most terrible vicissitudes, but, vanquished or victorious, triumphant or abased, never has she lost her peculiar gift of attracting the curiosity of the world. She interests every living being, and even those who do not love her desire to know her. To this peculiar attraction which radiates from her, artists and men of letters can well bear witness, since it is to literature and to the arts, before all, that France owes such living and lasting power. In every quarter of the civilized world there are distinguished writers, painters, and eminent musicians, but in France they exist in greater numbers than elsewhere. Moreover, it is universally conceded that French writers and artists have this particular and praiseworthy quality: they are most accessible to people of other countries. Without losing their national characteristics, they possess the happy gift of universality. To speak of letters alone: the books that Frenchmen write are read, translated, dramatized, and imitated everywhere; so it is not strange that these books give to foreigners a desire for a nearer and more intimate acquaintance with France.

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Review of the Book Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire

Here is the review of the book Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire by Richard Blakeborough. (With a Glossary of over 4,000 Words and Idioms Now in Use)

 

Review of the book Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire

 

At one time it was thought possible for the present work to be undertaken conjointly by the Rev. M. C. F. Morris, author of Yorkshire Folk-Talk, and myself. Such collaboration, though pleasing to both, was found to be quite impracticable. Many of my patrons and friends having urged me to undertake the work single-handed, I have ventured to do so. I have aimed at no higher standard than the chatty style which I have adopted in drawing-rooms and on the platform. If friends and critics prove but half as kind and considerate in this new venture as they have hitherto done, I have little to fear. My main object has been simply to place on record, in, I hope, a readable form, some of the wit, character, customs, and folklore of the North Riding which I have thought to be sufficiently interesting and worthy of being saved from that long list of things forgotten.

The chapter on some characteristic sayings of both the North and East Ridings, kindly contributed by the Rev. M. C. F. Morris, will add greatly to the value and interest of the work. I may here mention that he is in no way answerable for any other single sentence throughout the work. I feel it to be my duty to make this quite clear, for, as a humorist, I have ventured to include certain items which the reverend gentleman most probably would have run his pen through, had either the MS. or proof-sheets passed through his hands.

Many stories illustrative of Yorkshire character and humour are given, mostly gathered from original sources covering a period of many years, and in the main are true. None of them, I believe, have hitherto been published, and very few contained in these pages have I given publicly.

The stories afford numerous examples of the idiom and dialect as spoken in the North Riding, but mainly (as to dialect) in that of Cleveland. The reason for specializing that district is given elsewhere.

 

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Review of the Book The Passing of the Idle Rich

Below is the complete of review of the book – The Passing of the Idle Rich by Frederick Townsend Martin

Review of Book The Passing of the Idle Rich by Frederick Townsend Martin

In this book – The Passing of the Idle Rich, the author F. T. Martin identified himself as a member of the American upper social class of the mid-to-late 19th century and early 20th century. He died in 1914. His mission in writing (published in 1911) was to warn his social class that their “Gilded Age” was in decline, and to educate said social class in its need to reform.

Martin put forward the argument that the class’s conspicuous consumption should not have taken place. Martin believed that the “Idle Rich” would soon be faced with either social evolution, or revolution, if change did not come otherwise. He equated idleness with moral corruption.

In the early pages of the author did describe in brief some of the more notorious instances of upper class excess but he didn’t attach names to the perpetrators. Such specifics are to be found in more recent books about the “gilded age” of money spending by the rich of that day.

Author Martin’s writing style is from an earlier era. It is reasonably clear however even though is it unnecessarily wordy by today’s standards. In a way Martin was prescient about the future. Indeed it has come to pass that great fortunes are less in evidence now. The U.S. Gov’t of today is far less tolerant of immense, individual personal fortunes. The would-be rich now face taxes that did not exist in earlier days. And later federal Gov’ts. have come to represent the interests of such as the un-monied classes and labor unions rather than the interests of any latter-day gilded agers.

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Review of Book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc

If you’re looking for review of the book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc. You can also download ebook format of Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc from here.

Book Title :Arsene Lupin
Author :Maurice Leblanc
LoC Class :Language and Literatures: Romance literatures: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Subject :Burglars — Fiction, Lupin, Arsène (Fictitious character) — Fiction
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc

Arsène Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created in 1905 by French writer Maurice Leblanc. He was originally called Arsène Lopin, until a local politician of the same name protested. The character was first introduced in a series of short stories serialized in the magazine Je sais tout. The first story, “The Arrest of Arsène Lupin”, was published on 15 July 1905.

Lupin was featured in 17 novels and 39 novellas by Leblanc, with the novellas or short stories collected into book form for a total of 24 books. The number becomes 25 if the 1923 novel The Secret Tomb is counted: Lupin doesn’t appear in it, but the main character Dorothée solves one of Arsène Lupin’s four fabulous secrets.

The character has also appeared in a number of books from other writers as well as numerous film, television, stage play, and comic book adaptations. Five authorized sequels were written in the 1970s by the celebrated mystery writing team of Boileau-Narcejac.

 

Origins of the book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc

Arsène Lupin is a literary descendant of Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail’s Rocambole, whose adventures were published from 1857 to 1870. Like him, he is often a force for good, while operating on the wrong side of the law. Those whom Lupin defeats, always with his characteristic Gallic style and panache, are worse villains than he is. Lupin shares distinct similarities with E. W. Hornung’s archetypal gentleman thief A. J. Raffles, whose stories were published from 1898 to 1909. Both Raffles and Lupin can be said to anticipate and have inspired later characters such as Louis Joseph Vance’s The Lone Wolf (created in 1914) and Leslie Charteris’s The Saint (created in 1928).

The character of Arsène Lupin might also have been based by Leblanc on French anarchist Marius Jacob (1879–1954), whose trial made headlines in March 1905, but Leblanc had also read Octave Mirbeau’s Les 21 jours d’un neurasthénique (1901), which features a gentleman thief named Arthur Lebeau, and had seen Mirbeau’s comedy Scrupules (1902), whose main character is a gentleman thief.

 

Fantasy elements of the book Arsene Lupin by Maurice Leblanc

Several Arsène Lupin novels contain some fantasy elements: a radioactive ‘god-stone’ that cures people and causes mutations is the object of an epic battle in L’Île aux trente cercueils; the secret of the Fountain of Youth, a mineral water source hidden beneath a lake in the Auvergne, is the goal sought by the protagonists in La Demoiselle aux yeux verts; finally, in La Comtesse de Cagliostro, Lupin’s arch-enemy and lover is none other than Joséphine Balsamo, the alleged granddaughter of Cagliostro himself.

Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes

Leblanc introduced Sherlock Holmes to Lupin in the short story “Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late” in Je sais tout No. 17, 15 June 1906. In it, an aged Holmes meets a young Lupin for the first time. After legal objections from Doyle, the name was changed to “Herlock Sholmes” when the story was collected in book form in Volume 1.

Sholmes returned in two more stories collected in Volume 2, “Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes”, and then in a guest-starring role in the battle for the secret of the Hollow Needle in L’Aiguille creuse. Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes was published in the United States in 1910 under the title “The Blonde Lady” which used the name “Holmlock Shears” for Sherlock Holmes, and “Wilson” for Watson.

In 813, Lupin manages to solve a riddle that Herlock Sholmes was unable to figure out.

Sherlock Holmes, this time with his real name and accompanied by familiar characters such as Watson and Lestrade (all copyright protection having long expired), also confronted Arsène Lupin in the 2008 PC 3D adventure game Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsène Lupin. In this game Holmes (and occasionally others) are attempting to stop Lupin from stealing five valuable British items. Lupin wants to steal the items in order to humiliate Britain, but he also admires Holmes and thus challenges him to try to stop him.

In a novella “The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men” by Boris Akunin published in 2008 in Russia as the conclusion of “Jade Rosary Beads” book, Sherlock Holmes and Erast Fandorin oppose Arsène Lupin on December 31, 1899.

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Useful External Links

Arsene Lupin on Wikipedia

 

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Review of Book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill

If you’re looking for review of the book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill. You can also download eBook format of The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill from here.

Book Title :The Hairy Ape
Author :Eugene O’Neill
LoC Class :Language and Literatures: American and Canadian literature
Subject :Social classes — Drama, New York (N.Y.) — Drama, Unskilled labor — Drama
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill

The Hairy Ape is a 1922 expressionist play by American playwright Eugene O’Neill. It is about a beastly, unthinking laborer known as Yank, the protagonist of the play, as he searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the rich. At first, Yank feels secure as he stokes the engines of an ocean liner, and is highly confident in his physical power over the ship’s engines and his men.

However, when the rich daughter of an industrialist in the steel business refers to him as a “filthy beast”, Yank undergoes a crisis of identity and so starts his mental and physical deterioration. He leaves the ship and wanders into Manhattan, only to find he does not belong anywhere—neither with the socialites on Fifth Avenue, nor with the labor organizers on the waterfront. In a fight for social belonging, Yank’s mental state disintegrates into animalistic, and in the end he is defeated by an ape in which Yank’s character has been reflected. The Hairy Ape is a portrayal of the impact industrialization and social class has on the dynamic character Yank.

 

Review of the book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill by actual readers:

Hairy-Ape is a terrific drama narrating a story of a defiant Yank whose hubris and bellicose attitude constitute a thin end of the wedge and consequent demise. The story is simultaneously historic and universal since the protagonist stands in my opinion for every-man with one’s existential dilemmas and foibles. The tragedy of a soul that struggles to be self-reliant and defiant to one and all and who cannot deal with life’s surprises because of terrible misapprehensions speaks to me in many ways than one. The ending is terrific and indelible. The play is a classic as far as I’m concerned.

SUPER WONDERFUL! hilarious, bitter. An expressionist play about the working class man and how dehumanised and demonised he is in a post industrial world. The hyperbolic nature of expressionist theatre couldn’t be more of a perfect form to communicate this specific subject matter.

I absolutely adore Eugene O’Neill. The cynical message of this 1922 dramatic work rings true of its time–the working class, part of the machine that runs society, will eventually fall victim to that very machine.

This was seriously good. I found Yank’s manner of speech a bit off putting initially as it’s a specific dialect but realised it was essential to his character. It was heartbreaking though, the way he wants to belong and is not accepted by either humans or animals or at least that’s how he feels. Also discusses class division and its ramifications on individual’s psyche and satirises upper class morality

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Review of Book Yesterdays by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

If you’re looking for review of the book Yesterdays by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book Yesterdays by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. You can also download ebook format of Yesterdays by Ella Wheeler Wilcox from here.

Book Title :Yesterdays 
Author :Ella Wheeler Wilcox
LoC Class :PS: Language and Literatures: American and Canadian literature
Subject :HERE
LanguageAmerican poetry

 

Review of the book Yesterdays by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella was a popular poet rather than a literary poet, in her poems she expresses her sentiments in plainly written, rhyming verse.This 1910 edition of over a hundred of the early poetry of the poet’s youth has a reflective aura about them summed up by her forward therto in her words ‘how fleeting the sorrows of youth, how slight the foundations on which the young build towers of despair’. Often our early poetry can seem that way upon reflection, from life’s perspective.I especially liked ‘Best’ and the rondeau kyrielle style of ‘eGood Night’; ‘I wonder why’; and ‘ As we look back’ and the beauty of her ‘A Man’s Reverie’; and her wistful writing in ‘A Crushed Leaf’;’Reminders’ and ‘Only a Glove’.

This little volume might be called ‘Echoes from the land of youthful imaginings’; or ‘Ghosts of old dreams.’ It has been compiled at the reqeust of Messrs. Gay and Hancock (my only authorised publishers in Great Britain), and contains verses written in my early youth, and which never before (with the exception, perhaps, of three or four) have been placed in book form.

Given the poetical temperament, and a lonely environment, with few distractions, youthful imagination is sure to express itself in mournful wails and despairing moans. such wails and moans will be found to excess in this little book, and will serve to show better than any amount of common-sense reasoning, how fleeting are the sorrows of youth, and how slight the foundation on which the young build towers of despair.

In the days when these verses were written, each little song represented a few dollars (to my emaciated purse), and so the slightest experience of my own, or of any friend, with every passing mood, every trivial happening, was utilized by my imaginative and thrifty muse.

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Review of Book Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor

If you’re looking for review of the book Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor. You can also download ebook format of Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor from here.

Book Title :Count Julian 
Author :Walter Savage Landor
LoC Class :Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :Tragedies; Spain — History — 711-1516 — Drama; Julián, Governor of Ceuta, active 711 — Drama
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor

Count Julian of Ceuta was a figure from the early 8th century infamous for assisting the Moors gain a foothold in Spain and thus considered the greatest traitor in that countries history.

As usual in such cases, the truth is either obscured or more complicated. Julian was certainly a Christian who sold out to the Muslims, but he was most likely a Berber and not a Spaniard (or Visigoth, as the ruling elite in Spain were at that time) and nobody really knows why he did what he did, though a legend survives to this day.

The king of the Visigoths, named Roderic, supposedly betrayed a trust by making Julian’s daughter pregnant. Out of revenge he aided the Islamic leader Musa bin Nusayr in his conquest of Hispania. Maybe he hoped to become king himself, historians can’t decide.

I didn’t learn all this from reading Landor’s tragic play, because to be honest I found the plot pretty difficult to follow. I took time to look up the history because I really enjoyed the verse and felt it deserved a second read, one where I wasn’t distracted by an uncertain understanding of just exactly what was going on.

That makes me sound pretty stupid I know, but Landor made full use of the ambiguities of his subject’s history in this retelling, while making minimal use of clear exposition. If this play was ever actually performed I can well imagine members of the audience being as confused as I was.

Rumour and misunderstanding prove to be important drivers of the plot. Most accuse Julian of ambition and falsehood, though in his way he remains true throughout. He doesn’t even admit to personal revenge as his motive, citing instead the sanctity of Spanish ‘laws o’erturn’d’ by the king.

The crucial character and motive of Opas – named a Metropolitan of Seville – was another puzzler. On top of all that, because Julian himself is utterly conflicted about his betrayal it’s doubly difficult to be sure about which way the action is going, let alone try and make sense of the themes and sympathies of the author.

Written in blank verse the poetic dialogue is of the highest order, yet on first reading the drama was mostly lacking, largely due to the elliptical and baffling nature of the action. Landor’s way with language was instantly apparent, though it took that second reading to pick out the important phrases.

The play opens with Roderigo defeated but Julian already lamenting the fall which he has brought about:

Opas. I never yet have seen where long success
Hath followed him who warred with his king.
Julian. Because the virtue which inflicts the stroke dies
With him

He waxes lyrical about a everyman’s love for his country (‘Tis the old mansion of their earliest friends, / The chapel of their first and best devotions’) yet scorns the chance to change allegiance after the deposed king visits him in the disguise of a herald.

The Moorish invaders are treated pretty fairly, not subjected to any prejudicial demonising. They simply benefit from Julian’s revenge on Roderigo’s and his honour as a fighting man:

Muza. The blood / Of Spaniards shall win Spain for us.
Hernando. The soldier, not the Spaniard, shall obey.

As treachery is the central to the play I thought I would pick out this exchange as best illustrating both the theme and the quality of the verse:

Opas. Corruption may subvert
What force could never.
Sis. Traitors may.
Opas. Alas!
If traitors can, the basis is but frail,
I mean such traitors as the vacant world
Echoes most stunningly; not fur-robed knaves
Whose whispers raise the dreaming bloodhounds ear
Against benighted famished wanderers

The king’s wronged wife, Egilona, turns out to be the least admirable of the piece, too easily believing the worst of the rumours in order to satisfy her sense of disgrace. She throws herself into the arms of Abdalazis the Muslim prince when she hears (incorrectly) that Julian intends to marry his daughter to her husband.

Landor was a contemporary of Byron and shared many similarities with him, including a dislike for Wordsworth, strident anti-Tory political sentiments, and actively fighting for the cause of freedom in a foreign land, helping the Spanish against Napoleon in the Peninsula War.

About the Author Walter Savage Landor

In 1808, he had an heroic impulse to take part in the Peninsular War. At the age of 33, he left England for Spain as a volunteer to serve in the national army against Napoleon. He landed at Corunna, introduced himself to the British envoy, offered 10,000 reals for the relief of Venturada, and set out to join the army of General Joaquín Blake y Joyes. He was disappointed not to take part in any real action and found himself giving support at Bilbao where he was nearly captured.

A couple of months later the Convention of Sintra brought an end to the campaign and Landor returned to England. The Spanish Government offered its thanks to him, and King Ferdinand appointed him a Colonel in the Spanish Army. However, when the King restored the Jesuits Landor returned his commission.

When he returned to England, he joined Wordsworth and Southey in denouncing the Convention of Sintra, which had excited general indignation. In 1809 Landor wrote “Three letters to Don Francisco Riquelme” giving him the benefit of his wisdom as a participant in the war. He wrote an ode in Latin to Gustav IV of Sweden and wrote to press under various pseudonyms. In 1810 he wrote “a brave and good letter to Sir Francis Burdett.”

The Spanish experience provided inspiration for the tragedy of Count Julian, based on Julian, count of Ceuta. Although this demonstrated Landor’s distinctive style of writing, it suffered from his failure to study the art of drama and so made little impression. The plot is difficult to follow unless the story is previously known and concerns a complicated situation after the defeat of the last Visigoth King of Spain. It carries the moral tone of crime propagating crime.

Southey undertook to arrange publication and eventually got it published by Murray in 1812, after an initial refusal by Longmans which led Landor to burn another tragedy “Ferranti and Giulio”. Thomas de Quincey later wrote of the work “Mr Landor is probably the one man in Europe that has adequately conceived the situation, the stern self-dependency and monumental misery of Count Julian”. Swinburne described it as “the sublimest poem published in our language, between the last masterpiece of Milton (Samson Agonistes) and the first masterpiece of Shelley, (Prometheus Unbound) one equally worthy to stand unchallenged beside either for poetic perfection as well as moral majesty.

The superhuman isolation of agony and endurance which encircles and exalts the hero is in each case expressed with equally appropriate magnificence of effect. The style of Count Julian, if somewhat deficient in dramatic ease and the fluency of natural dialogue, has such might and purity and majesty of speech as elsewhere we find only in Milton so long and so steadily sustained.”

 

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Review of Book Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson

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Book Title :Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman
Author :Ben Jonson
LoC Class :PR: Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :English drama (Comedy), Comedies, Inheritance and succession — Drama, English drama — 17th century, Married women — Drama, Uncles — Drama, Nephews — Drama
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson

Epicœne, or The Silent Woman, also known as Epicene, is a comedy by Renaissance playwright Ben Jonson. The play is about a man named Dauphine who creates a scheme to get his inheritance from his uncle Morose. The plan involves setting Morose up to marry Epicoene, a boy disguised as a woman. It was originally performed by the Blackfriars Children, or Children of the Queen’s Revels, a group of boy players, in 1609. Excluding its two prologues, the play is written entirely in prose.

The first performance of Epicœne was, by Jonson’s admission, a failure. Years later, however, John Dryden and others championed it, and after the Restoration it was frequently revived—Samuel Pepys refers to a performance on 6 July 1660, and places it among the first plays legally performed after Charles II’s accession.

Epicœne, or The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson might well be termed The Crying Game of Renaissance drama. Every act, every scene and, indeed, every single word of Jonson’s comedy leads to the culminating act which reveals the Epicene is not only undeserving of the silence attributed to her within the subtitle, she is not even deserving of the woman part.

Just as in The Crying Game, the big revelatory moment of Jonson’s satire is the startling admission by the audience that it has been fooled. Of course, one must keep in mind that one of the reasons a play noted British poet John Dryden singled out as the most sublimely plotted of all stage comedies has not been as routinely performed for audiences since Dryden’s day as even the most forgettable of Shakespeare’s comedies is that fooling an audience into believing a male actor is a female character was infinitely easier back when actual female characters were always played by male actors. With the addition of the word “actress” to the lexicon of the stage, the casting of the play’s silent “woman” became infinitely trickier even for those audiences unfamiliar with the play’s delightfully unforeseen twist. By the end of the 18th century, Epicœne had pretty much exhausted its popularity and has only rarely enjoyed successful revivals.

While the play’s culminating shock of the revelation of identity looks forward to the similar—if far more incendiary and explicit—disclosure in The Crying Game, its author looked back into history for inspiration. The main plot mechanism of its main character—with the unlikely name of Morose—being something a precursor to the Grinch in his incapacity to withstand incessant noise with any good humor only to find himself saddled with a wife who will not stop chattering was lifted almost intact from the circumstance laid out in the Sixth Declamation of Libanius. (Libanius was a representative of one of Plato’s most useless of rhetoricians: a Sophist.) The climax of gender revelation harkens back to a plot device utilized by Titus Maccius Plautus in a comedy titled Casina.

One interesting historical influence on the play concerns the reaction to its original production by one Lady Arabella Stuart who infamous complained that Epicœne “introduced an allusion to her person and the part played by the Prince of Moldavia.” This complaint actually resulted in the Epicœne, or The Silent Woman being suppressed from production for a short period. And who was this apparently powerful Lady Arabella? The great-great-granddaughter of King Henry VII, cousin to Queen Elizabeth and pretty high up on the list of heirs to the British throne. Far more fascinating, however, is the fact that after being imprisoned for the crime of getting married without first receiving permission from King James, Lady Arabella succeeded in a daring escape plan by…disguising herself as a man.

Jonson’s buzzing satire on gender and language enjoyed enormous prestige for more than a century after its first performance. The central figure is Morose, who hates noise yet lives in the centre of London, and who, because of his decision to marry a woman only because he is duped into believing she is silent, exposes himself to a fantastic cacophony of voices, male, female and – epicene.

The title signals Jonson’s satiric and complex concern with gender and performance: the play interrogates sexual decorum and the performance of gender, asking how men and women should behave both as fit examples of their sexes and to one another. The characters – knights, barbers, female collegiate and tricksters – present a cross-section of wrong answers, enabling Jonson to create riotous entertainment out of lack, loss and disharmony. Jonson is fascinated by the denigration of language into empty chatter or furious abuse: it is teeming with idiomatic vitality.

Epicoene was first performed in 1609 or 1610 by a children’s company. This text is based on the only authoritative text, from the 1616 folio Works.

This ‘excellent comedy of affliction’ enjoyed enormous prestige for more than a century after its first performance: for John Dryden it had ‘the greatest and most noble construction of any pure unmixed comedy in any language’. Its title signals Jonson’s satiric and complex concern with gender: the play asks not only ‘what should a man do?’, but how should men and women behave, both as fit examples of their sex, and to one another? The characters furnish a cross-section of wrong answers, enabling Jonson to create riotous entertainment out of lack, loss and disharmony, to the point of denying the straightfowardly festive conclusion which audiences at comedies normally expect.

Much of the comic vitality arises from a degeneration of language, which Jonson called ‘the instrument of society’, into empty chatter or furious abuse, and from a plot which is a series of lies and betrayals (the hero lies to everyone and Jonson lies to the audience). The central figure is a man named Morose, who hates noise yet lives in the centre of London, and who, because of his decision to marry a woman he supposes to be silent, exposes himself to a fantastic cacophony of voices, male, female and – epicene.

 

Plot of Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson

The play takes place in London, primarily in the home of Morose. Morose is a wealthy old man with an obsessive hatred of noise, going as far as to live on a street too narrow for carts to pass and make noise. He has made plans to disinherit his nephew Dauphine by marrying. This is due to the schemes and tricks Dauphine has played on him in the past. To combat this, Dauphine concocts a plan with Cutbeard, Morose’s barber. Cutbeard presents Morose with a young (and supposedly) silent woman to marry.

When Morose meets Epicœne, he tries to find out if she’s really a silent woman, testing her obedience. He tells her not to succumb to the temptations of the court and tells her about the virtues of silence. Under the assumption that his fiancée, Epicœne, is an exceptionally quiet woman, Morose excitedly plans their marriage. Unbeknownst to him, Dauphine has arranged the whole match for purposes of his own.

At the same time there is an alliance of women with intellectual pretensions called the Ladies Collegiates. They are married women who live away from their husbands and speak their minds. They talk about how women can use sex to control their husbands.

Truewit, hoping to secure his friend’s inheritance, attempts to persuade Morose that marriage would not be good for him. Truewit says that no matter what, Morose will find himself unhappy in marriage, regardless of if she is pretty, ugly, rich, poor, or even if Morose loves her. Truewit tells Morose that it is not the women’s fault; all of them are corrupted. He also tells Morose to kill himself instead of getting married. The couple are married despite the well-meaning interference of Dauphine’s friend Truewit.

Morose soon regrets his wedding day, as his house is invaded by a charivari consisting of Dauphine, Truewit, and Clerimont; a bear warden named Otter and his wife; two stupid knights (La Foole and Daw); and an assortment of Collegiates. The house is overrun with noise and clamor, much to Morose’s chagrin. Worst for Morose, Epicœne quickly reveals herself to be a loud, nagging mate.

Mistress Otter has a dominant personality compared to her husband. She has the same characteristics as Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew. She is intimidating and in charge of domestic resources. She yells at him in front of Truewit and his friends and she tells him he’s sullying her image. It appears that she had great options in life but she ended up settling for him.

Desperate for a divorce, Morose consults two lawyers (who are actually Dauphine’s friends Cutbeard and Otter in disguise), but they can find no grounds for ending the match. Finally, Dauphine promises to reveal grounds to end the marriage if Morose agrees to give him his inheritance. The agreement made, Dauphine strips the female costume from Epicœne, revealing that Morose’s wife is, in fact, a boy, and therefore their marriage cannot be upheld. Morose is dismissed harshly, and the other ludicrous characters are discomfited by this revelation; Daw and Foole, for instance, had claimed to have slept with Epicœne.

Sources of Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson

Jonson utilised a variety of sources to write Epicœne. While most details of characterisation and plot are his own invention, the scenario originates from two orations by Libanius: in one, a groom in Morose’s situation argues for permission to commit suicide to escape his marriage, while in the other an elderly miser plans to disinherit a nephew who laughed at him.

The coup de théâtre of Epicœne’s unveiling, while traditionally viewed as derived from the Casina of Plautus, is closer both in spirit and in execution to Il Marescalco of Aretino. Finally, the comic duel between La Foole and Daw is usually seen as an echo of the mock-duel between Viola and Aguecheek in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Some more local details are also borrowed from the classical misogynistic tradition. Truewit’s speeches condemning marriage borrow from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and Juvenal’s Satire VI. John Aubrey’s claim that Morose was modelled on Elizabethan businessman Thomas Sutton is no longer credited.

What Readers are Sating about Epicoene; Or, The Silent Woman by Ben Jonson

HILARIOUS. One of the best farces ever. Everyone in this play is a complete buffoon, especially the husband, Morose. Turns out the silent wife has more of a clue than anyone else.

Fantastic edition of a fantastic and underknown comedy. Get to know it.

Read this play for my 17th Century British Prose and Poetry class. Very funny in the end. I was intrigued by all the plots being weaved by the characters and wondered why in the world everything was happening as it did. Finished it in one sitting.

Finally, a book on this course that I’ve actually enjoyed reading! It dragged on in places and the characters were all horribly cruel to each other, but otherwise this play was rather amusing. Let’s just see if I enjoy it as much once I’ve written an essay on it… 4*

This is a post-modern play, 400 years before its time! The joke in the last scene where the ‘silent woman’ is revealed to be a boy was so shocking, for the theatrical conventions of the time, that grown men fainted in the aisles. As Drummond noted acerbically: ‘No man was heard to say plaudite to that play’. But the parvenue Jonson – elitist to the last – was pulling his nose at his audience. And the result is delicious.

In the bawdy, riotous tradition of all his city comedies, Ben Jonson’s Epicene explores love, sex, and trickery in Early Modern London. Urban playboy, Dauphine, wants his peaceand- quiet-loving Uncle Morose’s fortune and hatches an elaborate plan to get it. Take a suspiciously silent bride, all of Dauphine’s London cronies, and a deal that is simply too good to be true; and Morose, along with the audience, gets a wedding day he won’t soon forget.

Jonson’s formal finesse, and superb good humour, exquisitely tempered with biting satire, whose subjects are, contrary to the quibbles of historicists, and not too finely cultured fellow reviewers here, rather universal tendencies of an all too human vanity, are on full display in what has been called by Dryden as “the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed comedy in any language”; and indeed, upon having read Epicoene, apart from the pristine plots of Terence, one cannot call to mind, except perhaps Jonson’s own Volpone, a more finely wrought theatrical comedy. Epicoene, a supposedly very silent woman, is married to Morose, a man who loves silence; and the rest of the comedy, which satirizes pretensions to learning, strength, and opulence, slowly, with expert handling on Jonson’s part, breaks down the patience of Morose – and the humor of the climactic test of patience, where Cutbeard and Otter quibble over Latin legal terms, isn’t lost on anyone for lack of Latin, for the senselessness of arguing over terms is universally appreciated, and the impatience of Morose, as a result, can be keenly felt by all; and in this wonderful scene, the misogyny of Morose is hilariously reversed when he himself is forced to state, “I am no man!” A wonderful play overflowing with wit, charm, and grace, and a shame upon us all to have lost sight of it, even among fans. (less)

 

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Review of Book Gebir, and Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor

If you’re looking for review of the book Gebir, and Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book Gebir, and Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor. You can also download ebook format of Gebir, and Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor from here.

Book Title :Gebir, and Count Julian
Author :Walter Savage Landor
LoC Class :PR: Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :English poetry — 18th century
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book Gebir, and Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor

Walter Savage Landor was born on the 30th of January, 1775, and died at the age of eighty-nine in September, 1864. He was the eldest son of a physician at Warwick, and his second name, Savage, was the family name of his mother, who owned two estates in Warwickshire—Ipsley Court and Tachbrook—and had a reversionary interest in Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire. To this property, worth £80,000, her eldest son was heir. That eldest son was born a poet, had a generous nature, and an ardent impetuous temper. The temper, with its obstinate claim of independence, was too much for the head master of Rugby, who found in Landor the best writer of Latin verse among his boys, but one ready to fight him over difference of opinion about a Latin quantity. In 1793 Landor went to Trinity College, Oxford. He had been got rid of at Rugby as unmanageable.

After two years at Oxford, he was rusticated; thereupon he gave up his chambers, and refused to return. Landor’s father, who had been much tried by his unmanageable temper, then allowed him £150 a year to live with as he pleased, away from home. He lived in South Wales—at Swansea, Tenby, or elsewhere—and he sometimes went home to Warwick for short visits. In South Wales he gave himself to full communion with the poets and with Nature, and he fastened with particular enthusiasm upon Milton. Lord Aylmer, who lived near Tenby, was among his friends. Rose Aylmer, whose name he has made through death imperishable, by linking it with a few lines of perfect music, lent Landor “The Progress of Romance,” a book published in 1785, by Clara Reeve, in which he found the description of an Arabian tale that suggested to him his poem of “Gebir.”

Landor began “Gebir” in Latin, then turned it into English, and then vigorously condensed what he had written. The poem was first published at Warwick as a sixpenny pamphlet in the year 1798, when Landor’s age was twenty-three. Robert Southey was among the few who bought it, and he first made known its power. In the best sense of the phrase, “Gebir” was written in classical English, not with a search for pompous words of classical origin to give false dignity to style, but with strict endeavour to form terse English lines of apt words well compacted. Many passages appear to have been half thought out in Greek or Latin, some, as that on the sea-shell (on page 19), were first written in Latin, and Landor re-issued “Gebir” with a translation into Latin three or four years after its first appearance.

“Gebir” was written nine years after the outbreak of the French Revolution, and at a time when the victories of Napoleon were in many minds associated with the hopes of man.

Recognition of the great beauty of Lander’s “Gebir” came first from Southey in “The Critical Review.” Southey found that the poem grew upon him, and became afterwards Landor’s lifelong friend. When Shelley was at Oxford in 1811, there were times when he would read nothing but “Gebir.” His friend Hogg says that when he went to Shelley’s rooms one morning to tell him something of importance, he could not draw his attention away from “Gebir.” Hogg impatiently threw the book out of window. It was brought back by a servant, and Shelley immediately fastened upon it again.

 

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Review of Book Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey

If you’re looking for review of the book Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey. You can also download ebook format of Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey from here.

Book Title :Herb of Grace
Author :Rosa Nouchette Carey
LoC Class :PR: Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :England — Fiction
LanguageEnglish

 

Review of the book Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey

A charming and attractive narrative that preaches men and women to follow their dreams. The tale captivates from the very inception. With beautifully drawn characters lending a domestic beauty to every aspect, the tale is bound to flare the imagination…

Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey is a novel book. At first sight the friendship between these two men seemed singularly ill-assorted; for what possible affinity could there be between a thoughtful, intellectual man like Malcolm Herrick, with his habitual reserve, his nature refined, critical, and yet imaginative, with its strong bias to pessimism, and its intolerance of all shams, and Cedric, with his facile, pleasure-loving temperament, at once indolent and mercurial–a creature of moods and tenses, as fiery as a Welshman, but full of lovable and generous impulses? The disparity between their ages also seemed to forbid anything like equality of sympathy. Malcolm was at least eight or nine years older, and at times he seemed middle-aged in Cedric’s eyes.

 

What Buyers are Saying about the Book Herb of Grace by Rosa Nouchette Carey

If you like nineteenth century novels and love engaging, believable characters and a satisfying tale, you’ll love Rosa’s stories. I read “Esther, a Book for Girls” first and am gobbling up the rest. This is a really good read. I’ve always loved Mrs Henry Wood – who was, I gather a friend of Rosa Nouchette Carey, but knew nothing about this, much,much, better writer.Thank goodness for kindle unlocking the forgotten women writers!

 

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Review of Book Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw

Here is a review of the book Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw.

Book Title :Androcles and the Lion
Author :Bernard Shaw
LoC Class :PR: Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :English drama (Comedy)

Review of the book Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw

Androcles and the Lion is a 1912 play written by George Bernard Shaw. Androcles and the Lion is Shaw’s retelling of the tale of Androcles, a slave who is saved by the requited mercy of a lion. In the play, Shaw makes Androcles out to be one of many Christians being led to the Colosseum for torture. Characters in the play exemplify several themes and takes on both modern and supposed early Christianity, including cultural clash between Jesus’ teachings and traditional Roman values.

One of Shaw’s plays that are wholly devoted to discussing religion, and Christianity in particular. A lengthy introduction to the short 2-act play is actually in unison with the Shavian tradition! Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable introduction indeed, although nothing compares to the magic of drama.

Shaw renovates the old fable of Androcles and the Lion, in order to serve his view of the essence of Christianity; a true socialistic essence according to his own judgement, twisted and manipulated by those with psychological instabilities like Paul and subsequently by successive dynasties since the time of Jesus.

 

Plot of Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw

Androcles, a fugitive Christian tailor, accompanied by his nagging wife, is on the run from his Roman persecutors. While hiding in the forest he comes upon a wild lion who approaches him with a wounded paw. His wife runs off. Androcles sees that the cause of the animal’s distress is a large thorn embedded in its paw, which he draws out while soothing the lion in baby language.

Androcles is captured and is sent to the Colosseum to be executed with other Christians in gladiatorial combat. They are joined by a new Christian convert called Ferrovius, who struggles to reconcile his Christian principles with his violent inclinations. The Roman captain guarding them is attracted to the genteel convert Lavinia. Eventually the Christians are sent into the arena, but Ferrovius kills all the gladiators before they can harm any Christians. He is offered a job in the Praetorian Guard, which he takes. The Christians are to be released, but the crowd demands blood. To satisfy them, Androcles offers himself to be savaged by lions. But the lion that is supposed to kill him turns out to be the one that Androcles saved, and the two dance around the arena to the delight of the crowd. The emperor comes into the arena to get a closer look, and the lion attacks him. Androcles calls him off and the emperor is saved. He then declares an end to the persecution of Christians. Androcles and his new ‘pet’ depart together.

 

Preface of Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw

The short play is often printed with a preface that includes a long examination of the Gospels by Shaw, in which Shaw analyzes the Bible and proclaims his findings. In summary, Shaw states that Jesus was a benevolent genius (in areas ranging from moral to social to economic) who eventually bought into popular ideas of his divinity and impending martyrdom. Shaw goes on to state that the teachings of Jesus were lost with his crucifixion, and that the Christian churches that followed are instead based on the teachings and philosophies of Paul or Barabbas. The preface is longer than the play.

This is a play in which farce and deep wisdom coexist without contradicting or undermining each other. The plot becomes predictable to those who are familiar with the ancient history of Christianity, but one must read on for the theological musings that the author inserts in the play. These theological musings are not of the high-brow kind of religious philosophies, but rather they are human, they account for the humanity.

Most religious texts want us to be righteous, never once considering that we lack the ability to be completely righteous. Androcles is the beautiful dramatisation of that fact. Another prodigious aspect of the play is that it unabashedly shows how seriously religion is considered by a vast majority of people. The handsome captain’s admiration of Lavinia, a heathen in his eyes, is a clear representation of the hypocrisy of religion.

It conveys that the good among us, despite our difference, will and can come together simply because of our human nature and nothing else. It is perhaps because of this conspicuous portrayal of the self-seriousness of religion that the play was banned in some parts of the world.

 

Significance of Androcles and the Lion by Bernard Shaw

The play was written at a time when the Christian Church was an important influence on society and there was strong pressure on non-believers in public life. The reversal of roles in the play possibly served to evoke empathy from his targeted audience. The characters also represent different “types” of Christian believers. The journey and final outcome of each of the characters make it clear which believers Shaw sympathizes with the most, especially with Lavinia. One of the most famous passages of the play is Lavinia’s metaphor of capturing a mouse to converting from Christianity to believing in the Roman gods, where Lavinia shows that the most important part of religion is earnestness and a lack of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy was a characteristic in the Church that Shaw condemned.

The play has themes of martyrdom and persecution which are portrayed through the vehicle of comedy. Another point in the play is his position against vivisection, which connected to his philosophy in being a vegetarian. In the play, Shaw uses slapstick, verbal wit and physical comedy to portray his themes.

 

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Review of Book The Victories of Love, and Other Poems by Coventry Patmore

If you’re looking for review of the book The Victories of Love, and Other Poems by Coventry Patmore, you’re at right place. This article gives complete review of the book The Victories of Love, and Other Poems by Coventry Patmore. You can also download ebook format of The Victories of Love, and Other Poems by Coventry Patmore from here.

Book Title :The Victories of Love, and Other Poems 
Author :Coventry Patmore
LoC Class :PR: Language and Literatures: English literature
Subject :English poetry — 19th century, Love poetry, Man-woman relationships — Poetry
LanguageEnglish
ContentsThe Victories Of Love — Amelia — The Day After To-Morrow — The Azalea — Departure — The Toys — If I Were Dead — A Farewell — Sponsa Dei — The Rosy Bosom’d Hours — Eros.

 

Review of the book The Victories of Love, and Other Poems by Coventry Patmore

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic, timeless works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.

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Review of Book The Honor of the Name by Emile Gaboriau

Here is a review of the book The Honor of the Name by Emile Gaboriau.

Book Title :The Honor of the Name
Author :Emile Gaboriau
LoC Class :PQ: Language and Literatures: Romance literatures: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Subject :Detective and mystery stories

 

Review of the book The Honor of the Name by Emile Gaboriau

Work form 19th Century French author considered a pioneer of modern detective fiction.

Monsieur Lecoq is a captivating mystery, historical and love story:

Around 11 o’clock, on the evening of Shrove Sunday 18.., close to the old Barrière d’Italie, frightful cries, coming from Mother Chupin’s drinking-shop, are heard by a party of detectives led by Inspector Gévrol.

The squad runs up to it. A triple murder has just been committed. The murderer is caught on the premises.

Despite Gévrol’s opinion that four scoundrels encountered each other in this vile den, that they began to quarrel, that one of them had a revolver and killed the others, Lecoq, a young police agent, suspects a great mystery.

In this second book (out of two) we go back in time to that dark period of French history. Little by little, the key to the mystery murder is unveiled.

Sherlockians will find similarities between these two novels ( Monsieur Lecoq and The Honor of the Name) and A Study in Scarlet. They will also recognize this as the particular case of Lecoq which Holmes complains about; he supposedly ‘could have solved it in 24 hours’. This is also the book which contains the most personal information about Lecoq ; he tends to make cameo appearances in the other mysteries. For more information on Lecoq’s personal life, you should also see File No 113

And here is all the epic backstory of Monsieur Lecoq. As usual, the second book of Gaboriau’s is stronger, because you watch the lines being gathered in. There is so much history and hatred that nothing is truly resolved until the last bit. Lots of Restoration antics and outcries and worry woven in as well.

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Review of Book By-ways on Service by Hector Dinning

Here is a review of the book By-ways on Service (Notes from an Australian Journal) by Hector Dinning.

Book Name :By-ways on Service (Notes from an Australian Journal)
Author :Hector Dinning
Genre:First World War

 

Review of the book By-ways on Service by Hector Dinning

It seems strange that any book should be composed in a war-zone as difficult and dangerous as the Somme area in 1917, but that is exactly what Hector Dinning did. Having published a few of his pen-portraits and sketches of incidents in various journals, friends and colleagues pressed Dinning to collect them together and publish them as a book. This he did even in the mud of the battlefield and under the shell-fire of the Germans!

Hector Dinning was among the first Australians to volunteer for overseas service. As he and his comrades sailed toward Egypt, military discipline chafed at the individualism of the Australians. Thankfully, once in Cairo, the troops were allowed leave before further transit to the hellish Gallipoli peninsula. Dinning details the difficulties and carnage that he witnessed at Gallipoli and Pathos, but also with some restraint, given the awfulness of the battles there.

After only a brief rest in Egypt, the author was sent to France for further action on the Somme in Picardy; however, as a relief and in stark contrast, he tells of encounters with the French civilians behind the lines and the time that he spent out of the lines.

This volume takes his story up to 1917, whereupon he was transferred to the famed Australian Light Horse, who were engaged in Palestine under Allenby, which he recounted in his second volume of memoirs, “Nile to Aleppo, with the Light-horse in the Middle-East.”

An excellent Anzac memoir.

 

Some contemporary reviews of ‘By-Ways On Active Service’

  • “He has a notable literary gift.”—Morning Post.
  • “He has seen strange things with intensely keen eyes.”—Daily Express.
  • “He is a vivid writer, with a keen eye for detail, and a direct way of setting it down which grips the attention.” Times.
  • “He sees things with fresh and observing eyes, and he has a most receptive mind.”—Punch.
  • “He can write.” Sydney Bulletin.
  • “He has a striking literary gift.”— Archibald Strong in Melbourne Herald.
 

 

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