Happy Birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien – 125 today

Happy Birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien - 125 today If you have time today, raise a glass of your favourite beverage to “Ronald” Tolkien, philologist, and Oxford professor. 125 today. You might also know him as J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. And the man… Continue reading Happy Birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien – 125 today

Happy birthday, Christina Rossetti, poet & writer

Christina Rossetti, by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Christina Rossetti (1830 - 1894) On 5 December 1830, the English poet and writer, Christina Rossetti was born. Having a big reputation in a past century doesn't guarentee that anyone reads you today. For proof of this see a previous blog post The 100 Best Novels, a list from 1898, many names on this list are… Continue reading Happy birthday, Christina Rossetti, poet & writer

Vocabulary survival guide for Victorian London

Vocabulary you'll need to survive in Victorian London Perusing the Public Domain Review you may eventually stumble upon The London Guide & Stranger’s Safeguard against the Cheats, Swindlers, and Pickpockets (1819). 'A comprehensive guide to help the unwitting visitor avoid falling victim to the various and nefarious crimes abound in early 19th-century London.' The book… Continue reading Vocabulary survival guide for Victorian London

Happy 150th birthday, H. G. Wells!

Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of H G Wells!  To celebrate here are four classic illustrations from his 1897 "scientific romance" War of the Worlds (see below). H.G. didn't like the original drawings, so these are taken from the 1906 edition. Pen and ink drawings from Henrique Alvim Corrêa. I have a… Continue reading Happy 150th birthday, H. G. Wells!

Charles Dickens in 31 quotes

Charles Dickens book covers

Charles Dickens in 31 quotes Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a great Victorian novelist and the creator of an extensive range of vivid fictional characters. He was also a journalist, speaker and social critic. In his childhood Dicken's father was imprisoned for debt and the 12 year old Charles was famously sent to work in a… Continue reading Charles Dickens in 31 quotes

Happy birthday, Thomas Hardy – 17 quotes

Happy birthday, Thomas Hardy! Today is the birthday of Thomas Hardy (b.2 June 1840 – d.11 January 1928). Hardy was a celebrated and influential English novelist and poet. And is a favourite of mine. Author of such works as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891),… Continue reading Happy birthday, Thomas Hardy – 17 quotes

Happy birthday, G. K. Chesterton – 19 quotes

Happy birthday, G. K. Chesterton! Today is the birthday of G. K. Chesterton (b.29 May 1874 - d.14 June 1936). Chesterton was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, speaker, lay theologian (Catholic), biographer and literary/art critic - phew! He is probably best known for his fictional priest/detective series, Father Brown. My own favourites are… Continue reading Happy birthday, G. K. Chesterton – 19 quotes

11 worst couples in literature – No.1: Heathcliff & Catherine from Wuthering Heights

No.1. Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights topping our list of the worst couples in literature? "Surely not?!" I hear you say. Isn't Wuthering Heights a famous love story? Let me be clear, I adore the book. It is one of the most passionate and heartfelt novels… Continue reading 11 worst couples in literature – No.1: Heathcliff & Catherine from Wuthering Heights

Painting: The Funeral of Shelley (1889)

'The Funeral of Shelley’ by Louis Édouard Fournier (1889). The Walker Gallery, Liverpool, UK. The painting depicts the funeral of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley on a beach in Tuscany (18 July, 1822). It is said by some that Edward Trelawny plucked Shelley’s carbonised heart from the ashes, but was eventually persuaded to hand… Continue reading Painting: The Funeral of Shelley (1889)

ART: Famous writers on cigarette cards

Famous writers on cigarette cards Shown above are some portraits of famous writers on cigarette cards. Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, G.K. Chesteron, Rudyard Kipling, Michael Arlen, Hilaire Belloc, Phyllis Bentley, Marjorie Bowen, John Buchan and (again) G.K. Chesterton. There was a time when cigarette cards (trade cards) were issued by tobacco manufacturers to stiffen cigarette… Continue reading ART: Famous writers on cigarette cards