eye_of_a_cat: (dracula)
[livejournal.com profile] serialsensation is a follow-up to [livejournal.com profile] dracula1897, the real-time reading of Dracula that [livejournal.com profile] elettaria and I did a few years ago: Victorian sensation novels, posted in twice-weekly instalments. We're starting with Ellen Wood's 1861 novel East Lynne, a tale of drama, disguises, scandal, shame, implausible plot twists and nail-biting cliffhangers. Please come and join us if you're interested in enjoying these excellent novels in the serialised form in which they were designed to be read. The reading begins on Friday the 20th of March.

(F-list, apologies for cross-posting this, like, everywhere. Please join in if you think this is the kind of thing you'd like, and if you could plug this thing like crazy to anyone else you know who might be interested before we start, so much the better. [livejournal.com profile] dracula1897 got a huge amount of new interest after it was featured in Spotlight, but by that time we were halfway through the novel and a lot of people didn't have time to catch up.)

 

East Lynne

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 13:49
eye_of_a_cat: (mod hat)
Re: the sensation novel project I mentioned yesterday, cogs are now starting to turn over at [livejournal.com profile] serialsensation . Watch this - or rather, that! - space.

eye_of_a_cat: (dracula)
People have asked a lot about dracula1897 over the past couple of years, mostly re: whether I/we plan to run it again. I still don't have any plans to repeat that in the near future (maybe in years to come? Watch this space, intermittently!), but I'm thinking of doing a similar project with another novel.

If you're not familiar with the 1861 Victorian sensation novel East Lynne, most famous now for a line ('Gone! And never called me Mother!') that actually never appeared in the book, you can read a handy review of a modern reprint here. And you should, because this book is bloody fantastic. Victorian sensation novels lack vampires, sadly, but they reach heights of melodrama that Dracula merely gazes at from a distance; East Lynne has dramatic villains, dramatic disguises, dramatic revelations, dramatic spectacles (trust me, okay?), dramatic speeches all over the place, and you know what, go and read that review and see what you think. If you'd be interested in reading along with a serialised LJ version of this book - the chapters are short, and I wouldn't plan to be updating it more than once a week - accompanied with some additional illustrations, contemporary reviews, and general background information and jumping-up-and-down enthusiasm about Victorian sensation novels in general, let me know and watch this space.

(Additionally: if anyone has any ideas for a community name, I'd love to hear them! eastlynne as a user name already exists on LJ, east_lynne is sending my browser into inexplicable fits, and nevercallememother is too long for LJ's 15-character username limit (damn it).)
From Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song:

Kinraddie lands had been won by a Norman childe, Cospatric de Gondeshil, in the days of William the Lyon, when gryphons and such-like beasts still roamed the Scots countryside and folk would waken in their beds to hear the children screaming, with a great wolf-beast, come through the hide window, tearing at their throats.
eye_of_a_cat: (River)
Sonnet 144:

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still
The better angel is a man right fair
The worser spirit is a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And, whether that my angel be turn'd fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,
But being both from me both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell.
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

This is the last one I taught, Sonnet 138 )
eye_of_a_cat: (River)
Also, an author you should read: Lorrie Moore. I heard her speak at the Guardian Hay festival earlier this year, and I've been reading her short stories intermittently ever since (intermittently, because I don't want to have read the last one). She's fantastic, and instead of telling you why in my own words, here's a snippet of one of her stories for you to make up your own mind.

This is from 'Paper Losses', one of her newer stories. Kit and Rafe met in the peace movement, got married, and are now twenty years older. Rafe has started to build model rockets in the basement.

In full: '[A] nose detaches itself from its owner's face and, having become a person, leads an independent life; then it returns to its place.'

(Todorov, on Gogol.)
Still ill. Curse it.

I don't have the dedication needed for [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge - plus, it looks like they're getting a bit swamped by the Spotlight anyway - but what I do have is a lot of books and a tendency to ramble, so. I'm going to try out a New Year's LJ Resolution at writing something about every non-work book I read over the year. Let's see if I can make it until March.

Starting at the 23rd of December, then: Terry Pratchett, /Night Watch/ and /Thud!/; Niccolo Ammaniti, /I'm Not Scared/; Lionel Shriver, /We Need To Talk About Kevin/. )
Babylon 5 people, two stories you should read: [livejournal.com profile] crackjackal's 'Answer With Fever' (part 1 and part 2), Lyta/Sheridan, NC-17, and [livejournal.com profile] rivendellrose's The Things You Know, Sheridan, Delenn and Lennier. Both beautifully written, and both wonderful at dealing with the fine balance of canon relationships, of whatever variety. Go! Read!
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It was my last shift at the library until January today. The place is dead; I spoke to four patrons the whole day. My last patron of 2006, though, was a man who wanted to order a thesis up from store but couldn't remember its title - or its author - or its year of publication - or whether it was a Masters or a PhD - or which department it fell under - or any of the words in its title - or anything specific enough to be useful about its subject - so, well, that took a while. Patrons of the world, write stuff down.
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Dear Father Christmas: I have been good this year. Please bring me:
- This outfit )
- Shoes to go with the outfit
- Legs to go with the shoes
Thanks.
+
7,571 words of a 10k chapter. Bah.

Book meme

Saturday, 19 August 2006 16:56
eye_of_a_cat: (River)
One book that changed your life:
Kurt Vonnegut's 'Deer in the Works'. Which is a short story, but counts anyway because it really did change my life, and not in any kind of introspective emotional-breakthrough "I Read The Bell Jar And It Has Given My Life New Meaning And Pathos" sense, either. It's like this... )

One book you have read more than once: )

One book you would want on a desert island: )

One book that made you laugh: )

One book that made you cry: )

One book you wish had been written: )

One book you wish hadn't been written: )

One book you are currently reading: )

One book you have been meaning to read: )
From a book on medieval ghosts:

"But a ghost did not always have a human appearance. In reported tales, unlike autobiographical tales, the dead person sometimes took on the shape of a material object (a haystack) or, more often, an animal - a bird, a dog, a reptile, or a horse."

A haystack?
Back in semester time, working on the lending desk. The library is almost empty on our floor: nobody waiting to borrow huge stacks of non-barcoded books, nobody in tears because of a borrowing ban, nobody running from the photocopier with ink-soaked shirt and fear in their eyes. My colleague, another postgraduate, is looking through a PhD thesis.

"This is how a thesis should be written!" he says. "Look at this. Just look at this."

I look. It has a lot of footnotes. "Where's the rest of it?"

"The rest of it? The rest of it? Look at the footnotes!" This isn't difficult, since they take up two-thirds of the page.

"That's not even a thesis," I say. "That's just... what is that?"

"This is historian porn!" says Colleague, slamming the thesis closed. A woman walking past looks horrified and speeds up. Colleague looks at me, worried. "Did she know I was talking about the footnotes?"

"Would that help you?"

Colleague rolls his eyes. "Non-historians," he says. "You'll never understand."
Googling for 'MOA Books' brings you:

1) The books section of the Making of America project, an extensive archive of nineteenth-century American online texts;

and 2), books about moas.

One of these is useful for my thesis. One of these is useful for the thesis I now wish I was writing.
"At last she saw a pale flicker of daylight through the shutters. One by one the objects between the bed and the window recovered first their outline, then their bulk, and seemed to be stealthily regrouping themselves, after goodness knows what secret displacement during the night. Who that has lived in an old house could possibly believe that the furniture in it stays still all night? [She] almost fancied she saw one little slender-legged table slipping hastily back into place."

Edith Wharton, 'All Souls'' (1937)
And with the Odd Capitalisation and Important Moral Lessons For The Young intact, we return to the Best History Book Ever Written.

Richard had been out Rebelling against his Father... )
Dear Foreign People:

Due to unforeseen errors in communication, you may have gained the impression that English history is merely a long list of all the countries we formerly owned and/or have been at war with (viz. everybody except Portugal), a succession of incompetent/bloodthirsty/inbred/insane monarchs, and being mean to Mel Gibson in that film with all those nice Scottish people. This is regrettable. By way of apology, I can now present you with the only educational resource on the subject that you'll ever, ever need. With improving moral lessons.

It's called Kings and Things. It was published in 1937, and intended for "Mothers and Nannies and other great Potentates of Nursery Land" to read to children in their care. It ends with a reminder that "we must all help our King as much as we can. And we can help him a lot by letting him have a Real Good Rest in Peace and Quiet when he needs it and by being Good Children and his very Loving Subjects." And it is also, therefore, the Best History Book Ever.

We start with the Romans: )

Next time: Richard the Lionheart, some Daring Deeds, and Doing Things for the Good-of-the-People!

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