Monday, 16 January 2017

Poetry Revisited: Snow by Adelaide Crapsey


(from Verse: 1915)

Look up…
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind…look up, and scent
The snow!

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)
American poet

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

New on Lagraziana's Kalliopeion: The Professor by Charlotte Brontë read the first work of a much adored writer can be either a revelation or more likely a deception, sometimes even a big one because not many succeed in producing outstanding literature already in the very first try. Writing like any other occupation needs practice. And experience of life usually isn’t a disadvantage, either. Quite a lot of the great men and women of literature that we know today saw their first novels (poems, short stories,…) rejected by publishers, often by more than just one, as show their biographies. In the Victorian age this wasn’t any different from today. Charlotte Brontë, for instance, never saw her first novel in print. The Professor was first published under her pen name Currer Bell in 1857, i.e. only two years after her premature death, and to this date it’s less widely read than her masterpieces Jane Eyre and Villette or even Shirley.

Read more » (external link to Lagraziana's Kalliopeion)

Monday, 9 January 2017

Poetry Revisited: A Copse In Winter by John Clare

A Copse In Winter

(from The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems: 1821)

Shades though you're leafless, save the bramble-spear
Whose weather-beaten leaves, of purple stain,
In hardy stubbornness cling all the year
To their old thorns, till Spring buds new again;
Shades, still I love you better than the plain,
For here I find the earliest flowers that blow,
While on the bare blea bank do yet remain
Old winter's traces, little heaps of snow.
Beneath your ashen roots, primroses grow
From dead grass tufts and matted moss, once more;
Sweet beds of violets dare again be seen
In their deep purple pride; and, gay display'd,
The crow-flowers, creeping from the naked green,
Add early beauties to your sheltering shade.

John Clare (1793-1864)
English poet

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 Reading Challenges

Welcome in a new blogging year – my fifth already! It goes without saying that on the coming fifty-two Fridays you can look forward to many reviews of gorgeous books from the pens of famous and forgotten authors, half male and half female. During the past couple of weeks I made a long (not yet complete) list of reads to present to you and that I hope will meet your tastes too, not just mine. In addition, I picked a few new annual reading challenges to participate in that should make 2017 an even more diverse reading year than usual. Instead of making a sign-up post for each one of the five new ones, I decided to just write the following summary with links to the respective lists that will go online by and by. Moreover, I include an up-date for the ongoing reading challenges.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Poetry Revisited: Time by Emily Mary Barton


(from Straws on the Stream: 1907)

Time is not the cruel master,
Slavish souls have sometimes thought;
Faster driving us and faster,
Till our work is good for nought.

Time enjoys a day of leisure
With the artists and the bards:
And in summer takes his pleasure
Musing over Christmas cards.

A happy method we have found.
Wisely to control his powers;
And when he brings a Birthday round,
Envelop it in verse and flowers.

Emily Mary Barton (1817-1909)
Australian poet

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks – The Summary

1 January – 31 December 2016

For the 2016 edition of Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks hosted by Robin of My Two Blessings on a special blog just for this annual challenge, I set myself the goal to read my way through the English alphabet of writers from A to Z (women) and from Z to A (men). It goes without saying, that I had no problem whatsoever to complete this challenge since I have been posting a review every Friday for four years now. I must admit that some of the letters – notably X and Z – have been a hard nut to crack, but in the end I succeeded in finding two authors for each of them. As usual, I alternated female and male writers, classical and contemporary works thus making my double alphabet more varied. Actually, I could include not just 52 but 53 new literary gems, some more brilliant than others, in my list of reviewed books here on Edith’s Miscellany because my review of The Man Who Searched for Love by Pitigrilli went online on 1 January. This book doesn’t count for the challenge, of course, and I haven’t included it in my alphabet.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Book Review: The Face of Another by Abe Kōbō
2016 review of a book written
by an author whose family name starts with the letter

Although the expression isn’t used in all languages with exactly the same meaning as in Japanese, we all feel at once that it can’t be a pleasant experience “to lose your face”. In fact, it uses to be rather embarrassing, if not shameful because the person concerned inadvertently disappoints expectations, violates social rules or commits another faux pas and thus loses respect. Sometimes “losing face” may be synonymous with “showing the true face”, while other times it may just reveal the void or confusion behind a very artful mask. In The Face of Another by Abe Kōbō the first-person narrator lost his face in a more literal sense in an accident. In three notebooks addressed to his wife he describes the psychological repercussions of the loss, expounds his thoughts on the importance of the face and explains his strategy to recover his face, to construct a new self and to get closer to his wife.