Skip to main content

Literary eras

A new blog on Guardian Online today was on what literary would you travel to if you could? The first thing that sprang to my mind was to visit the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; first to check up on Aphra Behn, then to go and hang out with Daniel Defoe for a while - see how he coped having to write whilst constantly dodging debt collectors before joining him on his schlep up and down the UK for his non-fiction book. It was quite surprising that very few said the Victorian era, but it was a fairly serious time that wreaked of too much didactism. The eighteenth century, I imagine, was much cheekier and fun-loving, with all those Moll Flanders and Roxannes! I know that most fiction of the 18c claimed to be a moral lesson, but it was, in my opinion, ladled heavily in irony - a bit tongue in cheek. All of this literary time-travel came as an effective avoidance tactic. I caught what I thought was just a cold, but which actually felt like the flu and have spent most of the weekend in bed. And I still have to finish another 'final draft' on Apple, in which I have decided to change the tense from past to present and add new vocbulary! And there is still some way to go! I had better stay away from the Guardian blogs for a while.

Belinda's blog:

http://belindawebb.blogspot.com

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…

Days Without End and Mosul's Avengers

So fed up am I of buying books that I don't finish, that I decided I would go to the local library for a copy of Sebastian Barry's latest novel, Days Without End, which has just been awarded the Costa Prize. Unfortunately, I could only borrow it on the proviso that it was return by 1 February. I returned it the day after, without having finished it. I was about three quarters through, and will now have to go out and buy it for the final quarter. I loved Barry's The Secret Scripture, and on every publication of a new work, his star rises. Days Without End follows two boys, one descended from native Americans, and the other having arrived on one of the notorious coffin ships from famine struck Sligo. The tale is brave, funny, touching, but most of all Barry has achieved the perfect pitch. It is quite remarkable.

Another remarkable work comes in the form of reportage in the New Yorker (February 6, 2017) The Avengers of Mosul, by Luke Mogelson 'A Reporter at Large'.

Mo…