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1857 and all that...

I don't know whether to prepare myself for the cold I know I'm going to catch after spending a day in the British Library, surrounded by polite but still irritating sneezers, or run out and drink bottles of Echinacea in the hope of keeping it at bay. Anyway. I am making what feels like painfully slow progress on my nineteenth century work-in-progress - it requires so much research, but research that needs to be read and digested and fit into the complex context and yet not necessarily incorporated into the work itself! What I have found fascinating today, however, is the news of the world banking crisis. Of 1857! See here. The similarities with today's is alarming, yet everyone, meaning the news researchers, automatically hark back to 1929. Go further back, I say, and then reel them all off, every single global economic crisis - because there have been many - and still hardly a lesson learnt.

Tomorrow will see the announcement of the winner of the Costa Book Awards. The Guardian reckons it's a two-horse race - Athill the ninety-something versus Ireland's Sebatian Barry, which many, including myself, thought was already cheated out of The Booker. Alas, away from the twenty-first century blog and back to the nineteenth century.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-


And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised

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The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

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