Meanwhile, on Facebook…



Well, boys and girls, here I am again, beginning yet another apology. Nothing new to report – just the same ongoing struggle to get my head above water and keep it there. I’m not going to make any rash promises about getting back to track – I’ve learned the futility of THAT – but I do have some hopes of a shortish post about a piece of poetry; we’ll see.

My next anticipated round of Reading Roulette has ended in frustration and annoyance. After Steepleton, the roll of the random number generator landed me on Under The Lash, a novel from 1885 by Matilda Charlotte Houstoun, an interesting, socially conscious writer, who was particularly active in the area of prison reform. Finding to my excitement that Under The Lash was available as a reproduction released by the British Library, I immediately rushed to secure a copy – discovering too late that only the second volume of this three-volume novel has been made available – something apparent a priori only in the very finest of fine print – the kind you don’t read until after the event.

Why do they do things like that? Why do they BOTHER?

Anyway, thwarted in that direction, I rolled for another book. Imagine my anticipatory joy – particularly in the wake of wrestling with a 300-page-long polemic on church factionalism – when the Reading Gods offered me this:

Right And Wrong, Exhibited In The History Of Rosa And Agnes. Written, For Her Children, By A Mother

Heavily didactic children’s fiction? – fabulous!

On the other hand, I am currently reading the next entry in my series examining the roots of the Gothic novel, William Hutchinson’s The Hermitage. I’m only about a quarter into it, but so far it has some interesting, and relevant, features: it manages to be heavily anti-Catholic despite being set in England before the Reformation (the hero is an “instinctive Protestant”, if you will); it focuses upon the machinations of an evil priest; it features some haunted armour (shades of Otranto); and it breaks periodically into rapturous descriptions of nature, of the kind we usually associate with Ann Radcliffe. The Hermitage is not always included in the timeline of the development of the Gothic novel, but so far it seems it certainly should be.

8 Comments to “Meanwhile, on Facebook…”

  1. So of Rosa and Agnes, who do you want to bet is the “good” child, and which is the “bad” child? Sounds like an early version of Gufus and Gallant.

  2. We boys and girls shall certainly bear all delays quietly and patiently, for we have been raised to be Good.

  3. Hi! Me too, I’ve some news and suggestion from my readings:

    -Catherine Gore (read: “Cecil”, “Castles in the air” and “Modern chivalry”): she’s the witty mother of all the Pendennies and the Copperfields.

    -Emma Robinson (read: “Richelieu in love”, “Whitefriars”, “Whitehall”, “Cynthia Thorold” and bought all her historical novels for the next readings): a proto-feminist, undoubtedly an anticonformist both in thinking and writing for a victorian lady and a sound historical novelist of the “Axe and neck” school.

    -Bought the first 6 volumes of the Ainsworth’s Magazine (1842-’44).

    -Bought a 1805 french edition of “The mad man of the mountain”, a Minerva Press gothic novel by Henry Summersett.

    -Now reading: “A diary” by Frederika Bremer; she could be a swedish Jane Austen, but it seems she can’t avoid a certain didactic and evangelical moralism.


    -Reading all the english novels published in the period 1816-1851, as reported in the 1851’s “London catalogue of books published in Great Britain”.

    -Reading all the 19th Century historical novels in chronological (as period described, not as publisihing date) and thematic order, as listed in the 1902 list of the best historical novels by Jonathan Nield.

    I’m 44, so I’ve planned a couple of Doctor Who’s style regenerations in order to finish everything 😀

  4. I’ve planned a couple of Doctor Who’s style regenerations in order to finish everything

    Yes, I know all about that. 🙂

    Hi, Luca! That’s a brilliant reading list. I really need to get to Catherine Gore one day – the “silver fork” novel is an amazingly important source of information about the transition period from Regency to Victoria, even aside from Gore’s genuine literary talent.

    Having finished Right And Wrong, I am able to report that Roger guessed correctly. It looks at the beginning that “right” and “wrong” are going to be equally divided between the two girls, but after a single incidence of Agnes neglecting her lessons, it settles down to Agnes always striving to better herself and Rosa doing wrong and stubbornly maintaining that “I cannot help it” – thus ruining her whole life (really!).

    I shall have to stop moaning about didactic literature, if it has such a practical effect, Supes! 🙂

    • Yay, I win… erm… a pillar of moral rectitude? (I’ll stand it by the swimming pool to hold up the ceiling.)

  5. If you need a completely mindless break from reality, try to catch the movie “Sharknado”, if you haven’t already. I know you don’t like watching sharks get beat up, but these are so obviously fake it’s funny. There is actually one (1!) clip of a real live shark, which makes the other sharks look all the worse. Just in case you need to catch your breath and completely turn your brain off.

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