Versatility

During the power cut yesterday evening I finished reading being the fourth of Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire novels. I have to say I found this one rather ponderous in its political and philosophical passages, giving the impression that the periodical pattern of its publication promoted such prolixity. Trollope’s familiar themes of love, marriage, and matriarchal machinations;Continue reading “Versatility”

Skilful Chiselling

When John Corden visited us in February he was struck by our New Forest landscape which reminded him of studying Thomas Hardy’s “The Return of the Native” which he had read at school, where his English teacher had instructed the boys not to skip the first chapters describing the landscape because that countryside was oneContinue reading “Skilful Chiselling”

Characterisation

‘The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club’ was the 24 year old Charles Dickens’s  serialised debut novel. Such publications in 1836 were the soaps of the period before television and a more leisurely age when reading was a main source of entertainment. The monthly instalments of these comic capers were eagerly awaited by those inContinue reading “Characterisation”

Fidelity

This morning we visited Shelley and Ron’s home bearing flowers and cards for a particular occasion. Ron was otherwise engaged, but Helen was also present. We enjoyed coffee and conversation and returned home for lunch. Having reached page 556 of The Pickwick Papers I am ready to reproduce another batch of Charles Keeping’s illustrations toContinue reading “Fidelity”

Keeping Dickens

Charle Keeping https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Keeping was probably my favourite contemporary book illustrator. So, when, in the late 1970s, the Folio Society sought members’ recommendations for pairings of books and illustrators, there was only one possible submission for me. In 1981 the first of the Dickens series was published. Derek Parker reviewed it thus in The Times on 4thContinue reading “Keeping Dickens”

As I Lay Dying

Mat, Tess, and Poppy returned to their home at Upper Dicker late this afternoon. Afterwards, I finished reading William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’. The book was first published in New York in 1930 by Jonathon Cape and Harrison Smith, Inc. My Folio Society Edition of 2011 is enhanced by William Gay’s knowledgeable and insightfulContinue reading “As I Lay Dying”

The Siege Of Krishnapur

In the afternoon of this day of steady rainfall Paul and Margery visited to deliver the painting by John Jones that Paul has now framed. We had an enjoyable conversation over tea and mince pies, and are very pleased with both the picture and the framing. During the rest of the day I finished readingContinue reading “The Siege Of Krishnapur”

The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows. One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to a utility room leading to a library, fronted by a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias,Continue reading “The Evolution Of A Room”

I Held One Back

Last night I finished reading: One of Trollope’s shorter works, this deals with familiar themes concerning the status of women; socio-economic inequalities; intrigue and romantic entanglements. It is a tragic love story breaching differences in fortune, in social class, in geography, and in religion. As usual the prose flows along smoothly to the tale’s surprising,Continue reading “I Held One Back”

Less Is More

Today the weather was cold and wet. For Jackie this meant continuing her planting between frequent showers. For me it meant ironing and finishing reading Muriel Spark’s classic gem, ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’. Even the World Cup cricket match between South Africa and the West Indies was rained off. The short novel tellsContinue reading “Less Is More”