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Showing posts from July, 2016

Emily Jane Brontë ~ The Isolated Artist (July 30, 1818-December 19, 1848)

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Emily Brontë by Patrick Branwell Brontë © National Portrait Gallery, London 
The Night Wind by Emily Brontë (1818-1848) In summer's mellow midnight,
A cloudless moon shone through
Our open parlour window,
And rose-trees wet with dew.

I sat in silent musing;
The soft wind waved my hair;
It told me heaven was glorious,
And sleeping earth was fair.

I needed not its breathing
To bring such thoughts to me;
But still it whispered lowly,
How dark the woods will be!

"The thick leaves in my murmur
Are rustling like a dream,
And all their myriad voices
Instinct with spirit seem."

I said, "Go, gentle singer,
Thy wooing voice is kind:
But do not think its music
Has power to reach my mind.

"Play with the scented flower,
The young tree's supple bough,
And leave my human feelings
In their own course to flow."

The wanderer would not heed me;
Its kiss grew warmer still.
"O come!" it sighed so sweetly;
"I'll win thee 'gainst thy will.

"Were w…

PUBLISHED AND ON SALE NOW: Cutting the Gordian Knot-The Final Solution by Kevin Marsh

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Two months after their disastrous holiday, Orlagh and Jerry are at home in Ireland recovering from their terrifying ordeal. The Belgae Torc is at last on display at the National Museum and Orlagh is under increasing pressure to divide her time between her work at the museum and heading up an archaeological dig in County Meath. She is convinced that an ancient battle between Iron Age tribes took place here and is determined to prove her theory, but as archaeologists begin to unearth the truth, they are faced with some unexpected surprises. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Jack Harrington is making discoveries of his own and finds himself juggling personal and professional commitments. His organisation is still recovering from recent events in the Mediterranean and is loathed to be drawn into another deadly conflict, but like it or not, there are unresolved issues that cannot be avoided. The Phoenix Legion is about to implement the final phase of its master …

Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny by A.S. Byatt: A Review

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Born a generation apart in the mid-1800s, Fortuny and Morris were seeming opposites: Fortuny a Spanish aristocrat thrilled by the sun-baked cultures of Crete and Knossos; Morris a member of the British bourgeoisie, enthralled by Nordic myths. Through their revolutionary inventions and textiles, both men inspired a new variety of art that is as striking today as when it was first conceived. In this elegant meditation, Byatt traces their genius right to the source.

Fortuny’s Palazzo Pesaro Orfei in Venice is a warren of dark spaces imbued with the rich hues of Asia. In his attic workshop, Fortuny created intricate designs from glowing silks and velvets; in the palazzo he found “happiness in a glittering cavern” alongside the French model who became his wife and collaborator, including on the famous “Delphos” dress—a flowing, pleated gown that evoked the era of classical Greece.

Morris’s Red House outside London, with its Gothic turrets and secret gardens, helped inspire his …

My review of The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale

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In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London -- for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey.

Robert confessed to having stabbed his mother, but his lawyers argued that he was insane. Nattie struck a plea and gave evidence against his brother. The court heard testimony about Robert's severe headaches, his fascination with violent criminals and his passion for 'penny dreadfuls', the pulp fiction of the day. He seemed to feel no remorse for what he had done, and …