Filed under European literature

Origin of Vampires

Origin of Vampires

Here’s a story that justifies reading outside a person’s normal area of interest. Tschiffley’s Ride is one of the great travel adventures, the sort of journey only Werner Herzog would contemplate filming. Please. Aime Tsciffley, a Swiss former teacher, footballer and boxer moved to Buenos Aires in 1920. In 1925 he set of in the … Continue reading


Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Kiefer may be my favourite artist and I have no idea why, as I’m not usually into such weirdness. I love this huge exhibition, on at the White Cube till 12 Feb. It’s title refers to Norse mythology’s paradise for those slain in battle but also, this being Keifer and heavily into things Germanic, also … Continue reading

Women of Elizabeth’s England

This is some more from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. He mentions several times of how much freedom women had, perhaps reflecting the fact that a woman was on the throne, but I suspect also there were more of them than men, so strength in numbers. There are times, however, when I wonder if … Continue reading

Curious English Laws

This is some more from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. Not sure about this first law. A handless man may be able to read, but can’t turn the pages.  There are many curious laws and customs in England which fill up many volumes, for my part I will only relate what was told me. If … Continue reading

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

This is some more from a German physician’s journal, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 Especially every quarter when the law courts sit in London and they throng from all parts of England for the terms … to litigate in numerous maters which have occurred in the interim, for everything is saved up till that … Continue reading

Cockfighting in London

This comes from the journal of a German physician, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 The place is built like a theatre. In the centre on the floor stands a circular table covered with straw and with ledges round it, where the cocks are teased and incited to fly at one another, while those with … Continue reading

English Fairy Stories

English Fairy Stories

Here are some accounts of fairies from Nancy Arrowsmith’s A Field Guide to the Little People. Like a lot of such stories they seem somehow incomplete, as if the heart of the story has been lost through retelling, or mishearing over time. : A little girl had wandered far from he friends while picking flowers. … Continue reading

Gollum and Turkish Law

This is from yesterday’s i newspaper, and would be funny if it wasn’t true: “He is shrivelled, slimy and will stop at nothing to lay his hands on a golden ring. But is Gollum a villain? The fate of a Turkish doctor hangs on the answer to that seemingly trivial question. Having shared a Facebook … Continue reading

Amon Goeth’s Legacy

Amon Goeth came to public prominence as the concentration camp commander in Thomas Kineally’s award winning book Schindler’s Ark, later filmed by Spielberg as Schindler’s List. Jennifer Teege, a biracial woman who was given up for adoption as a child in Germany has recently discovered he was her grandfather, after finding a book in a … Continue reading