Filed under history of publishing

How to Create a Perfect Wife

How to Create a Perfect Wife

This is an intriguing book by Wendy Moore, a journalist and author who I’d never heard of. The story fills in a lot of gaps in my historical knowledge, especially featuring the poet Thomas Day who I knew from his famous abolitionist poem The Dying Negro and his book on child centred education. He was … Continue reading

Ghosts of Wigan Pier

Ghosts of Wigan Pier

This is from the i paper by Dean Kirby. I was surprised to see the image of Orwell’s son. The 1930s seem so much further away than living history. Orwell is also important today with the rise in alternative readings of Britain’s colonial past.  When George Orwell was writing The Road to Wigan Pier – … Continue reading

How Old and Ugly Were Witches?

I have always worried at the bad images we have of witches, especially those who were punished for their ‘crimes’. The image of an ugly, isolated old woman just doesn’t seem to fit many of the cases, in particular the famous Pendle witches. The old hags seem more cartoon characters. Many pamphlets and ballads were … Continue reading

Jack London’s London Journey Begins

Against all the advice of his friends and the authorities, Jack London purchases some dirty, frayed, working man’s clothes and sets forth on his journey, with some money seemed inside his singlet in case of emergency. He bids farewell to his friends and : No sooner was I out on the streets than I was … Continue reading

Jack London on London’s Poor

The horrors of life for the poor in London are so well documented by Charles Dickens that his surname has become synonymous with them. Together with the exhortations for change by The Times, and the work of social reformers, the Salvation Army and others, I thought things would have improved. I knew that many men … Continue reading

Women in Publishing

On Friday an article in the i was headed ‘Publishing industry does not take women’s fiction seriously enough’. It featured former restauranteur turned novelist Prue Leith who claimed the industry underrates women’s writing. She claimed that if women write about love, it is categorised as commercial or women’s fiction, whereas if it’s by a man … Continue reading

Minority Travel

We tend to take travel for granted in the internet age, but here’s some information on a book that should never have needed to be written: The Negro Traveller’s Green Book listing safe places to go. What surprises me is that it covers not just the USA, but Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean where such … Continue reading

Listen to Gilgamesh

This post says, Akkadian is an alphabet not a language, but Akkadian has been reconstructed here, to read the epic whihc I have been told is the greatest story of all time. It sounds amazing – if it reminds me of anything it would be some Pacific island, or Maori though it has the gutterals … Continue reading

Macaulay’s New Zealander

This is another article from John O’London’s Unposted Letters, relating to one of the most famous images of ruin, of vanity, of the fragility of even the most powerful empires: “No passage in Lord Macaulay’s writings is better known or more constantly associated with his name than the following – which occurs in his review-essay … Continue reading