literature

August Kleinzahler’s mother

February 15, 2019 0 Comments
August Kleinzahler’s mother

One of the benefits of being able to wander round a really big bookshop – I was in London, in the huge Waterstones in Piccadilly – is that you come across books that you’d be very unlikely to stumble across in a smaller shop – let alone on the imaginary shelves of the appalling Amazon. […]

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Writing for affect

January 26, 2019 0 Comments
Writing for affect

By accident I happened on four late-night radio voices discussing ‘consent’.  Their focus was Samuel Richardson’s 1740 novel-in-letters, Pamela; or, Virtue rewarded, and Martin Crimp’s current stage production at the National Theatre, When we have sufficiently tortured each other, which is based on chunks of Richardson’s lengthy book.  Both are tough reads, in the #MeToo […]

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Dilyn Iolo

January 13, 2019 0 Comments
Dilyn Iolo

Bore mwyn, di-haul o Ionawr, a dyma bedwar ohonon ni’n cychwyn ar Daith Gerdded Treftadaeth Iolo Morganwg.  Taith gylchol o ryw bedair milltir a hanner yw hon, un o gyfres o deithiau cerdded wedi’u dyfeisio gan Gyngor Bro Morgannwg, gyda help Valeways, Ramblers Bro Morgannwg a’r Undeb Ewropeaidd (cofio hwnnw?). Taith berffaith ar gyfer canol […]

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Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

January 6, 2019 0 Comments
Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

Ignatius Sancho was one of the most prominent black Britons of the eighteenth century – and without doubt the most multi-talented.  Born in Africa, according to his own account (or on board ship, according to his biographer, Joseph Jekyll), he was shipped across the Atlantic to be a slave in the Spanish colony of New […]

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An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

December 28, 2018 0 Comments
An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

As far as I know, my father produced only one publication.  Its title was Notes on making a will and it was a pamphlet of just four pages (a single leaf folded with a white card cover).  The publisher, according to the cover, was ‘Bury & Walkers, Solicitors, Barnsley, Wombwell & Leeds’ (Dad was a […]

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‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’: dystopia/wtopia

December 9, 2018 1 Comment
‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’: dystopia/wtopia

Pan ofynnodd Cymru Fyw i nifer o lenorion yn ddiweddar am enwebu’r llyfrau y bydden nhw’n eu dethol i’r hosan ’Dolig, un llyfr safodd allan: Llyfr Glas Nebo, nofel fer gan Manon Steffan Ros a enillodd y Fedal Ryddiaith eleni yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Caerdydd. Bu 2018 yn flwyddyn aur i’r nofel Gymraeg, debyg iawn. Ar […]

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Making Hay: diary of a first-time speaker

December 1, 2018 2 Comments
Making Hay: diary of a first-time speaker

1   Talk of the Devil An invisible voice apologises: Marcus Brigstocke regrets he’s unable to be with us tonight. Instead, a cloaked figure bursts on to the stage. There’s a white flash of outsize teeth and ghoulish eyes. Yes, It’s Satan, and he’s in talkative mood. By the end of the hour his biting […]

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Indexing Gilbert White

November 10, 2018 0 Comments
Indexing Gilbert White

Selborne, Hampshire. Why we’ve never been there before I don’t know. The village isn’t far from Winchester, familiar enough territory. It’s a bit off the beaten track, though a busy B road passes through the village, channelling noise and people through the narrow main street that would have been quiet in the mid-eighteenth century, when […]

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In Bunhill Fields

November 3, 2018 3 Comments
In Bunhill Fields

This week we paid a visit to a place that’s been on my wish list for many years: Bunhill Fields. Some might think it a perverse pilgrimage, because Bunhill Fields isn’t not a rural glade or open park, but an old burial ground – the origin of ‘Bunhill’ is thought to be ‘bone hill’ – […]

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Mr Deas

October 6, 2018 3 Comments
Mr Deas

Another birthday, and I’m celebrating by throwing out yet more paper hoarded over the years. This time it includes a dark red ring-file containing notes and essays from my first-year university course in Classics. They’re written in handwriting it’s still quite easy to make out. (By contrast, my handwriting today, disabled by decades of keyboard […]

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