Posted in June 2013

Brain/Food: hot tea and wild free-born cranberries

This month’s Brain/Food subject is the incomparable Rohan Maitzen: English professor, blogger, editor, and activist for online scholarly engagement. (I’ve always loved the fact that it is, without fail, the Victorian specialists who are most likely, in any given English department, to be the movers and shakers when it comes to new technologies; dear post-modernists: … Continue reading

Human tyranny

One of the things that makes Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall so compelling is that she took as her subject one of English history’s greatest villains and humanized him. She complicated and enriched history’s view of Thomas Cromwell as an irredeemable thug; she gave him an inner life unrelated to the work he did; she made … Continue reading

I’ve been outside

Ah, radio silence. It’s sort of lovely to take a vacation from the online world isn’t it? Part of me feels guilty (although for what, and towards whom, I don’t know) for not blogging much lately, but another part–the part of me that thinks Vitamin D is delicious–has no regrets. I have been reading; I … Continue reading

Milk below!

In 1894, a wonderful thing happened: a mostly unknown writer, but a very well-known illustrator for magazines such as Punch (George du Maurier), published a strange, unique, and utterly irresistible novel (Trilby). du Maurier was convinced to write at all by his good chum, Henry James. That he was convinced to write by a successful … Continue reading

Redeeming Apollo

Anthony’s Trollope’s 1867 novel The Claverings picks up, thematically, where his 1864 novel The Small House at Allington leaves off. In the latter, Lily Dale falls head over teakettle for handsome London swell Adolphus Crosbie (whom she first mockingly, then lovingly, nicknames Apollo). They become engaged; he returns to the city; he suffers Great Temptation; … Continue reading

The importance of eating pancake(s)

When I was a kid, one of my most yearned after life events was a trip to Smitty’s (a local pancake hut/chain, similar to Golden Griddle here in Ontario or IHOP in the USA). Smitty’s pancakes, as I recall, were giant, perfect (to a 7-year old who’d never seen an orange that didn’t come out … Continue reading