Happy Birthday, Fanny Burney!

We haven’t had a birthday in a while, so happy birthday, Frances (Fanny) Burney! Fanny, a novelist, diarist, and playwright was born in Lynn Regis (now King’s Lynn) on 13 June 1752 to a musical historian and his wife, Esther. Fanny was the third of six children and was self-educated, though her sisters, both of whom were favored by their father, were given expensive educations … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Fanny Burney!

The Trial of Lady Chatterley

Score one for literary porn! On November 2, 1960 a jury in London found Penguin Books not guilty of obscenity for publishing the full, unedited version of D.H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Prior to 1960, the novel was published in a heavily censored version, if it was permitted at all. But by the late 1950’s and early 60’s, notions of concealing potentially offensive materials … Continue reading The Trial of Lady Chatterley

Mary Shelley

200px-RothwellMaryShelleyHeads up, literature fans: today marks the birthday of Mary Shelley, creator of one of the most famous literary characters of all time and all-around tragic figure (seriously, her life was rough, right from the beginning).

Mary was born in London in 1797; the birth ended up costing her mother, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, her life—she died just ten days after her daughter was born. Unable to cope for long on his own, Mary’s father, William Godwin, remarried (yet another Mary) in 1801. Though he was happy, Mary apparently loathed her stepmother.

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Happy Birthday, Emily Bronte

On 30 July 1818, Emily Bronte, future novelist and poet, came into the world in Thornton, in Yorkshire. She was the fifth of six children born to Maria Branwell and Patrick Bronte; her siblings included Charlotte, Patrick Branwell, and Anne, all of whom made their literary marks on the world before their untimely deaths. The Bronte siblings grew up in Haworth, where their father was … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Emily Bronte

Game of Thrones: Your Own Private Assassin

Previously on Game of Thrones: Melisandre gave birth to Stannis’s freaky smoke-baby. Arya and her fellow prisoners were taken to Harranhal, a rather horrific place where they were nearly tortured to death. Fortunately Tywin Lannister saved them and made Arya his new cupbearer. Theon took the first steps toward being welcomed back into his family fold, and Daenerys found refuge for her tribe and baby dragons.

I’m so woefully behind on these. I’m sorry, everybody. I spent the weekend getting caught up with The Borgias, mostly because the names in that are easier to spell. Yeah, I know, lazy. But here I am, back in Game of Thrones Land, so let’s get started.

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

We start off in some sort of opium-induced dream. A man stands in a burning desert, staring at a mirage-like building in the distance. Then, he’s inside a church, where a blonde woman in an orange dress walks towards the altar, where a young blonde man waits for her. Oh, god, the woman’s played by Tamzin Merchant, who played that idiotic Katherine Howard on The Tudors. I’m sorry, I’m sure she’s a very nice person, but every time I see her in something, I cringe, because she just always seems to have this blank, dim look on her face and she drives me crazy. Anyway, she drapes a black tie around the blonde man’s neck and looks back at the other guy, smiling. Blonde guy smiles too, and she hands first guy the end of the tie, which he uses to strangle blonde guy to death while she just stands there blandly. First guy stands and looks around and sees her far, far away, in a dark part of the church, and then she’s running through an upper chamber, and he wakes himself, shouting “Ned!” in his dingy opium den.

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Pride and Prejudice

This is a good day for literature: on January 28, 1813, one of my all-time favorite books, Pride and Prejudice, was published by Thomas Egerton of Whitehall, who purchased the copyright from Jane Austen for £100. Austen wrote the first draft of the novel—then called First Impressions—between October 1796 and August 1797. Her father asked a London bookseller named Thomas Cadell if he had any … Continue reading Pride and Prejudice

Lewis and Alice

I could have gone the obvious route and written about the Declaration of Independence, but that would be dull. So, instead let’s talk literature—in this case, children’s literature, because July 4 was a good day for it. On a fine July 4 in 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, told a little story to young Alice Liddell that would eventually become Alice’s … Continue reading Lewis and Alice