Life in Squares: About Your Father…

Vanessa-Duncan-Virginia-CharlestonPreviously on Life in Squares: Vanessa decided it would be a good idea for her and Duncan to have a kid together, so they did.

‘Everyone should be free to live as they please, otherwise we might as well be our parents.’

‘We took it on, didn’t we, marriage? We made it into something quite different. Can you do the same with death?’

The family’s relaxing in the garden on a lovely afternoon. Julian dashes off to answer the phone and Leonard asks if Julian’s still considering heading off to Spain, which is right in the middle of a bit of a civil war just now. Vanessa says he’s mentioned it, but he should really just rest now.

Continue reading “Life in Squares: About Your Father…”

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!

Wordsworth, Wordsmith

Once again, it’s been a while since we celebrated a birthday here on the Armchair Anglophile, so let’s light a candle for one of the greatest British poets: William Wordsworth, who was born 7 April 1770 at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland. Little William received a thorough grounding in the great poets from an early age and was given the run of his father’s library. … Continue reading Wordsworth, Wordsmith

The Lady Poet

On March 6, 1806, at Coxhoe Hall in County Durham, England, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the Victorian era’s most celebrated poets, took her first breaths. The eldest child of a wealthy family, she was mostly raised at a 500-acre estate called Hope End in Ledbury, Hertfordshire, which would later inspire her work Aurora Leigh. Elizabeth was a studious, precocious child who was already studying … Continue reading The Lady Poet

The Wodehouse Legacy

At last, I get to pay homage to one of my favorite writers: Happy birthday, P.G. Wodehouse! Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, the man who would bring us such memorable characters as Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, and the eccentric residents of Blandings Castle, was born on October 15, 1881. Wodehouse was the son of Eleanor and Henry Ernest Wodehouse, both members of the Norfolk landed gentry. Henry was … Continue reading The Wodehouse Legacy


As a journalist, this story makes me happy for modern-day freedom of the press: on July 31, 1703, Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for his incendiary political writings. The piece that primarily got him in trouble was a pamphlet entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church, which apparently argued for the extermination of said Dissenters. Apparently, the government … Continue reading Pilloried