Archive for October, 2006

The 1849 Welsh “All Hallows Eve” party continues, but now it’s time for its highlight — Pally Lewis’ terrifying stories, all of which happened to her or a friend of a friend.

“All Hallows Eve”, Part 2


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“All Hallows Eve” is a stand-alone chapter about a Welsh Halloween from Traits and Stories of the Welsh Peasantry (1849) — a wonderfully detailed and lovingly written novel with an extremely misleading title. (The frame story is that these are people the English author knows personally, and that this is a folklore book; but it seems pretty clear that she did make the story up, although both story and characters are very plausible.) We don’t hear much about the Welsh side of Celtic customs in this country, so I think you’ll enjoy it. Another great forgotten book from Stanford’s library and books.google.com!

This chapter is all about old Pally Lewis’ annual All Hallows’ Eve festivities, and goes into details of the Welsh customs of the day. It also sounds like a really fun way to spend Halloween!

“All Hallows Eve”, Part 1



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Little Fuzzy concludes with a flourish.

Chapter 17


Btw, Little Fuzzy has several sequels. Piper’s own sequel, Fuzzy Sapiens (originally published as The Other Human Race) was published in 1964. His second sequel, Fuzzies and Other People, was not discovered until long after his death, and was published in 1984. Before this was found, both William Tuning (Fuzzy Bones, 1981) and Ardath Mayhar (Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey, 1982) were commissioned to write sequels.

But if you don’t want to read the sequels, don’t worry. Little Fuzzy also stands alone.

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Little Fuzzy‘s penultimate chapter begins on a sad note. (If you’re letting young kids listen, maybe you won’t want them to hear the very beginning.) Then we turn back to the task of defining sapience. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it….

Chapter 16


UPDATE: Link corrected.

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Cabbages and Kings continues, as the new Coralio government investigates what happened to all that money.

Ch. 7: Money Maze


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Fatherless Fanny continues, as Lisbon proves a place of many reunions.

Ch. 8: A Wedding.


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Fatherless Fanny continues with a pair of fast-moving chapters which greatly alter the now teenaged Fanny’s circumstances. Lady Ellincourt’s depression and poor health make her move to Lisbon. And though she still loves Fanny like her own child, she doesn’t plan on taking Fanny along….

Chapter 7: The Separation.


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Fatherless Fanny continues, as Lady Ellincourt and her daughter trade letters about poor Lady Ballafyn.

Chapter 6: Correspondence


I should mention at this point that Fatherless Fanny was apparently mentioned by Thackeray in Vanity Fair because he used Anon.’s description of a girl’s school as an inspiration for his own. Frances Hodgson Burnett also mentioned Fatherless Fanny in at least one of her lesser known novels. This was explained when I discovered that she had written an autobiographical article which acknowledged her artistic indebtedness not so much to certain early Gothic novels themselves, as to their plot as retold from memory by her mother. Fatherless Fanny is explicitly mentioned, as is Porter’s The Scottish Chiefs; The Children of the Abbey; The Castle of Otranto; and The Mysteries of Udolpho.

A moment’s thought will show you that this indebtedness is deep and real. Again and again, Burnett takes on Gothic plots as backstory or part of the setup, even though the actual events of the story may be feelgood and gentle. Certainly Fanny’s character and Sara Crewe’s bear some relationship to each other; though West Indian Emily Barlowe and giddy Lord Ellincourt are replaced in A Little Princess by an Indian servant and a gloomy non-lord.

I am sure that somebody somewhere has written a paper about all this. If not, someone should. The influence of one era’s writers can be especially important to writers of generations long after, as a counter or complement to the ideas of their own day.

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Gerusalemme Liberata continues, with a book the History Channel should dramatize. Medieval siegecraft galore! Trenches and breaches! Godfrey vs. Clorinda! Argantes and Solyman’s tag team attack! Rams, arbalests, catapults and other fun siege engines! It’s so coooooool!

Excuse me while I wipe the history buff drool off my chin.

It should be remembered that Tasso also wrote as a history buff. Siegecraft and fortress design changed greatly when gunpowder became widely available (because of explosives and cannon, more than small guns). Tasso was writing several centuries after the First Crusade. Any sieges he’d seen would have been waged with different tactics.

Book 11


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The Nebuly Coat continues, as Mr. Westray attends the inquest. Meanwhile, the romantic triangle over at Bellevue Lodge begins to be recognized by the people involved.

Chapter 15, Part 1


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Blog Announcement

I’m late, I’m late! So I’m afraid I won’t be able to put up my next chapter of The Nebuly Coat until tomorrow evening, which means Gerusalemme Liberata, Fatherless Fanny, and The Ascent of Mount Carmel will probably also run late. I apologize for it, but this week has been another busy one.

Meanwhile, I’d like to say hello and welcome to A Nanny Mouse, and all of Marginalia‘s readers. You can find all my posts of The Nebuly Coat here.


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“De Spectaculis” concludes with a brief stop at Tertullian’s typically philosopher-ish issues with fiction, acting and stage makeup as equivalent to falsehood. Then we get more thoughts about the games and the proper place of pleasure, many of which are useful, and a big showy finish with The End of the World.

Unfortunately, Tertullian’s amazingly big finish gets derailed by his anger issues. Anybody who can portray his eternal joy as catcalling and watching the damned get destroyed in happy Roman-type “games” is… well… the kind of guy who’d run off and join the Montanists out of pique that repentant lapsed Christians weren’t being punished enough. Sigh.

“De Spectaculis”, Chapters 21-30


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“De Spectaculis” continues, with comments and scriptural quotes on why not to go to games and the theater. The really interesting bit is that Tertullian thinks it unfitting, even sinful, for Christians to get all worked up over nothing — over joys and sorrows that are artificial, and belong to someone else, anyway. Yes, Tertullian is denouncing fan behavior in general, and not just the hooliganish kind!

You may not agree, but it’s an interesting thing to think about during the World Series, or right before November sweeps…. 🙂

“De Spectaculis”, Chapters 13-20


There are ten more chapters. I’ll try to get them up tonight.

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“De Spectaculis” continues with more comments on the intimate ties between pagan amusements and pagan religion, including the gladiatorial games’ origin in human sacrifice.

“De Spectaculis”, Chapters 9-12


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“De Spectaculis” continues with a look at the origins of the Roman circus games and theater. It also examines the proper way of living as a Christian in a pagan world. For example, the difference between going to pagan places to worship, or going there simply to do business.

“De Spectaculis”, Chs. 5-8.


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