This is an account of connections observed when a translator, or any writer, is absorbed in a story. This morning as I searched through a Wikipedia entry about One Thousand and One Nights for the use of a particular phrase, I came across the sub-heading ‘Foreshadowing’, which, I learned, is a literary device used by… Continue reading

Ailsa’s travel photo challenge: Wild

“Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling, ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there, at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind, blowing over the edge, by… Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 54!!!

No eggs!  No eggs!!  Thousand thunders, man, what do you mean by no eggs? Saint Joan, Bernard Shaw ***** My edition of this play has a 41-page preface written in 1924 by Ayot St Lawrence which also has a great first line: “Joan of Arc, a village girl from the Vosges, was born about 1412; … Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 42

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë ***** A joyless book.  I recently read it a second time in search of at least one happy moment but found none.  Flicking through the book today, I came across passage… Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 16

The woman carried the bag with the axe and maul and wedges;  the man had the billy and clean tucker-bags;  the cross-cut saw linked them. Squeaker’s Mate, Barbara Baynton ***** A late 19th-century Australian story about a tough pipe-smoking timber-getting woman whose back is broken when she is cutting down a tree.  The man in… Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: Lost in the detail

This week I borrowed a library book, Poésies de F. Coppée, less for the poetry than for the detail in the book’s production.   It packages poems like treasure.  What you can’t tell from the photos below is that this book is just 10 x 16cm, fits nicely in one hand and is surprisingly heavy –… Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 12

Of late years, an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the north of England:  they lie very thick on the hills;  every parish has one or more of them;  they are young enough to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good. Shirley, Charlotte Brontë ***** Are you imagining… Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 11

There is a French saying which runs:  ‘A dry fisherman and a wet hunter have the same sad look.’ Living Relic, Ivan Turgenev ***** One of Turgenev’s ‘Sketches from a Hunter’s Album’:  a short story that could be told on canvas, so intimate are the descriptions, so charged the emotions.  The reader is pulled into… Continue reading

54 great opening lines: 9

All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë ***** Agnes Grey is trying to be independent and earn an income, albeit to help… Continue reading