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Florence Lacey, Kaleidoscope (A review) Friends and readers, Probably a coincidence which I’m noticing because I’m aging, but aging was and is the topic of the two plays and films I’ve gone to or been watching this week: this past Thursday, Matt Connor and Stephen Gregory Smith’s moving musical (a world premiere at Creative Cauldron, […]

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Margaret (Daniela Denby- Ashby) first making friends with Nicholas (Brendan Coyle) and Bessy Higgins (Anna Maxwell Martin) (Sandy Welch’s 2004 North and South, Part 2) yet men set me down in their fool’s books as a wise man, an independent character, strong-minded and all that cant — Mr Bell, North and South Dear friends and […]

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Catherine Dickens (Joanna Scanlon) obeying Dickens and bringing to Ellen Ternan her jewelry (Invisible Woman, script Abi Morgan, directed, produced Ralph Fiennes) Again, from The Invisible Woman (adapted from Claire Tomalin’s book on Ellen Ternan) — we see (among others, Ellen Ternan (Felicity Jones), her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas), her sister Dear friends and readers, […]

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An illustration for Gaskell’s Ruth Dear Friends and readers, I’m sad to have to report we seem to have come to an end of our not quite a year of reading Elizabeth Gaskell on my two listserv communities. What had enabled us to keep on came to an end: three volumes of short stories (Cousin […]

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Camille Pissarro, Morning Light on Snow Dear friends and readers, Several months ago now (!), back in September I wrote a blog about how on WWTTA we had begun a reading and discussion of a group of Gaskell’s short stories and novellas that are online as well as in print in three separate collections (Cousin […]

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Elizabeth Gaskell (1865 watercolor) Elizabeth Spencer (1921-) Dear friends and readers, My listserv community (mailing list) WWTTA has embarked on a four month “Elizabeth Gaskell festival.” A group of us propose to read two short stories by Gaskell each week alternating occasionally with a novella over two to three weeks, at the end of which […]

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Anthony Trollope in old age, photograph by Julia Cameron Friends, An interlude. I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming about books, movies, cultural events. I promise not to go on for too long … I’ve written about Trollope as a semi-epistolary novelist (many times) and how the way he maps his imagined communities structures the working […]

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John Millais, “Christmas Story-Telling,” “Christmas Supplement,” London News, 20 December 1862 In his Autobiography Trollope put himself firmly on record as resisting not just the commercialization of Christmas, but the way a cultural conformity of imposition leads people to pretend to Christmas feeling, resulting in meretricious art: he uses memorably negative images and metaphors to […]

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Roger Fry — typical painting Dear friends and readers, Some notes on behalf of two qualities I find draws me into books — and movies too, though this inward source is less obvious. A still center of quiet, of thoughtfulness out of which the fiction or biography (I’ve been reading a number of these lately) […]

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Claire at Culloden (Caitriona Balfe), third season –a 1950s costume seen through demure 2017 eyes Dear friends and readers, I am just now listening to Davina Porter read aloud dramatically (with nuance and appropriate tones) an unabridged text of Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber and engaged in rewatching Season 1 of the mini-series (every couple […]

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