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The Library Princess

Updated: 2018-03-08T15:11:52.185+00:00


Advert Break


We interrupt this blog's coma for an advert break.

If it's jewellery you're after, you should go to LuShae Jewelry. They even have earrings.

Have I been bribed to write this? Hell, yes. Jewellery essentially turns me into Gollum. I'm not going to turn it down. Actually, I was going to turn it down initially, as I was convinced that this freebie must be a scam and somebody would be bound to use my address for identity theft or something. But my husband said it was safe and he knows about The World.

So I got this. It's medievally. I like it.

And I have to say: bizarre as I found being asked to advertise jewellery on my dead blog, I was impressed with the pendant when it came. It's a decent size. It sparkles. It came in a good quality box with a good, substantial chain. I hate it when pendants come with chains that are so fragile I'm frightened to wear them. Or with no chain.

So, yes, I do recommend this site. Some of the jewellery looks a bit tacky on the website but the quality is very good in real life, and I love the design of my pendant. The site provides plenty of information on each item, too, which is important.

This was my review :o)

Goodbye My Lover, Goodbye My Friend


Despite appearances to the contrary, I am still blogging enthusiastically, if sporadically and in various places. But I think 'The Library Princess' has run its course. Much of what used to go here now goes at 'Candyfloss and Medicine.' I shall copy everything over to my hard disk, and leave the blog up as a sort of monument, but there won't be any new posts.

Thanks to everyone who has commented over the years. Please transfer your bookmarks to 'Candyfloss and Medicine.'

The End.

Still Alive (just)


My header's gone. That's... interesting. Will have to chase that one up.

I know, I know, it's been a long time. Busyness and laziness are a deadly combination. I've set myself a target for a blog post (in any blog) per week, and I think that's do-able. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I've finally said goodbye to LJ entirely - Candyfloss and Medicine is now joining its friends on Blogger. Here I am.

Thinky-type posts will resume... sometime.

Memes go around like wake-up calls


My uncle once: busted his leg in drunken skipping.

Never in my life: have I had unprotected sex. I don't know how people can take that risk.

When I was five: I had an invisible friend called Bella.

High School was: not something I experienced - one of the many reasons I thank God I wasn't born in America.

I will never forget: crouching behind a door in the darkness, listening to John McCusker and Kate Rusby warming up on the fiddle.

Once I met: Matt Le Tis. Whoo.

There's this girl I know: who's afraid of cherries.

Once, at a bar: in Majorca, a guy just came up and asked me if I'd be his girlfriend. A complete stranger. And I was only twelve.

By noon: I'm not always up!

Last night: I ate Indian food.

If only I had: muscal talent.

Next time I go to church: I will try really hard not to be bored or to compare it with the vitality of church in Africa.

What worries me most: *shrugs*

When I turn my head to the right: I hope that it isn't in fact the left.

You know I'm lying when: I just can't hide it in Cheat.

What I miss about the 80s is: my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jeans.

If I were a character in Shakespeare: please don't let me be Hamlet. Better Malvolio than Hamlet.

By this time next year: I will probably be planning my wedding.

A better name for me would be: Doris the New Forest florist.

I have a hard time understanding: geometry.

If I ever go back to school: I'll have to be a teacher as I'm quite old.

You'll know I like you if: I mock you.

If I ever won an award the first person that I would thank is: my parents.

Take my advice: under no circumstances.

My ideal breakfast is: Coco Pops and a monkey cabaret.

A song I love but do not have: "Let him go, let him tarry..." from the war film The Way to the Stars.

If you visit my hometown: you'll regret it. Though the shopping's not bad.

Why won't people simply: make me Queen of the World?

If you ever spend the night at my house you probably won't get any sleep because: I'll be up all night fidgeting.

I'd stop my wedding for: House, M.D.

The world could do without: mushrooms.

I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: lick the penis of a cockroach.

My favorite blonde is: probably actually light brown. Most blondes seem to be.

Paper Clips are: fun to straighten out.

If I do anything well, it's: talk crap.

I can't help but stand up for: the National Anthem. Jokes.

I cry over: films that aren't even remotely sad.

My advice to my children is: when you're born, come out head first. Saves a whole lot of trouble.

Victorian Governesses


Celia's latest acquisition is a fully-functioning 1890's governess cart. She naturally intends to use it. Her pony, Dusty, is great with carts, actually. I'm travelling up to Maidenhead in a couple of weeks - we're going to plot some Medieval field maps - so I'll be sure to get a photo of the cart then.

Take a look at this painting by Redgrave:

(image) Says a lot, doesn't it? Painted by a man, of course, but still.

This is by Rebecca Solomon:


It must have been a funny position: above the servants but below the family. Always with the family yet entirely excluded. Aways there and yet invisible. All the labour of a tutor's work without the respect.

Jane Eyre, of course, is about a governess, but, although it's wonderful and I wouldn't change a thing, it isn't the most realistic novel I've ever read. I got a far better insight from Anne Bronte's much-underrated Agnes Grey.

Victorian Ballerinas


A little picspam: Credit to rockabillyvixen at Dark Victoria for the images. And a few observations: It seems to me that, actual blatant pornography aside, these images are pretty racy by Victorian standards. I've gathered a few photos for a future post which are actually supposed to be erotic, and they're surprisingly similar to these. Of course, the sexualisation of female singers/dancers/actresses is nothing new and is still going on merrily today, along with the sexualisation of just about everything else. But we have, thankfully, lost the idea of women on stage being somehow disreputable and the link with prostitution. Actually, I don't think we have lost it: I think it just slid, along with so much else, into the collective subconscious. Another thing that struck me was how astonishingly healthy these girls look, in comparison with modern ballerinas. The third one perhaps excepted, these women display the female form in all its curvacous glory. They wouldn't last five minutes in modern ballet. Natalia Sologub in the title role of Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella I rest my case. I mean, look at her arms. Ech. So why the change in the ballerina's physique? Is ballet more demanding? If so, why does that mean that ballerinas have to be skeletal as opposed to just having more muscle? Are the male ballet dancers not strong enough to lift a normal-sized woman? Did the Victorians have more respect for the female form? Apparently not, when you look at what some corsets did to people. And yet, isn't that just appreciation for curves with an additional dose of insanity? I should probably do research. I'm really just thinking on my feet - or my fingers, as the case may be. Check back as research happens. [...]



I'm in the mood for a rant. About homosexuality, or, more accurately, homophobia. Note I used the word 'rant,' not 'debate.' I tend not to express my opinions on this topic in Christian circles too often, because it rapidly spirals into debate. Debate is good, but it's really something I have to be in the mood for. But some things do get on my nerves. It gets on my nerves that people assume because I'm a Christian, I must be homophobic. I understand why they assume that, but it's annoying nonetheless.

When I was in Mozambique, I spent a lot of time with various American missionaries, some of whom really put the 'fun' in 'fundamentalism.' The one who really stands out in my memory is Gary. Gary and I, despite our differences, got on like a house on fire. This is possibly because I tended to do more questioning and listening than talking, but still. Fundamentalists are not bad people, any more than homosexuals or anybody else. Just because I disagree, sometimes quite vehemently, doesn't make anybody evil. Gary was wonderful, in fact. I'd be washing my hands, listening to him sing 'Heart of Worship' as he peed. He would explain to me, so earnestly, all about how the world was 6000 years old and carbon dating was a lie. He thought my accent was some kind of revolution in speech. He and his wife introduced me to the wonders of cinnamon toast. But his opinions did make me sometimes want to weep.

George Bush, he would say, was the greatest Christian president America has ever had. Okay, okay, he would concede, as I related the story of George Bush and "the Israeli and Polystyrene people," he wasn't the greatest public speaker, but he had done things that nobody really knew about. Like what? Well, he would say, "you're probably not going to believe this, but there are some people in America who think that queers should have rights."

At this point I started to praise cinnamon toast very loudly.

I don't know whether homosexuality is right or wrong. I haven't given it tremendous amounts of thought, because I don't really care. I figure that it's my job to love people rather than to judge them. What other people do is between them and God, as far as I'm concerned. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is so spectacularly none of my business. And if it is wrong, who am I to point the finger? Who am I to think less of people? I have been known to nick the odd bit of fudge out of the Pick 'n' Mix; that's wrong. Sometimes I speak in a way that's not respectful and honouring of other people. Sometimes I even do that to make myself look witty. I've got enough to worry about with my own behaviour, without overseeing other people's.

Rant over, I think. I feel better now.

Something rotten...


... in the state of Facebook.

An Insight


My friend, Celia, makes driving whips for a living. She keeps them all in the kitchen area. I was staying with her the other week and, one day, I stood admiring one in particular.

"It's Victorian," she said. "What do you think it's made of?"

It was a creamy colour and a little like bone, only more flexible. I had no idea what it was made of so I listed every material I could think of and then gave up.

"I'll give you a clue," said Celia. "Men would present these whips to their betrothed on their engagement."

I pushed images of Victorian S&M as far out of my mind as possible.

The whip turned out to be made out of a bull's penis.

The little joke/coded message there is obvious: "I'm hung like a bull!" says our Victorian gentleman. Good for him. Men never change, do they?

I can't help wondering, though, what the lucky recipient of the bull's-cock-turned-driving-whip would have felt. Amused? Embarrassed? Erotic excitement? Supposing she was a virgin, would it not have been a little terrifying, to be presented with this thing, three feet long, with the unspoken assurance that your intended plans to rip you in half? It's hardly romantic, really.

Damn, blast and bugger


I was going to type up my journal of my trip to Mozambique. That was meant to be my next post.

However, last week, I put all my favourite belongings in a suitcase and left it on the train. Some things were easily replacable - toiletries, make-up, etc - though I could do without the expense. Some things are harder to replace because of expense or availability: my laptop, my Riverside Chaucer, my Kate Rusby traditional folk sheet music, my phone charger, my camera-to-computer link-up cable. And some things are irreplacable: an 80 page letter from a friend, the music and photos and documents on the laptop, most of my clothes, my beautiful Bible I bought in Johannesburg and, of course, the Mozambique journal. I've phoned every train company and station in the country, nearly, and it seems to have been stolen. So that's that.

The online journal (, for those who have been following it, is going to be inactive for a while. I'm going to leave it open because I anticipate future mission trips. In the mean time, All Things Jesus will be over at St. Pixels, the online church ( I have a blog there. I'm "Laura Mary" if anyone wants to find me.

This couldn't have come at a worse time. Depression has hit. I'm irritable; I don't want to see anyone or do anything; tasks are impossible; difficulties insurmountable; faith dead; suicide tempting (but not happening); sleep evasive... Blah. I feel very sorry for my family, living with me at the moment. The helpfullest things at the moment are my boyfriend's voice on the end of the phone and distraction, when I can manage it.

Ah well, I still have lots of unfinished, literary-type posts. This place won't go empty.

The Poet's Job


Two perspectives on "the poet's job:"

"It's the poet's job to figure out what's happening within oneself, to figure out the connection between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a certain shape, that have a chance of lasting."
~Galway Kinnell

"But the poet's job is, after all, to translate God's poem... into words."
~Babbette Deutsch

What would you say was "the poet's job?" I'm quite tempted to say, "to write poetry, and hang the rest!" Do you think that the poet has a specific social responsibility? To educate and enlighten? To inspire compassion for others? To comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable? To bring about social improvement, in a Lyrical Ballads kind of way? Is it legitimate to write only for oneself and to publish only for one's ego? And does that effect what you choose to write?

In a puff of smoke...


... she reappears.

And, not only that, she reappears with photos of her trip: here, here and here.

Once I've typed it up, there will also be a Mozambique journal for your amusement.

I've been back over a week already. Sorry you've not heard from me - I had a month's worth of correspondence and so many little fiddly things to sort out. I was also dealing with culture shock and getting over a stomach infection. I'm okay now, though!

I'm Off


A quick note to let you know that I won't be posting for at least a month - I'm off to Mozambique! Just in case anyone pops by and wonders if I've died or something.

Reading Much


One thing I love about the holidays is the sheer unadulterated indulgence of reading for pleasure. I do it lots, when my studies are, for once, not clamouring for my attention instead.The Medievalists among you may want to check out this review I wrote on one of my other blogs just now. It's my (totally unbiased) opinion on a book by a friend of mine, about East Berkshire from the fifth to twelfth centuries.But here I wanted to write briefly about a couple of books I've read recently. I reread The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I first read when I was 11 or 12. I thought it was underrated. I mean, it wasn't a Jane Eyre or a Wuthering Heights, but it was a good enough book in its own right. I think Anne Bronte deserves to have her achievements recognised a bit instead of always being in her sisters' shadow. I can see why Tenant was considered "coarse" and "brutal" at the time it was published, but I think Charlotte Bronte was wrong to call it an "entire mistake." It's controversial for all the right reasons: it highlighted the way in which Victorian women often were trapped and mistreated, by their husbands and by society. A bitter pill for society, no doubt, and little wonder it was shouted down, but I still feel it was a brave thing to write. That said, the book does have flaws. The ending is unsatisfactory and the character of Arthur Huntingdon has awesome potential but is sadly underdeveloped. Yet it was a good read. I've also, since then, read The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory, which is the middle installment of the Wideacre trilogy. I need to hunt down Wideacre and Meridon now. I chose The Favoured Child because it's set in my beloved 1790s. There are references to what was going on then, but, knowing the period as I do, I can't help feeling that more could have been made of it. One can tell that The Favoured Child was written earlier in Philippa Gregory's career. I loved it - some great invention - and, yet, I hated it at the same time. Everything was just too awful. It was one catastrophe after another and it turned into a depressing read - so much that I had to put it aside for a few days. It was painful, too painful, and it crossed the line where the empathy wasn't useful or helpful anymore. Plus it was that classic plot device of lots of secrets being kept for no real reason, secrets that only had to be told to make things a whole lot better. That makes me want to scream in frustration. I don't like secrets. I see how they propel a plot, but this was just ridiculous. That said, I enjoyed the little world of Wideacre and I want to know what happens in Meridon. Hopefully baby Sarah will have more luck than her mother and grandmother and pretty much her entire family.[...]

Wish List


Walking in the footsteps of The Little Professor. Apologies for the haphazard capitalisation, etc - this is pasted from Notepad and was originally just a point of reference for me. I'm too lazy to sort it out.


ted hughes reading poems
sylvia plath reading poems
no, virginia by the dresden dolls
American Doll Posse by Tori Amos


the habit of being by flannery o'connor
the dead and the living/the wellspring by sharon olds
i wish someone were waiting for me somewhere by anna gavalda
the microcosm by maureen duffy
journal by katherine mansfield
angel by elizabeth taylor
the bone people by keri hulme
piece by piece by tori amos
Possible Side Effects - Augusten Burroughs
Finding Alice - Melody Carlson
Several Perceptions - Angela Carter
Unholy Ghost - Nell Casey
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden - Joanne Greenberg
Touched by Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison
Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women - elizabeth wurtzel

band merchandise

Medieval baebes tambourine -
medieval baebes songbook -
medieval baebes shopping bag -
kate rusby shopping bag -
the dresden dolls companion -


amelie on dvd
cranford on dvd
new hard disk

Well Done, Me


I sorted my blogroll out: deleted a lot of stuff. Go look! It's pretty much limited to friends' blogs, which is probably what a blogroll should be after all. Gosh, I love having free time to sort out all these little niggly things. I'm also in the process of making a new one, Miss Medieval, so I can get all my Medieval stuff together and focussed for next year, when it'll be half my degree, and the year after, when I may well be doing a Medieval Studies MA.

That said, spending pretty much entire days online isn't entirely healthy.



Hello. Guess what: my exams are finished. Woot. This means I can actually spend some time online and maybe even blog. I must sort out the blogroll here at some point. It's hideously out of date. I need some way to organise it into categories. Maybe I will have several blogrolls. I need a website, but I'd want a decent one and I haven't the know-how to make it.With my new-found free time, I went to a conference today. It was on the Odyssey, "Homer to Hollywood," connected by video to two academics in Kentucky. You can see the advertisement here. It was really worthwhile but incredibly frustrating, having this fascinating debate going on all around and being unable to participate. Technically I was allowed to speak but it was near impossible. The only people who spoke were lecturers and one PhD student. I did wave my hand in the air tentatively a couple of times but this was either ignored or not noticed. Those who got a word in were the ones who had the confidence to just start talking loudly, quite often over someone who was already talking. I really didn't feel I had the authority to do that.I also felt that it was sort of assumed that we wouldn't speak. There was just a hint of the academic snobbery that I've found to be quite prevalent in some places, the suggestion that only people with postgraduate degrees ever have thoughts or opinions worth listening to. I actually find that quite offensive. It's rather like the wicked looks you get as an undergraduate if you venture into the British Library and dare to occupy a seat. Nevertheless, the conference did make me think about the Odyssey in new ways and I enjoyed that. I'm going to go on to articulate some of the thoughts I had, things I would liked to have said. Blogging is a tremendous solace, you know, when you feel that no one's remotely interested in what you have to say. You just say it anyway. Who cares if anyone's listening?Firstly, the weather and the seasons. Odysseus returns to Ithaca in winter and spring comes on as he enacts his revenge and restores order to the kingdom. The significance is obvious but it's an unobtrusive detail in the poem. Why, then, it was asked, does it turn up in pretty much every film of the Odyssey ever made? The simple answer, which Edith Hall said, is that weather's good in films. Doubtless whoever makes the films goes through the poem with a fine toothcomb, looking for things that will work well visually and atmospherically in a film. A discussion ensued about pathetic fallacy, all well and good. But one really vital thing that was left out was how the weather reflects not only the situation but what is happening inside the characters. On a simplistic level, someone did mention Tess of the d'Urbervilles: it rains when she cries, etc. But I was surprised that no one mentioned King Lear. The storm in Lear not only represents Lear's inner turmoil but is instrinsically connected with what it going on both inside Lear and in the kingdom. It is not merely a weather phenomenon: it is a process. The storm rages and calms. The seasons are processes in the same way. So, likewise, when Odysseus returns in the winter, the kingdom is barren, unfruitful and stagnated. The characters there are despairing. The coming of spring is a process, as is the re-establishment of a fruitful, ordered kingdom, the restoration of Odysseus' identity and the return to happiness of his friends and family. That's why it's such an important detail, and that's why film-makers are right to pick up on it. Not necessarily the same as why they do pick up on it, but relevant nonetheless.Another question discussed was why is the Odyssey so in[...]

NaPo Questions


1) What made you want to do it?
It's become a yearly tradition. It's fun, in a perverse kind of way. And I like the comeraderie (sp?) of it, "we're all in this together" type thing. More importantly, though, speaking of someone who can go months without writing anything, it forces me to sit down and write.

2) What do you feel you got out of it?
A reassurance that I haven't "lost it" or outgrown writing poetry. And a few good poems-in-the-making.

3) Do you think the poems you produced are necessarily worse what you would normally write?
Some are, simply because they're stuff I would usually destroy but that I post to meet the deadline. But, usually, no.

4) Did it prompt you to write different kinds of poems to the sort you normally write? In what way?
Yes, I tried out the sevenling, because other people were writing them. I discovered a new form and I was happy.

5) Do you feel it goes against any principle of writing poetry, or definition of poetry, or somehow cheapens poetry or anything like that?
I'd never considered it, but, now I do, no.

6) What are you going to do with the poems you've written during the month?
Destroy some, and keep some for when I learn how to revise.

Still Alive


Just a quick note. It's exam time. Much crazy. Brain fried. NaPo incomplete again, but I was quite pleased with some stuff. I need to redo the links here at some point.



Discuss the treatment of one of the following topics in relation to a selection of the literature you have studied for this course: domesticity, power, the sublime, morality, emotion, restraint.In order to discuss the treatment of the sublime, it is necessary first to define the sublime. The concept originated in the first century rhetorical treatise On the Sublime, attributed to Longinus.[1] Kant writes that the sublime “raises the soul above the height of vulgar commonplace.”[2] Blackburn describes it as “great, fearful, noble, calculated to arouse sentiments of pride and majesty, as well as awe and sometimes terror.”[3] While the sublime has been widely discussed over the centuries, particularly in terms of aesthetics, I have chosen to focus primarily on the definition outlined in Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), as it was enormously influential on the concept of the sublime as it was understood in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Ann Batten Cristall’s ‘An Ode’ (1795), Mary Robinson’s ‘Sonnet. To Liberty’ (1806) and Felicia Hemans’ ‘The Rock of Cader Idris’ (1839) typify the sublime according to Burke’s definition.Burke’s understanding of the sublime is based largely on the idea of terror, on which he put a new emphasis.[4] He writes that one source of the sublime is “whatever is in any sort terrible”[5] because terror is “the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling.”[6] Terror is very obviously apparent in ‘The Rock of Cader Idris’ in a number of different ways. The scene itself is terrible, as a “midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming” (line 5). The darkness here heightens the fear, as Burke writes: “To make anything very terrible, obscurity seems in general to be necessary. When we know the full extent of any danger, when we can accustom our eyes to it, a great deal of the apprehension vanishes.”[7] The visions, the phantoms, are, naturally, very frightening: they are described as “dread beings” (line 13) and their being “unearthly” (line 11) adds to their obscurity and thus their fearfulness. The narrator is very clearly afraid, but, more than that, he is overcome: “a strife was within me of madness and death” (line 16). Yet what typifies the sublime here is a strange enjoyment of this fear: “There was light on my soul, but my heart's blood was chill” (line 24). Terror is likewise apparent in ‘Sonnet. To Liberty,’ though implicitly, with its “tyrant tempest” (line 8) and “sanguinary demons” (line 9), although the subject is a positive one, thus proving how terror is seen in the sublime as to be perversely enjoyed.Nature is also key both to the sublime and to ‘An Ode,’ ‘Sonnet. To Liberty’ and ‘The Rock of Cader Idris.’ The connection between nature and the sublime was described at length by Burke but established originally in On the Sublime, in which, as Baldick writes, the author “refers to the sublime as a loftiness of thought and feeling in literature, and associates it with terrifyingly impressive natural phenomena such as mountains, volcanoes, storms, and the sea.”[8] Cristall personifies nature and sees it as able to communicate directly with the individual: “strongly Nature's truths conviction bring” (line 9). Nature in this poem communicates on an emotional as well as an intellectual level, as the narrator is taken up in raptures: “Stupendous Nature! rugged, beauteous, wild!” (line 25), and de[...]

Tea and Cake with Homer


The Odyssey: Trace the use of type-scenes associated with hospitality and feasting. “Type-scene” is a term invented by critics to describe what Clarke calls “recurring situations which are narrated according to a more or less fixed pattern”[1] in Homeric epic. These recurring situations are not random, but reoccur because they have a particular thematic significance in the poem. They are not entirely rigid: there is a certain amount of flexibility but it is limited. In Jones’ words, “the poet always keeps to the same order of events though he may choose to omit some.”[2] The minutiae of the poet’s variations on the type-scene in the Odyssey are worthy of inspection because they reveal a great deal about the values of Homeric society and the poem as a whole.The type-scenes I will be discussing in this essay are concerned with xenia, which is the concept of hospitality. The type-scenes of hospitality in the Odyssey follow the observance of a standard protocol: the guest is greeted, shown in, seated, washed (usually the hands, though sometimes a bath and change of clothes is offered) and served food and drink. Only then is it acceptable for the host to question his guest. A bed for the night is then offered if it is needed. There is likewise a protocol for the guest’s departure: the guest excuses himself, the host urges him to stay but then concedes, a final meal is prepared and then the host gives gifts to the guest before he leaves.[3]These hospitality sequences are central to the Odyssey. In terms of plot, they provide room for Telemachus to find out what happened to Odysseus, they enable Odysseus to get home and they provide a space for stories to be told, thus enabling flashbacks. They also reveal the attitudes behind the customs, expose a character’s true moral “worth” in how well he abides by them and are fundamental to Telemachus’ education. As Griffin writes, they have both an aesthetic and a moral aspect: Telemachus’ elders demonstrate to him how to behave in Homeric society,[4] as his father has not been around to teach him. That said, the role of host seems to come very naturally to Telemachus, probably on account of his noble parentage. In one of the poem’s earliest scenes, Athene arrives in disguise and, despite being preoccupied, Telemachus jumps up immediately at the sight of a guest: “He made straight for the outer porch, inwardly vexed that a guest should stand at the door so long.”[5] Despite the inconvenience, Telemachus’ greeting is warm and friendly: “Greeting, friend; you shall be made welcome here; afterwards, when you have had your meal, you shall tell us what service you require.”[6] Telemachus adheres perfectly to the hospitality protocol, in spite of his inexperience: Athene’s hands are washed and she is fed before Telemachus starts to lament his situation or ask her anything.[7] Likewise, when she says she’s going, he asks her to stay for the traditional farewell rites of the final meal and giving of a gift, called a xeinon, to be passed down as an heirloom and symbolise the bond between the families.The particulars of this hospitality sequence reveal far more than the fact that Telemachus has inherited his father’s sense of decorum. He shows a tremendous thoughtfulness and care for the comfort of his guest, seating her away from the boisterous suitors and seating himself lower in a show of deference.[8] The poet provides a stark contrast between this and the behaviour of the suitors, who ignore both the prince an[...]

Some Suggested Reading


This list is actually compiled for a friend of mine, but, hey, it needs to go somewhere and this is as good a place as any. I don't know if anyone else is interested, but she's a fellow Austen fan. This is basically some of the context (1780-1830), focussing especially on the French Revolution and the gothic.

Some Misc. Critical Works:

Abrams, M. H. Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (New York: Norton, 1971).
Butler, Marilyn, Romantics, Rebels and Revolutionaries: English Literature and Its Background (Oxford University Press, 1981).
Clery, E. J. Women's Gothic from Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley (Manchester: Writers and Their Work, 2000).
Jones, Chris, Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (London, 1993).
McCalman, Ian et al, eds., The Oxford Companion to Romanticism and Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1999). [This is excellent but far too expensive to buy. I don't know if you have any decent libraries near you.]

Influential Women Poets

Ashfield, Andrew, ed., Romantic Women Poets 1770-1838: An Anthology (Manchester University Press, 1995).
Curran, Stuart, ed., The Poems of Charlotte Smith (New York, 1993).
Kelly, Gary, ed., Felicia Hemans, Selected Poems (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2002).
Pascoe, Judith, ed., Mary Robinson: Selected Poems (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2000).
Wu, Duncan, ed., Romantic Women Poets: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).

There's also that biography of Robinson that I told you about, very readable and enjoyable:
Byrne, Paula, Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson (Suffolk: Harper Perennial, 2005).
And don't forget Ann Radcliffe's The Italian (or similar gothic novel) for Northanger Abbey.

As for the Revolution...
I'd recommend reading some of what was written about it at the time. There's Edmund Burke's famous Reflections on the Revolution in France (1791). And, for the other side of the argument: The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine; Vindication of the Rights of Men by Mary Woolstonecraft and Impartial Reflections on the Present Situation of the Queen of France by a Friend to Humanity by Mary Robinson.
Much of this is online.

Other fantastic web resources:
Romanticism on the Net:
University of Virginia e-texts:
The French Revolution:
And you'd love The Republic of Pemberley.

Books, though, can be cheaper than you think. There's eBay and Amazon, of course, but also Blackwells and where you don't have to pay postage (in the UK, at least - I don't know about the US).

Good luck!



I'm afraid this is going to be one of those annoying drop-by-and-say-hey posts. My blogging, like everything else I do, is sporadic. So, yes, I'm still alive. I'm on Easter hols now, and revising my dutiful little socks off for exams whilst watching plentiful daytime TV. I have more essays to post but they're on my laptop which won't have internet for another month or so.

I made yet another blog; this one's for blathering, pointlessness, random crap and keeping up with the friends who use LJ. Here I feel obliged to be intelligent, and on Maybe Mozambique I feel obliged to be spiritual or Africa-related. To be honest, I'll probably set up a Medievalism blog next year as well.

I've set up this year's NaPo thread, fun and games there. But don't expect anything much: I'm not writing ambitiously anymore, just to please myself. And, on that note, I'm out. Will probably post at some point. And tidy this place up a bit in terms of links and stuff. Universal good wishes.

The Fantasy of Being Thin


by Kate HardingOnce you’ve really started believing in fat acceptance — as opposed to thinking it sounds nice for other people, but you still need to lose X lbs. before you’ll be acceptable — it can be hard to remember how you thought about these issues before (just as it can be hard to imagine what it would really be like to accept your fat body before you’ve done it). I’ve written several times about how I spent ages in the cognitive dissonance phase, thinking it made perfect sense that the OBESITY CRISIS hype was way overblown, and even if it weren’t, dieting doesn’t work anyway — but still wanting to lose weight, still feeling like I, personally, needed to be a size 10, max, before I could really get started on my fat acceptance journey. The thing is, that memory is almost totally intellectual now; I don’t really recall what it felt like to believe those two contradictory things simultaneously.But then, the other day, I got to thinking about a particular kind of resistance that shows up every single time anyone dares to say that dieting doesn’t work — the kind that comes from other fat people and amounts to, “DON’T YOU TAKE MY HOPE AWAY!” Those of us in the anti-dieting camp are frequently accused of demoralizing fat people, of sending a cruelly pessimistic message. I’ve never quite gotten my head around that one, since the message we’re sending is that you’re actually allowed to love your fat body instead of hating it, and you can take steps to substantially improve your health without fighting a losing battle with your weight. I’m pretty sure that message is both compassionate and optimistic, not to mention realistic. But there will always be people who hear it as, “I, Kate Harding, am personally condemning you to a lifetime of fatness! There’s no point in trying, fatty! You’re doomed! Mwahahaha!”Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying. *headdesk*And then I started thinking about what it was really like before I’d actually made peace with my body. And what it was really like was this: The Fantasy of Being Thin absolutely dominated my life — even after I’d gotten thin once, found myself just as depressive and scattered and frustrated as always, and then gained all the weight back because, you know, diets don’t work. The reality of being thin didn’t even sink in after all that, because The Fantasy of Being Thin was still far more familiar to me, still what I knew best. I’d spent years and years nurturing that fantasy, and only a couple years as an actual thin person. Reality didn’t have a chance.We’ve talked a lot here about how being fat shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you’ve always believed you couldn’t do until you were thin. Put on a bathing suit and go waterskiing. Apply for that awesome job you’re just barely qualified for. Ask that hot guy out. Join a gym. Wear a gorgeous dress. All of those concrete things you’ve been putting off? Just fucking do them, now, because this IS your life, happening as we speak.But exhortations like that don’t take into account magical thinking about thinness, which I suspect — and the quote above suggests — is really quite common. Because, you see, the Fantasy of Being Thin is not just about becoming small enough to be perceived as more acceptable. It is about becoming an entirely different person – one with far more courage, confidence, and luck than the fat you has. It’s [...]

Maybe Mozambique


New blog, mainly God-stuff, focussing on a mission trip to Mozambique I may be going on this summer. Check it out.