Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, a Review

If ever you think to go to sea. . .




Perhaps you should think again. . .

"In retrospect, we can see the warning signs of impending trouble, but in reality, the momentum has begun by the time we notice a change in the air." (from narrative in Voyager)

At the beginning of this novel, after the Battle of Culloden, Jamie is discovered on the field, his injuries severe. With assistance he recovers, but must hide from the English patrols combing the Highlands, intent on killing all Highland Clan men and some families who fought against the Crown. Jamie, thinking Claire dead to him and safe in the future, becomes a groom for a sympathetic noble as the only way to get him out of the prison and safe from those who attempt to harm him. This situation isn't as benign as it seems. There will be consequences. . .

Meanwhile, 200 years in the future, Claire is trying to discover if her husband in the past, the beloved James Fraser, lives after the horrific slaughter at Culloden. She has travelled to the UK and searches various churchyard cemeteries to find an answer. She is still getting help from Roger and her daughter Brianna, the only two people who have heard her story and believe that she did travel back in time.

At last after much research, Claire realizes that she must go back through the 'Stones'. She wants to know if Jamie survived, but doesn't know if her luck with the Stones will hold. Only one way to find out. . .and on her re-appearance back in the 1700s, James Fraser is shocked, worried and glad to see her, but he's changed. Claire feels something is being hidden. . .In Jamie's world she has been gone twenty years. Then the action begins, with assassins after Jamie, who has been preparing inflammatory and seditious notice sheets (broadsheets). After the furor dies down, they must leave Scotland to find a kidnapped nephew in the West Indies area of the Caribbean. The action is constant on the ship and in the New World. 

In the years preceding the American War for Independence, the small embers of the words freedom and no English taxes began to stir the populace. I recommend this book. I read it quicker than my normal speed, as I kept wanting to know. . .and then?


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Have you read Outlander or Voyager, or one of the other titles?  
Do you like your historicals to have a bit of the fantasy/scifi (as in time travel)? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for dropping by!


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Why keep reviewing Gabaldon books that have been out for a while. . .?

Note: I met Diana Gabaldon at a writing conference. I had scheduled 15 mins crit time with her.  She is a warm, friendly person who gave me a few great suggestions on my manuscript. I never felt rushed as we talked for 15 minutes. . . I discovered her writing when I first picked up Outlander, about three years ago.


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z = ZELDA Fitzgerald, Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

 Zelda was accustomed to a glamorous lifestyle and liked being the centre of attention.  Her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald tried to give her that illusion for a while. 


Zelda Fitzgerald, age 17 - PD*


Z = ZELDA Fitzgerald, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Zelda Fitzgerald (née Sayre; July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948) was an American socialite and novelist, and the wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda was noted for her beauty and high spirits.

She and Scott became the emblem of the Jazz Age, for which they are still celebrated. The immediate success of Scott's first novel This Side of Paradise (1920) brought them into contact with high society, but their marriage was plagued by wild drinking, infidelity and bitter recriminations. Ernest Hemingway, whom Zelda disliked, blamed her for Scott's declining literary output, though she has also been portrayed as the victim of an overbearing husband. 

Zelda first met the future novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in July 1918, when he had volunteered for the army, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, outside Montgomery. After showing Scott her personal diary, she found out later, that he used verbatim excerpts from it in his novel.  At the conclusion of This Side of Paradise, the soliloquy of the protagonist Amory Blaine in the cemetery, for example, is taken directly from her journal.

Scott and Zelda quickly became celebrities of New York, as much for their wild behaviour, as for the success of This Side of ParadiseTo their delight, in the pages of the New York newspapers Zelda and Scott had become icons of youth and success—enfants terribles of the Jazz Age.

Zelda received offers to write from other magazines. In June, a piece by Zelda Fitzgerald, "Eulogy on the Flapper," was published in Metropolitan Magazine. The article was intended to be information on the decline of the flapper lifestyle. 


In April 1925,in Paris, Scott met Ernest Hemingway, whose career he did much to promote. Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald became firm friends, but Zelda and Hemingway disliked each other from their very first meeting. It was through Hemingway, however, that the Fitzgeralds were introduced to much of the Lost Generation expatriate community: Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Robert McAlmon and others.

In April 1930, Zelda was admitted to a sanatorium in France where, after months of observation and treatment and a consultation with one of Europe's leading psychiatrists, Doctor Eugen Bleuler, she was diagnosed as a schizophrenicAfter being diagnosed, Zelda was increasingly confined to specialist clinics, and the couple were living apart when Scott died suddenly in 1940. Zelda died later in a fire at the hospital in which she was a resident.

In 1932, while being treated at the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Zelda had a swell of creativity. Over the course of her first six weeks at the clinic, she wrote an entire novel and sent it to Scott's publisher, Maxwell Perkins.

When Scott finally read Zelda's book, a week after she'd sent it to Perkins, he was furious. The book was a semi-autobiographical account of the Fitzgeralds' marriage. In letters, Scott berated her and fumed that the novel had drawn upon the autobiographical material that he planned to use in Tender Is the Night, and which would finally see publication in 1934

In its time, however, Zelda's book was not well received by critics. To Zelda's dismay it sold only 1,392 copies, for which she earned $120.73. The failure of Save Me the Waltz, and Scott's scathing criticism of her having written it—he called her "plagiaristic" and a "third-rate writer"—crushed her spirits. It was the only novel she ever published.


On the night of March 10, 1948, a fire broke out in the hospital kitchen. Zelda was locked into a room, awaiting electroshock therapy. The fire moved through the dumbwaiter shaft, spreading onto every floor. The fire escapes were wooden, and caught fire as well. Nine women, including Zelda, died in the fire. 

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Save me the Waltz
Zelda Fitzgerald, Author




Save Me the Waltz is the only novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Published in 1932, it is a semi-autobiographical account of her life and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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Did you know Zelda Fitzgerald had written a novel? Have you read This Side of Paradise? Zelda's book was written partly as a response to questions which had arisen from F.Scott's book. Were F. Scott's accusations correct? He had used her material without her permission. . .

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Thanks also for visiting my blog during the A to Z. I appreciate it!



Cover depticting F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
'The Beautiful and Damned'**


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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge


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References:

Zelda Fitzgerald Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelda_Fitzgerald

Save Me the Waltz - Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_Me_the_Waltz

Cover image of  Zelda's book - Public Domain


**The Beautiful and Damned (book cover) See REVIEW here.

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.
This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, Mainland China (not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland


IMAGE: Portrait of Zelda, 1919, (PD* = Public Domain)

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. 
This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, Mainland China (not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Y = YEOMANS, Roland - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

For the Letter Y, I'm taking creative license and featuring a Y name blogger, His name? 

Roland Yeomans, from Writing in the Crosshairs. His last name conveniently starts with Y. 


Roland Yeomans, Writing in the Crosshairs, 

Y = Yeomans, Roland, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Fellow blogger and prolific writer, and also emergency blood courier, Roland Yeomans, is my entry for the letter Y. I've read a lot of Roland's books and reviewed them. I have a preference for his tales of Egypt, and old New Orleans, especially Meilori's. After midnight, people come and go in the club, or sit and chat while they try to dodge the undead and unsavoury characters.

On a good night, Meilori's could have the Lost Generation wandering by or at the tables. On a bad night, it could be the dreaded Daystar or a Nazi general bent on revenge. . .

Roland weaves stories with the dialogue of various writers of the past, he creates a world for a young bear named Hibbs, a blended-family for a boy named Victor Standish, and a club owned by a ex-Texas Ranger, which occasionally doubles as a portal to other realms or times.


Roland's blog 'Writing in the Crosshairs'

A sampling of a few books to whet your imagination:


Ghost of a Chance - Who or what are they looking for? 
One of my favourites. . .





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Her Bones are in the Badlands.
Dust--lots of it--large movie cameras and a mystery. . .another favourite







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The Not-So-Innocents Abroad - NEW
Steampunk saves the day?





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Do you follow Roland? Which of his stories do you like? (New Orleans stories, Meilori and McCord, Egyptian sand dunes withTesla's hovercraft)? How about his venture into Steampunk stories?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by. PS - Roland doesn't know he was selected as my Y author. Surprise. . .!

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

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Roland Yeomans Blog
http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.ca/

***

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X = X, MALCOLM - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

He came from a childhood marked with violence, and he took a different road than Martin Luther King. Both suffered for their people.



Malcolm X - c.1960s - PD

X = X, Malcolm, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ

For some to say Malcolm X 'got what he preached about (violence)' is callous and shows a lack of understanding at what motivated this man. He cared about his fellow African-Americans and he focused on that. At the time, civil rights workers, students and protesters were being shot and harassed for trying the passive approach with peace marches, etc.

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An African-American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950s and '60s. A passionate, naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism "by any means necessary," including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the Nation of Islam shortly before his assassination. The men charged with his killing were also members of the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm was the fourth of eight children born to Louise, a homemaker, and Earl Little, a preacher who was also an active member of the local chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and avid supporter of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Due to Earl Little's civil rights activism, the family faced frequent harassment from white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and one of its splinter factions, the Black Legion. 

In the beginning of Malcolm X's political activities, he would give lectures and met many world leaders. As he started to become a threat (more popular) than the leader of the Nation of Islam, he began to receive threats. There is much that takes place during the height of his activities, too much to include in this post. See the wiki link below for more details.

On the evening of February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where Malcolm X was about to deliver a speech, three gunmen rushed the stage and shot him 15 or more times at point blank range. Malcolm X was pronounced dead on arrival at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital shortly thereafter. He was 39 years old. The three men convicted of the assassination of Malcolm X were all members of the Nation of Islam: Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson

Malcolm X's legacy as a civil rights hero was cemented by the posthumous publication in 1965 of The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Co-written with Alex Haley


The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Cover



The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. Haley co-authored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X's 1965 assassination. At once a harrowing chronicle of American racism, an unsparing self-criticism and an inspiring spiritual journey, the book, transcribed by the acclaimed author of Roots, shows us another side to the man.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X's philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. After the leader was killed, Haley wrote the book's epilogue. He described their collaborative process and the events at the end of Malcolm X's life.

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Other titles which Malcolm X either co-authored or wrote himself (some published after his death). This partial list from Goodreads author information.

By Any Means Necessary (speeches, interviews and a letter)
Malcolm X talks to Young People (speeches in USA, Britain, and Africa)
The End of White World Supremacy 1971
The Diary of Malcolm X
The Jackie Robinson Reader 
Malcolm X on African American History
Several additional books of speeches at different time periods

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Did you know Malcolm X wrote or co-wrote books? (These are not fiction, but rather political and historical history of a certain time periodDo you know who Malcolm X is or have you heard of him?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! (my energy is lagging but I'll make it across the finish line. . .)

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

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References:

Wiki on Malcolm X (there is much more detail here)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X  

The book - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Autobiography_of_Malcolm_X


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 March 12, 1964 Image of Malcolm X

PD. "No copyright restriction known. Staff photographer reproduction rights transferred to Library of Congress through Instrument of Gift"


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W = WILDE, Oscar - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

A flamboyant peacock, perhaps, but also a man with intelligence, wit, and style.

Oscar Wilde, by Napoleon Sarony - WC-

W = Wilde, Oscar - Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life.

At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but was refused a licence for England due to the absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.

Criticism over artistic matters in the Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defence, and soon Wilde was a contributor to that and other journals during the years 1885–87. He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form suited his style. He could organise and share his views on art, literature and life, yet in a format less tedious than lecturing. Wilde, like his parents before him, also supported the cause of Irish Nationalism. When Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder Wilde wrote a series of astute columns defending him in the Daily Chronicle.

With his youth nearly over, and a family to support, in mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover. He promptly renamed it The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves.

In October 1889, Wilde had finally found his voice in prose and, at the end of the second volume, Wilde left The Woman's World. The magazine outlasted him by one volume.


The Picture of Dorian Gray

The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others. The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves", sees his finished portrait, he breaks down. Distraught that his beauty will fade while the portrait stays beautiful, he inadvertently makes a Faustian bargain in which only the painted image grows old while he stays beautiful and young.


The Importance of Being Earnest


Wilde's final play again returns to the theme of switched identities: the play's two protagonists engage in "bunburying" (the maintenance of alternative personas in the town and country) which allows them to escape Victorian social mores. Earnest is even lighter in tone than Wilde's earlier comedies. Mostly set in drawing rooms and almost completely lacking in action or violence, Earnest lacks the self-conscious decadence found in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome

The play, now considered Wilde's masterpiece, was rapidly written in Wilde's artistic maturity in late 1894. It was first performed on February 14,1895, at St James's Theatre in London.  Earnest's immediate reception as Wilde's best work to date finally crystallised his fame into a solid artistic reputation. The Importance of Being Earnest remains his most popular play.

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Queensberry and Douglas

Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, was known for his outspoken atheism, brutish manner and creation of the modern rules of boxing. Queensberry, who feuded regularly with his son, confronted Wilde and Lord Alfred about the nature of their relationship several times, but Wilde was able to mollify him. In June 1894, he called on Wilde without an appointment, and clarified his stance: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you" to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight."

After Wilde's court trial for which Queensberry had accused him of homosexual activities, he is corralled by lawyers intent on destroying his reputation. They dig up potential witnesses in the London underworld which Wilde was known to frequent. His friends urge him to escape to France, but he stays to face the courts. 

In 1897, in prison in England, he wrote De Profundis, which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. In France, he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. 

Wilde was released from prison on May 18 1897 and sailed immediately for France. He would never return to Britain or to Ireland. He spent his last three years in impoverished exile.

Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), on rue des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale [filthy], so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher

Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred and transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city. His tomb there was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein, and commissioned by Robert Ross, one of Wilde's long-time friends.

In 2011, the tomb was cleaned of the many lipstick marks left there by admirers, and a glass barrier was installed to prevent further marks or damage. The image shown below I took in 2010. I won't say anything about the marks on the tomb except that to me, they indicated the adoration that is shown to Oscar Wilde.



Tomb of Oscar Wilde, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris by DG Hudson 2010


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Have you read any of Oscar Wilde's writings? Have you seen his tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery? Do you think a person's private life should pre-condition a judgement on their literary work OR should we view their work separate from their private lives?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Sorry for the length of this post, but Oscar was an interesting guy. . .

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

***
References:

Oscar Wilde - Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde 

W = Wilde Thing. A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012

Post about Oscar Wilde and his tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/w-wilde-thing-to-z-challenge.html

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V = VERNE, Jules - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

IF you could go back in time and have a conversation with this author, what would you ask him? 


Jules Verne, c.1878 portrait by Felix Nadar, PD

V = Verne, Jules - Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ

Jules Gabriel Verne, February 8, 1828 - March 24, 1905,was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. He was best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.

Verne was born in Nantes to bourgeois parents, and expected to follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer, but he quit that profession early on to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, which was a popular series of adventure novels including Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne is considered a major literary author by many in France and most of Europe, where he had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation differs greatly in Anglophone regions largely because of highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted. Hence, he was labeled a 'genre fiction' writer or an author of children's books. (In other words, snubbed by the literary judges. . .)

Sometimes called the 'Father of Science Fiction', Verne has said that he doesn't have any 'science' in his writing.  His works have been the second most translated in the world since 1979, ranking him between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare. 

Early on while still living in Nantes, Jules met a young woman one year older than himself and fell in love. He wrote and dedicated some 30 poems to here. Alas, her parents didn't approve of a young man with tenuous means of employment (writing), and married her instead to a wealthy landowner ten years her senior. This aborted love affair seems to have permanently marked the author and his work as his novels include a significant number of young women married against their will. . .As a result, Verne also bore a grudge against his birthplace and Nantes society. 

Verne used his family connections to make an entrance into Paris society. His uncle Francisque de Chateaubourg introduced him into literary salons. Verne said that at that time, he could have recited by heart whole pages of Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, but he was most influenced by his dramatic work. 

In 1848, Verne began getting violent stomach cramps, the first of many he would suffer from during his life. Many modern scholars have hypothesized that he had colitis. In 1851, he would acquire another health problem, the first of four attacks of facial paralysis. These were due to an inflammation in the middle ear, though this cause remained unknown to Verne during his life. 

In 1869, Verne and Hetzel (his publisher) had a conflict over his manuscript for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. After that, Verne didn't collaborate as he had done, but two or more volumes a year, from the Voyages extraordinaires, continued to be published. The most successful of those stories are: Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Voyage au centre de la Terre) (1864); From the Earth to the Moon (De la Terre a la Lune) (1865); Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Vingt mille lieues sous les mers) (1869) and Around the World in Eighty Days (Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) (1872). Jules could now live on his writings. Now Verne was enthusiastically received in France by writers and scientists alike.

As Verne's popularity grew among readers and attendees of his plays (especially Around the World in Eighty Days) led to a gradual change in his literary reputation. He was seen by contemporary critics of his day as a 'mere genre-based storyteller' rather than a serious author worthy of academic study. This denial of his formal literary status took different forms including dismissive criticism by Emile Zola and the lack of nomination to Verne for membership in the Academie Francaise. 

Verne said in a late-in-life interview: "The great regret of my life is that I have never taken any place in French literature." Verne considered himself a man of letters and an artist, living in the pursuit of the ideal, and this dismissal on the basis of literary ideology was the ultimate snub. (Do we remember his critics? NO. Do we remember him YES, many do. Point made.)

On March 24, 1905, while ill with diabetes, Verne died at his home in Amiens. Little did he know his work would be celebrated by many in this new century (the 20th). Below is an image of his tomb.



Tomb of Jules Verne, Amiens, PD

Verne himself flatly denied that he was a futuristic prophet, saying that any connection between scientific developments and his work were 'mere coincidence' and attributing his indisputable scientific accuracy to his extensive research. He took notes from any book, newspaper, magazine or scientific report that he came across because he was interested in these things himself, but also to use in his own writings.


I consider this man a hero for having the will to pursue his own style, regardless of the snobbery of the literati. It reminded me of the French Impressionists and their snubbing from the art salons in the late 1800s. He also furthered a genre I love to read.

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Have you read any of Jules Verne's works? What about the movies which incorporate elements of Jules Verne's original books? Do you think Jules Verne has been an influence on the popularity of Steampunk? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Sorry about the late posting today. . .

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

***

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Verne


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 Restored photograph of Jules Verne by Félix Nadar circa 1878

Photograph taken circa 1878, according to the subject's grandson. See Jean Jules-Verne, Jules Verne: a biography  Age about 50

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.


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Verne's Tomb
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
Attribution: lepoSs


This file is free content in the United States but non-free or potentially non-free in its country of origin. Wikimedia Commons only accepts files that are public domain or freely licensed in both the country of origin and the United States.
This image become public domain in France in 2023.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U = UMBERTO Eco - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016


This author is a scholar who also writes historical mystery novels.



Umberto Eco - Italian philosopher and novelist, May 2005


U = Umberto Eco, Author
Theme = Authors, Ato Z


Umberto Eco, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, (January 5, 1932 - February 19, 2016) was an Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher and semiotician*. Eco, however is best known for his 1980 historical mystery novel, The Name of the Rose, an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.

Umberto Eco, one of Italy's leading public intellectuals, received numerous awards, and honorary degrees. He later wrote other novels including The Prague Cemetery, (Il cimitero di Praga) released in 2010, which was a best-seller.

Eco died at his Milanese home on February 19, 2016, of pancreatic cancer. He had suffered for two years. He was 84 years old, and was a professor emeritus at the University of Bologna, a position he held since 2008.

Eco's fiction has enjoyed a wide audience around the world, with many translations. His novels are full of subtle, often multilingual, references to literature and history. Eco's work illustrates the concept of intertextuality, or the inter-connectedness of all literary works. Eco cited James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges as the two modern authors who have influenced his work the most.





The Name of the Rose (1980)
Novel and Film

Eco employed his education as a medievalist in his first novel, The Name of the Rose (1980), a historical mystery set in 14th century in a monastery.  Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, aided by his assistant, Adso, a Benedictine novice, investigates a series of murders at a monastery that is to host an important religious debate.

The Name of the Rose was later made into a movie starring Sean Connery, Christian Slater and others. The script employs the plot but not the philosophical and historical themes from the novel.

William of Baskerville is a logically minded Englishman who is a monk and a detective, and his name evokes both William of Ockham and Sherlock Holmes (by way of The Hound of the Baskervilles); several descriptions of William of Baskerville are strongly reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's descriptions of Holmes. . .

This is an excellent film, a bit dark in tone, and full of sinister hidden meanings.Sean Connery of course is perfect as William of Baskerville.


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References

*semiotics
The study of meaning-making, the study of sign processes and meaningful communication. Semiotics is seen as having important anthropological dimensions; for example, the late Italian semiotician and novelist Umbert Eco proposed that every cultural phenomenon may be studied as communication.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Eco - Umberto Eco Wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics - Semiotics discussion

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Image of Umberto Eco in flat cap and glasses, May 1884
This image from the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, and Spaarnestad Photo, donated n the context of a partnership program.

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Image - Umberto Eco - Italian philosopher and novelist, May 2005

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