Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Attribution confirmed

I have confirmed that The Grateful Ghosts was indeed written by Mrs. Oliphant's son Cecco". She makes reference to "Cecco's Grateful Ghosts" on page 330 of the 1899 edition of her Autobiography.

The Grateful Ghosts - attributed to Cecco Oliphant

The Grateful Ghosts
attributed to Francis Romano ("Cecco") Oliphant
Blackwood's Ediburgh Magazine, Volume 139, January 1886, page 108

This story is unsigned as it appears in Blackwood's. It has been attributed to Mrs. Oliphant's son, Francis Romano ("Cecco") Oliphant by Linda H. Peterson in Two Traditions of Victorian Women's Autobiography, University of Virginia Press, 1999, page 163.

I would be grateful for further information on whether this attribution is correct.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two Gentlemen of Virginia

Two Gentlemen of Virginia
A Novel of the Old Regime in the Old Dominion
by George Cary Eggleston
New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1908

The novel opens in Richmond, Virginia in the year 1857.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Washingtonians - by Pauline Bradford Mackie

The Washingtonians
by Pauline Bradford Mackie
Boston: L. C. Page and Company, 1902

The Washingtonians presents a fictional portrait of Kate Chase Sprague, daughter of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of Abraham Lincoln. The story begins in the fall of 1864 and focuses on Kate, aka Portia Matthews, and her efforts to help her father secure the Republican nomination for president in the upcoming election.

The novel is well written and is very interesting to all who are familiar with the history of the time and the dynamics of the members of the Lincoln administration. Kate Chase was a fascinating woman, and this novel provides a glimpse of her private life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

At Chrighton Abbey by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

At Chrighton Abbey
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
As published in Volume III of Milly Darrell and Other Tales
London: John Maxwell and Co., 1873

A ghost story.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bestseller of 1908 - Peter

by F. Hopkinson Smith
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908

A bestseller for the year 1908.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Christmas Tale by Mrs. Oliphant

A Christmas Tale
by Mrs. Oliphant
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
Volume 81, January 1857, page 74

The title of this short story is a misnomer: Christmas has nothing to do with the plot. This is well worth reading. Mrs. Oliphant does a masterful job in building suspense and a sense of terror.

The narrator finds himself stranded at a rural English train station after missing a connection. The local squire invites the narrator to his home for dinner, and the story develops from there. A compelling read.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya

My Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya
ISBN-10 0776630423
ISBN-13: 978-0776630427
Available at Amazon

I have just ordered a copy of this book which I am certain will prove to be an important contribution to the English language library of memoirs written by Tolstoy's family members and friends. The tumultuous nature of the marriage of Sofia and Leo Tolstoy has been the subject of a number of books over the decades, but what better way to get Sofia's point of view than from her own pen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Congratulations VCU!

VCU is on its way to the final four in the NCAA championships. Congratulations!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vasari's Lives of the Artists - Niccolo and Giovanni of Pisa

Vasari's Lives of the Artists
Niccolo and Giovanni, Sculptors and Architects of Pisa
(Niccolo born c. 1205, died 1278) (Giovanni born __, died 1320)
London: Henry Bohn & Co., 1850, Volume 1, page 60

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vasari's Lives of the Artists - Cimabue

Vasari's Lives of the Artists
Giovanni Cimabue, Florentine Painter
(Born 1240 - Died 1303)
In the translation by Mrs. Jonathan Foster
London: Henry G. Bohn, 1850

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fictional portrait of Tolstoy's sister

Faust - A Story in Nine Letters
by Ivan Turgenev
In A Lear of the Steppes and Other Stories
New York: Macmillan and Co., 1898

First published in 1855, the character Vera in Ivan Turgenev's Faust is said to be a fictional portrait of Leo Tolstoy's sister, Mariya Nikolayevna Tolstaya. The story is said to have infuriated Tolstoy. The relationship between Mariya Nikolayevna and Turgenev was in part to blame for the rift between Tolstoy and Turgenev.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tolstoy's last days as related by his sister

Reminiscences of Tolstoy
by his son, Ilya Lvovich Tolstoy
Translated by George Calderon
New York: The Century Co., 1914

Letter from Mariya Nikolayevna Tolstaya to Sofia (aka Sonya) Tolstaya. Page 388.

On April 22, 1911, Tolstoy's sister, Mariya Nikolayevna Tolstaya (aka Masha), wrote to Tolstoy's wife, Sonya. She was responding to a letter from Sonya. Mariya relates her thoughts on Tolstoy's flight from home in October 1910, his visit to her at Shamardino, his reasons for leaving home, and on his death. The letter is full of compassion for Sonya while, at the same time, acknowledging that something must have been wrong for Tolstoy have come to the decision to leave his beloved Yasnaya Polyana.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Decembrists by Leo Tolstoy

The Decembrists - A Fragment
by Leo Tolstoy
As published in Volume 12 of the Complete Works of Count Lev N. Tolstoy
Translated and edited by Leo Wiener
Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 1904

An unfinished novel by Leo Tolstoy. Natasha and Pierre, of War and Peace fame, appear in this fragment as an older couple.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mrs. Henry Wood - by Adeline Sergeant

Mrs. Henry Wood
by Adeline Sergeant
From Women Novelists of Queen Victoria's Reign
London: Hurst & Blackett, Limited, 1897

David Garth - by Mrs Henry Wood

First published in Argosy, Volume VIII, December 1869, page 444:
David Garth's Night-Watch

First published in Argosy, Volume XI, January 1871, page 36:
David Garth's Ghost

by Mrs. Henry Wood

Two of Mrs. Wood's supernatural tales from the Johnny Ludlow series.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Last Chronicle of Barset - Barchester Chronicles #6

The Last Chronicle of Barset
by Anthony Trollope
Book 6 in the Barchester Chronicles
With illustrations by George W. Thomas
London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1869

Volume 1
Volume 2

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jane Austen - Her Homes and Her Friends

Jane Austen - Her Homes and Her Friends
by Constance Hill
London and New York: John Lane, 1902

Two sisters visit places associated with Jane Austen. A delightful travel book.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Appletons' Town and Country Library

Yesterday I discovered that from 1881 to about 1900 Appletons published a series of novels semi-monthly in a series they called Appletons' Town and Country Library. The novels are mostly, if not all, reprints and are by American and English and European authors. Of course my initial reaction was, as I'm sure the publisher hoped, I want them all! According to what information I've been able to find (and surprisingly I haven't found much), each novel was printed in both paperback and cloth editions. I downloaded two from Google Books and began reading one, The Silence of Dean Maitland by Maxwell Gray, No. 9 in the series. This is one of the country novels, set in the English countryside. It begins on a winter evening with Alma Lee trudging up a steep hill laden with parcels. The atmosphere is wonderfully drawn. What I've read so far I like. As I've said before, whether I finish reading a book depends on whether I care about what happens to the characters. To this point I do care about what happens to Alma. And I want to know what Dean Maitland is silent about; and why is he silent?

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to a list of 280 titles in the Town and Country Library. I have found another seven titles which do not appear on this list, and then it seems the series was ended. I think it was a brilliant market ploy and one that I was surprised to find in the 19th century book trade. I wish I knew more about the series, such as whose idea was it and why did it end.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Phoebe Junior - Chronicles of Carlingford

Phoebe Junior - A Last Chronicle of Carlingford
by Mrs. Oliphant
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
London: Hurst and Blackett, 1876

Book 7 in the Chronicles of Carlingford

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Miss Marjoriebanks - Chronicles of Carlingford

Miss Marjoriebanks
by Mrs. Oliphant
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1867

Book 6 in the Chronicles of Carlingford
First published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, February 1865 to May 1866

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Perputual Curate - Chronicles of Carlingford

The Perpetual Curate
by Mrs. Oliphant
New York: Harris & Brothers, 1865

Book 5 in the Chronicles of Carlingford
First published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, June 1863 to September 1864.