Home Sweet Home!
I can't day I am sorry to be back in Dorset after ten days in the middle of France without access to the sea!
And before going to France, I was stuck inside for almost two months...
After just one day in Swanage, I remember why I moved to the Dorset coast...
We always like to make a day of it: market and shops in the morning, and a walk in the stunning countryside - yesterday, we went back to Durlston Park and the lighthouse at Anvil Point via the coast path...
When in Swanage, I always pop to Swanage Bookshop and yesterday, as usual, I didn't come out empty-handed.
To join my private collection (my excuse is that I could use it as research for forthcoming novels, for example my fourth novel Hell Lane...), here's Stella Margetson's 1974 The Long Party - High Society in the twenties and thirties).
This could so easily have been a massive disaster!
It was the first time we were going to France with the car, and we travelled in the midst of a massive petrol shortage. As it happens, everything went smoothly and therefore, we'll do it again soon! :-)
Obviously, I have managed to find some inspiration and some new stock whilst there!
I am back to the world of books from a two-month long work assignment, during which I haven't had time to do anything like walking in the countryside or even reading a nice book. Don't get me started on actually WRITING my book... It hasn't been happening at all. My publishing schedule has now gone down the drain.
I am supposed to go on holiday very soon and I'll take with me this lovely 1966 American edition of J.S LeFanu's Victorian Gothic Novel Uncle Silas.
I have never read this book before and already, a few pages in, I've found some striking similarities with my own attempt at a Gothic novel: The Book of Thoth. This is good news as I have been a student of the Gothic genre for many years and had planned on following the Gothic novels conventions whilst writing The Book of Thoth.
Both books open with a young person stuck inside a big (haunted) country house listening to the storm outside, "with great gusts rattling the windows, and wailing and thundering among our tall trees and ivied chimneys..." (Uncle Silas); "He was studying the screaming, cataclysmic rage of the sky with a mixture of apprehension and excitement; he had always marvelled at the power of Nature." (The Book of Thoth)
The casts of characters feature tragic individuals, grotesque figures and comic ones, and everything in between.
The introduction to my American edition of Uncle Silas was written by Frederick Shroyer of "California State College at Los Angeles". In it, he describes what makes us love Gothic novels, what makes a Gothic novel and why Uncle Silas is one of the finest examples of the Victorian Gothic novel. The Book of Thoth is in excellent company...
The Gothic novel of which LeFanu made major contributions, has had a long and deserved popularity. There is something about the romance, terror and menace which such tales evoke that has a perennial appeal for the reader, especially the modern one who, often living in a routine, drab IBM world, seeks to escape into calendarless, clockless places where it always is midnight and winter, and where frightened girls tiptoe fearfully down haunted corridors of lightless, decaying, moor-surrounded castles and mansions"[...] "During the nineteenth century, especially in England, the Gothic romance took many forms and loosed itself from the bonds of its origins... In time the rationalised Gothic gave birth to the detective story" [...] "The reader will perhaps remember, as an example of a relatively modern rationalised Gothic, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles [...] "...Then, too, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca comes quickly to mind, carrying as it does a Gothic strain directly traceable to the works of the Brontës"
I think therefore I write.
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