Archive for December, 2015

Happy New Year!

We at Victorian Librarian HQ (ok, me at Victorian Librarian HQ) would like to wish my readers a wonderful Hogmanay and New Year celebration, however you chose to spend it. I’ve spent mine making delicious foodstuffs, mostly. Tomorrow there will be some good eating! I hope that 2016 will be a great year for you all and for me. Thank you for reading the blog, be it once or regularly. (more…)

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When I began the Christmas Literature project for this year, I knew exactly how I wanted to finish it on 25 December. While there is some well-known confusion about that being the true date on which Jesus was born, there is also a certain amount of confusion about the identity of the child born on that day. There were two possible contenders…. at least, as far as we know.

Life of Brian Kings

The Three Wise Men in the wrong stable, “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)

Although the following excerpt does in fact not take place until 6 January, according to the traditional time line of events, it is an amusing end to a “Christmas Literature” build-up to Christmas Day itself: (more…)

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Bob "Kermit" Cratchit, in "The Muppet Christmas Carol"

Today’s example of Christmas literature  could only be the lyrics to one particular song, Bob Cratchit’s wonderful One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas from The Muppet Christmas Carol. The family is starting to gather, and it’s Christmas Eve already!


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1915 P100

Night with her train of stars, by E. R. Hughes (1912). Source: Birmingham Museums

During this cycle of Christmas Literature blogging, I have been strongly feeling the lack of Dame Byatt. Today – huzzah! – I have finally managed to work in my Byatt fix. It’s been quite a problem writing these posts when the majority of my own wee (ok, wee-ish) library is still in storage. I’ve developed a new appreciation for e-books. I was particularly delighted today to find Byatt’s The Children’s Book, set in Edwardian England, because it contains a particular reference to 23 December. (more…)

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Oak King and Holly King, by Val Trullinger

Today is the Winter Solstice; today is the shortest day of the year. The light now slowly begins to return, to brighten up the dark.  It is a moment of celebration. Every year as long as I can remember, the gathering of people at Stonehenge to welcome the sun rising has been on the news. I’ve been doing a bit more reading into the nature of the solstice, and have been particularly fascinated by the day’s liminality. It’s the border between dark and light, between cold and heat. (more…)

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Frozen pond and trees

Midwinter morning in the local park (my photo)

I knew this poem as a Christmas carol long before I had heard of the Rossetti siblings, and when I finally happened across it in a poetry book in the school library, I was delighted to find that it was written by the sister of one of my favourite artists. Christina Rossetti, according to her other brother, William, composed poetry before she could write, and continued writing throughout her life, despite her prolonged ill health.  As tomorrow is the shortest day, it seems like quite the thing to do to herald its coming with a poem about midwinter. You can also listen to the Mediaeval Baebes’ version of it here, set to the traditional music by Gustav Holst.  (more…)

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A more unusual rendering of the partridge in a pear tree. (Still haven’t identified the artist).

One more post after this one – the post that actually belongs to today – and I will be all caught up. It’s been surprisingly difficult to choose what to put in this post, but I have gone with a scene from one of my favourite children’s books, Lucy M. Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe (1954). It’s a wonderfully imaginative ghost story, one of those in which the house (based on Boston’s own childhood home) is a character in its own right. (more…)

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