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Archive for the ‘Victorian Studies’ Category

Today, the schools in Glasgow broke up for the Christmas holidays. The screams you can hear resounding through the city tonight are a combination of teachers, librarians, technicians, and so on screaming in joy, and parents screaming in horror. It’s been a very busy term, even without the extra problems created by broken bones, and a mostly enjoyable one. I’m very happy to be having two weeks off. The next few days will be dedicated to Christmas preparations – cake decorating, present wrapping (actually, present buying, given I didn’t get everything this evening on the way home, then present wrapping), sending the Christmas cards which will inevitably arrive late (just to let you know, so that you can sit on tenterhooks wondering if you will or will not get one), and a million more tasks which await, but mostly, just trying to keep my ankle rested and not in pain.  But first, an early night tonight, and a lie-in tomorrow morning. I intend to marinade myself in a thick, warm duvet, and heaps of pillows, with books, and chocolate.

Or, as John Keats puts it:

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

Today’s feast then, is a feast of sleep. Just call me Sleeping Beauty, without the thorny hedge around the old abode.

The_Rose_Bower_Buscot_Park

Edward Burne-Jones, The Rose Bower, the 4th painting in the Briar Rose series, located at Buscot Park, Oxfordshire. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Good night, sweet [readers],
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2,  lines 358-9

Until tomorrow.

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Hetty Feather

Hetty Feather, by Nick Sharratt. Source: Jacqueline Wilson Wiki.

This is the blog post that I would have written yesterday had I not been out seeing The Last Jedi until rather late. Do not fear, you can keep reading; there are no spoilers here. I really ought to write another post about said film, but probably won’t be able to get to it until after Christmas, as tomorrow is our last day at school, and then there’s a lot to do before Monday. 6 more sleeps! Eeep. For now, I will say that the film is great, and you should all go and see it. Right now. I will definitely be going to see it again, both because it’s great and because I want to take a closer look at some scenes and characters in particular.

Yesterday was children’s author Jacqueline Wilson‘s 72nd birthday.  Until I began working as a school librarian, I had never read any of her books, but made a particular effort to do so following a campaign by two first years, who couldn’t stop recommending her books, in particular those following the life and times of one Hetty Feather. (more…)

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I am heading out to see Star Wars: the Last Jedi very soon, so there is no time for a wordy blog post today. Instead I leave you to contemplate a painting by Sir John Everett Millais, Lorenzo and Isabella.

John Everett Millais, “Lorenzo and Isabella”, 1848-49. Oil on canvas, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The painting illustrates a moment from the story of the secret love affair between Lorenzo and Isabella, as told by the 14th century author Giovanni Boccaccio in his collection of stories Il Decamerone. I do plan to flesh out this post at a later date, but in the meantime, enjoy the painting.

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Yesterday’s post (now with English translation!) looked at the surroundings in which a feast is set, in a medieval setting. Today, I move considerably closer in time and in space to home.
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Despite my continuing to wrack the old brains, I still have not identified the floral feast from an also as yet unremembered childhood tale. Today’s post is nonetheless still redolent of flowers, albeit flowers put to a deadly purpose. May I present Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema‘s The Roses of Heliogabalus? (more…)

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I really should have written this yesterday, but Comic Con and family time took precedence, as they should. WordPress wished me Happy Anniversary, with a notification that my blog is now 5 years old. How did that happen?!? I started writing as part of my preparations for my first visit to Canada, with this post. I couldn’t have foreseen at that point how much Canada would come to mean to me, or how I would make some very good friends through my subsequent visits. The blog’s name, The Victorian Librarian, has become my preferred pseudonym, if not my alter ego (which still needs some fleshing out). I even have my own crest now (below), featuring two of my favourite flowers, the iris and the bluebell, in addition to my absolute favourite thing, a book.

VLlogo

The Victorian Librarian crest, designed by Lora Jones 

How should I celebrate my 5th anniversary? I think that the best thing to do would be to write more regularly here, to stop neglecting my blog. Working full time for the first time in four years, in addition to other real life commitments, has taken priority, as it must, but I don’t want to get out of the habit of writing. Will this be the year I sign up to NaNoWriMo just to keep me writing? (more…)

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I should open this blog entry with a confession; other than seeing the Enchanted Dreams: the Pre-Raphaelite Art of E. R. Hughes exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, I had no high expectations of Birmingham as a place to visit. I stand most definitely corrected. (more…)

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