Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Literature’

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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Jack discovering the entrance to Christmasland (Source: official How “The Nightmare Before Christmas” became a cult classicDisney blog

The weekend was silent on t’blog because of (i) work, (ii) work Christmas night out, (iii) writing of final Christmas-related lists while watching Hachi: a Dog’s Tale,  and (iv) seeing Star Wars: the Force Awakens, which last ….. wonderful! Go and see it immediately! I got back to the homestead this afternoon, and am now playing catch-up on all things blog and Christmas card-writing (admittedly while watching more Star Wars films). (more…)

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Photo of Saki.

It was either in 5th or 6th year at secondary school that my favourite teacher introduced us to Saki (Hector Hugh Munro, 1870-1916), specifically to his short story The Reticence of Lady Anne. I’ve loved his sharp and blisteringly funny writing ever since, and if you have never read his work, step away from this blog, and do so. Right now. I will know if you disobey me. (more…)

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Jacob Marley appears to Scrooge. Etching by John Leech. Source: Glasgow University Library Special Collections

Over the summer, I started writing a bi-monthly newsletter for Dennistoun Library‘s Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, and Supernatural collections, which are under my particular care. It’s been rather successful, and, feeling festive, I decided to produce a special Christmas edition. Each issue opens with some book recommendations and/or list of new books, and in this issue I focused on books about Christmas or winter. How could I not include Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, o so conveniently published on this day in 1843? It is after all a story which includes ghosts and time travel – it should by rights be shelved with fantasy, horror, science fiction, and supernatural collections. Dickens, always concerned with social problems, found a way of writing a story about the hardships faced by the Victorian poor, without making said story unduly worthy or “preachy”. I chose this particular extract because it features the first appearance of a ghost in the story – Jacob Marley – but also because the language is quite wonderful. The comparison of Marley’s face in the door knocker to “a bad lobster in a dark cellar” is quite wonderful.  (more…)

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Light Echo Illuminates Dust Around Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon): this isn’t a Phoenix Nebula, but it’s so gorgeous that it’s exactly what I’d be looking for to announce a world-changing birth. Source: Hubblesite

Today being the birthday of Jane Austen (Happy 240th Birthday!), I was originally planning for today’s Christmas Literature post to be on that theme, particularly because I have a copy of Jane Austen’s Christmas: the festive season in Georgian England compiled by Maria Hubert (Sutton Publishing, 1996). But, what do you know? I did that last year!

Fortunately, today is also the birthday of Arthur C. Clarke (not quite 240 – he would have been 97), science-fiction and science author. Even more conveniently for my purposes, he wrote a Christmas-themed short story The Star in 1954. (more…)

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