Elsewhere on the internet #2

Two fascinating perspectives on dialogue and authenticity in historical fiction, from Hilary Mantel and Lynn Shepherd.

Two brilliant posts (here and here) on the lost genius of Max Linder, the French silent comedian who Chaplin called ‘The Professor’. Linder’s story is ultimately tragic, and much of his work no longer survives, but what we do have shows him to be a clown of supreme deftness and wit.

The process of publishing reduced to a flow chart. Sadly very adjacent to the truth, although the dismal processes of remaindering and pulping seem to have been excluded.

The virtues of coffee.

An interesting post on the lessons for prose writers in the dialogue of Hamlet.

An excellent piece from Daniel Knowles in the Daily Telegraph on how today’s mantras about equality of opportunity serve to obscure the real problem of income inequality.

Douglas Dunn’s 1985 collection Elegies, about the death of his wife, Lesley Wallace, remains his best work to date. This, for me, is the most affecting and powerful of those poems: Kaleidoscope.

The Financial Times’ Christopher Cook demolishes the idea that grammar schools are better for social mobility than comprehensives.

An excellent and important post from Regina Jeffers on the problem publishing has with establishing value in its products – particularly where e-books are concerned.

Remembering the alarmingly fabulous nightclubs of fin-de-siècle Paris.

The nine circles of hell from Dante’s Inferno. Imagined in Lego. Because…

Beautiful time-lapse photography of the recent solar eclipse.

Mark Twain’s magnificent response to the banning of Huck Finn from New York libraries.

A lovely series of posts from Sharon Hunt on her father’s love for French cuisine in small-town Canada.

The Economist on the decline of the public company.

A wonderful post on Sarah Levene’s blog suggesting a correlation between the visions of Hildegard von Bingen and contemporary migraine art.

How Icelandic sagas represented Greenland and the worlds to its west.

I read Daisy Hickman’s powerful post remembering the life of her son some months ago, and it has haunted me ever since. Everyone will respond in their own way to what is an intensely personal and emotive subject; but for me this is one of the most profound and illuminating reflections on the nature of memory and loss – and how those two human senses inform and transform each other over time – I have read.

The manuscript of the wonderful Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is back on display in London.

The fabulous Mae West.

The brutal persecution of the gay and lesbian community in Iran – from the Guardian, which sounds somewhat surprised by the news.

A history class that sets out to fabricate history. A fascinating case study on fact and research in the digital age.

I have always loved the music of the Thirties and Forties, ever since I first heard it on my father’s old 78s when I was a child. But even for those who don’t like it, the story of Charlie and his Orchestra – the Nazi attempt to create a German hot jazz band to compete with the American imports – is by any measure an extraordinary one, and it is superbly told here.

Another great post from Nancy Bilyeau on the exceptional use of torture in Elizabeth’s England. (And congratulations to Nancy on being shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger award.)

I have a weakness for alternative realities and futures – or more specifically for things that might have been and for futures that never were. (In some senses, it is that interest which lies behind my book Impossible Journeys.) So I found this post on London skyscrapers that were never built fascinating.

Dear old Google receives 1.2 million copyright complaints a month. Not that there is anything immoral about its business model, of course…

How does the new Penguin English Library compare to its predecessor?

A lost kingdom is discovered under volcanic ash in Indonesia.

The New York Times reports the death of Paul Fussell, author of the brilliant The Great War and Modern Memory.

A fascinating research project into acoustics in early history.

A wonderful resource: Irish medieval documents online.

The Onion is always alarmingly astute in its satire. Here is its take on the evolution of Obama’s attitude to gay marriage.

A Moveable Feast was the first Hemingway book I read and I was immediately seduced by his style – and also by the romance of Paris in the Twenties.

With the Leveson inquiry still in the news, this was an insightful piece on memory, forgetting and performance in Shakespeare.

Renaissance approaches to censorship – some brutal, some beautiful.

A superb piece from Vernon Bogdanor on the perils of coalition for the Lib Dems.

I’ve lived in London almost all of my life. It’s a city you never stop learning about. I have never heard, for instance, of the Abbey, a forgotten architectural curiosity in West London.

Bronze Age footprints are found on a beach in Wales – including those of a four year old child.

I love this. Jane Austen’s tarragon eggs – and other recipes from the writers.

Arnold Wesker describes how one of his plays killed by political opposition within the RSC: a somewhat depressing piece about censorship and ideology within the arts world. It relates to the 1970s, but I do wonder sometimes at the homogeneity of political perspectives in the creative community and what it says about intellectual openness.

A former fundamentalist Christian writes about how and why she became an atheist – and what it has meant for her life.

I’m not a particular fan of Star Wars, but this is very funny: a Jedi training film for Anakin Skywalker.


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