George Eliot

November 22, 2013 by bet

George Eliot {Gimme Some Oven}

Portrait of George Eliot by Samuel Laurence, circa 1860

Portrait of George Eliot by Samuel Laurence, circa 1860

Today in 1819, Mary Anne Evans was born in Warwickshire, England. One of the lead writers of the Victorian era, she wrote under the pen name George Eliot to ensure her work was taken seriously. But after the immediate success of her first full-length novel, Adam Bede, and the ensuing speculation as to who this new author was, Evans revealed herself to the public’s amazement. Even so, she continued to publish under the name George Eliot throughout her career — and is still more commonly known by that name today.

She is most famous for writing:

I read Silas Marner in college, and remember being surprised by its astute insight into the human condition. I recall it starting slow, but there was just enough to the writing that kept me going. In flipping through the book, I came across this passage, which I underlined back then:

In the old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction; a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently toward a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child’s.

I’d like to read more of her works, particularly Middlemarch, which many authors and critics seem to particularly admire.

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Discover: First Lines #14

November 14, 2013 by bet

Discover: First Lines #14 {Gimme Some Oven}

#14: G

#14: G

This fourteen-week {first lines} journey through my library has been intriguing: Reminding me of books I’ve read, and pointing out books that I’ve never before opened. Books I’ve loved surprising me with mediocre first lines, while books that I’d considered less interesting start out with a bang.

This week I found four books I have read (well, one I’ve only half-read), all of which were first published between 1945 and 1974. And this batch’s first line winner hinges on one surprisingly simple word.

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Fyodor Dostoevsky

November 11, 2013 by bet

Fyodor Dostoevsky {Gimme Some Oven}

Dostoevsky in Paris 1863

Dostoevsky in Paris 1863

Today in 1821, Fyodor Dostoevsky was born in Moscow. One of the great Russian writers, his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was just 25.

Shortly after, in 1849, he was arrested for supposed conspiracy against the government, he and his fellow “conspirators” were sentenced to death, but received a stay of execution at the very last moment from the tsar. He was instead sentenced to exile and hard labour in Siberia until his release in 1854. Classified as especially “dangerous,” Dostoevsky’s hands and feet were shackled the entire time of his imprisonment.

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Discover: First Lines #13

November 7, 2013 by bet

Discover: First Lines #13 {Gimme Some Oven}

#13: H

#13: H

This week we have a Sherlock mystery, an allegory, a WWII autobiography, and the first novel of a young writer. Whose first line will rise above the others this week — or at least draw me in to keep reading further?

 

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Literary Tea Giveaway

November 5, 2013 by bet

I don’t know about you, but nothing says cozy quite so well as a warm cup of tea and a good book. And plenty of authors throughout history have said as much, too. One of my favourite literary tea quotes is from C.S. Lewis:

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.

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Discover: First Lines #12

November 1, 2013 by bet

Discover: First Lines #12 {Gimme Some Oven}

#12: I

#12: I

A few firsts this week, in the {First Lines} series: There are two books, which were written within the past twenty years — shocking, eh? And, two books secured my favourite first lines vote.

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Three Autumn Poems

October 30, 2013 by bet

Of the four seasons, spring and autumn seem to inspire the most poetry. And, though I love spring, there’s something about the melancholy blazing glorious “end” of autumn that has long made it my favourite season.

Whether you resonate with Gerard Manley Hopkins‘s Hurrahing in Harvest, saying with him:

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Discover: First Lines #11

October 24, 2013 by bet

Discover: First Lines #11 {Gimme Some Oven}

#11: J

#11: J

This week we’ve got two Johns, a Jane, and a journey — and all their first lines come bound in lovely covers.

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