Category: Uncategorised

Gilded Age, Edith Wharton, New York

On a cold January evening in 1879 Edith Newbold Jones entered the ballroom of the Fifth Avenue home of Mrs Levi Morton for her debut, having already written blank verse dramas, lyric poems, short stories, a novel and a published translation of a German poem (for which she had received fifty dollars). She was expected… Read more »

A Sweet Madness, Dylan and Caitlin Thomas, The Wheatsheaf, London

Dylan Thomas’s unfinished novel Adventures in the Skin Trade is a comic, slightly nightmarish evocation of a wild, alcohol sodden London, a London that he knew extremely well. It charts the time-honoured arrival of a rebellious provincial boy in the great city of ‘capital punishment’. Dylan’s alter-ego, a young man named Samuel Bennet, eagerly anticipates… Read more »

The Fitzrovians, Fitzroy Tavern, London

In 1919 Judah Kleinfeld, a former Saville Row tailor, took over a rundown pub called The Hundred Marks on the corner of Charlotte and Windmill Streets, in what was then known as North Soho. He renovated and reopened it as the Fitzroy Tavern and it soon became the hub of London’s bohemian life between the… Read more »

Bright Star, John Keats, Thomas Hardy

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Atmosphere is a Human Thing, The French House, Soho

In a letter to her mother and brother on February 11, 1960, Sylvia Plath wrote: Dearest Mother and Warren, A little middle-of-the-week letter to pass on some very pleasant news: picture (yesterday) your daughter/sister, resplendent in black wool suit, black cashmere coat, fawn kidskin gloves from Paris (Olwyn’s Christmas present) and matching calfskin bag (from… Read more »

Hemingway’s Island, Paris

I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood. At the head of the Île de la Cité below the Pont Neuf where there was… Read more »

Parties and Debuts, Jane Austen, Bath

Another stupid party last night; perhaps if larger they might be less intolerable, but here there were only just enough to make one card table, with six people to look over, & talk nonsense to each other. Jane Austen, Bath, 12 May, 1801 When Jane Austen learned her father was retiring and her parents were… Read more »