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Archive for July 29th, 2009

July 29th, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Professor Rohan Maitzen on George Eliot’s Middlemarch

Originally from Vancouver, Professor Rohan Maitzen has an Honours B.A. in English and History from the University of British Columbia and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University.  Since 1995, she has been a member of Dalhousie University’s English Department.

Her main teaching area is the Victorian novel; she has a particular admiration for George Eliot and assigns her greatest novel, Middlemarch, whenever possible.

I had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ Rohan online, in the comments section of her blog Novel Readings. I admire her smooth flowing, erudite prose and her reaching out to an audience wider than just those sitting in her classroom,  as well as her grappling with issues about who the academic should address, and how literature should be taught.

Rohan was in Ottawa recently for a ‘Learneds’ conference. I got to meet her in person, and interview her, off the cuff , one on one, about the life and lessons found in Middlemarch. Please listen here:

July 29th, 2009 • Posted in On Book Collecting

Nonesuch Press Dickens: Guess which volume is hollow?

Peter Harrington

The Works of Charles Dickens (24 Volumes, 1937-8) is one of the most famous productions of the Nonesuch Press. Valued by Eric Quayle in his Collector’s Book of Books (published in 1971) at £750 ($1800) it today goes for considerably more. According to Quayle, "One of the volumes is hollow, and concealed in the space is an original metal printing plate used for the illustration of the earliest editions of his works "

July 29th, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Mitchelmore’s Fear of reading

Steve Mitchelmore delivers a post worthy of Beckett, about epiphany, and impossibility, during recovery from a serious bicycling accident. From which:

"Akhenaten had ordered that the capital city be moved from Thebes into the desert 200 miles away. The documentary featured new archeological discoveries that revealed the disastrous consequences for his subjects. What stirred me was not these human facts but the glorious and terrifying absurdity of Akhenaten’s project. It demonstrates the same impressive or horrendous folly as those in fictional works: William Golding’s The Spire for example, and Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and, more familiar to me, those of the many characters created by Bernhard: Roithamer who builds a cone-shaped house in the middle of a forest, Reger who studies every masterpiece in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna until he finds a flaw, even Bernhard himself aged eight deciding to cycle to his aunt’s house in Salzburg, twenty-two miles away. A creative writer may respond by sketching a novel idea based on the crazy plans of an individual – perhaps Naguib Mahfouz’s Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth is it as far as the pharaoh is concerned – but, in my sedated condition, I imagined a writing project that would itself be the absurdity, something itself animated by impossibility."

Read and relish the rest here.