Archives for category: Guest authors. Classics

Hi all:

As  you know I’ve dedicated (and hope to carry on soon) some posts to classic writers. More recently it struck me that there are modern books, many times by indie writers, that either revisit old classics, giving them a twist, or like in the case of today’s author, tell us ‘what happened next’ for some of our favourite books.

I decided to share again my post on the Brönte Sisters when I saw that Luccia Gray had the second book book of her series The Eyre Hall Trilogy available in pre-order (for only $0.99). But a bit more about that later. First, my original post.

Another Friday and another guest post. This time I’ve decided to bring you a classic writer, or rather, three!

English: A painting of the three Brontë sister...

English: A painting of the three Brontë sisters; from left to right, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte. In the center of portrait is the shadow of Branwell Brontë, the artist, who painted himself out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure you’ve read about them. The Brönte sisters. These three talented women, Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived in the XIX century in England, Yorkshire to be more specific. And specific we must be, as particularly in the case of Emily, the setting is paramount in their stories. Their father was an Irish clergyman (Patrick) and their mother Maria died shortly after Anne’s (the youngest) birth, of cancer, when Emily was three. The family moved to Haworth were their father was given a parsonage. (It has now become a museum of all things Brönte and I thoroughly recommend a visit. Haworth is a beautiful place and if you love steam engines and nice shops and tearooms, and the odd pub or two, you’ll love it.)  Their aunt Elizabeth moved in with the family, to look after the children.  Two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of tb in their childhood. Due to this, the girls were removed from school and spent most of their childhood at home, where they entertained themselves reading and writing stories (and creating beautiful miniature manuscripts that you can see if you visit the museum). The girls used male pseudonyms (Currer, Ellis and Acton) as their pen-names. Charlotte worked as a teacher and Emily attended her school for a while but felt homesick and went back home. She worked as a governess in Halifax and then the three sisters went to Brussels, Belgium (1842) to educate themselves, planning on setting up a school. Emily left to attend her aunt’s funeral and did not return and eventually Charlotte and Anne abandoned the idea of setting up their own school and went back home. Their brother, Patrick Branwell (‘Branwell’), who loved painting (although from the works I’ve seen…anyway…) became dependent on alcohol and opium and died in 1948. Emily died shortly after (as I’m a doctor I doubt it was of a ‘chill’ she caught at his graveside but…). Anne also studied with Charlotte and Emily and later worked as a governess for many years, obtaining inspiration for her novel Agnes Grey that was published (under name Acton Bell) to mixed reviews in 1847. Next year she published The Tenant of Wilfell Hall. She caught tuberculosis and died in Scarborough in 1849. With the dead of Anne, Charlotte was the only surviving member of the family. The poems of the three sisters were published in 1846 and Wuthering Heights, Emily’s novel, a year later, to some mixed reviews. Charlotte, the oldest of the three, had been writing since her time as a teacher, and during the sisters’ stay in Brussels she wrote Villete and The Professor. She submitted The Professor to publishers before Jane Eyre but it was not published until after her death. Shirley had mixed reviews but opened the London literary world for her and she met other writers like William Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. She decided to edit the work of her sisters. The curate of Haworth, Arthur Nicholls, proposed in marriage (her father did not see it with good eyes and Arthur left) and they got married some time later. Unfortunately, Charlotte died shortly after, whilst pregnant.

Bronte Parsonage Haworth West Yorkshire

Bronte Parsonage Haworth West Yorkshire (Photo credit: iknow-uk)



This link offers you information about Haworth, the family and even a 360º panoramic of the parsonage.


BRONTE SISTERS STATUE (Photo credit: summonedbyfells)




Jane Eyre (Charlotte)

The Professor (Charlotte)

Villete (Charlotte) 

WutheringHeights (Emily)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne)

Agnes Grey (Anne)

Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (the three sisters)

And now, a little about Luccia Gray‘s books:

All Hallows at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

All Hallows at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The breathtaking sequel to Jane Eyre (The Eyre Hall Trilogy) (Volume 1) by Luccia Gray

Experience the mystery and magic of a Victorian Gothic Romance, set in Eyre Hall, and rediscover the charm of Jane Eyre in this stunning sequel. Twenty-two years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane is coping with the imminent death of her bedridden husband, while Richard Mason, Rochester’s first wife’s brother, has returned from Jamaica, revealing unspeakable secrets once again, and drawing Jane into a complex conspiracy. Everything Jane holds dear is threatened. Who was the man she thought she loved? What is she prepared to do to safeguard her family and preserve her own stability?

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall: Book Two Eyre Hall Trilogy (The Eyre Hall Trilogy 2) by Luccia Gray

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is the second volume of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, which will chronicle the lives and vicissitudes of the residents of Eyre Hall from the beginning to the height of the Victorian era.
Following Edward Rochester’s death, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and more shocking revelations.
Romance, mystery, and excitement will unfold exploring the evolution of the original characters, and bringing to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.

Available on pre-order (for $0.99). Due out on the 28th of August

Thanks so much to the Brönte Sisters for the many hours of joy (and suffering) they’ve given us, thanks to Luccia Gray for bringing back some of our favourite characters, and thanks to you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Hi all:
As those of you who’ve been following me for a while will remember, recently I revisited my first post. I’ve also been thinking of some of the posts that I (and you, my readers) have enjoyed since I started blogging, and I’ve realised I really enjoyed the posts I created about authors that have become classics. I’m thinking of trying to feature one of those posts at regular intervals (if I can fit them in, once a month) and thought we could revisit some of the good oldies back first to kick it off.
This is the first classic I brought you almost two years ago, Herman Melville. (The original post follows)
I usually have a guest post on Fridays. Today isn’t going to be an exception. Only instead of bringing you one of the new writers I’ve met, I thought I’d bring you a dead author. He’s surely dead, but I didn’t think that should prevent me from having him as a guest. After all zombies and vampires are all the rage these days and they’re dead too so…
I’ve been corresponding with a friend and fellow author, Mary Meddlemore and talking about reading and classics. And as I love Melville, I thought, why not? There’s also the advantage that many of his works can be downloaded for free, so it’s a win-win situation.
I have a BA in American Literature and I must say that although I knew of Melville I became more familiar with him when I was studying for my degree. I read Moby Dick several times. I must admit it’s a bit of a peculiar read (and fairly long), but I fell truly in love with it. It is ambitious, wandering, deep, funny, moving, dramatic, elegiac, philosophical, adventurous, scholarly, and bigger than life. Good candidate to the ever sought after title of The Great American Novel. Its opening lines: ‘Call me Ishmael.’ are well known and as good first lines as I’ve ever read. Simple but…
I post you links to detailed biographies of Melville.

Link to Virginia Education biography on Herman Melville. Great page.

Another fabulous page on Herman Melville and his later recognition


A brief summary: He was born in New York in August 1, 1819 and died in September 28, 1891, forgotten by most, to the point where his obituary listed him as ‘Henry’ Melville. He travelled the South Seas, he became known for his adventure/exotic novels (Typee, Omoo) but later deviated onto more serious writing and never quite recovered the popularity of his youth. Moby Dick (or The Whale as it was initially published) is his best known work and masterpiece, although he carried on writing, with less and less success, to the point that he stopped publishing, worked as a customs inspector in New York, and some of his works, like Billy Budd were published posthumously.
Why do I like him so much? I feel he was ahead of his time. He reminds me of the modernists (if somebody can remind you of people who came after him) and works like ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ (that I can’t recommend enough) and ‘The Confidence Man’ are truly unique and out of keeping with the writing of his era. He didn’t shy away of asking the big questions, even when that meant loss of popularity. He pursued his poetry and his fiction beyond market and readers. Like his greatest character, Captain Ahab, he never gave up despite the hopelessness of his pursuit.
I thought I’d share one of the many passages I love in Moby Dick. This is from chapter 132 ‘The Symphony’ where Ahab is talking to his first mate, Starbuck (if you wondered about the name of the coffee chain…) about his life to that point. It’s a rare moment of self-disclosure that shows that indeed Ahab has his ‘humanities’.
“Oh, Starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. On such a day- very much such a sweetness as this- I struck my first whale- a boy-harpooneer of eighteen! Forty- forty- forty years ago!- ago! Forty years of continual whaling! forty years of privation, and peril, and storm-time! forty years on the pitiless sea! for forty years has Ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on the horrors of the deep! Aye and yes, Starbuck, out of those forty years I have not spent three ashore. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain’s exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without- oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command!- when I think of all this; only half-suspected, not so keenly known to me before- and how for forty years I have fed upon dry salted fare- fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soul!- when the poorest landsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world’s fresh bread to my mouldy crusts- away, whole oceans away, from that young girl-wife I wedded past fifty, and sailed for Cape Horn the next day, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow- wife? wife?- rather a widow with her husband alive? Aye, I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey- more a demon than a man!- aye, aye! what a forty years’ fool- fool- old fool, has old Ahab been! Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? how the richer or better is Ahab now? Behold. Oh, Starbuck! is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair aside; it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes! But do I look very old, so very, very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed, and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God!- crack my heart!- stave my brain!- mockery! mockery! bitter, biting mockery of grey hairs, have I lived enough joy to wear ye; and seem and feel thus intolerably old? Close! stand close to me, Starbuck; let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God. By the green land; by the bright hearthstone! this is the magic glass, man; I see my wife and my child in thine eye. No, no; stay on board, on board!- lower not when I do; when branded Ahab gives chase to Moby Dick. That hazard shall not be thine. No, no! not with the far away home I see in that eye!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you want to read more, here is the link to one of the free digital versions of the novel. There are more:

Check ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ on line. You won’t regret it:

And a link to Melville organisation, for all things Melville:

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to CLICK! (They’re all free!) And SHARE


Of course, as I said then, thanks for reading, like, share, comment, and I’m interested in hearing suggestions as to classics (either authors or books) you’d be interested in seeing here. I try and go for the ones where there is a fair amount of material and links to free work but that’s not an exclusion criteria and I’m planning on some that might not quite fit there…Keep reading and clicking!

Trossachs. Sir Walter Scott based his 'the Lady of the Lake' on this area.

Trossachs. Sir Walter Scott based his ‘the Lady of the Lake’ on this area.

It is Friday and it’s guest author day. I seemed to have to write about Sir Walter Scott as he kept appearing everywhere. When I was writing last week’s post on Frederick Douglass, he chose his free-man name by adopting that of one of the characters in Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake’. I was writing about Jorge Manrique, who was a Spanish knight and poet, and that made me think about knights, novels… and Sir Walter Scott. And today somebody mentioned Robbie Burns on the radio, and that made me think of Scotland and… So here he is.

Henry Raeburn's portrait of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs

Henry Raeburn’s portrait of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs

Walter Scott (he was knighted by George the IV and became First Baronet) was born on the 15th of August 1771. His father was a successful solicitor and his grandfather (on his mother’s side, John Rutherford), had been Professor of Physiology at the University of Edinburgh. He contracted poliomyelitis when he was only a few months old and spent plenty of time at his grandparents’ farm in the Scottish Borders, (Tweeddale) where he showed an interest in history and the local customs.

He attended the Edinburgh High School and then with his father’s encouragement studied law at Edinburgh University (although according to one source he never took the degree exams as he only wanted to become an advocate, but passed the bar exam in 1792). Although he persevered with the legal job, he started writing poetry when he was 25 (he initially translated German poems and works). In 1797 he married Charlotte Carpenter, the daughter of a French refugee. They were happily married until her death (in 1826). They had four children. Their first born died when he was only one day old. In 1803 he published a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. This was followed by many narrative poems that became extremely popular, like The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), The Lady of the Lake (1810), Rokeby (1813) and The Lord of the Isles (1815). His depictions of the Scottish landscape, stories and customs helped to put Scotland on the radar and it became a touristic destination, fueling a fashion for all Scottish things.

He became Sheriff-Depute of Selkirk and a Principal Clerk to the Court of Session at Edinburgh. He continued to publish his own poems, reviewed, edited, set up a theatre in Edinburgh and helped fund the Quarterly Review in 1809.

Despite his great fame as poet (he declined the Poet Laureate in 1813 suggesting Robert Southey for the post) it would be his novels that would make him reach new heights in esteem and popularity. He published (anonymously) Waverley in 1814 (subtitled Sixty Years Since). This novel has been credited with creating the genre of the historical novel. Other novels dealing also with the Highlands and Jacobitism and forming part of what has become known as ‘the Waverley novels’ are Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818) and Redgauntlet (1824).

Sir Walter Scott's home 'Abbotsford'

Sir Walter Scott’s home ‘Abbotsford’

He associated with Ballantyne’s in his publishing company, and was badly affected by the bank crisis of 1825 (yes, this is not a new thing). He also had difficulties due to the financing of the built of his home at Abottsford. I have read variously that the debt amounted to between £114000 to £140000 (a fortune at the time). Rather than declare himself bankrupt, he placed his home and income into a trust belonging to his creditors and carried on writing his way out of his debts. He suffered a series of strokes and died on 21st September 1832. It seems that he had not fully paid his debt at the time but with the royalties from his books this was settled shortly after his death. He was buried at Dryburgh Abbey with his ancestors.

Some of his other novels include: Ivanhoe (set in England, 1819, probably the best known of them all), The Bride of Lammermmoor (also in 1819), Kenilworth (1821), The Fortunes Of Nigel (1822), Peveril Of The Peak (1823), Quentin Durward (1823), The Talisman (1825), Woodstock (1826), The Surgeon’s Daughter (1827), and Anne Of Geierstein (1829).

Sir Walter Scott was also one of the first authors to become internationally renowned and admired in other countries, and he toured often.

He was not only prolific, hard-working and principled, but very modest. I loved this comment that I felt I had to share:

While on holiday in Shetland he wrote:

…it would be a fine situation to compose an ode to the Genius of Sumburgh-head,
or an Elegy upon a Cormorant – or to have written or spoken madness of any kind
in prose or poetry. But I gave vent to my excited feelings in a more simple way;
and sitting gentle down on the steep green slope which led to the beach, I e’en
slid down a few hundred feet, and found the exercise quite an adequate vent to
my enthusiasm, I recommend this exercise (time and place suiting) to all my brother
scribblers, and I have no doubt it will save much effusion of Christian ink.

(I must thank Stuart Kelly at the Scottish Poetry Library for sharing it in his page. Link below)

Sir Walter Scott on poetry

Sir Walter Scott on poetry




His digital archive at the University of Edinburgh.

BBC2. Writing Scotland:

Website for Abbotsford, his home:

Encyclopaedia Britannica:

His page at the Scottish Poetry Library:

SpartacusSchool net:

The Literature network:


His books in (there a few free versions and many cheap ones):

And in

This is his author page at the Project Gutenberg where you can find and download free e-books:

Some of the above links, like his digital archive, contain also online links to his works.


The header is from:

And the quote above came from:

For more pictures and information about his home:

And I leave you also an article quoting Stuart Kelly talking about Sir Walter Scott’s importance:

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you have, please remember to like, share, comment and CLIC! Never stop reading!


Hi all:

You know on Fridays I usually bring you a guest author. Recently I went to watch ’12 Years a Slave’, like many people. The film reminded me of my studies in American Literature, slave narratives, autobiographies, and in the list of people that came to my mind, I kept thinking about Frederick Douglass. I read his autobiography years back, and is it one of these books that make you realise that human will is a force like no other and gives you hope for the human race. And I thought I might as well share why I think he was such an example and a man we should never forget.

Frederick Douglass portrait

Frederick Douglass portrait

I’ll leave you a short biography, some quotes, links, and I recommend you read his autobiography. It is not only inspiring but a great read.


He was born into slavery, Frederick Washington Bailey, in Tukahoe, Maryland (7th February 1817 although the specific date is in question). He was the son of a slave woman (he only saw his mother a few times before she died when he was 7) and was brought up by his grandparents on a plantation. His father was white and he never knew him (it is suspected it could have been the slave owner).

When he was 8 he was sent to Hugh Auld in Baltimore. The wife of Auld taught him the alphabet (defying state law that slaves should not be taught to read) and he continued to learn from other kids. He returned to the plantation in 1833 and was sold to a slave owner renowned for his cruelty, until he confronted him when he was older. Whilst working in a shipyard at age 20 he managed to escape and went to New York City, where he changed his name to Frederick Douglass (name of the hero in Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake). He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he worked as a labourer. He married for the first time Anna Murray, a free black woman, and had 5 children.

Always acknowledged as a leader by his peers, William Lloyd Garrison heard him speak at a meeting in 1841 and became his mentor. Douglass became an agent and lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. He was very successful and with the help of the Agency he published the first of his autobiographical works The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1844).

Worried about the possibility of being recaptured by his former owner, he traveled to Britain and Ireland and lectured on slavery. While he was there he raised funds and established his own anti-slavery paper The North Star. This created a rift with William Lloyd Garrison who opposed such idea and this continued throughout the Civil War, despite efforts by Harriett Beecher Stowe. In 1855 he published My Bondage and My Freedom.

During the Civil War, Douglass tried to convince Abraham Lincoln that former slaves should be allowed to join the Union Army. After the war he continued his campaigns for full civil rights for former slaves, also advocating women’s suffrage and speaking on the Irish rule.

When his first wife died, he married his secretary, Helen Pitts, a white woman, causing controversy.

He held several public posts (and was proposed as vice-president in a joint-bill with a woman) including assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871), marshall of the District of Columbia (1877-1881) and U S Minister to Tahiti (1889-1891).  In 1881 he published The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

He died of heart failure in Washington on the 20th February, 1895. He has had bridges named after him, schools, stamps…

Frederick Douglass's gravestone

Frederick Douglass’s gravestone


The masthead of his newspaper The North Star once read:

Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color.

I will unite with any one to do right, and with no one to do wrong!

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.

People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.

A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.

The soul that is within me no man can degrade.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.

Link to quotes page (Brainy Quotes):

Brief visual summary of achievements

Brief visual summary of achievements

Wikipedia: (Includes a brief video of his biography):


His papers at the Library of Congress:

Spartacus school: (also brief video about Douglass):

Documenting the American South:

Digital History:

His page in Goodreads;

Links to works (FREE):

In Amazon:

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass

His page in Project Gutenberg, including audios:

Link to his autobiography in American History:

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, comment, share, and CLIC!

25 c. postage stamp

25 c. postage stamp

George Eliot at 30. François D'Albert Durade

George Eliot at 30. François D’Albert Durade

Today, like most Fridays, I bring you a guest author. Today it’s a classic, Mary Anne Evans, better know as George Eliot.

As usual, I offer  you a brief biography (with links where you can find further information below), quotations (love them!), links to information and to her work (free!).


She was born on November 22, 1819, at South Farm, Arbury Hall in Warwickshire. She was the youngest of five children (her father had remarried after the death of his first wife). She attended boarding school in Nuneaton and was very influenced by the religious ideas of her teachers.  She had to leave the school aged 16 when her mother died of cancer (in 1836) but as she was a very good student her father and the whole family encouraged her learning and she studied Italian and German.

Her family moved to a larger town, Foleshill, where Mary Anne met Charles and Cara Bray, and they became friends. They introduced her to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Her readings and associations made her question her Christian faith and she renounced it. There was ongoing disagreement with her father due to this and they reached the agreement that she could believe whatever she liked as far as she behaved decorously in church. She continued to look after her father until his death in 1849.

She met John Chapman at the Brays, they became good friends and  he asked her to work as editor for the Westminster Review,  that he had purchased, although she did not receive any credit for it. The two years she worked there were amongst the most successful for the magazine. In 1851 she met George Henry Lewes, who was married but effectively separated from his wife (who was living with another man and had three children by him, although all had Lewes’s name), and they became romantically involved.

Lewes was in a difficult situation, as he could not divorce his wife after condoning her adultery, and Mary Anne and Lewis decided to live together abroad first, to avoid facing heavy criticism at home. They traveled to Germany in 1854 but their home situation was widely criticised. They returned to England the following year and Mary Anne and Lewes did not live together again until his wife said that she would never reunite with him. Mary Anne then moved in with him, in London, and insisted in being called Mrs. Lewes. This caused great scandal and resulted in the break up of her friendship with the Brays. Despite the outside pressures, their relationship was a happy one.

Lewes encouraged her to write and in 1856 she started writing ‘Scenes of a Clerical Life’ that were published in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’.  These proved popular and were published under pseudonym (as women were expected to be romance writers). In 1858 she published Adam Bede that proved very successful. Her real identity became known shortly after, and she had to suffer personal criticism, although her fame as a writer continued to grow. Her next two novels, were also very successful The Mill in the Floss (1860) and Silas Marner (1861). She tried different topics in Romola set in the Italian Renaissance (1863), Felix Holt, The Radical (1866) with a political subject, and The Spanish Gypsy (1869), a narrative poem.

She started writing Middlemarch in 1869. It was serialised between 1871 and 1872, and it was very successful. By that time the public was more accepting of their relationship, and their house became a popular meeting place for other writers and intellectuals. She published Daniel Deronda in 1876. Lewes died in 1878 and it was very difficult for the Eliot to carry on with her life.

John Cross, who had been a family friend and managed some of their affairs, worried about her well-being proposed marriage several times until she finally accepted. He was 20 years her junior (she was 61 at the time of their marriage in 1880). She became ill a few months later and died in her sleep on 22nd December 1880. She is buried next to George Lewes in Highgate Cemetery in North London.

George Eliot. Chalk drawing by Sir Frederick-William Burton

George Eliot. Chalk drawing by Sir Frederick-William Burton


It is never too late to be what you might have been.

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

It is easy to say how we love new friends, and what we think of them, but words can never trace out all the fibers that knit us to the old. (I love this one!)

Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.

I’m not denyin’ the women are foolish. God Almighty made ’em to match the men.

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving!

A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.

 Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.

I have the conviction that excessive literary production is a social offence.

Adventure is not outside man: it is within.

Her quotes come from:

Photograph of George Eliot

Photograph of George Eliot



BBC History:

Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Another brief biography:

Her Goodreads Page:

The Literature Network:

Victorian web organisation:

Links to works:

(There are free links to his books and also fairly cheap editions of her books)

You can find all of her novels and stories in the Project Gutenberg free, including some audio versions:

Thanks for reading, and if you have enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, comment, share, and CLICK! (It’s free!).

Today is Friday and as usual I bring you a guest post. I was in Barcelona recently with my parents, who are very fond of TV quizzes, and there was a question asking which author had written a treatise about farts. When I saw the possible names I knew it had to be Jonathan Swift. And that made me think he should be my guest. And here he is. As usual I bring you a brief biography (below I include links to a few websites where you can find more detailed information, although of course there are more detailed biographies published), some of his quotations (like a few of my previous guests, he’s eminently quotable), and links, not only to information but also to his works (free).

The Benefits of Farting by Jonathan Swift

The Benefits of Farting by Jonathan Swift


Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland on 30th November 1667. His father, who was British, died two months before his birth. He was an attorney and the financial situation of the family was quite difficult after his death, especially as Swift suffered from ill healthl as a child. (He suffered from Meniere’s disease). He went to live with his uncle (his father’s brother), Godwin, who was also an attorney. He studied at Kilkenny Grammar Schools (one of the best schools in Ireland at the time). There he met William Congreve, later poet and playwright, and they remained friends.

Quote about genius by J Swift

Quote about genius by J Swift

He then studied at Trinity College in Dublin, obtaining a BA degree in 1686, and started a Masters. Due to the unrest of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 he moved to England, where he obtained a position as the secretary of English statesman, Sir William Temple, working for him as an assistant in London’s Moor Park as for 10 years. Temple trusted him and gave him important tasks. During his stay there Swift met the sister of Temple’s housekeeper, a girl called Esther Johnson (8 years old at the time). She was fifteen years younger than him, despite that they became friends (lovers?), and he acted as her tutor and mentor nicknaming her ‘Stella’. There are rumours that they married in secret in 1716 and they kept in touch until her death.

He returned to Ireland twice during those 10 years. In 1695 he became ordained a priest. He began to write.

Temple died in 1699. Swift edited and published Temple’s memoirs and was offered a post as secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, but when he went to take up the post he was told this had been filled. He went back to Ireland and became priest of a small congregation near Dublin. He took up writing again.

In 1704 he published, anonymously, A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books that was popular but disapproved by the Church of England. When the Tories came into power in 1710 they asked him to be Editor of the Examiner. He became very involved in politics and published well known political pamphlets. His inner thoughts he shared in letters to Johnson that later were published as The Journal to Stella.

When he realised that the Tories would fall from power he went back to Ireland. In 1713 he took post as Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.  There were rumours that he engaged in relationships with Esther Vanhomrigh and Anne Long.

First Edition of Gulliver's Travels 1726

First Edition of Gulliver’s Travels 1726

In 1726 after finishing his manuscript he traveled to London where some friend helped him get it anonymously published as Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships —also known as Gulliver’s Travels. It was an immediate success and has never been out of print since its publication. It has been studied, analysed and there are many interpretations. There is little doubt that the plot reflects historical events that took place during his lifetime.

Esther Johnson died in 1728 and shortly after two close friend also died. In 174 2 he suffered a stroke and could no longer speak. Due to concerns about his capacity to look after his financial affairs his friends declared him legally insane. On October 19th 1745 he died and is now buried inside of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral. A donation of his money went to fund a psychiatric hospital in Dublin, still in service.

Swift's quote about vision

Swift’s quote about vision

Quotes: (I’ve added a few throughout the post as I love them, but here some more):

The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle.

There is nothing constant in this world but inconsistency.

A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying… that he is wiser today than yesterday.

Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest people uneasy is the best bred in the room.

Swift's quote on expectations

Swift’s quote on expectations



The literature network:

The Victorian web:

In Brainy Quotes:

Goodreads page:

His page at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin:

IMDB page:

Swift's quote on government and slavery

Swift’s quote on government and slavery

Free Links to his Works:


A Modest Proposal:

Jonathan Swift Archive has access to A Modest Proposal, Gulliver’s Travels and A Tale of a Tub:

Gulliver’s Travels (Free in the Gutenberg Project):

This is the link to the author in the Gutenberg Project. Apart from Gulliver’s Travels it contains poems, sermons, prose works and even audios, in many different formats:

Amazon page of Jonathan Swift:

A Modest Proposal (in Amazon):

Gulliver’s Travels (in Amazon):

Swift's on money

Swift’s on money

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, if  you’ve enjoyed it, remember to like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

And to close a wish from my guest to all of you, that I wholeheartedly share:

Swift's quote, live your life

Swift’s quote, live your life

As promised I’m revisiting posts of the year over Xmas and one that received much love was my post about Jane Austen, so here she is again:

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signature of Jane Austen. Taken from her 1817 ...

Signature of Jane Austen. Taken from her 1817 will. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know I’ve decided that I should bring some classic authors as guests to my blog, not only because it’s always a pleasure to remind myself of their work (and hopefully those who read my posts) but also because we have the advantage that many of their works are available for free and it always offers us an opportunity to read them again or even get to know some we’re not so familiar with.

Today I decided to visit a great favourite with many people, not only readers but also those who make film adaptations and TV series. Jane Austen. We all have our favourites novels, and also adaptations (I quite like Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility movie although on TV Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth…is still probably my favourite. I also love the novel. Yes, and Mr Darcy).

Brief biography:

Jane Austen was born on the 16th of December 1775. His father was a reverend in Steventon. She was the 6th of seven children and only the second of two daughters and she became quite close to her sister Cassandra (her mother was also called Cassandra). Henry, one of her brothers, would become her agent in later life.

At age of 8 she was sent to boarding school with her sister where she would learn what was felt to be appropriate education for a woman at the time (French, music and dancing…). At home it seems she was always interested in reading and writing and they would make their own plays that the family would perform.

In 1789 she started to write more seriously (Love and Friendship) and a bit later started writing plays. In 1795 she met Tom Lefroy (if you have watched Becoming Jane Austen you’ll remember he’s played in that movie by James MacAvoy) the nephew of a neighbouring family who was in London studying Law. Unfortunately neither of the two families being of means it appears it was felt such union would not be in their interest and he was sent away.

She worked on some stories that later would evolve into her novels. Her father retired when she was 27 and they moved to Bath, a spa town that was the epitome of class and high society (everybody who was anybody would go there to take the waters and to be seen, it seems).

In Bath she received a proposal of marriage by a childhood friend, Harris Brigg-Wither, her only one. She initially said yes, as he was to receive and inheritance who would have secured her and her family’s subsistence, but she thought better of it and the next day she refused.

In 1803 her brother sold Susan to a publisher who promised to publish it but didn’t and there were difficulties with rights afterwards.

Her father died in 1805 leaving the three women in a difficult situation. They moved frequently until her brother Frank offered them a cottage where they moved when she was 33. She dedicated herself to writing there and her brother sold Sense and Sensibility to Thomas Egerton who published it in 1811. It got good reviews and the whole edition was sold by 1813.

The same publisher seeing how well it had done in 1813 published Pride and Prejudice. It was even more successful and he published a second edition. Mansfield Park although less well received by critics was a public success and became the most commercially successful of her works during her lifetime. Jane move on to publisher John Murray who published a new edition of Mansfield Park, Emma, PersuasionNorthanger Abbey. Her brother Henry’s bank failed and Jane made efforts to regain the rights to Susan that was then published as Catherine.

In 1816 her health began to fail but she carried on working. In January 1817 her sister Cassandra and brother Henry took her to Winchester to seek medical help and there she died on July the 18th 1817 leaving some unfinished works. Her brother published her complete works and revealed her real identity.


You can read all of her works online in the above link apart from finding plenty of information about her.

Information on the Jane Austen centre, activities and even the Jane Austen festival in Bath.

Website of her house museum.

Fan site.

BBC history website on Jane Austen

FREE Links to novels:

Title page from the first edition of the first...

Title page from the first edition of the first volume of Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pride and Prejudice


Mansfield Park:


Northanger Abbey:

Lady Susan:

I couldn’t find a copy of Sense and Sensibility  free although they were quite a few under $1 so…(and I suspect one must be hiding somewhere).

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my post. If you have, please comment, share and click!

Related articles


Today as all Fridays (although we’ll take a break to bring you some Christmas specials during the festive period) I bring you a guest author. This time is a classic that I think most of us will be familiar with (and especially with her characters): Beatrix Potter.

There is plenty of information about her on the internet. I leave you a short biography and links to more information about her and her works.

BP with rabbit


Helen Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in London (South Kensington). Both her grandparents had been industrialists in the cotton business (in the Manchester area) and her parents were quite wealthy and followers of the Unitarian faith. Her father was a barrister and amateur photographer and her mother enjoyed embroidery and drawing. They were both interested in the arts and encouraged Beatrix and her younger brother, Walter Bertram, in the pursuit of their artistic interests. She was educated at home by private governesses, and she and her brother spent time studying, drawing and taking art lessons and observing and playing with their pet animals. The best know of her governesses, Annie Moore, taught her German and was only 3 years older than her, becoming also her companion. They corresponded throughout the years and Beatrix sent her children (particularly Noel, who was often ill as a child) illustrated letters and tales to keep them entertained. Many of these letters would later become some of her best known children’s books. Her family used to go on holidays to the countryside, often visiting Scotland (Perthshire) and later the Lake District. She developed a love for the area and for the countryside, well reflected in her best known works.


She studied art privately and took exams, although preferred to develop her own style and favoured watercolours. She did illustrations of animals, insects, fossils and fungi, and one of her articles on fungi reproduction was presented to the Royal Society, but due to being an amateur (and also a woman) her findings were ignored. She had some success illustrating cards, and after encouragement she published privately the illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901) that was published by Frederick Warne & Co a year later as a small three-colour illustrated book. She became engaged (unofficially, as her parents disapproved) to Norman Warne, her editor, in 1905, but he died suddenly of leukemia.

Despite this loss and from the proceeds of her books and a legacy from an aunt she bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a small village in the Lake District, near Ambleside, in the same year. Over the following decades she bought a number of farms nearby, as she had become interested in conservationism and become friendly with one of the founders of the National Trust, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.

She continued to write and illustrate children stories for Warne & Co and as early as 1903 she made and patented a Peter Rabbit doll and followed with many other related items (you will find all kind of merchandise related to her stories and characters, from pottery, bedding, dolls…).

Beatrix Potter and her husband William Heelis ...

Beatrix Potter and her husband William Heelis on their wedding day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1913, aged 47, she married William Heelis, a local solicitor. She became a celebrated breeder of Herdwick sheep and died on 22nd December 1943 at her home near Sawrey, aged 77, leaving most of her property to the National Trust (and that included her flock of Herdwick sheep). To her credit is the preservation of much of the land that is now the Lake District National Park.

There have been a number of adaptations of her books, to songs, films, ballets, and there are also movies about her own life, like Miss Potter (2006, Dir: Chris Noonan, with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor).

The Gallery

The Gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Gorgeous website (it includes information on visits to the World of Beatrix Potter in the Lake District):

In Wikipedia:

The Beatrix Potter society:

The page of the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the National Trust:

Very appropriately ‘Visit Cumbria’ dedicates a page to Beatrix Potter:

She also has a page at the Victoria and AlbertMuseum website:

Their biography is also very good and has excellent photographs:

Beatrix Potter’s Garden in Perthshire:

Her page at the Tate:

Beatrix Potter in You Tube:

It seems the Japanese also love Potter:

Her house is now Grade II listed building:

Her page in IMDB (movies and cartoons based on her stories and some about her):

Benjamin Bunny

Benjamin Bunny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This is the author’s page in Amazon. I suspect that due to the illustrations the books are not free on this site although some are very cheap.

Free books by Beatrix Potter in Project Guttenberg (there are 25 including two in audio format):

Here in e-pubbud:

Many thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, share, comment, and of course CLICK!

And as preparation and winding down for Christmas, from next week I’ll be reviewing and reposting some of the most visited posts.


beatrix-potter-museum-christmas (Photo credit: JT Graphics)

Once again it’s Friday, and yes, guest author time. I bring you another classic today. I was debating bringing you another Romantic writer, when I suddenly thought of Kipling and I had to bring him here. Like with many of these classics his reputation has seen up and downs, both because of his style, his opinions and subject matter. As usual I’ll offer you a brief biography, one of his best known poems, ‘If’ and links to information and his works.

Rudyard Kipling in his study, about this year

Rudyard Kipling in his study, about this year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay (Mumbai today) on 30th December 1865. His father was an artist and teacher (taught sculpture) and he has talked about his memories of visiting the local markets with his sister Alice. Both he and Alice were sent to the UK in 1871, to live with a foster family, the Holloways, in Southsea. It seems the mother of the family was harsh and would beat him up regularly. He took refuge in reading, and particularly enjoyed Defoe, Wilkie Collins, Emerson and Bret Harte. During the winter he would spend a month at his aunt’s, Georgie, who was married to pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones and their children. Luckily in 1877 his mother came to England and he was sent to boarding school in Devon, where he enjoyed school and showed promise for writing. (He also got some glasses as his eye-sight was very poor).

In 1882 he went back to India and worked as a journalist, also writing poetry and fiction in his spare time. He worked in the Civil and Military Gazette and later in The Pioneer. He wrote stories like ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ and ‘Gunga Din’ some of them collected in Plain Tales from the Hills that made him popular. In 1889 he went to live to London.

In 1892 he got married to Caroline Balestier, the sister of an American friend (and publisher. Henry James was a guest at their wedding). They travelled and settled in the US where they lived in Vermont. Their two daughters (Josephine and Elsie) were born there and he wrote The Jungle Book (1894) there too. Due to disagreements with his wife’s family (it seems a legal battle with his brother-in-law) they returned to England and settled in Sussex (initially Rottingdean). His son John was born in 1897.

In 1898 the family went on their first holiday to South Africa. A year later Josephine died of pneumonia (all the family suffered from it) and her death seriously affected Kipling. He became very involved in the Boer War efforts, visiting wounded soldiers and writing about the campaigns.

Other works of the period include Stalky and Co. (1899), Kim (1901) and Puck of the Pook’s Hill (1906). He wrote The Just So Stories for his daughter Josephine (she was 6 when she died).

Batemans, Sussex, England.

Batemans, Sussex, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to his popularity and the proximity of Rottingdean to Brighton he was constantly disturbed and sought a quieter place, purchasing Bateman’s, a XVIIc.  house in Burwash, East Sussex, where he lived the rest of his life. I have visited and I must say it’s a wonderful place, with a water mill and beautiful surroundings. I thoroughly recommend it.

He travelled widely, including trips to South Africa in winter.

During the First World War he visited the Western Front and wrote about it in France at War. His own son John was killed in 1915 when he was only 18 and serving with the Irish Guards. He found it very difficult to accept (it seems he had pulled some strings to get him accepted for military service as he was also short-sighted) and he wrote ‘The Irish Guards in the Great War’. He joined the Imperial War Graves Commission and it seems he chose a biblical phrase inscribed on many British war memorials: ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’. (From his poem ‘Recessional’:  ‘Lest we forget’ is often used in the same context.)

In 1922 he was named Lord Rector of the University of St Andrew’s in Scotland. He was sounded for both the Knighthood and to be Poet Laureate but turned both of them down, although he accepted the Nobel Prize in 1907. He was the first author in English to obtain the prize and the youngest.

He was concerned about the dangers Nazi Germany posed to England and gave an address on the subject ‘An undefended island’ to the Royal Society of St George in 1935.

He died of a brain haemorrhage on 18th January 1936 and is buried in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey (near T.S. Elliot). His study at the Elms, one of his houses in Rottingdean has been preserved, and as I mentioned Bateman’s is also open for visits (it is now a National Trust property).

English: The book poster for "The Jungle ...

English: The book poster for “The Jungle Book,” by writer Rudyard Kipling, published by The Century Company, New York, $1.50. Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like this quote that I’ve borrowed from the Poetry Foundation page on Kipling (link below):

Writing in the Observer, Amit Chaudhuri remarks that the third volume of letters reveals “the contractions of a unique writer; a loving father and husband who was also deeply interested in the asocial, predominantly male pursuit of Empire; a conservative who succumbed to the romance of the new technology [the automobile]; an apologist for England for whom England was, in a fundamental and positive way, a ‘foreign country.'”

George Orwell called him: “the prophet of British Imperialism in its expansionist phase.”


I had to share If with you, and particularly liked the note about it published on the Kipling’s organisation website:

‘This is probably the best known and loved poem by Kipling. He commented on the response to it in his autobiography:

Among the verses in Rewards was one set called `If–‘, which escaped from the book, and for a while ran about the world. They were drawn from Jameson’s character, and contained counsels of perfection most easy to give. Once started, the mechanization of the age made them snowball themselves in a way that startled me. Schools, and places where they teach, took them for the suffering Young – which did me no good with the Young when I met them later. (`Why did you write that stuff? I’ve had to write it out twice as an impot.’).They were printed as cards to hang up in offices and bedrooms; illuminated text-wise and anthologized to weariness. Twenty-seven of the Nations of the Earth translated them into their seven-and-twenty tongues, and printed them on every sort of fabric.’ (Something of Myself page 146)

Dr L. S. Jameson (1853-1917), friend and colleague of Cecil Rhodes, led the disastrous Jameson Raid of 1895 against the BoerRepublic of the Transvaal, after which he was tried and imprisoned but shortly afterwards released. He was later Prime Minister (1904-8) of the CapeColony. His friendship with the Kiplings figures in chapter 6 of Something of Myself.’

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!


Rudyard Kipling organisation (You can find information about him and his work and links to his work online. Great website):


Nobel-prize organisation:

BBC historical figures site:

The Poetry Foundation:

The Literature Network:

IMDB link for information on movies and TV series adaptations:

Links to works:

Complete poems on line (Interestingly enough in this site he’s number 2 poet after Poe, who has been a guest, followed in third place by our friend and previous guest Robert Louis Stevenson):

Another site with links to his poems:

A few in Amazon (there are tonnes):

The Jungle Book:


The Man Who Would Be King:

The Second Jungle Book:

The Works of Ruyard Kipling One Volume Edition:

Barrack Room Ballads:

Letters of Travel (1892-1913):

As I said there are many more.

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post, and if you have, don’t forget to like, comment, share and especially CLICK! (is FREE!)

Guest Classic Author: Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As most Fridays, I bring you a guest author. This time is a classic, Emily Dickinson. I studied at Mount Holyoke (where famously Emily spent a year) and lived in the building named after her (that housed the Women’ Studies Department). I also visited her house in Amherst, a beautiful town and fascinating place. So although I was aware of her before, the proximity made me look into her work more closely. And I wanted to share it with you. As usual I’ll include a brief biography (Emily was a fairly reclusive character) and links and examples of her work. Also links where you can find more detailed information.

The Dickinson children (Emily on the left), ca...

The Dickinson children (Emily on the left), ca. 1840. From the Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, Harvard University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was born in Amherst (Massachusetts) of a family descending from the pilgrims’ times. Her paternal grandfather was one (the main) of the founders of Amherst College; her father was one of its treasurers and also served as State Legislator and representative of Hampshire district in Congress.

She had an older brother and a younger sister and her education was extensive for a girl of her time, attending Amherst Academy (for 7 years, somewhat interrupted due to ill health) and then Mount Holyoke College (briefly). She was described as a gifted musician and she had a good relationship with her father although not so good with her mother.

She seems to have been concerned and preoccupied by the deaths of those around her, including a female cousin, since she was fairly young, and that preoccupation accompanied her for the rest of her life.

A young lawyer who stayed with her family, Benjamin Franklin Newton, introduced her to the work of a variety of writers, including Wordsworth and Emerson, and he always thought of her as a poet. She was also influenced by Longfellow, Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York and Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre.

She was very affected when the principal of Amherst Academy, and good friend, Leonard Humphrey, died at 25.

She was also good friends with Susan Gilbert, who later married her brother Austin, and who was her main correspondent.

In 1855 she visited Washington and Philadelphia with her mother, who later became bedridden, and Emily hardly left the house after that. In the late 1950s the family met Samuel Bowles, owner and editor of the Springfield Republican and he would later publish some of her poems and letters.

In the early 1860s she was very prolific and appears to have considered publication, but eventually did not come to pass. From 1866 she wrote far less and her behaviour started to change, hardly ever leaving the house. From 1867 she would talk to visitors through the door, although she continued to exchange letters and had good relationship with children. In the few occasions when she ventured outside of her house she dressed in white.

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts...

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts – rear oblique view of Emily Dickinson’s house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She studied botany and she was well known for her collection of plants.

Although she continued to write, she did not edit her work. The 1880s proved difficult, with her brother’s marriage breaking, her youngest nephew’s death and the death of her mother. In summer of 1884 she fainted while baking and did not recover for many hours. After that she was ill for weeks and never went back to health. In November 1885 she took to bed for several months and eventually on the 15th May 1886 she died of what was diagnosed as Bright’s disease (that the physician thought she had been suffering from for at least two and a half years).

Fewer than a dozen of her poems were published during her life and it was her sister who discovered her poems and got them published for the first time four years after her death.

Some poems:

“Faith” is a fine invention

When Gentlemen can see—

But Microscopes are prudent

In an Emergency.


“Hope” is the thing with feathers—

That perches in the soul—

And sings the tune without the words—

And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—

And sore must be the storm—

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—

And on the strangest Sea—

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb—of Me.


There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!


My life closed twice before its close;

It yet remains to see

If Immortality unveil

A third event to me,

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,

As these that twice befell.

Parting is all we know of heaven,

And all we need of hell.


Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.



In poets’ organisation:

Her electronic archive:

The Poetry Foundation:

Goodreads page:

Her museum:

The Emily Dickinson International Society:

Links to her work:

In Amazon:

Poems Series 1

Poems Series 2

Poems Series 3

And the three series in one:

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