Tag Archives: time

In 1927, H G Wells published these…

HG

1st June 2016: I’ve just had the great pleasure of reading and finishing my copy of H. G. Wells’ 1927 (20) SELECTED SHORT STORIES.

So much could be said about this great author’s futuristic soothsaying allied with his insightfulness about our human condition which he displays in these short stories. Penguin Books’ cover note on this edition expresses what I’d want to say: “These twenty stories … represent the variety of his imagination and reveal his power to evoke both scene and atmosphere… He had an interest in many diverse subjects and was able to apply a fresh and unspecialized mind to them.” And that’s putting it mildly.

THE TIME MACHINE: many have seen movie versions of this astounding story. We see and hear a version of it. If it’s the only version/ presentation of the story to have been seen, it’s a lightning-bolt of a realisation to read HG’s story with its lyricism, invocation and descriptions of thoughts and emotions. He uses words as an artist would use paint: “The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses”.

Very much in the times, at that time, HG has his characters discussing time and space; it’s to set us up to believe in a further dimension to thickness, length, breadth and time: our consciousness, as relevant and important, HG’s character tells us, to our existing at any time;  there is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along with it. Which is, I offer, what writers are intending to do when seeking to provide credibility and gain empathy with their readers when they use the vehicle of consciousness, of ourselves, others and the world around us to create the literary world they would have us inhabit.

THE LAND IRONCLADS: 

What an opening sentence this is: The young lieutenant lay beside the war correspondent and admired the idyllic calm of the enemy’s lines through his field-glass. We are immediately transported into the sense of impending danger.

(To be continued, AR ©2016)

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gems inside A CENTURY OF WRITERS

I’ve come across a World Books, Special Edition for its “members only” in their series: a Reprint Society 1957 edition of Chatto & Windus’ 1955 A CENTURY OF WRITERS 1855 – 1955.

Clive Warner’s fifteen page introduction has caught my interest. His explanation of the origin of Chatto and Windus and its development is a revelation; revealing as it does, the circumstances and the role of the characters flags-up some familiar names. From it, there is sense of what exists today, generally: in the paper, book publishing we have today.

I’m still working my way through this gem; enjoying the writings of the iconic authors within it. Huxley, Twain, Lagerkvist, Belloc, Bennett, Faulkner, Jerome, Strindberg, Hughes, Montagne, Ouida, Powys, Pritchett, Tchehov, Poe, Bell, Empson, Fry, Jeffries, Knight, Strachey, Swinburne, Dickinson, Eberhart, Monro, Nichols and Shaughnessy are waiting to be read. There are also inserts amongst the writing in this book that relate to periods in the publishing house’s history.

Warner tells us that John Camden Hotten founded Chatto & Windus in its early form: when it wasn’t called that. Now, it’s renamed again to Randomhouse. Andrew Chatto took over John Camden Hotten’s created book publishing business in 1873; buying it from Hotten’s widow for £25,000. W. E. Windus joined Chatto shortly after that. Oliver Warner describes Percy Spalding joining Chatto and Windus in 1876. Warner tells us that Spalding and Chatto’s descendants guided “the long and prosperous middle era of the firm”.

Many tributes to and validations of the firm are revealed to us by Warner in his introduction to the Special Edition. He cites Hotten’s “beautiful” Chiswick Press edition of the Prayer Book. His History of Sign Boards (1886) was in great demand. He also published a History of Playing Cards. Hotten’s business head, Warner wants us to realise or note, meant that he saw the commercial sense in dedicating his History of Playing Cards to one of his cache of successful, published authors. In that way, killing two birds with one stone by both promoting that long popular author: Thomas Wright and the book therein dedicated. Having the book illustrated by van Schevichaven did no harm either.

Warner tells us more. Hotten, after paying Bertrand Payne £200 for it, published Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads. Most of Swinburne’s work was then handled by Hotten. Later, Chatto & Windus took over Poems and Ballads from Hotten. Windus published his own book of verse during the early days of C & W. The end of that work had a forty page long catalogue of the books they were publishing at that time “still full of Hotteniana”: the titles he had acquired over the early years. There were listed: Poems by Charles and Mary Lamb; books from Mayhew, Hook and Swinburne. Andrew Chatto and Percy Spalding added Besant, Collins, McCarthy, Ouida, Reade, Stevenson and many others, Warner reveals; also, Hardy and Trollope. American writers were also gathered in: Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Artemus Ward, Oliver Wendell Holmes, C. G. Leland, J. R. Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and “others important in the history of American letters”.

Oliver Warner tells us that in 1901, roughly thirty years after Hotten died, an Indianapolis literary society moved to place a tablet in their library to “J. C. Hotten, the famous Piccadilly publisher … as an acknowledgement of his services in introducing certain famous American authors to the British reading public”.

Andrew Chatto and the firm, we are told, were later well thought of by “the trade” and its writers. Sir Walter Besant the first President of the Society of Authors, is said by Warner to have once remarked “I should like to see my friend Chatto driving in a gilded coach!” R. L. Stevenson also wrote of C & W “Your fair, open and handsome dealings are a good point in my life …” D. H. Lawrence, we are told, once spoke of the Victorian heads of C & W as his “old-favoured folk”.

Notable for the reader of A CENTURY OF WRITERS, Warner’s introduction mentions the arrival of “a whirlwind” Philip Lee-Warner at the firm in 1905. He founded the Medici Society vehicle to produce “excellent but expensive” art books. Sir Israel Gollancz was his General Editor for C & W’s King’s Classics and their Medieval Library series.  Philip Lee-Warner also introduced Geoffrey Whitworth and Frank Swinnerton to the firm. Whitworth was the British Drama League founder. Swinnerton, amongst other things, authored The Georgian Literary Scene. Authors of the time, we’re told, liked to pop into the publisher’s office. George R. Sims, author of It Was Christmas Day in the Workhouse, often did that.

Chatto and Windus began magazine publishing. The Gentleman’s Magazine (1731 to 1922); The Belgravia from 1866 to 1899 (Hardy’s The Return of the Native first appeared in it). They published Jerome K. Jerome’s Idler magazine from 1892 to 1911.    C & W began to publish Christmas catalogues for famous department stores. I sold the one pictured below, on EBay recently.

FortnumMasonFrontCover

Chatto & Windus

http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/

(C) Adrian Regis 2015

The Land of Love — a fantasy

Here, to give you a taste, are some of the first paragraphs of some of the chapters in my developing fiction about Mister Baum’s adventures in Oz:

The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter one

A family holiday

 There is something so utterly glorious about being on a holiday beach; standing on warm, light sand; feeling it slip between your toes. Not a thing to think about and not a thing to worry about. These times don’t come often to most of us but this time it is Mister L. Frank Baum’s turn.

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The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter two

A story begins

 Standing there just then on that lovely beach during the summer of 1900, after his wife and boys had gone off and left him to find their items of fun, Mister Baum recalled the image of himself here on this same beach, last summer. Then, he was looking down at that unfamiliar object he held. The very strange object that he’d found and picked up out of its bed of sand.

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The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter three

A dramatic event

 Unbeknownst to the Baum family, the one they had seen on the beach in front of them tackled overpowered and dragged away by the other two did not stay with his captors for very long after the incident. Away from prying eyes, their captive had drawn an apparatus from his pocket that he was sure they had never seen before; let alone would know how to cope with. They didn’t.

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The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter four

Family time

 With his mouth and chin smeared with his favourite honeycomb ice-cream that each of his beloveds, in turn, had lovingly and in good fun poked there, Mister Baum was transported to the stuffed-full arcades in town by his family’s gleeful descriptions. Clothes stores, sports stores and the art stores they’d been to all of them. He could quite see what a marvellous time they’d all had by the amount of overflowing shopping bags they’d each managed to carry and had now dropped heavily onto the carpet.

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The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter five

Volta

 We can sense from previous events and behaviours how distraught and understandably determined the device’s owner was to get it back. So it is not really surprising to us to have him suddenly appear in Mister Baum’s hotel bedroom. How he suddenly appeared there was a surprise.

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The Land of Love―a fantasy

Chapter six

What it’s all been about

 Mister Baum had been standing motionless and amazed at the transformation to that ballroom; after the liquid was completely gone. He’d been standing like that for two minutes expecting any possibility in what might happen next. You see, he’d learnt that the impossible was highly possible where he’d ended up.

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