Crossword 026: Rejection

 
 William Powell Frith, The Rejected Poet

William Powell Frith, The Rejected Poet

 

Today's puzzle is a prequel to the one published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times—that is, the theme of this puzzle is related to that of the other as cause to effect.  I built the puzzle around 29 Across, the basis for which I have since learned is not so common a phrase as I had supposed.  Google's ngram viewer shows that the phrase reached a peak around 1820, held steady through 1910, and then began a precipitous decline.  This is a pity, for the unhappy state of mind it tersely describes is a defining feature of human experience, one given frequent attention in Victorian novels, and one I'm delighted to reconceive, through the miracle of cruciverbalism, as a comically self-conceited anthropomorphic bird.


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026-Rejection.puz

026-Rejection.pdf

Novel 026: Elizabeth Darby Eiloart, The Love that Lived (1874)

 
 James Sant, The Bride

James Sant, The Bride

 

In a small town, a radical clerk is rescued from drowning by a rich young gentleman whom he resents; as it happens, the two men are connected by their parents' secret past.


Elizabeth Darby Eiloart (1827-1898) wrote some 18 novels for adults (and several more for children) between 1865 and 1883; she specialized in middle-class characters and concerns, which emerge sharply in this novel, despite a charmingly silly plot.

“All Mrs. Eiloart’s books are honest books, spiced with independence of thought, and sweetened with a pleasant humour.”  This novel “breathes the fresh air of the country"; “its characters are true to life.”  Academy, July 18, 1874

Eiloart's “books are original and fascinating; they contain good plots, plenty of incident, and well described and distinctive characters.”  This is “one of the best and most interesting novels of the season.”  Morning Post, August 25, 1874

“Apart from the plot...Mrs. Eiloart’s novel is refreshingly and unaffectedly real.  There is nothing high-flown, nothing morbid in its tone.”  It “is not only a love-story.  It is a political story.  Conservatives and Radicals, rich and poor, the old school and the new, are all faithfully represented....This is one of the most pleasing and interesting novels of the season.”  Examiner, August 29 1874

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vol. 1 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000047580#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-460%2C-181%2C3652%2C2238

vol. 2 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000046A6A#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-410%2C0%2C3265%2C200

vol. 3: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000046A5E#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-379%2C-1%2C3329%2C204

 

Novel 025: Margaret Paul, Martha Brown, the Heiress (1861)

 
 Richard Buckner, Margaret Laetitia, Lady Western, née Bushby

Richard Buckner, Margaret Laetitia, Lady Western, née Bushby

 

An heiress loves a poor but proud young surgeon.


Margaret Agnes Paul, née Colvile (1829–1905) wrote a dozen novels between 1856 and 1886, of which this was the fifth.  Just one volume, like many of her works, this has a good plot drawn from ordinary life, and a few vivid characters.

“A very pleasant evening’s reading--clever, sensible, brief, lively, and refined....  It is sometimes a relief to read a novel which is good enough to admire, and not powerful enough for even a pretence to immortality.” Spectator, November 9, 1861

“interesting and original...related in a sharp, concise manner, which renders it very pleasant reading.” Athenaeum, November 9, 1861

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http://dbooks.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/books/PDFs/600071637.pdf

 

Novel 024: Mary Cholmondeley, Red Pottage (1899)

 
 James Jebusa Shannon, Lady Marjorie Manners

James Jebusa Shannon, Lady Marjorie Manners

 

A young novelist lives with her clerical brother, while her friend grows to love a man with a dubious past and a secret problem.


Mary Cholmondeley (1859-1925) wrote ten novels between 1887 and 1913; according to some reviewers, this one outsold all the other novels of 1899.  Its self-satisfied clergyman is a unique creation, not to be missed.

The plot is “ingenious, original, and abounding in strong dramatic situations”; Cholmondeley “understands the art of making her characters not merely thrill us at crises, but interest us in the normal intervening spaces of their lives”; despite some blemishes, “criticism is disarmed by the freshness, the strength, and the pathos of this brilliant and exhilarating novel, by far the most exciting and original of the present season.”  Spectator, October 28, 1899

"A clever, well-told story.  The emotional feeling is not of a common sort, and the outlook on modern life and manners is touched with vivacity, with something of subtlety even.” Cholmondeley provides “close and, at times, humorous observation of character....produced with a light touch and an admirable absence of the descriptive manner.”  “Never aggressively witty nor epigrammatic, she yet often says a good thing in a way that makes one wonder why it has not been said before, or not in the same fresh or whimsical fashion.”  Athenaeum, November 11, 1899

The “central incident” is “improbable,” “but the insight into character, the vivid interpretation of a woman’s mind, and the happy gift of satire displayed by Miss Cholmondeley raise her book at once to a very high level.  She has a marvelous knack of portraying an unconscious fool, male or female, and one or two of her characters will live in her readers’ memories.  She has an admirable sense of style, and she knows the world of which she writes.”  Saturday Review, November 11, 1899

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https://archive.org/details/ra556450500choluoft

Novel 021: Alice Price, Who Is Sylvia? (1883)

 
 Augustus Leopold Egg, Unknown Woman 

Augustus Leopold Egg, Unknown Woman 

 

A virtuous young lady endures various improbable accidents and misunderstandings.


Alice Price (1840-1891) wrote seven novels between 1883 and 1892, of which this is the first.  Its plot is full of exciting surprises; its characters are well delineated.

“Few recent novels can boast of so excellent a plot, of such remarkably well-drawn characters, and of the variety of incidents that is to be found in Who is Sylvia?.”  Morning Post, February 1, 1883

“This novel may be read with genuine pleasure; it is agreeably written, and the interest is sustained to the close.”  Academy, February 3, 1883
 
“The story is not overcharged with incident, but it has more than enough to relieve it from monotony, and the execution is much above the average.  There are indications of quiet power in this novel which give ample promise for the future work of its author, and it is in itself an achievement with which its readers are more than likely to be content.”  Athenaeum, February 3, 1883

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http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/OXVU1:LSCOP_OX:oxfaleph014545736

Crossword 020: Superheroes

 
Lord Frederic Leighton - The Last Watch of Hero.jpg
 

Lord Frederic Leighton, The Last Watch of Hero


There are few areas of popular culture I know less about than superhero comic strips and the movies based on them.  In this I must be unusual, for they seem to come up frequently in crosswords, especially those in the New York Times.  "Thor" is not just a Norse god but, apparently, a superhero.  "Atom" is a diminutive superhero, "green" is superhero " ___ Lantern"; "iron" is superhero "___ man."   Anyway, this puzzle is my little act of protest.  It's filled with superheroes of my own making, the sort of superheroes I'd like to read about.  22 Across, in particular, is the sort of superhero we need right now.


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020-Superheroes.puz

020-Superheroes.pdf

Novel 020: Sir Henry Stewart Cunningham, Wheat and Tares (1860)

 
 William Powell Frith, Portrait of Two Girls 

William Powell Frith, Portrait of Two Girls 

 

A brother and sister, staying at a seaside town with their uncle the archdeacon, are involved in various romantic conflicts.


Sir Henry Stewart Cunningham (1832-1920), a prominent barrister and judge, found time to write six novels between 1860 and 1894.  Here, maybe he ran out of time, for, after three hundred pages of excellent social comedy, he concludes abruptly with a hundred more of badly plotted melodrama.  The beginning and middle, however, are good enough to make up for the end.

“A capital story.  Fresh, sparkling, and cheerful as a summer’s morning”; it provides “a very faithful daguerrotype of the life in an English sea-side town.”  Christian Examiner, November, 1860

"This is a natural work.  It will please all readers, whose tastes and human feelings have not been utterly obliterated by the blood-and-thunder 'sensation' romances of the time….  His book 'has the atmosphere of truth and the vigor of sincerity, and is executed with uncommon freedom, delicacy, and skill.'"  Knickerbocker, (quoting the New York Saturday Press), November, 1860

“The dialogue is unusually brilliant, natural, and easy.  The fun is quiet, subtle, and continuous; and the illustrations of hidden thoughts and the shading off of finer traits of character are at once ingenious and truthful.  But above all, it has throughout the unmistakable impress of a refined and delicate taste.  The people in it who are represented as talking in drawing-rooms talk as if they really were in drawing rooms, and not in the gilded saloons that haunt the fancy of Bohemia.  The ladies are ladies, and the gentlemen are about as wise and foolish, as well-behaved and as ill-behaved, as gentlemen usually are.”  Saturday Review, November 16, 1861

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http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000047376#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-788%2C-129%2C2990%2C2565

Novel 019: Lady Georgiana Fullerton, Grantley Manor (1847)

 
 William Dyce, Christabel

William Dyce, Christabel

 

A young woman is perplexed by a man who seems and does not seem to court her, and by a half-sister who may be very good or very bad.


Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812-1885), daughter of an earl and convert to Catholicism, wrote roughly a dozen novels between 1844 and 1883.  Though the plot here is not always plausible, it enables her to place fully realized, sympathetic characters in interesting dilemmas.

“The skill with which the plot … is constructed, the exquisite truth of delineation which the characters exhibit, and the intensity of passion which warms and dignifies the subject, are alike admirable…. The depth of passion which surrounds the story of Ginevra is the result of unquestioned genius.”  Times, August 24, 1847

“If sentimentalism is sometimes carried to a rather extravagant height, and tenderness and pathos are occasionally over-wrought, still it is impossible to deny to the work, striking and passionate scenes, exquisite and truthful delineations of English society and character, vigour and grace of language, and high intellectual power.” Ainsworth's Magazine, July 1847

Fullerton “takes a high place among writers of modern fiction.  We have not for many a day read so charming a story….  Though there is nothing violent in the nature of the interest, and weakness, not wickedness, induces the suffering, the suffering is deep enough for profoundest sympathy, and the feelings are moved and agitated to the last.  And neighbouring the pathos...we have occasional archness, simplicity, and quiet humour, the effect of which is most graceful and lovely.” Examiner, July 3, 1847

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v.1  https://archive.org/details/grantleymanortal01full

v.2  https://archive.org/details/grantleymanortal02full

v.3  https://archive.org/details/grantleymanortal03full

Crossword 018: Spatial Relations

 
 Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema, A Favourite Custom

Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema, A Favourite Custom

 

As every child knows, there were nine Muses:  Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Erato, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania.  Erato is a crossword favorite, on account of her attractive vowels.  However, Wikipedia informs us that there were originally only three Muses, representing Practice, Memory,  and Song—and I have constructed this crossword with the purpose of giving some long-overdue attention to this neglected trio, especially its second member, featured in 54 Down, which is where I began work.  I really wanted to fit in the other two—Melete and Aoide—but my theme got in the way.