Novel 039: Margaret Hunt, Mrs. Juliet (1892)

 
 Philip Calderon, Juliet

Philip Calderon, Juliet

 

A virtuous young lady, secretly married, is forced to live with her rich, vulgar, art-collecting aunt.


Margaret Hunt, née Raines (1831-1912), who sometimes wrote as Averil Beaumont, sometimes as Mrs. Alfred Hunt (her husband was a well-known painter) produced about a dozen novels beginning in 1872, the last completed by her daughter Violet, also a novelist, and the consort of Ford Madox Ford, the best known novelist of the three.  This novel, the gripping plot of which begins in domestic comedy and ends in sensationalistic mystery, represents its varied and amusing characters in a brisk style.

Despite themes long familiar from “tri-voluminous fiction, the author...has managed to produce a fresh, attractive, and decidedly entertaining story.” Athenaeum, December 31, 1892

“Mrs. Alfred Hunt is a writer whose narratives go along smoothly enough, and whose persons have the breath of life."  Saturday Review, January 21, 1893

The heroine’s troubles “are related with a vivacity which goes far to relieve their dismalness....The story is a very good one, with plenty of excitement in the matter of plot, and at least one admirably drawn character.”  Spectator, March 25, 1893

Download this week's novel:

v.1 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DCAC#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-1624%2C-120%2C4644%2C2389

v.2 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DD00#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-657%2C347%2C2911%2C1498

v.3 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DD4E#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-693%2C-1%2C3791%2C1951

 

Crossword 38: That's No Way to Be!

 
 Albert Joseph Moore, A Garden

Albert Joseph Moore, A Garden

 

When I wrote the clues for this puzzle, the temptation to cross-reference was particularly difficult to resist.  10 Down, 33 Down, and 19 Across all refer to an activity that may be performed on 4 Down, 6 Down, 12 Down, 14 Across, 60 Across, and in fact anything 47 Down.  But for your sake, gentle solver, resist I did.


Novel 038: Henry Cuyler Bunner, The Midge (1886)

 
 John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Miss Dorothy Vickers

John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Miss Dorothy Vickers

 

An eccentric New York bachelor adopts an orphaned French-English waif.


Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896) was better known for his stories and plays than his two novels.  This, the first, is a brief comedy of situation, delightful except for its odd ending.

“A slight yet charming study of life in the French quarter of New York."  Eclectic Magazine, July, 1886

The plot is “gracefully and artistically handled”;“the story is rich in sensitive passages, both humor and pathos being well portrayed."  Advance, October 7, 1886

Download this week's novel:

https://archive.org/details/midgemidge00bunnrich

 

Crossword 036: Resounding Frauds

 
 John William Waterhouse, Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus

John William Waterhouse, Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus

 

Do you worry that online media are creating illusory bonds and instilling obsessive habits that rob you of your authentic self?  Of course you do!  But not this website: on the contrary, I'm here to put you on your guard.



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A puzzle of mine will appear this Wednesday, August 1, in the Wall Street Journal.


Novel 036: Emily Eden, The Semi-Detached House (1858)

 
 James Tissot, Autumn on the Thames

James Tissot, Autumn on the Thames

 

An aristocratic young lady, prevented by her pregnancy from accompanying her diplomat husband overseas, shares a “semi-detached house” with a middle class family.


Emily Eden (1787-1869), daughter of a baron and sister of an earl, wrote only two novels, of which this quiet, pleasant work of social comedy is the second, though the first to be published.

“A piece of real life, sketched by a spectator full of shrewd sense and a genial spirit of fun.”  Spectator, August 6, 1858

“The purpose of this book, in so far as it has a purpose, is to teach us to take life easily and frankly...that we should not be too much pleased at speaking to persons of superior rank, nor too anxious to avoid those who may be below us”; the story is slight, but has “sparkling dialogue...good subsidiary characters, and...cheerful and habitual good sense.”  Saturday Review, August 27, 1858

“Character painting so entirely unpretending in its manner, and so perfect of its sort, as that which gives to this novel its value as a work of art, is not often to be found.”  Examiner, August 27, 1858

Download this week's novel:

https://archive.org/details/semidetachedhous00eden

 

Novel 035: Mrs. E.J. Burbury, Florence Sackville; or, Self-Dependence

 
 Thomas Sully, Fanny Kemble

Thomas Sully, Fanny Kemble

 

Financial vicissitudes drive a virtuous young lady to  support herself and her family by acting in a provincial theater.


Nothing is known of Mrs. E.J. Burbury, author of only this single novel.  She appears to have tried to fit into it every noteworthy experience she ever had, whether working in theater (the miserable conditions of which, especially for women, are vividly portrayed), or driving through Oxford by moonlight.  It makes for fascinating reading, despite some mawkishness.

The author has a “clear appreciation of humour and of pathos--a firm hand in noting down the boundary lines and salient features of character, and a constancy...to the...purpose of her story.”  Athenaeum, November 11, 1851

"It is refreshing to take up a romance and to find it is not altogether an unmitigated profitless ‘love story’....Mrs. Burbury’s style is vigorous and effective, and the scenes she depicts, the characters she delineates, and the conversations she supposes, bear the stamp of a truthfulness, a penetration, and a depth of feeling, which would do honour to one who had been longer before the public.  That part of the story which relates to the theatrical career Florence is with repugnance compelled to adopt...is handled in a fearless and masterly style.”  New Quarterly Review, January, 1852

Download this week's novel here:

http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/OXVU1:LSCOP_OX:oxfaleph014284777