Sometimes you can find interesting book related exhibits in small museums like this early 19th century hand drawn pattern book. It’s on display at the old Courthouse in the Guildford Heritage Precinct which is 12km from the centre of Perth. The book was given to Sophie Roe, who was the eldest child of John Septimus Roe, the surveyor who laid out the towns of Perth and Guildford in the 1830s.
Went to a cinema today to see “The Man Who Invented Christmas”, a very entertaining and interesting telling of the story behind Dickens’ writing of “A Christmas Carol”. Dan Stevens was masterful and thoroughly believable as Charles Dickens and Justin Edwards was perfect as his friend John Forster.
There is still a lot to see in and around Geraldton which is reminiscent of Randolph Stow and his classic novel. You can walk along Gregory Street, where Stow lived and admire the old style houses. And you can look at Geraldton Primary School (below), which both Stow and his fictional hero Rob attended.
Stow attended the University of Western Australia and lectured at universities in Australia and England. He wrote eight novels and three books of poetry, plus a children’s story and several opera libretti, and won the Miles Franklin Award in 1958 for his novel To the Islands. He lived in Britain from 1966 until his death in 2010. The Geraldton Public Library has the Randolph Stowe collection which includes personal items donated by the author.
The seaside town of Geraldton, 415km north of Perth, was the birthplace of writer, Randolph Stow. Born on 28 November 1935, Stow wrote about his childhood in and around the town of Geraldton in the novel, “The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea”.
There are several different merry-go-rounds in the novel. The one in the sea was actually a shipwreck off the main swimming beach, but the beach has been redeveloped and the wreck is gone.
The second merry-go-round is the one that appears in the opening chapter of the novel. Amazingly, it is still there, beneath a spreading Moreton Bay fig tree alongside the old two storey library building. The current merry-go-round is a replica of the one in the novel, which had already fallen into disrepair during the closing chapters of the book.
The Subiaco Christmas Night of Lights was a fun event held on Rokeby Road last Friday. We enjoyed the food, entertainment and fun atmosphere, and also picked up a couple of free books. The City of Subiaco public library were giving away unwanted stock and we picked up a novel by Tom Keneally and a history of “William Dampier in New Holland”.
Have just finished reading “The Last Man in Europe” by Dennis Glover, which is a partly fictionalised biography of George Orwell. The book includes vivid descriptions of life in London during World War II. At the end of the war, Orwell was living at 27B Canonbury Square in Islington after his previous flat in Kilburn had been destroyed by a bomb. We visited Canonbury Square last year and posted a blog about a nearby interesting tower.
Now a gentrified neighbourhood, Canonbury Square was, when Orwell lived there, a working class area and he uses it as a setting for the home of Winston Smith in his last novel, “Nineteen Eighty Four”.
Ludovico Ariosto, also from Ferrara, and from the same era as Savonarola (previous blog) had an entirely different outlook on life. He was a poet and playwright who first coined the word, “humanism”. He is most famous for the romantic epic poem, “Orlando Furiosa” which is a story of chivalric knights, but with fantasy elements, including a trip to the moon.
Ariosto’s house is now a small museum in Ferrara which is open Tuesday to Sunday and has free entry.
Girolamo Savonarola (see previous blog) was born in Ferrara, Italy in 1452. He entered the Dominican order in Bologna in 1475 and in 1482 was sent to San Marco in Florence where he became a popular preacher, denouncing the worldliness of the church and the ruling Medicis. His tempestuous life is best known by readers of English through George Elliott’s novel, “Romola”.
The statue of Luther in Worms is surrounded by other figures who played a role in the beginnings of the Protestant religions, including John Wycliffe who founded a movement known as the Lollards, Peter Waldo who founded the Waldensians and Girolamo Savonarola, an Italian Dominican friar (below).
Today is the birthday of Martin Luther who is especially remembered this year on the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. In 1517, Martin Luther published his views on indulgences and other practises of the Catholic Church, and in 1521, he appeared before the Diet at Worms, where he was excommunicated by the Pope.
A large monument to Luther and the Reformation was erected in Worms in 1868.