A Tale of Two (Small) Cities

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Sydney1911Vitagraph was perhaps the most famous amongst the Nickelodeon Era studios, specializing in historical scenes and literary adaptations. Back in the time of one- or two-reel movies, these pioneers adapted for the screen a good deal of Shakespeare and classic novels – the challenge being to tell a complete story in ten or twenty minutes. Continue reading

Captain Salgari

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n4_art2_corsaroneroYou can blame this one on Davide Mana, and his Salgari post over at Karavansara, for reminding me of how I too was subjected to Salgari as a child: in Italy there used to be this curious notion that no childhood could be considered complete without a hefty dose of Malay Pirates and Multi-coloured Corsairs. That went especially for boys, but girls weren’t always allowed to go immune…

I, for one, wasn’t. One summer day, when I was about ten, a distant cousin of my mother’s descended on me with a whole box of vintage Salgari – his own childhood reading choice, some fifteen or twenty hardbacks, with tiger-coloured* covers. He had loved them, he said, and I was going to love them too. Continue reading

The Way of Henry James

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We were speaking of notebooks, remember?

Portrait of Henry JamesWell, Henry James was one compulsive notebooker. He always had one with him, where he noted ideas and interesting conversations, he brainstormed plot and characters and recorded engagements and addresses. Among other things, in one of them is found his solemn decision of giving up playwriting after Guy Domville flopped.

Poor Mr. James… Continue reading

In Praise of the Notebook

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Time_Notebook_Screenshot_2.480x480-75Oh, the notebook – the vital, lovely, indispensable notebook!

It’s taken me ages to learn to always, but always have one at hand. Ages and endless frustration (and a certain amount of tears) over lost ideas, scraps of descriptions, book references and all sorts of things – things that never became notes, because I didn’t have the means to jot them down at the moment. Continue reading

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