Clara and the Maize Sultan

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I have, o Readers, a riddle for you: How is maize like an Ottoman Sultan?

Let me tell you a story. Do you remember Ugo Foscolo and his Salamini/Little Sausages? Do you remember as both I and my friend Dave in the comments wondered how on earth could he have made such a tragedy-killing blunder?

Well, it may be that I know just how… Continue reading

Sunshine Blogger Award!

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And so, my friend Dave over at Karavansara nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award… In truth, he did some ten days ago – but back then I was swimming in chaos, what with Shakespeare in Words approaching fast, and two talks, and everything else. So I asked leave to give a delayed response: and here we are.

Thank you very much, Davide – for the award itself, and for the patience… Continue reading

The Mystery of the Missing Cloak

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Caesar’s cloak is missing.

Not that it’s a real cloak, either – just a large square of thick, dark red fabric. In Shakespeare in Words it does double duty: it is the cloak – the one we all know, the one Caesar first put on one summer evening in his tent – and also stands for the body. And it’s perfectly sized, and doesn’t reflect light, and always falls in good-looking folds… And it is missing. Continue reading

The “No, You’re Crying” Blogathon: Sniffling for Cyrano

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This post is my entry for the “No, You’re Crying” Blogathon, an event hosted by Moon in Gemini – about our favourite tearjerker films…

What is it that makes us cry, at the movies or elsewhere? Whenever the question crops up, I’m reminded of Uncle Vernon in An Awfully Big Adventure, explaining how the lowest notes of the male voice automatically trigger his lachrymal sacs… Continue reading

Back and Musing

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I’m back, I’m back… It’s been a long two computer-less, off-line weeks and a half… Everything happened, computer-wise and otherwise.

Talks to prepare, the new readings of Il Palcoscenico di Carta/The Paper Stage, frantic rehearsals for Shakespeare in Words, and whatnot. Surprisingly, I even managed to squeeze in some writing… Or perhaps not so very surprisingly, after all. It goes with being offline. Continue reading

The Devil Is White

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TheDevilIsWhiteI’d never read anything by William Palmer – unti I got to review his novel The Devil Is White for the Historical Novel Review, some time ago.

And it was a surprise.

The story begins in 1792 England, with a bunch of entusiasts bent on founding their own colonial utopia on an island off the Western coast of Africa – a free, slaveless and democratic utopia, based on hard work, merit and honest interaction with the coastal tribes.

True, the coastal tribes happily thrive on the slave trade – but only for lack of proper morals, a state of things the settlers’ good example and conversion to Christianism are bound to change… Continue reading