Tag Archives: history


1909: Futurist Manifesto

Just a few years ago, museums and publications around the world marked the 100th anniversary of Futurism, a movement born as a manifesto written and published on the front page of the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro in 1909. The author and proponents of the Futurist Manifesto, F.T. Marinetti and friends, did not so much predict […]


Life in Brief: Gene Stratton-Porter

17 August 1863: Geneva Grace Stratton born in Wabash County, Indiana 1872:                    Her beloved older brother Leander (Laddie) drowns 1875:                    Forced to move to Wabash with family and nine pet birds, shortly before mother dies 1880s:                  …drops out of high school before graduation, dissatisfied with traditional education 1886:                    …marries Charles D. Porter, a successful pharmacist/businessman 13 years […]


Life In Brief: H.G. Wells

21 September 1866: Herbert George (H.G.) Wells born in Bromley to an impoverished family (of six) 1874:                         …breaks his leg in an accident and takes to reading out of boredom 1874-80:                   …studies at Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy 1881:                         …apprenticed to a draper for two years of 13-hour days, sleeps in a dormitory 1880-93:                    …finds great literature by way of […]


1909: The New Woman *200th Post*

Why is it, I wonder, that whenever a woman is unmarried, and ventures to express an opinion of her own these days, men put on that expression you are putting on now and call her the New Woman?                                                                 – Barry Unsworth, The Rage of the Vulture Two young women, worlds apart, the one in England […]


Invitation to a Beheading

A few words of warning from Arnold Bennett on confusing literature and life: It has been asserted that unless I had actually been present at a public execution, I could not have written the chapter in which Sophia was at the Auxerre solemnity. I have not been present at a public execution, as the whole […]

Paris Air Show 1908

The Geography of Character

When most effective, the world inhabited by fictional characters strikes the reader as a concrete place and expresses the characters’ shifting emotional states. In The Author’s Craft, Arnold Bennett describes a street as “a mirror, an illustration, an exposition, an explanation, of the human beings who live in it.” In other words, in a novel: […]


Friday Fun: The King of Hearts

Arnold Bennett’s abundant literary output likely reflects the significant stammer he suffered since early childhood. It prevented him from giving public speeches throughout his life and likely contributed to his marrying late. As biographer Margaret Drabble put it: “The hesitance of his speech made him more direct and incisive in his prose, but women do […]


Those Who Bother With the Past

In a lecture delivered in 2009, the late historical novelists Barry Unsworth spoke about the “unbroken continuity” of the past – unbroken, but not undisrupted. Unsworth first explains how his father, born to a mining village and a mining life, took up the trade at 12 years old. Seven years later, he broke away and […]