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ULTIMATE LIBRARY – danse macabre, ex libris, grimm & co, fairy tales, art of reading, tales of mystery & imagination, sherlock holmes theatre, erotic poetry, ideal women

· Saki: The Romancers (short story) · The Unknown Poe. An Anthology of Fugitive Writings by Edgar Allan Poe · The Hatred of Literature by William Marx · We Begin in Gladness. How Poets Progress by Craig Morgan Teicher · Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley · Nadine Akkerman: Invisible Agents Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain · Lezing Ton van Reen over: Vreemdelingen in eigen huis · Saki: Dusk (short story) · Jan Cremer: Jayne · The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells · Jo Nesbø: Macbeth. Blut wird mit Blut bezahlt (Thriller) · Annet Schaap wint De Gouden Griffel 2018 met haar prozadebuut Lampje

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Saki: The Romancers (short story)

The Romancers

It was autumn in London, that blessed season between the harshness of winter and the insincerities of summer; a trustful season when one buys bulbs and sees to the registration of one’s vote, believing perpetually in spring and a change of Government.

Morton Crosby sat on a bench in a secluded corner of Hyde Park, lazily enjoying a cigarette and watching the slow grazing promenade of a pair of snow-geese, the male looking rather like an albino edition of the russet-hued female. Out of the corner of his eye Crosby also noted with some interest the hesitating hoverings of a human figure, which had passed and repassed his seat two or three times at shortening intervals, like a wary crow about to alight near some possibly edible morsel. Inevitably the figure came to an anchorage on the bench, within easy talking distance of its original occupant. The uncared-for clothes, the aggressive, grizzled beard, and the furtive, evasive eye of the new-comer bespoke the professional cadger, the man who would undergo hours of humiliating tale-spinning and rebuff rather than adventure on half a day’s decent work.

For a while the new-comer fixed his eyes straight in front of him in a strenuous, unseeing gaze; then his voice broke out with the insinuating inflection of one who has a story to retail well worth any loiterer’s while to listen to.

“It’s a strange world,” he said.

As the statement met with no response he altered it to the form of a question.

“I daresay you’ve found it to be a strange world, mister?”

“As far as I am concerned,” said Crosby, “the strangeness has worn off in the course of thirty-six years.”

“Ah,” said the greybeard, “I could tell you things that you’d hardly believe. Marvellous things that have really happened to me.”

“Nowadays there is no demand for marvellous things that have really happened,” said Crosby discouragingly; “the professional writers of fiction turn these things out so much better. For instance, my neighbours tell me wonderful, incredible things that their Aberdeens and chows and borzois have done; I never listen to them. On the other hand, I have read ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ three times.”

The greybeard moved uneasily in his seat; then he opened up new country.

“I take it that you are a professing Christian,” he observed.

“I am a prominent and I think I may say an influential member of the Mussulman community of Eastern Persia,” said Crosby, making an excursion himself into the realms of fiction.

The greybeard was obviously disconcerted at this new check to introductory conversation, but the defeat was only momentary.

“Persia. I should never have taken you for a Persian,” he remarked, with a somewhat aggrieved air.

“I am not,” said Crosby; “my father was an Afghan.”

“An Afghan!” said the other, smitten into bewildered silence for a moment. Then he recovered himself and renewed his attack.

“Afghanistan. Ah! We’ve had some wars with that country; now, I daresay, instead of fighting it we might have learned something from it. A very wealthy country, I believe. No real poverty there.”

He raised his voice on the word “poverty” with a suggestion of intense feeling. Crosby saw the opening and avoided it.

“It possesses, nevertheless, a number of highly talented and ingenious beggars,” he said; “if I had not spoken so disparagingly of marvellous things that have really happened I would tell you the story of Ibrahim and the eleven camel-loads of blotting-paper. Also I have forgotten exactly how it ended.”

“My own life-story is a curious one,” said the stranger, apparently stifling all desire to hear the history of Ibrahim; “I was not always as you see me now.”

“We are supposed to undergo complete change in the course of every seven years,” said Crosby, as an explanation of the foregoing announcement.

“I mean I was not always in such distressing circumstances as I am at present,” pursued the stranger doggedly.

“That sounds rather rude,” said Crosby stiffly, “considering that you are at present talking to a man reputed to be one of the most gifted conversationalists of the Afghan border.”

“I don’t mean in that way,” said the greybeard hastily; “I’ve been very much interested in your conversation. I was alluding to my unfortunate financial situation. You mayn’t hardly believe it, but at the present moment I am absolutely without a farthing. Don’t see any prospect of getting any money, either, for the next few days. I don’t suppose you’ve ever found yourself in such a position,” he added.

“In the town of Yom,” said Crosby, “which is in Southern Afghanistan, and which also happens to be my birthplace, there was a Chinese philosopher who used to say that one of the three chiefest human blessings was to be absolutely without money. I forget what the other two were.”

“Ah, I daresay,” said the stranger, in a tone that betrayed no enthusiasm for the philosopher’s memory; “and did he practise what he preached? That’s the test.”

“He lived happily with very little money or resources,” said Crosby.

“Then I expect he had friends who would help him liberally whenever he was in difficulties, such as I am in at present.”

“In Yom,” said Crosby, “it is not necessary to have friends in order to obtain help. Any citizen of Yom would help a stranger as a matter of course.”

The greybeard was now genuinely interested.

The conversation had at last taken a favourable turn.

“If someone, like me, for instance, who was in undeserved difficulties, asked a citizen of that town you speak of for a small loan to tide over a few days’ impecuniosity — five shillings, or perhaps a rather larger sum — would it be given to him as a matter of course?”

“There would be a certain preliminary,” said Crosby; “one would take him to a wine-shop and treat him to a measure of wine, and then, after a little high-flown conversation, one would put the desired sum in his hand and wish him good-day. It is a roundabout way of performing a simple transaction, but in the East all ways are roundabout.”

The listener’s eyes were glittering.

“Ah,” he exclaimed, with a thin sneer ringing meaningly through his words, “I suppose you’ve given up all those generous customs since you left your town. Don’t practise them now, I expect.”

“No one who has lived in Yom,” said Crosby fervently, “and remembers its green hills covered with apricot and almond trees, and the cold water that rushes down like a caress from the upland snows and dashes under the little wooden bridges, no one who remembers these things and treasures the memory of them would ever give up a single one of its unwritten laws and customs. To me they are as binding as though I still lived in that hallowed home of my youth.”

“Then if I was to ask you for a small loan —” began the greybeard fawningly, edging nearer on the seat and hurriedly wondering how large he might safely make his request, “if I was to ask you for, say —”

“At any other time, certainly,” said Crosby; “in the months of November and December, however, it is absolutely forbidden for anyone of our race to give or receive loans or gifts; in fact, one does not willingly speak of them. It is considered unlucky. We will therefore close this discussion.”

“But it is still October!” exclaimed the adventurer with an eager, angry whine, as Crosby rose from his seat; “wants eight days to the end of the month!”

“The Afghan November began yesterday,” said Crosby severely, and in another moment he was striding across the Park, leaving his recent companion scowling and muttering furiously on the seat.

“I don’t believe a word of his story,” he chattered to himself; “pack of nasty lies from beginning to end. Wish I’d told him so to his face. Calling himself an Afghan!”

The snorts and snarls that escaped from him for the next quarter of an hour went far to support the truth of the old saying that two of a trade never agree.

The Romancers
From ‘Beasts and Super-Beasts’
by Saki (H. H. Munro)
(1870 – 1916)

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Saki, Saki, The Art of Reading


The Unknown Poe. An Anthology of Fugitive Writings by Edgar Allan Poe

An indispensable anthology of brilliant hard-to-find writings by Poe on poetry, the imagination, humor, and the sublime which adds a new dimension to his stature as a speculative thinker and philosopher. Essays (in translation) by Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Valéry, & André Breton shed light on Poe’s relevance within European literary tradition.

These are the arcana of Edgar Allan Poe: writings on wit, humor, dreams, drunkenness, genius, madness, and apocalypse. Here is the mind of Poe at its most colorful, its most incisive, and its most exceptional.

Edgar Allan Poe’s dark, melodic poems and tales of terror and detection are known to readers everywhere, but few are familiar with his cogent literary criticism, or his speculative thinking in science, psychology or philosophy. This book is an attempt to present his lesser known, out of print, or hard to find writings in a single volume, with emphasis on the theoretical and esoteric. The second part, “The Friend View,” includes seminal essays by Poe’s famous admirers in France, clarifying his international literary importance.

America has never seen such a personage as Edgar Allan Poe. He is a figure who appears once an epoch, before passing into myth. American critics from Henry James to T. S. Eliot have disparaged and attempted to explain away his influence to no end, save to perpetuate his fame. Even the disdainful Eliot once conceded, “and yet one cannot be sure that one’s own writing has not been influence by Poe.”

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), born in Boston, Massachusetts, was an American poet, writer, editor, and literary critic. He is well known for his haunting poetry and mysterious short stories. Regarded as being a central figure of Romanticism, he is also considered the inventor of detective fiction and the growing science fiction genre. Some of his most famous works include poems such as The Raven, Annabel Lee, and A Dream Within a Dream; tales such as The Cask of Amontillado, The Masque of Red Death, and The Tell-Tale Heart.

Title: The Unknown Poe
Subtitle: An Anthology of Fugitive Writings
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Edited by Raymond Foye
Publisher: City Lights Publishers
Format: Paperback
124 pages
1980
ISBN-10 0872861104
ISBN-13 9780872861107
List Price $11.95

# American writers
Edgar Allan Poe
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The Hatred of Literature by William Marx

For the last 2,500 years literature has been attacked, booed, and condemned, often for the wrong reasons and occasionally for very good ones. The Hatred of Literature examines the evolving idea of literature as seen through the eyes of its adversaries: philosophers, theologians, scientists, pedagogues, and even leaders of modern liberal democracies.

From Plato to C. P. Snow to Nicolas Sarkozy, literature’s haters have questioned the value of literature—its truthfulness, virtue, and usefulness—and have attempted to demonstrate its harmfulness.

Literature does not start with Homer or Gilgamesh, William Marx says, but with Plato driving the poets out of the city, like God casting Adam and Eve out of Paradise. That is its genesis. From Plato the poets learned for the first time that they served not truth but merely the Muses. It is no mere coincidence that the love of wisdom (philosophia) coincided with the hatred of poetry. Literature was born of scandal, and scandal has defined it ever since.

In the long rhetorical war against literature, Marx identifies four indictments—in the name of authority, truth, morality, and society. This typology allows him to move in an associative way through the centuries. In describing the misplaced ambitions, corruptible powers, and abysmal failures of literature, anti-literary discourses make explicit what a given society came to expect from literature. In this way, anti-literature paradoxically asserts the validity of what it wishes to deny. The only threat to literature’s continued existence, Marx writes, is not hatred but indifference.

William Marx is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Paris Nanterre.

The Hatred of Literature
William Marx
Translated by Nicholas Elliott
Belknap Press
Harvard University Press
ISBN 9780674976122
Publ.: January 2018
Hardcover
240 pages
€27.00

# new books
William Marx – The Hatred of Literature
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We Begin in Gladness. How Poets Progress by Craig Morgan Teicher

“The staggering thing about a life’s work is it takes a lifetime to complete,” Craig Morgan Teicher writes in these luminous essays.

We Begin in Gladness considers how poets start out, how they learn to hear themselves, and how some offer us that rare, glittering thing: lasting work. Teicher traces the poetic development of the works of Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery, Louise Glück, and Francine J. Harris, among others, to illuminate the paths they forged—by dramatic breakthroughs or by slow increments, and always by perseverance.

We Begin in Gladness is indispensable for readers curious about the artistic life and for writers wondering how they might light out—or even scale the peak of the mountain.

Though it seems, at first, like an art of speaking, poetry is an art of listening. The poet trains to hear clearly and, as much as possible, without interruption, the voice of the mind, the voice that gathers, packs with meaning, and unpacks the language the poet knows.

It can take a long time to learn to let this voice speak without getting in its way. This slow learning, the growth of this habit of inner attentiveness, is poetic development, and it is the substance of the poet’s art. Of course, this growth is rarely steady, never linear, and is sometimes not actually growth but diminishment—that’s all part of the compelling story of a poet’s way forward. —from the Introduction

Craig Morgan Teicher is an acclaimed poet and critic. He is the author of We Begin in Gladness: How Poets Progress, and three books of poetry, including The Trembling Answers, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and he regularly writes reviews for Los Angeles Times, NPR, and the New York Times Book Review. He lives in New Jersey.

We Begin in Gladness.
How Poets Progress
by Craig Morgan Teicher
Publication Date 11/6/18
Format: Paperback
ISBN 978-1-55597-821-1
Subject: Literary Criticism
Pages 176
Graywolf Press
$16.00

# new books
more info: http://craigmorganteicher.com/
How Poets Progress
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley

For the bicentennial of its first publication, Mary Shelley’s original 1818 text, introduced by National Book Critics Circle award-winner Charlotte Gordon. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

2018 marks the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel. For the first time, Penguin Classics will publish the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley’s relationship with her mother—trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother’s ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.

This edition includes a new introduction and suggestions for further reading by National Book Critics Circle award-winner and Shelley expert Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts and reviews selected by Gordon, and a chronology and essay by preeminent Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.

Mary Shelley: The daughter of Mary Wollestonecraft, the ardent feminist and author of A Vindication on the Right of Women, and William Godwin, the radical-anarchist philosopher and author of Lives of the Necromancers, Mary Goodwin was born into a freethinking, revolutionary household in London on August 30,1797. Educated mainly by her intellectual surroundings, she had little formal schooling and at 16 eloped with the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; they eventually married in 1816. Mary Shelley’s life had many tragic elements. Her mother died giving birth to Mary; her half-sister committed suicide; Harriet Shelley (Percy’s wife) drowned herself and her unborn child after he ran off with Mary. William Godwin disowned Mary and Shelley after their elopement, but—heavily in debt—recanted and came to them for money; Mary’s first child died soon after its birth; and in 1822 Percy Shelley drowned in the Gulf of La Spezia—when Mary was not quite 25. Mary Shelley recalled that her husband was “forever inciting” her to “obtain literary reputation.” But she did not begin to write seriously until the summer of 1816, when she and Shelley were in Switzerland, neighbor to Lord Byron. One night following a contest to compose ghost stories, Mary conceived her masterpiece, Frankenstein. After Shelley’s death she continued to write Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), Ladore (1835), and Faulkner (1837), in addition to editing her husband’s works. In 1838 she began to work on his biography, but owing to poor health she completed only a fragment. Although she received marriage proposals from Trelawney, John Howard Payne, and perhaps Washington Irving, Mary Shelley never remarried. “I want to be Mary Shelley on my tombstone,” she is reported to have said. She died on February 1, 1851, survived by her son, Percy Florence.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Frankenstein: The 1818 Text
By Mary Shelley
Introduction by Charlotte Gordon
Contribution by Charlotte Gordon
Fiction Classics
Paperback
Penguin Random House
Published by Penguin Classics
Jan 16, 2018
288 Pages
ISBN 9780143131847
$10.00

# new books
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
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Nadine Akkerman: Invisible Agents Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain

A compelling history of women in seventeenth century espionage, telling the forgotten tales of women from all walks of life who acted as spies in early modern Britain.

Nadine Akkerman has immersed herself in archives and letter collections, acting as a modern-day Spymistress to unearth plots and conspiracies that have long been hidden by history.

It would be easy for the modern reader to conclude that women had no place in the world of early modern espionage, with a few seventeenth-century women spies identified and then relegated to the footnotes of history.

If even the espionage carried out by Susan Hyde, sister of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, during the turbulent decades of civil strife in Britain can escape the historiographer’s gaze, then how many more like her lurk in the archives?

Nadine Akkerman’s search for an answer to this question has led to the writing of Invisible Agents, the very first study to analyse the role of early modern women spies, demonstrating that the allegedly-male world of the spy was more than merely infiltrated by women.

This compelling and ground-breaking contribution to the history of espionage details a series of case studies in which women – from playwright to postmistress, from lady-in-waiting to laundry woman – acted as spies, sourcing and passing on confidential information on account of political and religious convictions or to obtain money or power.

The struggle of the She-Intelligencers to construct credibility in their own time is mirrored in their invisibility in modern historiography.

Akkerman has immersed herself in archives, libraries, and private collections, transcribing hundreds of letters, breaking cipher codes and their keys, studying invisible inks, and interpreting riddles, acting as a modern-day Spymistress to unearth plots and conspiracies that have long remained hidden by history.

Nadine Akkerman is Reader in early modern English Literature at Leiden University and Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. She is author of the critically acclaimed Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain (OUP), and of The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia (OUP), the third and final volume of which will be published in 2020, and is currently writing the definitive biography of Elizabeth Stuart. She has also published extensively on women’s history, diplomacy, and masques, and curated several exhibitions, including the popular Courtly Rivals at the Haags Historisch Museum. In 2017 she was elected to The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received a Special Recognition Award from the World Cultural Council.

Invisible Agents
Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain
Nadine Akkerman
Language: English
Oxford University Press
Hardcover
288 pages
Published: 12 July 2018
8 colour plates & 12 black and white images
234x156mm
ISBN-10: 0198823010
ISBN-13: 978-0198823018
£20.00

# new books
Nadine Akkerman:
Invisible Agents

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Lezing Ton van Reen over: Vreemdelingen in eigen huis

Aanstaande woensdag,  7 november,  geeft schrijver Ton van Reen een lezing in de jaarlijkse lezingencyclus van het Dr. Winand Roukens Fonds, aan de Universiteit van Maastricht.

De lezing vindt plaats in de Karl Dittrichzaal van de Universiteit te Maastricht, in het voormalige Bonnefantenklooster, Bonnefantenstraat 2 te Maastricht.

Het thema van de lezingencyclus van het WRF is in dit studiejaar ‘Vreemd in Limburg’.

De eerste lezing werd gehouden door prof. Joep Geraets, hoogleraar genetica en celbiologie over ‘vreemd DNA in Limburg’. De tweede werd gehouden door Dr. Lotte Thissen, cultureel antropoloog, en had als thema de taal waarin wij met elkaar omgaan. De derde lezing is door Ton van Reen. De vierde lezing, over arbeid door buitenlanders zoals Polen, wordt gehouden door Karolina Swoboda, eigenaar van een van de grootste organisaties voor arbeidsbemiddeling in Europa.

In zijn lezing zal Ton van Reen vooral vertellen over de mensen die niet bij ons mochten horen, de vreemdelingen in eigen huis. Omdat ze door de katholieke kerk benoemd waren tot kinderen van de duivel: de kubla walda, de kaboten, de kabouters. In het kort, de door de rk Kerk verstoten kinderen, zoals de kinderen die werden geboren met het syndroom van Down, die volgens de kerk duivelskinderen waren, omdat hun vader de duivel zou zijn en hun moeder omgang had met de duivel.

De rk Kerk heeft altijd de mensen die haar niet goed gezind waren, of van wie ze niet wilden dat ze katholiek werden, in verband gebracht met de duivel, zoals joden, roma en sinti, vrouwen die van hekserij werden beschuldigd, enzovoort.

De duivel zou een geest zijn die zelf niet kon handelen , maar handlangers op aarde nodig had om zijn kwalijke werken uit te voeren, zoals misoogsten, uitbraken van pest en andere plagen, veeziektes , die tot hongersnoden hebben geleid, kinderroof, en zo meer.

Meer dan tien eeuwen lang heeft de kerk de mensen angst aangepraat voor alles wat anders was in de ogen van priesters en voor iedereen die anders dacht of een ander geloof aanhing.

Duizenden mensen, alleen al in het huidige Limburg, waren het slachtoffer van deze vervolgingen door een organisatie die zich boven alles verheven voelde en beschikte over leven en dood.

In de hele wereld werden er miljoenen mensen geslachtofferd en vaak na gruwelijke martelingen vermoord door een organisatie die zegt liefde te prediken maar haat heeft gezaaid en mensen tegen elkaar heeft opgezet.

Aanstaande woensdag, 7 november 2018, lezing van schrijver Ton van Reen in de jaarlijkse lezingencyclus van het Dr. Winand Roukens Fonds, aan de Universiteit van Maastricht.

De lezing vindt plaats in de Karl Dittrichzaal van de Universiteit te Maastricht, in het voormalige Bonnefantenklooster, Bonnefantenstraat 2 te Maastricht. De aanvang is om 16.00 uur. Graag iets eerder aanwezig. Einde om 18.00 uur. Iedereen is welkom.

# lezingen
Ton van Reen
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Saki: Dusk (short story)

Dusk

Norman Gortsby sat on a bench in the Park, with his back to a strip of bush-planted sward, fenced by the park railings, and the Row fronting him across a wide stretch of carriage drive. Hyde Park Corner, with its rattle and hoot of traffic, lay immediately to his right. It was some thirty minutes past six on an early March evening, and dusk had fallen heavily over the scene, dusk mitigated by some faint moonlight and many street lamps. There was a wide emptiness over road and sidewalk, and yet there were many unconsidered figures moving silently through the half-light, or dotted unobtrusively on bench and chair, scarcely to be distinguished from the shadowed gloom in which they sat.

The scene pleased Gortsby and harmonised with his present mood. Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated. Men and women, who had fought and lost, who hid their fallen fortunes and dead hopes as far as possible from the scrutiny of the curious, came forth in this hour of gloaming, when their shabby clothes and bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes might pass unnoticed, or, at any rate, unrecognised.

A king that is conquered must see strange looks, So bitter a thing is the heart of man.

The wanderers in the dusk did not choose to have strange looks fasten on them, therefore they came out in this bat-fashion, taking their pleasure sadly in a pleasure-ground that had emptied of its rightful occupants. Beyond the sheltering screen of bushes and palings came a realm of brilliant lights and noisy, rushing traffic. A blazing, many-tiered stretch of windows shone through the dusk and almost dispersed it, marking the haunts of those other people, who held their own in life’s struggle, or at any rate had not had to admit failure. So Gortsby’s imagination pictured things as he sat on his bench in the almost deserted walk. He was in the mood to count himself among the defeated. Money troubles did not press on him; had he so wished he could have strolled into the thoroughfares of light and noise, and taken his place among the jostling ranks of those who enjoyed prosperity or struggled for it. He had failed in a more subtle ambition, and for the moment he was heartsore and disillusionised, and not disinclined to take a certain cynical pleasure in observing and labelling his fellow wanderers as they went their ways in the dark stretches between the lamp-lights.

On the bench by his side sat an elderly gentleman with a drooping air of defiance that was probably the remaining vestige of self-respect in an individual who had ceased to defy successfully anybody or anything. His clothes could scarcely be called shabby, at least they passed muster in the half-light, but one’s imagination could not have pictured the wearer embarking on the purchase of a half-crown box of chocolates or laying out ninepence on a carnation buttonhole. He belonged unmistakably to that forlorn orchestra to whose piping no one dances; he was one of the world’s lamenters who induce no responsive weeping. As he rose to go Gortsby imagined him returning to a home circle where he was snubbed and of no account, or to some bleak lodging where his ability to pay a weekly bill was the beginning and end of the interest he inspired. His retreating figure vanished slowly into the shadows, and his place on the bench was taken almost immediately by a young man, fairly well dressed but scarcely more cheerful of mien than his predecessor. As if to emphasise the fact that the world went badly with him the new-corner unburdened himself of an angry and very audible expletive as he flung himself into the seat.

“You don’t seem in a very good temper,” said Gortsby, judging that he was expected to take due notice of the demonstration.

The young man turned to him with a look of disarming frankness which put him instantly on his guard.

“You wouldn’t be in a good temper if you were in the fix I’m in,” he said; “I’ve done the silliest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

“Yes?” said Gortsby dispassionately.

“Came up this afternoon, meaning to stay at the Patagonian Hotel in Berkshire Square,” continued the young man; “when I got there I found it had been pulled down some weeks ago and a cinema theatre run up on the site. The taxi driver recommended me to another hotel some way off and I went there. I just sent a letter to my people, giving them the address, and then I went out to buy some soap — I’d forgotten to pack any and I hate using hotel soap. Then I strolled about a bit, had a drink at a bar and looked at the shops, and when I came to turn my steps back to the hotel I suddenly realised that I didn’t remember its name or even what street it was in. There’s a nice predicament for a fellow who hasn’t any friends or connections in London! Of course I can wire to my people for the address, but they won’t have got my letter till tomorrow; meantime I’m without any money, came out with about a shilling on me, which went in buying the soap and getting the drink, and here I am, wandering about with twopence in my pocket and nowhere to go for the night.”

There was an eloquent pause after the story had been told. “I suppose you think I’ve spun you rather an impossible yarn,” said the young man presently, with a suggestion of resentment in his voice.

“Not at all impossible,” said Gortsby judicially; “I remember doing exactly the same thing once in a foreign capital, and on that occasion there were two of us, which made it more remarkable. Luckily we remembered that the hotel was on a sort of canal, and when we struck the canal we were able to find our way back to the hotel.”

The youth brightened at the reminiscence. “In a foreign city I wouldn’t mind so much,” he said; “one could go to one’s Consul and get the requisite help from him. Here in one’s own land one is far more derelict if one gets into a fix. Unless I can find some decent chap to swallow my story and lend me some money I seem likely to spend the night on the Embankment. I’m glad, anyhow, that you don’t think the story outrageously improbable.”

He threw a good deal of warmth into the last remark, as though perhaps to indicate his hope that Gortsby did not fall far short of the requisite decency.

“Of course,” said Gortsby slowly, “the weak point of your story is that you can’t produce the soap.”

The young man sat forward hurriedly, felt rapidly in the pockets of his overcoat, and then jumped to his feet.

“I must have lost it,” he muttered angrily.

“To lose an hotel and a cake of soap on one afternoon suggests wilful carelessness,” said Gortsby, but the young man scarcely waited to hear the end of the remark. He flitted away down the path, his head held high, with an air of somewhat jaded jauntiness.

“It was a pity,” mused Gortsby; “the going out to get one’s own soap was the one convincing touch in the whole story, and yet it was just that little detail that brought him to grief. If he had had the brilliant forethought to provide himself with a cake of soap, wrapped and sealed with all the solicitude of the chemist’s counter, he would have been a genius in his particular line. In his particular line genius certainly consists of an infinite capacity for taking precautions.”

With that reflection Gortsby rose to go; as he did so an exclamation of concern escaped him. Lying on the ground by the side of the bench was a small oval packet, wrapped and sealed with the solicitude of a chemist’s counter. It could be nothing else but a cake of soap, and it had evidently fallen out of the youth’s overcoat pocket when he flung himself down on the seat. In another moment Gortsby was scudding along the dusk-shrouded path in anxious quest for a youthful figure in a light overcoat. He had nearly given up the search when he caught sight of the object of his pursuit standing irresolutely on the border of the carriage drive, evidently uncertain whether to strike across the Park or make for the bustling pavements of Knightsbridge. He turned round sharply with an air of defensive hostility when he found Gortsby hailing him.

“The important witness to the genuineness of your story has turned up,” said Gortsby, holding out the cake of soap; “it must have slid out of your overcoat pocket when you sat down on the seat. I saw it on the ground after you left. You must excuse my disbelief, but appearances were really rather against you, and now, as I appealed to the testimony of the soap I think I ought to abide by its verdict. If the loan of a sovereign is any good to you —”

The young man hastily removed all doubt on the subject by pocketing the coin.

“Here is my card with my address,” continued Gortsby; “any day this week will do for returning the money, and here is the soap — don’t lose it again it’s been a good friend to you.”

“Lucky thing your finding it,” said the youth, and then, with a catch in his voice, he blurted out a word or two of thanks and fled headlong in the direction of Knightsbridge.

“Poor boy, he as nearly as possible broke down,” said Gortsby to himself. “I don’t wonder either; the relief from his quandary must have been acute. It’s a lesson to me not to be too clever in judging by circumstances.”

As Gortsby retraced his steps past the seat where the little drama had taken place he saw an elderly gentleman poking and peering beneath it and on all sides of it, and recognised his earlier fellow occupant.

“Have you lost anything, sir?” he asked.

“Yes, sir, a cake of soap.”

Dusk
From ‘Beasts and Super-Beasts’
by Saki (H. H. Munro)
(1870 – 1916)

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Saki, Saki, The Art of Reading


Jan Cremer: Jayne

In 1964 werd de eerste Ik Jan Cremer opgedragen aan sekssymbool en actrice Jayne Mansfield.

Ze noemde het boek ‘a wild and sexy masterpiece’ en de auteur ‘my Pop Hero’. Omdat Jan Cremer na een oorlog met zijn Amerikaanse uitgever financieel aan de grond zit, gaat hij ermee akkoord de wereldberoemde Jayne Mansfield te vergezellen op een publiciteits-, theater- en nachtclubtournee, maar voor Jan het weet sleurt de dominante Mansfield haar Hollandse verovering mee op een krankzinnige reis door Zuid-Amerika.

Door de ogen van Jan Cremer zien we hoe de onmogelijke diva ‘La Mansfield’ zich wentelt in haar beroemdheid en haar omgeving betovert, terroriseert en tot wanhoop brengt.

Het was allemaal begonnen met de ansichtkaarten die vrienden mij hadden gestuurd en die aan de wand van mijn atelier prijkten. Kleurrijke pin-upfoto’s van een romige vrouw met een lief gezicht, voluptueuze borsten en sensuele lippen. Zij straalde alles uit wat mijn ideale vrouw moest hebben.

Schrijver en beeldend kunstenaar Jan Cremer (1940) stamt van vaderszijde uit een familie van hoefsmeden en beroepsmilitairen uit Pruisen en Hessen, zijn moeders familie is afkomstig uit Hongarije. Korte tijd volgde hij een opleiding aan de Academie voor Beeldende Kunst in Arnhem. Als schilder kreeg hij snel erkenning met zijn ‘peinture barbarisme’, intussen reist hij veel en woont overal.

In 1964 verscheen zijn eerste roman, Ik Jan Cremer. Het boek is een soort autobiografie, een moderne schelmenroman over het woelige leven van Cremer zelf. Al eerder hadden zijn uitspraken de emoties al doen oplopen, maar bij de verschijning van ‘de onverbiddelijke bestseller’ was de rel compleet. In het gereformeerde Nederland van de jaren zestig werd Cremer gezien als een staatsgevaarlijk individu, een slecht voorbeeld voor de jeugd dat dierlijke driften bij zijn publiek losmaakte. Tegelijk werd hij geprezen door beroemde collega’s zoals Willem Frederik Hermans.

In 1966 kwam Ik Jan Cremer Tweede Boek uit, dat eveneens een groot succes was en wereldwijd werd vertaald.
Meer informatie op website www.jancremer.com

Auteur: Jan Cremer
Titel: Jayne
Taal: Nederlands
Bindwijze: Gebonden
1e druk oktober 2018
160 pagina’s
ISBN13 9789403135908
Uitgever De Bezige Bij
€ 19,99

# new books
Jan Cremer
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

H. G. Wells was born Herbert George in Bromley, Kent, England, on September 21, 1866. His father was a professional cricketer and sometimes shopkeeper, his mother a former lady’s maid.

Although “Bertie” left school at fourteen to become a draper’s apprentice (a life he detested), he later won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, where he studied with the famous Thomas Henry Huxley. He began to sell articles and short stories regularly in 1893.

In 1895, his immediately successful novel rescued him from a life of penury on a schoolteacher’s salary. His other “scientific romances”—The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), and The War in the Air (1908)—won him the distinction as the father of science fiction.

Henry James saw in Wells the most gifted writer of the age, but Wells, having coined the phrase “the war that will end war” to describe World War I, became increasingly disillusioned and focused his attention on educating mankind with his bestselling Outline of History (1920) and his later utopian works. Living until 1946, Wells witnessed a world more terrible than any of his imaginative visions, and he bitterly observed: “Reality has taken a leaf from my book and set itself to supercede me.”

The War of the Worlds (1898) conjures a terrifying, tentacled race of Martians who devastate the Earth and feed on their human victims while their voracious vegetation, the red weed, spreads over the ruined planet. After the novel’s hero finds himself trapped in what is left of London, despairing at the destruction of human civilization, he discovers that life on Earth is more resilient than he had imagined. Adapted by Orson Welles for his notorious 1938 radio drama and subsequently by many filmmakers, H. G. Wells’s timeless story shows no sign of losing its grip on readers’ imaginations.

The War of the Worlds
By H.G. Wells
Category: Science Fiction
Paperback
Nov 06, 2018
192 Pages
$8.00
Published by Vintage
ISBN 9780525564164

# Books That Everyone Should Read
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Jo Nesbø: Macbeth. Blut wird mit Blut bezahlt (Thriller)

Er kennt seine Feinde nur allzu gut. Inspector Macbeth ist der taffste Cop in einer maroden Industriestadt im Norden.

Einen Deal nach dem anderen lässt er hochgehen, die Drogenbosse beißen sich an ihm die Zähne aus. Doch irgendwann wird die Verlockung zu groß: Geld, Respekt, Macht. Schnell aber wird ihm klar, dass einer wie er, der schon in der Gosse war, niemals ganz nach oben kommen wird. Außer – er tötet.

Angestachelt von seiner Geliebten, schafft er sich einen Konkurrenten nach dem anderen vom Hals. In seinem Blutrausch merkt er nicht, dass er längst jenen dunklen Kräften verfallen ist, denen er einst den Kampf angesagt hat.

Jo Nesbø, 1960 geboren, ist Ökonom, Journalist, Musiker und zählt zu den renommiertesten und innovativsten Krimiautoren seiner Generation. Seine Bücher sind in über 50 Sprachen übersetzt, werden verfilmt, und von seinen Harry-Hole-Thrillern wurden allein im deutschsprachigen Raum über 5 Millionen Exemplare verkauft. »Macbeth« ist sein neuester Thriller, der u.a. in Skandinavien, Großbritannien und den USA auf der Bestsellerliste stand. Jo Nesbø lebt in Oslo.

André Mumot (Übersetzer): André Mumot ist promovierter Kulturwissenschaftler, Journalist, Autor und Literaturübersetzer. Seit 2008 übersetzt er Autoren wie Neil Gaiman, Raquel J. Palacio, Nick Harkaway und Aleksandar Hemon. Er lebt in Berlin.

Jo Nesbø
Macbeth
Blut wird mit Blut bezahlt.
Thriller
Internationaler Bestseller
Originaltitel: Macbeth
Originalverlag: Hogarth
Aus dem Englischen von André Mumot
Gebundenes Buch mit Schutzumschlag
624 Seiten
13,5 x 21,5 cm
ISBN: 978-3-328-60017-6
€ 24,00 [D]
Verlag: Penguin
Erscheinungstermin: 27. August 2018

# new novel
Jo Nesbø – Macbeth
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Annet Schaap wint De Gouden Griffel 2018 met haar prozadebuut Lampje

De Gouden Griffel is gewonnen door Annet Schaap voor haar prozadebuut Lampje.

De bekendste kinderboekenprijs van Nederland en Vlaanderen is gisteren bekendgemaakt en uitgereikt op het Kinderboekenbal in Amsterdam.

Annet Schaap is geen onbekende in de Nederlandse kinderboekenwereld: velen kennen haar illustraties uit de Hoe overleef ik-reeks van Francine Oomen, de boeken van Janneke Schotveld en Jacques Vriens.

De Gouden Griffel is de derde prijs die zij wint voor Lampje (Querido): al eerder ontving zij de Nienke van Hichtum-prijs en de Woutertje Pieterse Prijs. De overige genomineerden waren Joukje Akveld, Annet Huizing, Pim Lammers, Joke van Leeuwen, Marit Törnqvist, Susanne Wouda, Bette Westera, Tjibbe Veldkamp en Edward van de Vendel.

Annet wilde altijd al tekenaar worden of schrijver of ontdekkingsreizigster. Ze studeerde aan twee kunstacademies en een schrijversschool. Sinds 1991 illustreerde ze bijna 200 kinderboeken en is in Nederland het meest bekend door haar tekeningen in de succesvolle kinderboeken van Francine Oomen, Janneke Schotveld en Jacques Vriens.

           

kinderboekenweek van 3 t/m 14 oktober 2018

De Gouden Griffel:  Annet Schaap – Lampje

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive S-T, Awards & Prizes, Grimm, Andersen e.o.: Fables, Fairy Tales & Stories, Illustrators, Illustration, Kinderboekenweek


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