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November 10th, 2018

Over the past year and one-half I've watched a series of important movies, and urge my reader to watch them too: in reverse order from which I've seen them: Selma, Norma Rae, A Dry White Season, Judgement at Nuremberg (OLLI at AU); Why We Fight (Capra, Gov't war propaganda films, 6 of them, 1942), Battleship Potemkin, Journey's End, All the King's Men, Paths of Glory, The Guardians (OLLI at Mason), 55 Steps, Buster Keaton (by Bogdonavich), Gavigai, The Bookshop (Cinema Art Film Club), Journey's End ...On my own and with a friend, The Dressmaker, The Wife.


Nadia Murad at the UN

From what I see is an eternal ugliness and cruelty running the US, I turn away towards what is noble in the human spirit. Our choice of essay for today is from Truthdig, by its chief editor, Robert Scheer about a movie made about Nadia Murad, this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. On Her Shoulders by Alexandria Bombach, about the story of this woman's life as rescued and then brought before the United Nations and now put before the world by the human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Three women. An Urgent Call for Humanity ...


Central Park Row by Eric Drooker -- his other covers are haunting or autumnal and I wish some of them were available as wallpaper for my computer .....

I shall not stop posting political material from elsewhere on the Net when it is valuable and I worry that not enough people will see it but I am also going now to return also to what was the way I was using this blog some years ago. All my blogs are also places to think out projects and thoughts. I need to have a place I can put thoughts where I can come back to them readily but where I also work them out more coherently. But this one I was more open about it because I feel most free here as least people come and read it, and least people respond.

So,

After great enjoyment reaching Wolf Hall as part of the Tudor matter and as historical fiction, and 2 summers ago, DuMaurier’s King’s General and Susan Sontag’s Volcano Loverhttps://reveriesunderthesignofausten.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/susan-sontags-the-volcano-lover-a-prophetic-book/ as historical romances, and still inching along to write a book on Winston Graham and Poldark I’m inclined to respond yes to a suggestion that I write reviews in the form of columns on a historical fiction set in the 18th century, preferably recent, but they can go back a bit into the mid- to later 20th century. Often the best and most serious of thes are political and that is what I will read and write about.  It will be for an 18th century society newsletter, Intelligencer. See my review of Martha Bowden's Descendants of Waverley. This,Jerome de Troot's Historical Novel, Consuming History and Diana Walker's Woman's Historical Novel (Helen Hughes's Historical Romance behind it) and some older books on historical fiction, e.g., Avrom Fleishman on the English Historical Novel and of course Lukacs form my theoretic basis.

I found myself up against immediate problems, which come down to the trajectory is at once too large, too amorphous and impossible for such as men to discover. What I can do is write columns on historical fiction of interest to me: that would be early modern to early 19th, probably of feminine sensibility, probably mostly by women but at least centered on women and women’s fictional forms.

Questions of genre interest me: how free should such fiction be to be useful? in what sense useful? read fictionalized biographies against biographies.

Also the state of literary criticism, theory.

Finally I have to like them, be able to want to read them, and not buy superfluously so :

Take them from my library:

Start with Jane Stevenson, The Winter Queen -- the first of a trilogy

Move to Philips’s Crossing the River & look at Unsworth's Sacred Hunger
Last Rose Tremain's Restoration and then Music and Silence ...

See how far that gets me.

Can take French and Italian texts in too.

It’s a question of exploration.

I have joined the Historical Novel Society and am going once again to subscribe to History Today as a paper copy. Eventually the character of this blog will widen and deepen -- I hope.  I am struck by the reality that quite a number of the best noble political films are rooted in previous history, usually not long ago, but there are exceptions, e;.g., Peter Watkins's 1964 docudrama, Culloden, which I showed to one of my classes.

Ellen

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