Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective – April 2011

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

 
This graphic image  or word cloud was created using Wordle. It is derived from the subjects and authors of postings in PubLib for April 2011. The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented. Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds. These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
 
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been Publib. Publib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing. In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
Publib Topics April 2011

Publib Topics April 2011

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Yugoslav Journey, 1937: Black Lamb & Grey Falcon

Yugoslav Journey, 1937: Black Lamb & Grey Falcon :  Dame Rebecca West

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Rebecca West

Wow, I’ve been on a great journey back in time and through southeastern Europe.  Along the way I had my fill of history, travel, and period commentary.  Through this enormous tome I had a glimpse of the places I visited on a tour group last year as they were in the late 1930s. So where I did “travel” for my reading adventure?  Originally published in 1940, Dame Rebecca West’s Black Lamb & Grey Falcon is considered a masterpiece in travel writing.

Why I read it: It’s a tribute to my trip.

Back Story: During Easter 1937 Dame Rebecca West and her husband Henry Andrews traveled throughout Yugoslavia. (This was one of several trips she made to Yugoslavia in the late 1930s)  In Zagreb, Croatia, they met one of their companions Constantine, a Serb and a poet.  As they traveled, West describes the towns and their history, daily life, and their adventures on the road. When the journey concludes, West finishes off with an epilogue.  A bibliography is included. After the book’s publication, excerpts appeared in “The Atlantic” during 1941.  I also found this 1999 article about Constantine from a Serb-American publication.

Yugoslavia

My thoughts: What a great tome!  I learned a great deal of history about the seven countries and one coastal region West visited during her Yugoslav journey. Since I visited a few of the places West describes in the book, I enjoyed getting a snapshot of how it was in 1937.  I wish a map had been included so the reader could see her travel route and how Yugoslavia’s borders appeared at the time.

Some of the conversations, whether on the road or in a café, provide an invaluable insight into affairs in the Balkans today.  Her description of the places and situations are well written. At times there are humorous moments.  West had her prejudices and favorites as they are revealed in her narrative. While she wrote of her book, “hardly anybody will read by reason of its length” on page 773, that hasn’t been so.  It was worthwhile to read this great book.

Going there today: As I mentioned earlier, I visited Croatia’s famed Dalmatia coast  last August.  Our tour group began in Dubrovnik which is known as the pearl of the Adriatic. (West included Dubrovnik’s old name Ragusa in a chapter title)  During our stay, a few of us took day excursions to Kotor, Montenegro and Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Border crossing isn’t too bad although you may have to wait depending on the volume of cars and buses there. Then we went to Hvar for another few days. Split and Trogir were the last two cities on our itinerary.  In each city we visited, I was impressed with its beauty and history. If you’re looking to try a different part of Europe, this is a great place to travel and it’s safe.

For country profiles of southeast Europe today, a special series “Europe District” has been airing on France 24.

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Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

Royal Reprints: Eleanor Hibbert

 
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Philippa Carr. Victoria Holt.  Jean Plaidy.  Whatever novel you read with any of these names, they are the pseudonyms for the late British novelist Eleanor Hibbert.

Eleanor Hibbert (1906-93) was born in Kensington, outside of London.  She began her writing career by writing short stories for popular publications.  The literary editor at the “Daily Mail” suggested Hibbert to try writing romance instead of serious fiction.  Her first novel Daughter of Anna was published in 1941 and was a success.  Other novels followed with variations of her maiden name. As Hibbert’s writing career progressed, her three famous pseudonyms emerged: Jean Plaidy in 1945, Victoria Holt in 1960, and Philippa Carr in 1972. She also wrote three children’s novels and three history books. There are a few other lesser known pseudonyms as well. Writing occupied much of Hibbert’s time; she didn’t employ a secretary for answering fan mail.  She did take 2-3 month long cruises which provided inspiration for settings in her Victoria Holt novels. When Hibbert died in 1993, she had published over 200 novels.  For a full biography, here’s a reproduced 1993 article about her on this fan website.  Additionally, this fan website is a lovely one to visit.

Sir Thomas More

The first Jean Plaidy title I read was Meg Roper which is the story of St. Thomas More’s daughter. I came across the novel while browsing the fiction section in my high school library.  I knew a little bit about St. Thomas More but not about his family.  The novel gave me an introduction to his favorite daughter and the rest of the More family.  (Note: this novel is one of three books Hibbert wrote for young readers)

I rediscovered Jean Plaidy at the local independent bookstore in town where I attended college.  I never thought I’d see her novels in print and was thrilled to see a few of them on the shelf.  My first purchase was In the Shadow of the Crown, a fictionalized memoir of Mary I, first Queen Regnant of England.  Thus I began my own collection of Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels.

What I enjoy about Hibbert’s Jean Plaidy pseudonym is the beautiful and simple writing style and historical accuracy. From what I’ve seen of her reissued novels, the story may be a personal memoir or in the third person. Some of the novels have a brief historical introduction or an afterward, others don’t. I learn a lot from reading her novels along with the romance and drama. Unfortunately Hibbert’s writing quality declined towards the end of her writing career. Nevertheless I’ve enjoyed reading every novel.

Marie Antoinette

As for Victoria Holt, the only title I’ve read is The Queen’s Confession, a fictionalized personal memoir of Marie-Antoinette.  It’s a well-written story of the French Queen. The majority of Victoria Holt novels are original works however Hibbert wrote a few historical fiction novels with this pseudonym.  Four of her novels have been reissued so far.

I haven’t read anything under the Philippa Carr pseudonym.  Hibbert wrote about a fictional English family through the centuries with this name.  No reissues available so far.

I haven’t seen any new forthcoming Jean Plaidy reissues from the publisher this year.  Here’s a list of titles currently available.  I’ve listed them in historical chronology.  A few categories I made up for simplicity. Please note some titles have changed.  

To see Victoria Holt reissues, they follow immediately after the Jean Plaidy titles with their original publication dates.

Tudor Family and Court

To Hold the Crown (formerly titled Uneasy Lies the Head)

The Thistle and the Rose

Mary, Queen of France

Murder Most Royal

For a Queen’s Love (formerly titled The Spanish Bridegroom)

A Favorite of the Queen (formerly titled Gay Lord Robert)

Henry VIII

Henry VIII - The Ladies' Man

Henry VIII’s Wives

Katherine of Aragon (omnibus edition)

The Lady in the Tower

The Rose without a Thorn

The Sixth Wife

Mary, Queen of Scots

Royal Road to Fotheringhay

The Captive Queen of Scots

 Stuarts

The Murder in the Tower

The Loves of Charles II (omnibus edition)

The Three Crowns

Royal Sisters (formerly titled The Haunted Sisters)

Courting Her Highness (formerly titled The Queen’s Favorites)

Queens of England

The Courts of Love

The Queen’s Secret

The Reluctant Queen

In the Shadow of the Crown

Queen of this Realm

Loyal in Love (formerly titled Myself, My Enemy)

The Merry Monarch’s Wife (formerly titled The Pleasures of Love)

The Queen’s Devotion (formerly titled William’s Wife)

Victoria Victorious

Lucrezia Borgia

Madonna of the Seven Hills

Light on Lucrezia

*Also available in one volume as The Borgias

Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn (1960)

Bride of Pendorric (1963)

On the Night of the Seventh Moon (1972)

Lord of the Far Island (1975)

This concludes a three part installment on my favorite historical novelists. I hope you enjoyed reading and perhaps rediscovered a few old favorites.

 
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Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

Royal Reprints: Margaret Irwin

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert

England 1642.  King Charles I and Parliament clash on the battlefield.  The king’s nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine, son of his sister Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, arrives to fight in the English royal army.  This is his story in The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin.

I came across The Stranger Prince during a weeding project last year.  Margaret Irwin’s name was familiar–I had read her novels about young Elizabeth I in high school.  This one was new to me.  It was a lengthy read, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t know much about Rupert prior to reading this so this novel introduced me to him.

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia

When Irwin’s Elizabeth trilogy was reissued, I was delighted to see it again.  Much has been written about her as Queen of England, but not as much about her formative years. There are predictions for the future in the novels of how people and events will be viewed.  Popular songs of the day are incorporated as part of the story.  If you read an older edition of Elizabeth, Captive Princess, one of the paintings of Elizabeth mentioned in the story may have been included as a plate.

I haven’t read all of Irwin’s historical novels, but I enjoy her writing style. She does a wonderful job bringing the period to life. I was absorbed into Elizabeth and Rupert’s worlds and meeting the people of their day.  Irwin appears to have done her research well for her novels. I was amused with her introduction for The Stranger Prince about compiling a bibliography.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Margaret Irwin (1889-1969) was a well-known English novelist. I was unable to find much biographical information about her besides a Wikipedia entry.  Irwin had a long writing career–her first novel Still She Wished for Company appeared in 1924.  In the 1930s and ’40s, she wrote several novels on the early Stuarts.  Her trilogy about young Elizabeth I prior to her ascension to the throne was published between 1944-53 and is her best known.  The novels were adapted for the 1953 movie “Young Bess” starring the late Jean Simmons in the title role.  (I came across the original review of the movie)  Irwin’s bibliography also includes short story collections and one non-fiction.

Since Irwin’s trilogy on Elizabeth I has been reissued, I hope her other novels will follow.  Whether you read Margaret Irwin years ago or a new reader, her novels are worthwhile reads.

This is the second installment about my favorite historical novelists. Finale: Eleanor Hibbert, a prolific author who used various pseudonyms over her long career.

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Civil War 150: DC

Civil War 150 : District of Columbia and Freedom Rising

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Fort Sumter

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War–the opening salvo was at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor in the early morning hours on April 12, 1861.

The war not only changed the nation–it also changed Washington, DC as a capitol and hometown.

Last month I read Ernest Furgurson’s Freedom Rising, a nonfiction book about DC during the Civil War years. Since I work in DC, the 150th anniversary seemed like a great time to discover the city at that time.

Furgurson writes a fascinating and informative story of how the Civil War impacted the city and shaped it to what is today. When President-elect Lincoln arrived for his inauguration in February 1861, there wasn’t much about DC to attract people for a visit. As the book progresses through the war years, Furgurson introduces the reader to the people, events, and places in the city as well as what happened officially. 

I enjoyed the descriptions of city life and neighborhoods at the time.  The landmarks mentioned are either still standing today or long gone. I recognized some of the people who came to DC for one reason or another while others I didn’t know. 

By April 1865, DC is no longer the sleepy town it once been. Black and white maps of the city are included. I enjoyed this book and learned more about DC along the way.

Around the city and in Maryland and Virginia, you can find Civil War heritage sites to discover and enjoy.  The Washington Post is featuring a special section online  of the 150th anniversary.

On April 15, Emancipation Day will be observed in the District of Columbia.  This city holiday commemorates the signing of the DC Emancipation Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862,  freeing all slaves in DC. 

This Emancipation was enacted  nine months before the more famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

Royal Reprints: Margaret Campbell Barnes

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Elizabeth of York

A young English princess tries on her wedding gown with excitement only for her betrothal to the French Dauphin to be broken shortly afterwards.  So begins the first chapter of The Tudor Rose, a novel about Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII.  I knew who she was but what was she like?  This wonderful novel by the late English novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes provided an answer for me.

Margaret Campbell Barnes (1891-1962) began her career by writing for various leading British literary publications before turning to historical fiction.  Her agents at Curtis Brown Ltd. encourage her to write historical novels.  She wrote ten novels between 1944-62.  In 1944 her son Michael’s death in World War II combat operation devasted her and her husband Peter.  Her love for her son shines in her writing.  (A fuller biography may be found in any of her reissued novels)

I first discovered Margaret Campbell Barnes in high school.  The copy of The Tudor Rose  in my high school library wasn’t very distinctive on the shelf: it was a hardback rebound with the title engraved on the spine.  (I don’t remember if any of Barnes’s novels were there)  I went on to read other historical fiction novels but I didn’t forget this novel. Years would pass before I saw it again…

Tudor Rose

What I enjoy about Barnes’s novels is her writing style and how she brings her subject and the time period to life. As I read, I feel I’m watching what’s happening: the battles, political upheaval, murder, vying for the throne, feasts and royal pageantry, and domestic life. The individual people in her novels, both well-known and lesser known, come alive on the pages.  Because it’s actual history, there are no surprises about the ending. The way Barnes tells the story will have you wanting to know. Barnes follows the historical records about her subjects accurately, and she includes an acknowledgement about her research in her novels.  As an undergrad history major, I appreciate that.

If you enjoyed reading Margaret Campbell Barnes when you were younger, you’ll be delighted her novels have been reissued with beautiful covers after being out of print for many years. I’ve bought four of the reissues including The Tudor Rose. Three of them were new to me so I was in for a treat. (My second favorite is My Lady of Cleves)  Below is a list of Barnes’s reissued novels in chronological order in English history and their original publication dates:

The Passionate Brood (1944)

Within the Hollow Crown (1947)

The Tudor Rose (1953)

Brief Gaudy Hour (1949)

King’s Fool (1959)

My Lady of Cleves (1946)

Mary of Carisbrooke (1956)

This is the first in a three part series about my favorite historical fiction novelists.  Next installment: Margaret Irwin.

 

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective from January 2011 back to January 2010

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

These graphic images or word clouds were created using Wordle. They are derived from the subjects and authors in PubLib from January 2010 to January 27 2011.  The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented.    Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds.  These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been PublibPublib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing.  In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
The first graphic represents the most current information for January 2011 and is followed by the normal sequence of January – December 2010.  
2011 appears somewhat ominous! 
January 2011 PubLib

PubLib January 2010

PubLib February 2010

PubLib March 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib June 2010

 

PubLib July 2010

 

PubLib August 2010

PubLib September 2010

PubLib October 2010

PubLib November 2010

PubLib December 2010

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