Reading Sherlock Holmes in Context

Today’s feature is a guest post on social networks in the Sherlock Holmes novella The Sign of the Four, by former student Helen Kirrane.  Helen studied English at University College Dublin. Her research interests are late Victorian gothic fiction, the literature of the fin de siècle, and the aesthetic movement. First published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine…

Fun with Search Terms

Today, out of curiosity, I decided to take a peek at the search terms that people have found The Sea of Books with, over the year that our blog has been in existence. The results were intriguing, but suggest to me that I may want to think about doing some kind of search engine optimisation……

Jane Austen’s Social Networks

On July 18th two hundred years ago, at a house in Winchester, Jane Austen died at the relatively young age of 41.  She had laid down her pen twelve chapters into her final novel (The Brothers, later published as Sanditon) in March of 1817, due to her worsening health, and it would remain unfinished.  Her…

Cat got your collar?

Unsure of how to wear regurgitated lace? Well, Cranford’s Mrs Forrester has the answer. In Chapter 8 of Elizabeth Gaskell’s celebrated novel, Mrs Forrester advises us on how to retrieve a prized piece of lace from the belly of your pet. “Of course, your ladyship knows that such lace must never be starched or ironed. Some people wash…

Image Gallery of the Week: Kisses

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our readers!  We may have gone quiet for a while, but we’ve not been idle – just busy working on a few new projects. As an apology, please enjoy a selection of our favourite kisses from Flickr Commons!  Some of these are quite romantic… others, not so much.  (Perhaps…

Quotation of the Week: Impressions of Ireland

This week’s quotation is provided by Sydney Owenson/Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale  (1806). Fed up with his son Horatio’s  feckless behaviour, The Earl of M dispatches him to Connaught where he hopes he will focus on his legal studies. Upon his arrival in Dublin, Horatio writes a letter to a friend to share his initial impressions of Ireland… “…I feel the…

Insult of the Week: I am often sorry to notice how unrefined your ideas are

In Mary Cholmondley’s 1893 novel Diana Tempest (vol I, vol II, vol III), our eponymous heroine has the doubtful pleasure of encountering a recently married friend, Madeleine Verelst, at a gathering at the home of Lord and Lady Hemsworth.   As is typical for this book, which is characterised by incisive and bleakly funny observations of…

Images of the Week: “A Hymn to the Moon”

In honour of this week’s supermoon,  we have uncovered some beautiful moonscapes from the British library and the Internet Archive. They are reproduced below alongside Lady Wortley Montague’s (1689-1762) fitting poem “A Hymn to the Moon” from the 1805 collection, Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, written during her travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa. A HYMN TO THE…

Insult of the Week: You flaming floundering fool

Please excuse our lack of blogging lately!  We’ve had a remarkable number of back-to-back deadlines in the last couple of weeks, and are currently knee-deep in an exciting new project that’s due out before Christmas.  (I can’t give full details yet, but watch this space!) On a perhaps-not-entirely-unrelated note, our insult this week comes from…

Charlotte Riddell’s Weird Stories

Although the Halloween season on the blog is coming to a close, we couldn’t resist posting one more  19th-century ghost story – this time by Charlotte Riddell. Born in County Antrim in 1832, Charlotte Cowan moved to London with her mother after her father’s death. Much of her early work was published under the pseudonym F.G Trafford and…

A Thrilling Dublin Tale of Shapeless Terror

This week, we’ve decided to reproduce a tale of Dublin haunting from one of the best ghost-story writers of the Victorian era, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873). His tale of terror, An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street was originally published in Volume 42 of the Dublin University Magazine in December 1853. The version here comes from Project Gutenberg’s digitisation…