Author Archives: interestingliterature
Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was not a prolific poet – he published just two collections in his lifetime – but he was, and is, a popular one. ‘Spring Morning’, which was published in Housman’s less well-known second volume, Last Poems (1922), the long-awaited follow-up to his 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad, is a spring poem with a bittersweet twist.
Star and coronal and bell
April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
Flowers among the morning dews.
Now the old come out to look,
Winter past and winter’s pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
Glitters on the grassy plains. Read the rest of this entry
In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle applauds the 1890s short stories featuring an early female detective
The name Catherine Louisa Pirkis is relatively unknown now, but Pirkis left two legacies of interest. The first arose out of her animal charity work: with her husband, Pirkis was one of the founders of the National Canine Defence League in 1891. This is undoubtedly a worthwhile legacy in itself, but it’s the second legacy of C. L. Pirkis which concerns us here: her small but nonetheless notable contribution to detective fiction.
In 1893, C. L. Pirkis (1841-1910) wrote a series of short stories featuring a character who has been dubbed ‘the female Sherlock Holmes’, the lady detective Loveday Brooke. It was an opportune, if not out-and-out opportunistic, time to create a new fictional detective: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had just killed off his popular sleuth Sherlock Holmes, much to the nation’s outrage, although a huge financial incentive would persuade him to bring Holmes back a decade later. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday morning is a great time to sit back, relax, and read a bit of poetry. And below we’ve gathered together six of the finest poems about Sunday: you might consider this poetry’s ‘Sunday best’. From meditations on prayer and church to staying at home and pondering the bigger questions of life, these six classic Sunday poems are ideal Sunday reading.
George Herbert, ‘Prayer (I)’. Herbert (1593-1633) sent his poems to a friend Nicholas Ferrar with the instruction that his friend should publish them or destroy them, depending on whether he thought they were any good, is now revered as one of the greatest poets of the Early Modern period. In ‘Prayer’, an example of a sonnet, Herbert finds numerous ways of describing prayer, including ‘man well drest’, i.e. all done up in his Sunday best ready for church. Read the rest of this entry