Browsing All posts tagged under »English literature«

Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid Is Coming by Charles Kingsley

April 14, 2013

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Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies is a fundamentally unpleasant piece of Victoriana suffering from many of the vices of the era.  It is preachy, condescendingly moralistic, racist and—as the following passage makes clear—sadistic as well.  Our hero Tom has drowned and been reconstituted as a water baby, but he still has some lessons to learn […]

The Principles of Newspeak by George Orwell

March 16, 2013

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George Orwell appended the following essay to end of his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.  NEWSPEAK was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in […]

The Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carroll

March 12, 2013

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It is not well-known that, beside the Alice books, Lewis Carroll wrote another nonsense novel, Sylvie and Bruno (1889).  The Alice books are masterpieces.  Sylvie and Bruno is laboured and tedious, unfunny and unexciting, and for the most part, well forgotten.  The exception is the following poem which appears as a refrain, a verse at a time […]

Winkle on the Ice by Charles Dickens

December 18, 2012

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I read Oliver Twist in 1962, half a century ago, but my first introduction to Dickens was in my grade three classroom in Port Essington, 1958-59.  The following passage, taken from The Pickwick Papers, was that introduction, which was reprinted in my grade three reader.  Some of the language seems a little advanced for 8-year-olds.  […]

The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

August 23, 2012

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(From Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.)  The Walrus and the Carpenter     ‘The sun was shining on the sea,       Shining with all his might:      He did his very best to make       The billows smooth and bright—      And this was odd, because it was       The middle of the […]

Andrew Marvell – To His Coy Mistress

July 30, 2012

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Andrew Marvell [1621-1678] To His Coy Mistress Had we but World enough, and Time, This coyness Lady were no crime. We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long Loves Day. Thou by the Indian Ganges side Should’st rubies find: I by the Tide Of Humber would complain. I would […]

The Circumlocution Office by Charles Dickens

March 5, 2012

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The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to […]

Sam Weller and the Pieman

December 24, 2011

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‘You see that green hill there?’ ‘Certainly.’ ‘That’s the place where we are to lunch; and, by Jove, there’s the boy with the basket, punctual as clockwork!’ ‘So he is,’ said Mr. Pickwick, brightening up. ‘Good boy, that. I’ll give him a shilling, presently. Now, then, Sam, wheel away.’ ‘Hold on, sir,’ said Mr. Weller, […]

Unfurnished Lodgings & Twopenny Ropes

December 23, 2011

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Sleeping out and down and out in Dickens’ day, as told by Sam Weller. ‘You are quite a philosopher, Sam,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘It runs in the family, I b’lieve, sir,’ replied Mr. Weller. ‘My father’s wery much in that line now. If my mother-in-law blows him up, he whistles. She flies in a passion, […]

Tom O’ Bedlam’s Song

May 3, 2011

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Tom O’ Bedlam’s Song From the hagg and hungrie goblin That into raggs would rend ye, And the spirit that stands by the naked man In the Book of Moones – defend ye! That of your five sound senses You never be forsaken, Nor wander from your selves with Tom Abroad to beg your bacon. […]