Penguin Little Black Classic No.71: Il Duro

Il Duro

IL DURO BY D.H LAWRENCE

I really enjoyed these four personal accounts of Lawrence’s sun-drenched experiences in early 20th Century Italy. Once again, the Penguin Little Black Classics format offering the perfect “in” for an author I had never really got round to reading.

Three of the stories – The Spinner and The Monks, Il Duro and John – are taken from Twilight in Italy, which was first published in 1916. The last story,The Florence Museum, is taken from Etruscan Places, which was first published sixteen years later.

The Spinner and The Monks stood out most for me. I adored his description of the old woman as she sat at her wheel in the sun. “Her face was like a sun-worn stone,” and “pieces of hair, like dirty snow, quite short, stuck out over her ears.”

I’m fond of Italy and his writing appealed to me so I would definitely seek to read more of experiences of the country.

 SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 6/10

 Notes on the author – D.H Lawrence:

  • Born 1885 Eastwood, England. Died 1930 Vence, France
  • The D.H stands for David Herbert
  • Best known works : Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers and Women In Love
Advertisements

Penguin Little Black Classic No.13: The Eve of St Agnes

keats

THE EVE OF ST AGNES BY JOHN KEATS

I read this in a couple of hours on the train coming back from seeing Morrissey in Cardiff. Moz would be proud! I have only ever read the odd line and letter by Keats and have vowed this year to fully discover the Romantic poet’s best work. This seemed an easy place to start. Sort of. Due to the age of the language in these selected poems published in 1820, I had some difficulty following the plot and had to do a bit of online research to aid my comprehension.

The Eve of St Agnes is a 42 stanza poem based on the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rituals on the Eve of St. Agnes. This meant going to bed without any supper, laying on her bed completely naked with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens. The proposed husband would then appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her. In Keats’ poem the girl is Madeline who pines for the love of Porphyro.

Although I stumbled on the plot, I just loved reading the beautiful words, so lyrical and sensual.

But no – already had his deathbell rung, the joys of all his life were said and sung Continue reading

Penguin Little Black Classic No.59: Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime

LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME

BY OSCAR WILDE

lord arthur

Penguin Classics have published 80 Little Black Classics to mark their 80th anniversary. They are beautiful and neat and at just 80p each, instantly collectible.

Naturally, I chose Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime to be the first in my collection. A perfectly wonderful and funny story, easily devoured in a lunchbreak.

Lord Arthur has his palm read at lady Windemere’s party. He is alarmed and sickened to be warned that he is on the path to murder. Hopelessly in love with his beautiful fiance, he vows to commit the crime before they marry, saving her family from the ensuing scandal and disgrace. But who will he choose to murder? Why? How?

Wilde’s story is full of neat twists and of course the Wildean wit is ever present. Great little book, here are my best bits:

The author on Lady Windemere: “She was now forty years of age, childless, and with that inordinate passion for pleasure which is the secret of remaining young.” Continue reading