Curiously, today has been about books, and about reading.
But first a backtrack: just over ten days ago I went to Professor Roger Luckhurst's inaugural lecture which, in a stunning display of Birkbeck think, was about the mummy's curse and ends up being a Secret History of 19th century literature. Bad things happen to many of those at the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb, although novelist Marie Corelli seems to be one of those who invented the Tut curse. Other Egyptian curses circulate - such as the one on the dedicatee and co-plotter of The Hound of the Baskervilles
, Bertram Fletcher Robinson, although there is a suggestion that he was poisoned (by Doyle), one on a mummy in the British Museum, and a rumour of a sarcophagus on the Titanic
, whose passengers included W.T. Stead, of the Pall Mall Gazette
and Maiden Tribute of Babylon fame. There is a sort of meta-curse, as those who write about the curse also seem to die in odd circumstances.
I note this because Richard Dadd lost his sanity in Egypt (he thought he was possessed by Osiris) - and he was written about in All the Devils Are Here
by the now-late David Seabrook. And in Saturday's Guardian
, which I have but have yet to read, there was a selection of summer reading recommendations
, including - as noted
by Peter Mclachlin
- Iain Sinclair:
The book about "place" to which I return, as often as I venture along the banks of the Medway or roll up my trousers for a paddle in Ramsgate, is All the Devils Are Here (Granta, 2002) by David Seabrook. [...] When Seabrook died, earlier this year, it was a horribly premature loss: now this mysterious author is fated to become part of the zone he described to such effect; an anecdote, a rumour, a legend.
Meanwhile, I paused at Cafe Nerd on the way home to finish rereading a volume I seem to have had on the go forever:( XXIX: Robert A. Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil )
Then home via the Barnardo's bookshop (dull, dull, dull) and Oxfam - where I scored a copy of Purity and Danger
, the reprint of the Yale French Studies
devoted to Lacan and Henry James and a volume of the Collected Auden
This is an endeavour which I never quite follow because I can't work out what has been released, and I never know if I care enough to collect the set. As far as I can see, the Collected Poems
is still the version in which Auden butchers himself, and there is no American Auden
to complement The English Auden
. I have the Juvenilia
, but there are at least two volumes of prose to get - and I dare say Auden wrote prose after 1955.