Category: Historical Fiction

The Famous Pie!

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, ‘Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?’” – Kathryn Stockett, The Help

 

Image Via The Concordian

Published on February 10, 2009, The Help became one of the best representations of maids in the 1960s. Since its publication date, eleven years ago, The Help has been published in 35 countries with three different languages. Selling more than three million copies, it spent “more than 100 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.” That’s how you know that it has made a difference in the book world.

 

 

After graduating from Ole Miss, Skeeter returns home with a degree. Although she has made an accomplishment in her life, it is not good enough for her mother, who would rather her have a ring on her finger. Skeeter normally goes to her maid Constantine to talk about the crazy lady, that is her mother, but Constantine is nowhere to be found. Aibileen, who is a maid for one of Skeeter’s friends, is raising her seventeenth white child when she undergoes the loss of her son. She loves taking care of the little girl, but her heart is more broken than she cares to admit. These two women, along with the help of Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, band together to write a book about their lives as maids.

 

Image Via CNN.com

Struggling with crossing the lines of the times, this book has allowed many to gain a better understanding of how it was to live in the 1960s. The distinction between white and black women is very distinct, as no black person is on the same level as the white women they work for. All black maids are always self-conscious of what they do or say, in order to keep their jobs.

 

 

The Help was made into a movie adaption two years after the publication of the book, and it was just as good, if not more. I know that many of the fans, as well as myself, love the scene of Minny’s crap pie. I personally wanted to create a pie of almost the same caliber, but I know I don’t have the brawns to do such a thing. I love these characters and I hope that you love them just as much as I do.

 

Featured Image Via American Profile

 


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Face Full of Kells

The Book of Kells is old and I’m not talking first Harry Potter old. In fact, I’m not even talking The Lord of The Rings old. The book is believed to have been created in 800AD in an Irish monastery and the Latin manuscript is 340 folios, a.k.a 680 pages. It takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, the abbey that was home to the manuscript for many years, but now it is on permanent display in Trinity College Dublin. Thanks to modern technology and the 21st Century monster that is the internet (just kidding, we love you), you can now view the book in its entirety online.

 

 

The book has long been on display in Dublin, but visiting it comes with an entry fee. Pair this with the cost of, you know, getting there, if you aren’t Irish, it adds up to a hefty price to read a book. Plus, the University only has two pages on display at any given time. This new digital edition, however, has the manuscript in its entirety and is totally free.

 

 

So what’s the deal with The Book of Kells? What makes it so famous? In short, it is actually a collection of ancient books that retell the Gospels. It is full of lavish and extravagant illustrations that were way ahead of their time, with 12th Century writer Gerald of Wales describing them as “the work of an angel, and not of a man”. These illustrations are the most important aspect of the manuscript, with much of the text jumbled and messy. It appears that the text was never the focal point for the monks at work, and as such, it is not what The Book of Kells is remembered for today.

 

 

Shockingly, only thirty folios have been lost throughout the years, though the manuscript has undergone several rebindings. Careful preservation has ensured that the manuscript is legible today. The book calls a “specialized climate-controlled case” home, keeping it safe, dry and clean. Digitizing the manuscript is a very positive move towards longevity and since the internet is forever, there’s no fear of loss or decay!

So, if you can’t quite make a trip to Dublin happen, pour yourself a Guinness and read The Book of Kells in your own home instead.

 

featured image via trinity college dublin

 


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10 Thought Provoking Quotes by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, a literary genius, an advocate for feminists everywhere, a tormented, complicated soul, celebrates her would have been 138th birthday today. And on this special day, we want you to remember some of the remarkable sayings Woolf has blessed us with. So, here are 10 quotes by the prolific author, which makes us realize why she became such a profound figure worldwide.

1. On history

“Nothing has really happened until it has been described.”

image via bbc

 

2. on personal growth

“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

image via the new yorker

 

3. on comedy

“Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.”

image via buboquote

 

 

4. On feminism

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”

image via the new yorker

 

5. on fiction

“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.”

image via national portrait gallery

 

6. on aging

“The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.”

image via literary hub

 

 

7. on nature

“The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”

image via wikimedia

 

 

8. On diet

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

image via new statesman

 

9. on youth

“I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”

image via moniq’s artyfacts

 

 

10. on being authentic

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

image via Blogging woolf

These quotes make it easy for us to realize the impact Virginia Woolf has had on culture, feminism, life and writing, and why her significance is as prevalent to this day.

featured image via granta

 

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Remembering George Orwell

As we remember the great author George Orwell on the day of his passing, we can’t help but marvel over his contribution not just as a writer of great artistic talent, but as an upstanding citizen of the world who wrote to the people and for the people, and stood up against The Man! So, here’s a list of facts about him that you may have not known, but definitely should!

1. man of many identities

image via writing as i please

That’s right, the George we know and love, was born as Eric Arthur Blair. And he was known as that until he was in Paris and had published his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, in 1933, channeling his alias George Orwell.

 

 

2. He was born in india

image via the guardian

Although Orwell is a British citizen, he was actually born in Motihari, Bihar, British India, which is now present day East Champaran, Bihar, India — who would’ve thought, right? You can see baby Orwell with his Indian nanny in the picture above.

 

3. he knew a real life muriel

image via whizzpast

George and his wife Eileen owned several farm animals at their home in Wallington, England, including Muriel the goat who shares the same name as the goat in Orwell’s Animal Farmhow adorable!

 

4. he had very smart teachers

image via intellectual takeout

While Orwell was attending a fancy prep school in England, he was taught French by the Brave New World author, Aldous Huxley! Talk about smart minds seeking out each other!

 

 

5. man of many words

image via london historians’ blog

Orwell wrote in a 1944 newspaper column, “In my life I have learned seven foreign languages, including two dead ones, and out of those seven I retain only one, and that not brilliantly.” While in school, he learned French from Aldous Huxley, who taught at Orwell’s boarding school, and ultimately became fluent in French, and eventually studied Latin, Greek, Spanish, and Burmese, to name a few!

 

6. HE contracted a deadly disease

image via wikipedia

From 1922 to 1927, Orwell lived in Burma, present day Myanmar, serving as a police officer with the Indian Police. But this ended due to his contracting dengue fever, which is spread through mosquitoes! Recovering from his illness, Orwell figured he’d spent enough of his life as a police officer and turned to a writing career instead — great thinking!

 

Not only was George Orwell a passionate and talented writer, he was also a person who strongly believed in and advocated for justice everywhere. These little facts about him also make us realize that he was also a very interesting man with a peculiar life. Although he may not be with us anymore, it’s safe to say that his work will continue to influence and impact the world for a very, very long time.

featured image via literary hub

 

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Salinger Fans Unite For NYPL Exclusive Exhibition!

Great news for Salinger fans, as the New York Public Library presents an extremely rare glimpse into the life and work of author J.D. Salinger with a rather extensive exhibition, giving insight into the famous author’s life.

 

image via the independent

 

The exhibit includes a number of manuscripts, letters, photographs, books, and personal items that have been exclusively extracted from Salinger’s personal archive, the J.D Salinger Literary Trust, now run by his son Matt Salinger. This will be the first time these items—on loan from the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust—have ever been shared with the public.

 

image via nytimes

 

The exhibition is organized by Matt Salinger and his wife Colleen Salinger, along with Declan Kiely, Director of Special Collections and Exhibitions at The New York Public Library.

 

 

The great news is, the exhibition is free! Coinciding with J.D. Salinger’s birthday, the exhibition will be on display until January 19, 2020 in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

More than 200 items spanning Salinger’s life will be featured. This will include the original typescript of The Catcher in the Rye, revised by the author, along with the original typescripts of some of Salinger’s other shorter fiction work, including Franny and Zooey.

There is also an original pencil portrait by E. Michael Mitchell, who made the original cover design for The Catcher in the Rye, and a collection of family photographs from Salinger’s childhood, youth, and later life, including photos from his World War II service.

 

image via Smithsonian magazine

 

Some of the more personal items include; a bookcase from Salinger’s bedroom filled with books from his personal library, and items from Salinger’s childhood, including a bowl which he had made at summer camp when he was about 10 years old, notebooks, passports, honorable discharge papers from the army in which he identified his civilian occupation as “Playwright, Author, ” and personal artifacts such as his pipes, eyeglasses, wristwatch and the cup he drank coffee from every morning.

 

image via nypost

 

Among these items, his typewriter and his film projector, were also present.

 

image via the wall street journal

 

The exhibition also includes a description of J.D. Salinger’s life and profession written by Salinger himself, showcasing a rare glimpse into how the author viewed himself. The description was written as part of a 1982 legal document. The description reads, in part:

“I am a professional short-story writer and novelist. I write fiction and only fiction. For more than thirty years, I have lived and done my work in rural New Hampshire. I was married here and my two children were raised here. . . . I have been writing fiction rather passionately, singlemindedly, perhaps insatiably, since I was fifteen or so . . . I positively rejoice to imagine that, sooner or later, the finished product safely goes to the ideal private reader, alive or dead or yet unborn, male or female or possibly neither.” – J.D. Salinger

 

 

Please note, while the exhibition is free, there are no bags or cellphones allowed and of course no photographs. It’s absolutely worth the experience and the influence is staggering, to just be able to immerse yourself in a place where one of the most influential authors is put on display in all his glory.

featured image via afar

 


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