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What holds it back in my view is an overall feeling of misery and depression and a political message that manages to have a whiff, a malodor of nationalism and if I was being very critical maybe even of racism and sexism.
The book starts with Timothy Holcombe looking back on his life as he revisits an old building in London which served as a meeting hall where he and his father attracted a number of people who were seeking to be cured of their afflictions.
There are chapters featuring characters from Pilgrims progress and Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations and a meeting with Charles Dickens, The famous Detective Austin Smallwood who is a dead ringer for Sherlock Holmes, an adventure on Robinson Crusoe’s island, he has a music lesson with William Byrd, he walks the streets of London with Hogarth in search of the perfect line of beauty, He enters into a landscape by Thomas Gainsborough which morphs into one by Constable and then Turner and meets characters from Wuthering Heights and Mill on the Floss, after reading William Blake he composes his own Blake like poem and finally he is in the world of Mallory and Morte D’Arthur with echoes of T S Elliots Waste land.
In many of these visions a sense of wonder is created only to be suffused with an impending sense of doom, Timothy himself is never in any real danger, but he sees and feels things that disturb and distress him.
The references keep coming; sentence after sentence.
Here is an example of Gosson’s style and also contains his underlying theme that men of his own time are losing their manly and martial qualities through the influences of poetry and theatre going: “Oh what a woonderfull chaunge is this?
Everything Tudor - Literature, History, Drama: The School Of Abuse - Stephen Gosson The Growth and Structure of Elizabethan Comedy - M C Bradbrook The Shepherds Calendar - Edmund Spenser Zelauto - Anthony Munday The True Tragedy of Richard III - anonymous Poetry and Courtliness in Renaissance England - Daniel Javitch1580 - Robert Greene Mamillia (on line books)Mamillia - Robert Greene Barnaby Riche, his farewell to militaire proffesion (online books)George Peele - The Arraignement of Paris The English Novel in the time of Shakespeare - J J Jusserand Campapsi, Sapho and Phao - John Lyly Voyages and Discoveries - Richard Hakluyt Portuguese Voyages 1498-1663 edited by C. Ley The Spanish Armada - Colin Martin & Geoffrey Parker English Romayne life - Anthony Munday Meleager - William Gager Hecatomphthia or passionate century of love - Thomas Watson The Anatomy of Abuses - Philip Stubbs Philip Sidney: A double life - Alan Stewart Astrophel and Stella - Philip Sidney The Countess of Pembrokes Arcadia - Philip Sidney An apology for poetry - Philip Sidney Also a couple of essential books from the Continent published in the 16th century: Essays - Michel de Montaigne Jerusalem Delivered - Torquato Tasso Books from my Shelves From the top left hand corner of my shelves books that I have not read, I am thinking that there must be a reason why I have kept these books.
Peter Ackroyd - English Music Jorg Amado - The double death of Quinces Water-bray Hans Christian Anderson - Eighty Fairy tales Mary Angelou - I know why the caged birds sing Mary Angelou - The heart of the woman Margarey Atwood - Surfacing Jane Austen - Mansfield Park Paul Auster - Invisible Paul Auster - True tales of American life Lynn Alexander - Resonating bodies Poul Anderson - The boat of a million years Isaac Asimov - Robot visions Isaac Asimov - a choice of catastrophes Issac Asimov - foundation and earth Isaac Asimov - forward the foundation Isaac Asimov - The rest of the robots Isaac Asimov - nightfall two Isaac Asimov - Asimov chronicles Fleur Adcock - selected poems W H Auden - Selected poems. The end is in sight for my Doris Lessing Project and so I have these books left to read: Walking in the Shade; part two of her autobiography Mara and Dann Ben in the World The Sweetest Dream The Grandmothers The Story of General Dann and Mara’s daughter The Cleft Alfred and Emily Science Fiction when it wasn’t called science fiction1751 The life and astonishing adventures of John Daniel - Ralph Morris1771 Memoirs of the year two thousand five hundred - Louis Sebastien Mercier1781 Discovery by a flying man - Restif de la Bretonne1803 The Temple of Nature - Erasmus Darwin1805 The last man - Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville1836 Three Hundred years Hence - Mary Griffiths1848 Charles Rowcroft - The Triumph of Women1851 Gulliver Joi - Elbert Perce1858 Phantastes - George Mc Donald1858 The Diamond Lens - Fitz-James O’Brien1863 Paris in the 20th century - Jules Verne Science Fiction from the early 1950’s A E van Vogt - The voyage of the Space Beagle Albert Joseph Guerard - Night Journey L Sprague de Camp - Genus homo Paul Capon - The other side of the sun Ray Bradbury - The illustrated man L Sprague du camp - Rogue Queen Arthur C Clarke - Prelude to Space Hal Clement - Ice World Philip Jose Farmer - The lovers Austin Hall - The Blind Spot Alfred Bester - The demolished Man Ward Moore - Bring the Jubilee Theodore Sturgeon - More than Human Frederik Pohl & C M Kornbluth - The Space Merchants Arthur C Clarke - Childhoods End Richard Matheson - I Am legend Hal Clement - Mission of Gravity Just dropping by to tell you I'll be lurking around here.