Colenso Books

COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Monday, 29 June 2020

Michael Rosen Interview, BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, 29 June, 2020

Michael Rosen on the NHS, seven weeks on a ventilator, and his gradual recovery from Covid-19

From the 1 hour 50 minute point

“They handed me a piece of paper and said you’ve got a 50/50 chance.  I said ‘Well are you telling me that’s better than the chance I’ve got now? Are you telling me I might not wake up?’ and they said ‘Yes’, then I signed something.”

Friday, 26 June 2020

The Friendly Seal, Weymouth

A misty morning, a great swim and and a heartwarming encounter!

The seal sidled up to make friends with the woman, not the other way round

Short video

The bad news (Dorset Echo):

Dog tries to bite the seal

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Greek Embroidery at the Ashmolean Museum: Mediterranean Threads, Online, Interactive Exhibition

I really wanted to see this exhibition, The Ashmolean has put it online as an interactive exhibition:

Mediterranean Threads, 18th- and 19th- Century Greek Embroideries.

Hopefully the museum will re-open in July.

From my own collection of Greek art:

Friday, 19 June 2020

Watching the seal at Weymouth

Photo of the seal at Overcombe Bay, near the Oasis Cafe, Weymouth, 18th June, by Idris Martin (Facebook, copyright).

We watched the seal a little later, when it was swimming not far from the shore. 
I decided not to go for a swim.

Wordsworth at Racedown, Dorset (September 1795 - June 1797)

Today I was hoping to have a view of Racedown Lodge in Dorset, such as this photo published in Dorset Life:

This is as much as I could see from outside the entrance gates. 
The house is well concealed behind a high hedge.


What a pity that there isn't even a sign to indicate that William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived here (rent-free), from September 1795 - June 1797. 

They felt very isolated even in those days.

It's not surprising, if this letter of October, 1795, reveals William's true opinion of the local people:

“The country people here are wretchedly poor; ignorant and overwhelmed with every vice that usually attends ignorance in that class, viz- lying and picking and stealing &c &c”. 

From William Wordsworth’s letter to William Matthews, Racedown, 24 October, 1795. 

"The peasants are miserably poor; their cottages are shapeless structures (I may almost say) of wood and clay - indeed they re not at all beyond what might be expected ins savage life". 

From Dorothy Wordsworth's letter to Jane Marshall, Racedown, November 39th, 1795

From  Wordsworth's Vagrant Muse: Poetry, Poverty, and Power
by Gary Harrison (Professor Emeritus)

From Coleridge and Wordsworth in the West Country,
Tom Mayberry, 1992, Alan Sutton Publishing Limited

John Pinney (1740-1818), Plantation Owner (owner of Racedown Lodge)

"William is very much delighted with the whole family, particularly Mr. Pinney the father".

Dorothy Wordsworth to Jane Marshall, September 2nd, 1795.

Poems about slavery by William Wordsworth

See also, excerpt from book Ferguson's Gang: The Remarkable Story of the National Trust Gangsters, by Polly Bagnall and Sally Beck, Pavilion, 2015

On the attitude to 'Wordsworth pilgrims':

I don't think that Salisbury Plain was first written (but perhaps revised?) at Racedown,
but I wonder if some of the seeds of the poem "Tintern Abbey" were sown there?

From Tintern Abbey (1798)

For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.—And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

(Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798)

See also:

Evans, Bergen, and Hester Pinney. “Racedown and the Wordsworths.” The Review of English Studies, vol. 8, no. 29, 1932, pp. 1–18.

"The Ruined Cottage" Restored: Three Stages of Composition, 1795-1798
John A. Finch,  The Journal of English and Germanic Philology
Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 1967), pp. 179-199 (21 pages)

Wordsworth's Early Drafts of "The Ruined Cottage" in 1797-98
Thomas M. Raysor, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Jan., 1956), pp. 1-7 (7 pages)

Jack Kerouac, Three haiku

Three Kerouac haiku, at random, as the book fell open:

The hermit's broom, 
  the fire, the kettle 
  -  August night.

 Dawn - the writer who
     hasn't shaved, 
Poring over notebooks.

 Blizzard's just started 
    all that bread scattered,
And just one bird.

In Lowell