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Literature Writing

Grammar -What Is It Good For?

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the innocent, care-free days of English grammar were coming to an end. Grammarians had made strenuous efforts to “ascertain” the language and bring order to a riotous body of previously lawless syntax. There were dissenting voices. Liberals like Joseph Priestley wrote in 1762 that it was “absurd” to […]

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Literature Writing

The Characters are Ruining It

It’s probably not going to be an Internet-breaking observation that characters can sometimes seem to take on a life of their own when you are writing fiction. Writing day-in and day- out for months some characters (more often primary than secondary) start to become almost as “real” to you as anyone else in your life. […]

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Literature

Triumph of the Goths!

Gothic was named after the Visigoths, the barbarian European tribes who defeated and sacked Ancient Rome. The eighteenth-century European enlightenment looked to Rome as a model of order and refinement. The Visigoths were seen as crude and irrational –their world-view grounded in romance and folklore. Horace Walpole, whose 1764 novel “The Castle of Otranto” ushered […]

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Literature Writing

A Suit of Armour

Its probably fair to say Ben Jonson found criticism challenging. According to contemporary accounts the Renaissance playwright was quick to anger and killed two men in duels. The actor playing the Prologue in Jonson’s play Poetaster arrives on stage in a suit of armour, which is “Forty-fold proof against the conjuring means/Of base detractors, and illiterate apes” […]

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Literature Writing

Writing in the Language of Angels

One of the big problems when writing about the after life or spiritual realms is that the afterlife, if there is one, is an unknown quantity. An author can’t meet up and interview a spiritual being for research in the way they would, say, a police officer. John Milton faced this problem when composing his […]