Today’s selections are really only related because they’re classics and briefly touch upon Shakespeare or Shakespearean England. That’s all I got; it’s the holidays, folks, I’m probably still asleep right now.
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories is a collection of short semi-comic mystery stories that were written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1891. It includes:
- Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime
- The Canterville Ghost
- The Sphinx Without a Secret
- The Model Millionaire
In later editions, another story, The Portrait of Mr. W. H., was added to the collection.
I put this on my list after watching Anonymous; the idea of alternate authorship for Shakespeare both repulses and fascinates me, so the fact that Wilde had written a story about it (collected in later editions of this collection) caught my eye.
Kerry at the delightfully named Hungry Like the Woolf quite enjoyed it. Other reviews are hard to scrape up, as people often review the separate stories rather than the collection proper. But it’s Wilde; I don’t think I’m going to go too wrong with anything by Oscar Wilde.
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories was published in 1891.
Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf’s Orlando ‘The longest and most charming love letter in literature’, playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf’s close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Costantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women.
I’ve actually seen the recent film adaptation starring Tilda Swinton, but I’ve never read Orlando. Whoops! But that can be easily fixed, even though it’s a “classic” that’s on the wrong side of the public domain cut-off in the United States.
It was Eva at The Striped Armchair‘s first Woolf, and she still loves it, finding it playful in a way that’s less apparent in her other work. Emera at the Black Letters also enjoyed it; her post focuses on her copy, but it’s lovely nonetheless.
Orlando was published in 1928.