Good morning! I am not actually awake yet, because it's 5am and I need my sleep, and I will be mostly unable to join in the readathon until this afternoon. But here is the post where I will make updates. I'm supposed to answer these questions: 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Sunny California! Emphasis on the "sunny"--after a nice cool spring it's in the 90s now. I live in the rural northern part above Sacramento that everyone forgets about--we hold 2% of the total population of California. 2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? It's a smorgasbord of delight! I don't even know. 3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? ...you think I'm well-prepared, don't you? I have a bag of sunflower seeds/Craisins/almond M&Ms, and I'm thinking quite seriously about treating myself to Indian food tonight. That's all I've got. 4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
"The Four Ages of Poetry," by Thomas Love Peacock I am becoming fond of Thomas Love Peacock. Besides his unbeatable name, he was a lot of fun. Peacock was a minor literary figure of the early 19th century; he tried his hand at poetry but mainly succeeded in satire. I read his short novel Nightmare Abbey last year, but at the time I didn't know that the young hero of the story, Scythrop, was modeled on Peacock's good friend Percy Shelley. He and Shelley were quite close and Peacock was the executor of Shelley's will. Thomas Love Peacock Percy Bysshe Shelley "The Four Ages of Poetry," a tongue-in-cheek essay on the history and development of poetry, was published in 1820 in a new magazine called Literary Miscellany , which promptly died. It would probably have been completely obscure and unknown--it nearly is anyway--but for Shelley. Peacock sent a copy to his friend, who I guess didn't really have much of a sense of
The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World, by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle Here we have a thing we could probably call a proto-science-fiction novel. It's got a story and a plot, but it also has massive amounts of talk about natural philosophy. It was written in 1666 (the year of the Great Fire of London!) to go along with her serious scientific work, the Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne The story features a young woman who is taken captive on a ship, and travels to another world via the North Pole: But alas! Those few men which were in it, not knowing whither they went, nor what was to be done in so strange an Adventure, and not being provided for so cold a Voyage, were all frozen to death; the young Lady onely, by the light of her Beauty, the heat of her Youth, and Protection of the Gods, remaining alive: Neither was it a wonder that the men did freeze to death; for they were