Literary Musings

The Banning of Nadine Gordimer’s Anti-Apartheid Novels

Nadine Gordimer (1923 – 2013) was a South African activist and Nobel Prize-winning author. Presented here is an overview of the banning of Nadine Gordimer’s anti-apartheid novels and other writings, and her legacy as one of the most prominent and outspoken authors of the anti-apartheid movement.

Gordimer was born in Springs, South Africa to Jewish immigrant parents. Her early experiences informed the rest of her life, including witnessing a raid on her family home where a servant’s letters and diaries were confiscated.

Her first novel, The Lying Days, was published in 1953 when apartheid-era censorship by the South African government was at its height. Read More→

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10 Fascinating Facts About Christina Rossetti, Victorian Poet

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) is among the most important female poets of the 19th century. Presented here are fascinating facts about Christina Rossetti, the Victorian English poet whose work continues to resonate and inspire.

Her popular works, including “Goblin Market,” “Remember,” “In an Artist’s Studio,” “Who Has Seen the Wind,” and “In the Bleak Midwinter,” are a small part of her prolific output.

The American author Elbert Hubbard wrote in Christina Rossetti , “Christina had the faculty of seizing beautiful moments, exalted feelings, sublime emotions … In all her lines there is a half-sobbing tone.” Read More→

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Alliance of Sisters: The Complex Relationship of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell

Sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell collaborated artistically, influenced each other’s work, shared friends, and were central figures in the Bloomsbury Group. They were also at the heart of one another’s family stories.

Their relationship was a deep and unusual one: powerful, interdependent, with unsettling periods of jealousy and hostility, yet characterized by mutual support and devotion throughout their lives.  Virginia was one of the most influential English authors of the twentieth century; Vanessa was a noted painter.

The sisters lived close to one another until Virginia’s death in 1941. Infusing both her writing and her life, it was the relationship that influenced Virginia more than any other except that with her husband, Leonard Woolf. Read More→

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Q & A with Logan Steiner, Author of After Anne

Logan Steiner’s debut novel, After Anne (May 2023) brings the untold story of Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874 – 1942) to life. It’s a vivid portrait of the Canadian author best known for Anne of Green Gables (1908) and its sequels.

After Anne is a fascinating look at Maud’s spirited personality, her hopes, and her dreams of being recognized for her writing. Yet it doesn’t shy from an honest portrayal of her sorrows and disappointments.  

I learned fair amount about Maud Montgomery (perhaps better known by her author name, L.M. Montgomery) while preparing my own work, Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life. And so I was able to fully appreciate and truly enjoy how evocatively (and touchingly) Logan Steiner brought her to life in the pages of a novel. Read More→

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Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett: A Romantic Correspondence

In 1844, Elizabeth Barrett’s second major collection of poems (A Drama of Exile) was published and warmly received. The work included lines that praised fellow poet Robert Browning.

Presented here are the two letters that started the correspondence and ignited the romantic literary love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett (who soon became Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

After reading the poems, Robert wrote a letter of thanks to Elizabeth on January 10, 1845, with the tantalizing line, “I love your verses with all my heart … and I love you, too.” Read More→

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