Rosamond Lehmann, Author of Dusty Answer

Rosamond Lehmann

Rosamond Lehmann (February 3, 1901 – March 12, 1990) was an English novelist known for her sensitive portrayal of the emotional fabric of women’s lives and was part of the famous Bloomsbury Group in 1920s London.

Her first novel, Dusty Answer, caused a scandal for its subtle portrayal of lesbian characters, and is still her best-known work. Her novels as well as some of her non-fiction have been reissued by Virago and are now back in print.

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Precious Bane by Mary Webb, the 1926 novel

Precious Bane by Mary Webb

Precious Bane, the 1926 novel by English author Mary Webb, is a coming–of–age novel set in the English countryside. Our heroine, Prue Sarn, is a sharply observant young woman of Shropshire during the Napoleonic Era who has been born with a disfigured lip.

Her harelip leads the others in her superstitious village to treat her as an outsider due to the association it shares with witchcraft. Despite the hardships of rural life, her disfiguration and its resulting perceptions Prue endearingly finds beauty and compassion for all around her. 

 The colorful cast of Precious Bane includes Prue’s brother Gideon, whose temperament is the of polar opposite of hers. Gideon, the inheritor of the family farm, cannot see anything in his environment outside of its potential to be exploited for personal monetary gain.

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Catherine and Heathcliff: A Study of Extreme Love in Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Catherine and Heathcliff in the story of Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë are unhesitatingly certain of their soul connection.

I’d venture to guess that some people who say they have identified their twin flame are experiencing some kind of unhealthy, obsessive, and delusional form of love.

However, some of them may be experiencing something closer to amigeist — an intense, perhaps spiritual, bond which tends towards the exaltation of all. There is an undecidability here which gives love both its healing touch and jagged edge. Read More→


10 Facts About Harper Lee, Author of To Kill a Mockingbird

Up Close-HarperLee

Presented here are 10 facts about Harper Lee (1926 – 2015), Southern author known for the novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). Considered one of the Great American Novels, To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of a small southern town embroiled in a racially charged trial, told from the perspective of a precocious young girl, Scout. 

The novel drew inspiration from Lee’s upbringing in Monroeville, Alabama. The novel has sold tens of millions of copies and is still widely taught in American classrooms for its moral teachings.  

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird)    Read More→


The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena by Elsa Joubert

The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena

The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena by Elsa Joubert has been called one of the most important novels to emerge from the African continent. Published in 1979, the book has been translated into thirteen languages and was adapted to screen for the film Poppie Nongena (2009). 

Author Elsa Joubert was known for her travelogues, poetry, news features, and groundbreaking novels. She is considered part of the Sixtiers literary movement, which also included authors Ingrid Jonker, Breyten Breytenbach, and André Brink. 

Here’s more about the author, and why The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena is a story about struggle more readers should know.  Read More→


Classic Uncanny Stories by British Women Writers

Collected Ghost Stories by Mrs. Molesworth

Asked to name uncanny authors, most readers would come up with names like Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – all male. But a surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories.  

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.”

No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, from which this essay is excerpted by permission) traces how uncanny literature takes us from the familiar, the reassuring, the homelike, into a world of the unfamiliar, the unsettling, and the unhomelike. Read More→


The Shadow in the Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879)

The Shadow in the Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

A fairly common trope in uncanny stories is that of a shadow. An example of this is the short story “The Shadow in the Corner” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1879), a serious, if rather sensationalist, female novelist who wrote ghost stories. Braddon is most famous for the 1862 novel, Lady Audley’s Secret.

As in other such stories, one of the characters is an educated, responsible man, in this case a scientist, who seeks to disprove what he sees as local superstition. This time we start with a spooky and unhomelike old house, which is believed to be haunted by the restless spirit of a previous owner who had hanged himself in one of the top floor servants’ rooms.

This discussion is excerpted from No Direction Home: The Uncanny in Literature by Francis Booth (©2023, by permission). Read “The Shadow in the Corner” in full. Read More→


All Souls’ & The Eyes: Two Uncanny Stories by Edith Wharton

Ghosts by Edith Wharton

A surprising number of women authors, some of whom may be better known for writing more homelike novels, also wrote very “unhomelike” short stories. One was Edith Wharton, who understood that before leading us into the world of the tense and unsettling, the author first has to make us feel calm and settled. 

Wharton said that this can be done by starting with a modern clean, electric-lit environment at least as well as with a gloomy old castle.

Sigmund Freud’s famous essay about weird literature is usually translated as The Uncanny. But the German word “unheimlich” literally means “unhomelike.” Read More→