Posts Tagged ‘williamdemorgan’

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When Ghost Meets Ghost

December 5, 2012

I think I’ve been over the whole William De Morgan thing before — how he was an excellent and super-important Arts & Crafts potter, how he had a second career as a bestselling novelist around the time he hit retirement age, how the mere mention of Joseph Vance renders me completely inarticulate, etc. It’s not his second career itself that’s so surprising — it’s that he was so good, and that he’s been so completely forgotten.

I keep wanting to make wild pronouncements about de Morgan writing postmodern pastiches of Victorian novels when the Victorian Era had barely ended, but I worry that I’m pushing it. I’ve read three of his books now, and while I don’t think that When Ghost Meets Ghost is quite as good as Somehow Good, or that much of anything is as good as Joseph Vance, it may be the most William De Morgan-y of William De Morgan’s books, and I continue to be impressed with William De Morgan. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Preface to a book review

December 4, 2012

There are a lot of reasons I haven’t been posting lately — a busy time at work, an overwhelming urge to reread all of the Grace Harlowe High School Girls and College Girls series, my lack of an ereader, etc. If you’re following me on Twitter, you already have a rough outline of the Kindle saga, which started when I admired a coworker’s new Paperwhite but admitted I was probably going to stick with my first generation Kindle until it died on me. Ten minutes later I got on the subway, pulled out my Kindle to continue reading the 850-page book I was in the middle of, and found that the screen was badly dented and wouldn’t display a page. Cue a lot of people telling me that you get what you ask for, which, a) no you don’t, and b) that wasn’t what I meant. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Joseph Vance

August 15, 2011

It’s been more than two weeks now since I finished Joseph Vance, and I’m now slowly coming to the conclusion that I like it too much to write a review of it. It’s a shame, because it’s pretty awesome — like David Copperfield, only less squishy (and I mean that with all possible respect to David Copperfield).

When I read Somehow Good, I thought William de Morgan was secretly awesome. Now I think he’s criminally underrated.

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Six Recommendations

October 15, 2009

I decided this morning that I wanted to make a list of ten books I’ve covered in this blog that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Not my favorites, because there are a lot of books — Tracy Park, for one — that I love too much to be able to think about them objectively. I’m not totally sure I’m looking at these objectively, but I do think they’re good, and I can’t see any reason why people shouldn’t still be reading them. I’m a little bit sad that I was only able to come up with six, though. Keep in mind that my standards, as usual, are incredibly inconsistent. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Somehow Good

April 25, 2009

I haven’t finished Somehow Good yet, but — well, as absorbing as I’m finding it, I’ve been reading it on and off for a couple of weeks now, and I’m still less than halfway through. I’m not convinced that I ever will finish it.

Until I came across this book in the Project Gutenberg catalog, my main associations with the name “William De Morgan” were ceramics and this painting by his wife Evelyn, which I loathe. I had no idea that, around the turn of the century, he began a successful career as a novelist.

Somehow Good is a difficult book to define. The plot, in almost anyone else’s hands, would be unforgivably melodramatic — the New York Times reviewer (PDF) says “the plot of it might well in other hands have served to furnish forth all the thrills that melodrama is made of.”
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