Saturday, June 5, 2021

More E.A. Wyke-Smith nonsense

I named this blog "A Shiver in the Archives," but sometimes that shiver is one of revulsion. I'm getting tired of finding photos on the internet of supposed authors, when they are completely and wrongly identified. For example, this photo, which I just observed here,

 Not E.A. Wyke-Smith
No, no, this is not E.A. Wyke-Smith (more fully, Edward Augustine Wyke-Smith), the author of The Marvellous Land of Snergs. I don't know who it is, but presumably someone found a photo of an Edward Smith and sloppily claimed it was was the author.

I have several photos of Wyke-Smith, shared with me by his family. I published the nicest portrait in The Annotated Hobbit.  It, too, has migrated to the internet, where it appears without source-credit at the Open Library and the ISFDB

Here is a photograph of the actual author. 

The real E.A. Wyke-Smith




Sunday, May 23, 2021

New Issues with Following Blogs by email

The short version:  Most blogs I'm involved with have a "Follow by email" option. The "Follow by email" function worked (fine) via Google's Feedburner since I started using it.  Google is eliminating Feedburner in July, which means I have had to find an alternate source. I have transferred this following-by-email function to follow.it. I already have seen anomalies, and hope they won't be numerous. This blog has a new "Follow by email" widget that goes directly to follow.it. I have migrated the subscription list there too, but I suspect there will be issues. I'll try to fix errors if they are reported to me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

A Rider Ghost Annual

G.F. Marsonmore fully Gerald Francis Marson (1884-1969)was a British clergyman who published a small number of books. His first two were in a series of parish plays, Jerusalem & Bethany: A Passion Play (1928) and St. Christopher: A Miracle Play in Eight Scenes and an Epilogue (1928). His third book was also religious in nature, The Power of the Cross: Meditations on the Seven Last Words from the Cross (1938). His final book was his most substantial, Ghosts, Ghouls and Gallows (London:  Rider & Co., [1946]). It consists of two parts, the first containing thirty-five autobiographical reports; the second containing eighteen stories, nearly all of  them supernatural. At the top of the dust-wrapper, there is a banner claiming it is a "Rider Ghost Annual." Which is all well and good, but were there any other such titles in this series?  I haven't been able to find any.  



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cabell and the Rabble

I have written previously about the unknown source of the couplet that tells how to pronounce correctly Cabell's surname ("Tell the rabble / My name is Cabell").  Some recent digging has produced some interesting further information. 

Burton Rascoe (1892-1957) discovered Cabell's The Cream of the Jest in the fall of 1917, and early the following year he serialized parts of Cabell's next book, Beyond Life (published in book-form in January 1919), in The Chicago Tribune. This began a bit of controversy, summed up by H.L. Mencken in The Smart Set for August 1918 ("A Sub-Potomac Phenomenon"). But ancillary to the main commentary there appeared a bit of verse by Bert Leston Taylor in his Chicago Tribune column, "A Line o' Type or Two": 

The Seething Question
 
In all literary gabble
Concerning Mr. J.B. Cabell
No one has yet got up to tell
If it be Cabell or Cabell.

To which, Burton Rascoe (himself by that time a correspondent of Cabell's) replied: 

You may slip it to the rabble
That his name is James B. Cabell. 

This appeared in the 27 May 1918 issue of The Chicago Tribune.



Sunday, March 14, 2021

Dunsany Himself on Film

The photograph of Dunsany reproduced at right comes from a magazine from 1950.  Dunsany looks, at age 72, a bit scruffier than in most other contemporary photos, with a longer and less-artfully trimmed beard.  But what is especially interesting to me is the caption, with the information that Dunsany is reading one of his Jorkens stories before the BBC television cameras. I know of audio recordings of Dunsany's voice (he occasionally read stories over the radio in the 1930s), and I wrote about one here. But the possibility that he was filmed reading a story is new to me. If anyone knows any further details about such things, please let us know via the comments. 

The only time (currently) that I know of when Dunsany was filmed was for a ten-minute segment of the long-running  BBC Television show "Speaking Personally," which ran from November 1936 through April 1964. Dunsany's segment was broadcast at 9 pm, on Tuesday, 7 June 1938. Likewise, I do not know whether it, or any filmed footage of Dunsany, still survives.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dunsany's headstone

In perhaps the oddest scene of Digby Rumsden’s frustrating one-hour documentary on Lord Dunsany, Shooting for the Butler (2014), the filmmaker himself looks for Dunsany’s gravestone in grounds of the St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Shoreham, Kent. Unable to find it, he concludes that it is no longer there. But others have not only found it, but photographed it.

Mike Barrett (a Kent resident) wrote about visiting it in “Dunsany: The Final Resting Place” in The New York Review of Science Fiction for December 2008. He noted that “the unpretentious grave is easy to find.” In Roy Bateson’s The End: An Illustrated Guide to the Graves of Irish Writers (2004), there appears the below photograph. Bateson notes that he “found the grave almost immediately. Go up the path and stand in front of the church, The grave is about 30 paces to the left of the church and about four metres back towards the road.” 

 


 Both Barrett and Bateson transcribe the headstone:

IN
LOVING MEMORY OF
EDWARD JOHN MORETON DRAX
18TH LORD DUNSANY
DIED 25TH OCTOBER 1957
AGED 79 YEARS
'NATURE I LOVED AND NEXT TO NATURE ART'
BEATRICE, LADY DUNSANY
DIED 30TH MAY 1970
AGED 89 YEARS


Barrett identified the qute from Walter Savage Landor’s four-line poem, “Dying Speech of an Old Philsopher” (1849):

I strove with none; for none was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.

There is a poem (presumably by Lord Dunsany, but it has no known publication) on the plaque at the bottom, reading:

I, THAT HAVE LOVED THE SUN, LIE HERE, AND LOVED
THE GREAT GREY SHADOWS OF THE CLOUDS THAT PASS
OVER THE EARTH, THE SOFT CRISP ENGLISH AIR,
THE GREY SEPTEMBER DEW THICK ON THE GRASS.

I LOVED THE COOL STRANGE LIGHT THE RAINBOW GIVES,
THE DEEP NOTE OF THE BEES UP IN THE LIME,
THE SMELL OF HONEYSUCKLE & SWEET BRIAR,
AND THE HOT SCENT, UNDER MY FEET, OF THYME.

LATE SUNLIGHT SLANTING ON THE IRISH PLAIN,
THE LINE OF LOW BLUE HILLS AGAINST THE SKY
I LOVED WHILE SIGHT & MEMORY WERE MINE
OTHERS WILL LOVE THEM STILL WHILE HERE I LIE.