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Hero and Leander
ayer's rock
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I have today published on Kindle another of my unmodernised transcriptions of Renaissance texts -- this time Marlowe's extraordinary and erotic account of Hero and Leander, as completed by Chapman and published in 1598, five years after Marlowe's murder. (The link is to the US Kindle store, but it's available in all territories.)
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Captain Vordarcy's Alliance (4)
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IV
Whatever Lizzie had expected of Pemberley — and she had by now heard many panegyrics, from several sources — the reality took her breath away. The luxurious coach Lord Vordarcy had sent to bear her and her father from Meryton had, some half-a-mile into the park surrounding the house, drawn up as it crested a considerable eminence, where the woods ceased, and the coachman had handed them down to find that the view commanded the whole valley beyond. The house was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills ;— and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.

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Captain Vordarcy's Alliance (3b)
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Vordarcy again glanced at Miss Elizabeth for a second, but then turned and strode to a position before Miss Catherine and Miss Lydia, both standing slack-jawed.

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Captain Vordarcy's Alliance (3a)
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III
Captain Vordarcy habitually operated more by instinct than forward planning, thought the contents of his trunk were carefully selected, and he had more-than-half-expected someone to rush out from Longbourn. Miss Elizabeth had after all been gone for hours and, if he was any judge of men, Collins must be in almost as much of a lather as the Vorbennet family at her continuing absence. Vordarcy was not altogether surprised the fawning parson had a thoroughly mean streak, for he had seen the signs in the man’s striking combination of self-satisfied strut before his parishioners and oily deference to his noble patroness, though he was taken aback at how far Collins had gone. Summary execution might be an archaic and rarely enforced penalty, but for a commoner to strike a Vor in his own home, and to strike a Vor maiden, was egregious. Aunt Catherine’s role in promoting this behaviour was a troubling thought for another day, if one he had every intention of pursuing ; for now, he had a closed door to contemplate, and no indication of any response from the house. The armsmen had their orders and were in position, the trunk was unloaded to the gravel, and Vordarcy shrugged, nodding to Bothari. The knocker boomed once, twice.
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Captain Vordarcy's Alliance (2)
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II
Elizabeth’s head was spinning, but at least the stinging ache in her bruised cheek had retreated. From the moment Lord-so-surprisingly-turned-Captain Vordarcy had begun his absurd, heartstopping offer her dominant emotion had been astonishment, overlying the shock and fear of a day that had gone from bad to worse to … she wasn’t at all sure what. And once she had accepted it she had found herself caught in a breathless rush. Her instinctive demurral at his command to sit astride his enormous horse had simply brought a quirked eyebrow, and the brisk observations that side-saddle would not answer the need for haste while his armsmen would all swear there was no compromise, before she had found herself all but thrown into place, with his arms enclosing her as he held the reins. Without another word all the armsmen had fallen into a close formation and the whole party had set off towards Netherfield at a gallop as exhilarating as it was terrifying.
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Captain Vordarcy's Alliance (1)
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Author's Note

Crossovers are not usually my thing at all, but of late I've been reading a lot of Jane Austen Fanfic, particularly for Pride and Prejudice,
and that fandom is dominated by what it calls variations, positing changes both in plot and in particular characters.
So a seed was sown ; and when I indulged in some Bujold, over a little too much vin de table,
it seemed entirely reasonable to think that the early Darcy could do with some Admiral Naismith in his character.
Then I made the mistake of wondering what the little admiral might do if faced with a prospective mother-in-law like Mrs Bennet ...
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Mock-death in Shakespeare's Plays
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So, I have a new book up in the Kindle store -- the first full-length study of mock-death in Shakespeare's plays. He was very fond of the trope, using it directly in 14 plays (with analogues in two more), and over time his practice became steadily more subtle and complex, culminating in the late plays, each in a different way dominated by mock-death.

I divide the 14+2 plays under four heads : Shipwrecks and Separations, covering The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Pericles, & The Tempest ; Misprisions and Other Errors, covering A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV, and the two plays with mock-death analogues, The Merchant of Venice & Hamlet ; Wilful Lies (where mock-death answers false accusations of adultery), covering Much Ado about Nothing, Measure, for Measure, All's Well, that Ends Well, Anthony, and Cleopatra, & The Winter's Tale; and Drugged Deceptions, covering Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline.

And the range of things that turn out to be involved was an endless fascination in writing -- not only Shakespeare's one notorious bear, but both of his lions, two of his three weird drugs, three of the four deaths he allowed himself in comedy, just how fat Falstaff really was (with how that fatness might have been staged in the 1590s), that most surprising clown who enters bearing a basket of figs-over-asps, and the effects of writing for performance at the Blackfriars after 1609, as well as much else. The trope of mock-death is central to Shakespearean comedy, and the late plays, but also plays oddly important roles in tragedy and history, so I was astonished to discover it had never been systematically explored in criticism ... but now it has!

"It’s really good to have a book on this topic, and this one appeals to me a lot: it’s full and clear and scholarly and attentive to the text, and gives just the right amount of space to things such as links to Shakespeare’s own mental and emotional life. I like its genre-crossing, too. And it avoids the wilder shores of theory."
Helen Cooper, Emeritus Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature, University of Cambridge

So now you know -- and it's only $5 or equivalent : a veritable snip. Please enjoy, and remember that reviews and starring on Amazon or Goodreads will be much appreciated.

Arne Zettersten (1934 - 2015)
Fafnir
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Arne Zettersten, who died in September, was formerly a Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Copenhagen. I didn't know him personally, but I do know some of his work, including an odd but very interesting book on Tolkien that he wrote in retirement, and as I do know the current Prof. in Copenhagen, Charles Lock, to whom fell the writing of an obituary for the university website, I was tapped for some remarks about Zettersten and Tolkien.

What is striking about their connection is that Zettersten was probably the last person to know Tolkien primarily as a linguist, before his fantasy became world-famous, as well as one of the very few people who were able to talk to Tolkien with both a genuine knowledge of early Germanic languages and a personal reader's enthusiasm for The Lord of the Rings and the larger legendarium.

Those interested can read Charles Lock's obituary here, in English, or (for the adventurous) here, in Danish.

(I don't believe I've ever been translated into Danish before ...)

The Exasperating Case of David Weber, or The Slow Death of the Honorverse
Fafnir
bracketyjack
Available now from Kindle Stores, and a snip at $2.99 (or equivalent).



"Let's Not Be About It"

Twenty-two years ago David Weber created the Honorverse, and in the last ten he has broken it.
In 663 paragraphs, comprising 3,314 lines, 36,932 words, and 196,403 characters,
including a ToC and a bibliography,
an increasingly despairing fan looks hard at how he did both,
considering 'Un/Economies of Scale', 'Prose and Cons', and 'Dropping the Ball', as well as 'The Virtues of Editing'.

Not for the faint-hearted.
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