Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Sundries, 23

1. In your family ... what did you call that section of the Sunday paper--the funnies or the comics? We were a funnies family.

2. This week I finished Claire Harman's wonderful biography Myself & the Other Fellow: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson (2005). It took me about a month (other things intruded), but worth everything. I learned a lot about Stevenson, whom I first "met" back in boyhood. He was one of the writers included in the card game Authors, which my brothers and I played all the time.  I recently bought an old deck on eBay ... remember who the others were? Twain, Dickens, LM Alcott (the only woman), Thackeray, Shakespeare, JF Cooper, W. Irving, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, Poe. (Here's a link to the rules of the game.)

(As an aside, I've wondered before if this game had an influence on my adult reading habits. I've read the complete works of about half of the authors.)

Stevenson's works on the game cards were Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Child's Garden of Verses, Kidnapped, and Treasure Island.

By the way, the old Disney film of Treasure Island (1950) scared the hell out of me when I was a Wee Lad--I was only six when it was released. (Link to trailer for the film.)

One of the great things I learned about Stevenson from Harman: Just before he left for the South Seas (where he would build a home in Samoa--and die later on), he was living in Bournemouth, on the southeastern coast of England. There (1884-87), he was friends with novelist Henry James and other literary and artistic notables. But what I didn't know was that he also socialized with Percy Florence Shelley, Mary's son, and the only surviving member of the Wollstonecraft-Godwin-Shelley gene pool. PFS was not a literary type at all--loved the money from Sir Timothy Shelley's estate, the yacht, the mansion, etc. (Godwin-Wollstonecraft-Mary Shelley: all are buried in Bournemouth; PBS remains in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.)

Percy Florence Shelley,
son of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
grandson of William Godwin & Mary Wollstonecraft
Anyway, Harman tells us that Shelley showed Stevenson some of the family relics--including that most astonishing one, the partially roasted heart of Percy Bysshe Shelley, snatched by Shelley's friend Edward J. Trelawny from the fire on the beach near Viareggio, Italy, where they were cremating (Italian law) the drowned remains of the poor poet in 1822. Percy Florence Shelley (the son) had discovered the dessicated heart after the death of his mother, Mary, in 1851.

3. We had another mixed-bag of a Friday night: TJ Maxx near Chapel Hill (where I bought a roasting pan I didn't know I needed/wanted), OfficeMax (bought nada, but drooled over some technology), Books-a-Million (where I bought the new bio of Tennessee Williams), Stow McDonald's (2 lg Diet Cokes), Giant Eagle (Hudson-Stow--a chicken to roast today). Home to stream an episode of Whitechapel. Now that, my friends, is excitement!

1 comment:

  1. Where did he discover the heart??? Now I need to look this up...as well as White Chapel!