Of wastelands and scones and magnets

I am, even as I write, at the British Library, where I took in the exhibit: Writing Britain – Wastelands to Wonderlands. Some clever boots did the title to reflect the lament of many of the loss of more pristine land and times in under industrialization and urbanization. The are also exhibit of TS Eliot and Lewis Carroll. I’ll spare a lengthy review, but rather give you some highlights of items I saw.

Original manuscripts of

Thomas Hardy
Lewis Carroll
James Joyce
G Eliot
EM Forster
GK Chesterton
Matthew Arnold
Wm Blake
AC Doyle
Robt Burns
Various Brontë
WH Auden
John Clare
Charles Dickens
some fine old stuff and beautiful editions

On a day when I explored a facet of my own writing projects and processes, thus was timely and instructive, it is fascinating to see how authors work.

There were letters of authors in the exhibit as well, to underscore the circumstances of life. I have often thought about trying to establish some old fashioned correspondence with a few people specifically for the sake of publication some years in the future, with that understood up front.

Do I have the will to do it?

Letters are dying.

In any event, I am enjoying a scone and jam and cream and tea.

Because one of the pieces in the exhibit was the MSS of the scene in the first Harry Potter book when they push their carts through to track 9 3/4 I will walk next door to see the newly refurbished Kings Cross Station.

Then I will look for a pint.

Perhaps the Portrait Gallery later, or the Turner exhibit for they are open late this evening.

Any one in London fancy a pint and a walk or exhibit?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    I am jealous. Sounds like a fantastic day. I was at Barrington Court looking at the fantastic gardens and went into the tea room with a friend, who wanted to buy me a cream tea. Alas, we were there at 1:30 and cream teas DO not start until 2:30. Hope yours was nice.

  2. acardnal says:

    What’s the city like now that the Summer Olympics are approaching? Security, cleanliness, etc.

  3. abasham says:

    If you are in London over the weekend, how can you NOT be at Borough Market right now? That was my favorite spot in London when I lived there.

  4. abasham: I was not at the Borough Market because I had a date with Turner and Claude at the National Gallery. I have the impression that I should go there. But, alas, no company with whom to enjoy it.

  5. Jael says:

    “I have often thought about trying to establish some old fashioned correspondence with a few people specifically for the sake of publication some years in the future, with that understood up front. ”

    Interesting idea. However, speaking as a (published) author, I’m afraid it would come across as artificial and stilted; self-conscious. What you call “old fashioned correspondence,” such as my friends and I engage in, is all about an uninhibited private conversation. That’s why letters are edited before they are published. I don’t think you could successfully “fake” a “private” correspondence unless you are a very good writer indeed, with an iron self control enabling you to forget your ego, forget you are writing for publication. Ditto for your correspondent.

  6. Laura98 says:

    London is such a fascinating place… so many wonderful museums and exhibits! (I am a bit of a museum geek). So many historic buildings and sites – I get all giddy thinking about it! LOL Have a wonderful time over there Father … I hope you can round up some more companions for your journeys.

  7. abasham says:

    Father, If you have not been to Borough Market I strongly suggest you find some time to go this weekend. Perhaps a London friend will see this and volunteer to accompany you.

    I know you are a bit of a “foodie,”so you will absolutely LOVE borough market, and perhaps find some inspiration for your next dinner. Plus, it is the location of the restaurant FISH! Which serves, I think, the best fish and chips in the city. And its so near to a great number of other attractions, like the Tower London, the Tower and London bridges, The Globe Theatre, and others.

    It is supposedly almost 1,000 years old, so they’ve definitely had time to perfect the gourmet food market!

  8. Weetabix says:

    I hope the cream was clotted cream to go between the scone and the jam.

    Also, a day trip I can heartily recommend is Bateman’s – Kipling’s home.

  9. irishgirl says:

    Laura98: I love London, too! Stayed there seven times between 1987 and 1999.
    The only museum I ever went to was the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.
    But I loved the historical sites such as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower of London!
    But I digress….hope you’re having a great time, Father Z! I only wish I were over there right now.
    Are you seeing anything of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations? Or are you staying away from them?
    I also hope the weather won’t put a damper on things….either for Her Majesty, or for you, Father.

  10. The Cobbler says:

    I married someone who writes letters. She and I wrote letters to each other for years. Don’t expect that anyone else gives a rat’s patootie about ’em (and would probably be worried if anyone did, for a variety of reasons), but they mattered to us. In fact, I am months overdue on continuing the tradition (who says you have to live in separate houses to write each other?).

    I once had an English teacher try to claim that writing letters had died out in the most recent generation or so, using as example that she and her husband wrote each other letters when they were dating, silly stuff like “I’m watching the sunset through the trees and thinking of you,” and anyway they saved them so they can show their kids that yes, they really have been there, and anyway who doesn’t that anymore? Naturally I piped up that my girlfriend and I write each other letters. “You’re not normal,” she said — meaning that even though I do it, it’s no longer normal, but it came out sounding “wrong” — by which I mean she apologized greatly as the class burst into laughter, but I, personally, took it as a compliment.

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