Author Archives: Rob Maslen

The Goblin Basements

The first time he visited the Goblin Basements he was very nearly unprepared. It was Christmas Eve, and the toys had been rioting all day, refusing to obey the simplest orders and breaking each other at the slightest excuse. He … Continue reading

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Frances Hardinge, Fly by Night

[This post contains many spoilers. Sorry.] Can we count as fantasy those texts in which nothing impossible actually happens? There are plenty of books in the fantasy section of my mental library about which this could be said: G K … Continue reading

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The Reader

Captain Abend had asked to arrest his old friend Professor Bildnis himself, out of some confused desire to conduct the matter with the respect that had always characterized their dealings with one another. But now, as he stood at the … Continue reading

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Mervyn Peake at Southport

[I’ve been busy marking this month, which hasn’t given me much time for blogging. Here, then, is an essay I wrote for Peter Winnington’s journal Peake Studies; the full version with notes can be found in Vol. 12 No. 1 (October 2010), 3-24. There will … Continue reading

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A Beautiful Shade of Blue

‘Yes! Yes, love! Well done!’ someone was shrieking. ‘Rage, that’s what we’re looking for! Let me feel your anger!’ Yana dreamt she was in her studio painting a picture while a team of visiting sponsors watched over her shoulder. She … Continue reading

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Generals and Degenerates in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida

Shakespeare wrote Troilus and Cressida in 1602, after the execution for treason of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, in the protracted final years of Elizabeth I. With the death of Essex a phase of Shakespeare’s life came to an end. … Continue reading

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Inward Exile in Frances Browne’s Granny’s Wonderful Chair (1856)

Frances Browne (1816-1879) is a writer I’d like to know much more about. Born the daughter of the Postmaster of Stranorlar in Donegal, known in her lifetime as the ‘Blind Poetess of Ulster’, she made herself a voyager of the … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Nineteenth Century | 3 Comments

Shakespeare’s Comic Imagination

This post begins and ends with two comedies in which Shakespeare unleashed the full force of his imagination on the space of the stage: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Both of these plays have plots not directly derived … Continue reading

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The Mouse Messiah

…died since our ship touched down on this planet, eighteen days ago. The nature of the disease hasn’t been diagnosed: we know only that it occurs instantly on contact with the atmosphere, and that there’s no known cure. I’ve been … Continue reading

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Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and the Death of Orpheus

Venus and Adonis (1593) is Shakespeare’s cheeky and disturbing contribution to the fierce contemporary debate over the function of poetry. The poem was his first published non-dramatic work, an opportunity for the young author to drop clues about his poetic … Continue reading

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