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Beatrice: An Unlikely Love Goddess 1# November 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Beatrice: An Unlikely Love Goddess 1#

Dante’s Beatrice is one of the most famous and simultaneously obscure individuals in history. Dante lauded her to high heaven (literally) in his poetry on the basis of a couple of sightings: his love was steadfast, ideal and a little silly. But what do we know about the ‘true’  Beatrice? Well, most scholars believe that […]

Closing Door Erotica August 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Closing Door Erotica

Beach would like to start by apologising for this post. Like so many things that appear here it just won’t get out of his head. Erotics… Beachcombing is on the search for the most erotic passage, but… So this is the thing. It is easy to cut and paste from My Secret Life or Fanny […]

The Greatest Curse: Epitaphs for Dead Children July 11, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Greatest Curse: Epitaphs for Dead Children

A very delicate subject this, but one that Beach couldn’t get out of his head having spoken last night to a woman who had lost her only daughter while in her 50s. If the nightmare of all nightmares should happen and a child die what might be written on the gravestone? A 1930s letter page […]

Owen’s Untimely Death January 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Owen's Untimely Death

  There are occasional micro moments in history that are so extraordinary painful to read about that they strangely dwarf greater tragedies such as the liquidation of a ghetto, the dropping of an atom bomb or the sinking of a cruise-liner. One of these micro tragedies that has been bobbing in and out of Beachcombing’s […]

Rhyming with Death December 8, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Rhyming with Death

  Death concentrates the mind wonderfully and, at least in the east, a longstanding custom has been to pen a final poem: a last communiqué to the world. This custom stretches far back into the Middle Ages  and perhaps the greatest thing to recommend it is the brevity of the works in question So we […]

Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning May 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning

Beachcombing thought that today he would combine a recent obsession – cats, with an older obsession – lightning and a coming obsession, kites. The party guilty for bringing these three unlikely subjects together was none other than Romantic brat extraordinaire Percy Bysshe Shelley (obit 1822 – ‘I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed’ […]

Tennyson Loses Poland November 12, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Tennyson Loses Poland

In the encylopedia of burning libraries Alfred Tennyson’s lost long poem Poland is a minor entry, but it is still one that deserves to be written and perhaps even to be read about. It also brings together three of Beachcombing’s favourite themes: Poland and Tennyson – obviously - but also the incomparable William Allingham whose diary is the […]

Tom Wintringham and Lenin’s Tractor September 8, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Tom Wintringham and Lenin’s Tractor

Of all the intellectual perversions of modern times perhaps none was as bizarre and perhaps none had more serious consequences than the fawning attitude of some western democrats towards the Soviet Union and its satellites from the 1930s to the 1970s. The paeans of nonsense that there were written about Lenin and Stalin now beggar […]