Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Go Ahead, Persephone, Make My Day

This experience may be old hat for veteran bloggers, but for me it's new, so bear with me while I milk it for all it's worth...

I always do a bit of geeking out when the new Persephone Biannually comes out.  There are always wonderful photos and reproductions of paintings and it's generally a great opportunity to submerge oneself in the elegant ethos of the little grey books.

And of course not the least of the fun is getting a new Persephone bookmark—in this case, for the highly anticipated (and a particular favorite of mine) third "Miss Buncle" book by D. E. Stevenson, The Two Mrs. Abbotts, an appropriately bright and cheerful fabric from a dress by Tootal Broadhurst:

So when the latest issue arrived yesterday, I was happy as the proverbial lark.  It even contains the lovely Rose Macaulay story from World War II, "Miss Anstruther's Letters," accompanied by several wartime photos and paintings.

But then I got to the "Our Bloggers Write" section and came across this:

I felt a bit like I'd just won an Oscar.  "I'd like to thank the Academy...etc."  A warm thanks to Persephone for putting a little extra spring in my step and for welcoming me as one of "their" bloggers!

And as the icing on the cake, they've announced their spring titles, which include—along with two intriguing titles I'd never come across before—one of my most frequent re-reads, E. M. Delafield's hilarious Diary of a Provincial Lady.  Just to ensure that I will have to buy another copy of the book, Persephone is using "never-before reprinted colour illustrations by Arthur Watts" as the endpapers. Okay, count me in.

Oddly, although it's off the topic of me geeking out over being quoted (wouldn't want you to forget that part...), only yesterday I came across a webpage devoted to a "Who's Who" of Delafield's "provincial" world.  Check it out here if you haven't already.  Among other things ("Emma Hay" is a version of Cicely Hamilton, and "Rose's Viscountess" is Lady Rhonnda), if you scroll to the bottom of the page you'll find a picture of the woman the writer suggests may have been the model for Pamela Pringle.  It's great fun, and there's also a main page on Delafield which provides quotes, a bibliography, and biographical information.

Now pardon me, I have to go re-read my quote for the tenth time...


  1. It's lovely that Persephone realises the importance of word of mouth and its readers who celebrate the books they love on the internet. The spring books do look promising. I read and loved Winifred and Eileen first time around, so I can definitely say its a wonderful addition to the list.

    1. Thank you, Jane. And congratulations are in order for you too on having your quote (about another of my favorite novels) included!

  2. Yay Scott! I'll just add my excitement for you here, as well as on the DES list.

    OTOH, I'm surprised at Persephone reissuing DofPL. I had to read that twice in the Biannually to make sure I'd got it right. It's been republished over and over again. It's not exactly hard to get, is it? There are so many more deserving, totally MIA books out there. Or rather, not out there.

    1. Thanks, Susan. I admit I was a little surprised about the selection of Delafield too, but the thought of those colour Arthur Watts endpapers has seduced me. You're right, though, that there are other more obscure titles it would be nice to see in print. If only publishing weren't such a rough business (and difficult to accommodate in a one-bedroom apartment), I'd be launching Furrowed Middlebrow Books!


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