Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Some Comments on PW's "It's Still Complicated; A Review of Romance Publishing

 I am the author of a book that is a literary critique of romance novels and Barbara Pym's books called The Subversion of romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym (The Popular Press/U of Wisconsin Press, 1998). A good friend, J.R., herself an author, recently pointed me to this article from PW: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b.... Among other things, the article's theme is that rape and rape fantasy as depicted in romances now require consent, and the author talks about "the Weinstein" factor among other things. I'm also a romance writer at times, and my book The Wild Horse Runs Free is on Good Reads, and Amazon. I would like to say that novels of all type are fiction, and many genres besides romance depict rape, especially murder mysteries, thrillers, and horror novels. It is just that, fiction. We make it up. It doesn't mean we advocate anything. I personally don't write romance any more because I don't like writing sex scenes, but that's me. The First Amendment should still apply to art, which is what creative fiction is. Publishers and editors are among the last great censors; we get it. They may reject anything, and can often tell writers to write or not write, anything. But putting a "consent" clause in a romance novel where one element may involve depicting rape, well, I just don't know. This is an interesting and well written article, and food for thought. I read The Flame and The Flower in college, and later, as research for my dissertation. I took this and Woodiwiss's other novels and read the whole, not stressing on plot details. If found the plot to move quickly, and her heroines to have some depth and personality. Her research was always very good. That's all I have to say. Read the article if you are a fiction writer.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: December Interview with Karin Freeman from From t...

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: December Interview with Karin Freeman from From t...: Vintage Barbie, Courtesy Karin Freeman When did you start collecting dolls? 1. I was about 10 years old. Always...

Barbie, more Prudence than Jane, the "other" Excellent Woman!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell

Image result for maria mitchell public domain
Maria Mitchell, Astronomer, Public Domain

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell

By Ellen Tsagaris

Popular Astronomy Club

Image result for solar eclipse 2017 public domain
Eclipse 2017 Public Domain


On March 20, 2015, the next solar eclipse will be visible.  NASA’s Solar Eclipse Page provides tables of past and future solar eclipses, along with graphics and other pertinent information. 


A solar eclipse takes place, of course, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.  Once this occurs, the moon partially or totally hides the sun.  Then, the moon casts a shadow on the earth.


For a solar eclipse to occur there must be a new moon because the eclipse can only take place during the phase of the new moon, which makes it possible for the moon to cast its shadow on the earth.


Such an event has been billions of years in the making, truly awesome when one considers that since its formation almost 4.5 billion years ago, the moon has been steadily pulling away from the earth. According to Space.com, the moon has been moving away from the earth by about 1.6 inches each year.  Furthermore, the writers at Space.com point out that “right now the moon is at the perfect distance to appear in our sky exactly the same size as the sun, and therefore block it out. “


The Bible mentions a solar eclipse in Amos 8: 9, “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the Earth in the clear day.”  Other references from Ancient China and Nineveh have also been documented. 


Most solar eclipses are very short, with some of the longest recorded at 7 minutes 31 seconds. During this time, the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun, is visible.


The March eclipse will not be visible in the Quad City area, unfortunately. A total solar eclipse will be visible in Svalbard, Norway and the Faroe Islands, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa


The last solar eclipse was only a partial eclipse and occurred on October 23, 2014.


Celebrated astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) made the study of solar eclipses her specialty.  Mitchell was born to Quaker parents who believed in educating equally their sons and daughters.  She learned to love astronomy through helping her father, and one evening, she helped him calculate their home’s position by observing a solar eclipse. Mitchell became famous after she discovered a comet in 1847.  The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery of the comet.  In 1856, Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College.


Maria Mitchell was an admired and beloved teacher who inspired her students and believed woman could achieve the same accomplishments that men did, if they could only be given a chance.  She believed creativity and science worked well together, and one quote attributed to her reads: “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”




Friday, October 13, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Theriault's Octoer 28029 Bittersweet Auction!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Theriault's Octoer 28029 Bittersweet Auction!: Today at 10:12  AM      Courtesy, Theriault's Dolls from the Private Collection of Lorna Lieberman of Leawood, Kansa...

Chance to Publish

Subject: Student Writing/Publishing Opportunity: The Dangling Modifier Newsletter is Accepting Submissions!
From: Karen-Elizabeth Moroski <kxm5044@psu.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:24:54 -0400
X-Message-Number: 3

Hi, friends!

The Fall 2017 Issue of Penn State/NCTPW's Peer Tutoring Newsletter -- The
Dangling Modifier -- is now accepting submissions. Please encourage your
tutors to submit!

This year's theme was inspired by the upcoming MAWCA 2018 Conference themes
of identity, narrative and honoring intersectionality/voice in writing
center work.

*What is The Dangling Modifier?*
Why, I'm glad you asked! The DM is a peer tutoring newsletter by peer
tutors, for peer tutors. It's a fantastic opportunity for your
students/tutors (grad and undergrad alike) to get published and to be part
of a rich history of tutors writing about tutoring.

*How does it work?*
Explained more in full on The DM's website, peer tutor authors will submit
works via email. Selected writers will be contacted by our editorial staff
(comprised of PSU tutors) and our editorial staff will collaborate (through
Skype, Google Docs, email, etc.) with the writer to refine the final piece.
Then, we publish it to the web!

*If you're interested: *
In the Spring, we offer the possibility for The DM to be hosted by a guest
university. It's great experience for the tutors who work on the newsletter
-- if you're interested, let me know: kxm5044@psu.edu.

*And now... the CFP! (Also attached as a word document)*

*Issue Title: Keepers of Collaboration: Upholding Civil Discourse in
Writing Centers*

*What does collaboration mean to you? To your Writing Center? How do you
define “discourse” in a tutorial? There are times where tutees and
professors both might push against our approach to working with writers
rather than solely working on papers: How does collaboration engage
conversation and growth in ways that line-editing cannot?*

*Sometimes, that conversation and growth can be tough to navigate: as
writing tutors, we sometimes encounter hostile papers, hostile students –
maybe even moments our own beliefs, experiences or backgrounds are called
into question. But a spirit of radical openness runs through the current of
writing center work, and there are ways in which foundational parts of
tutoring pedagogy enable us to be good listeners, good community members
and good humans when we engage in challenging tutorials. The
Dangling Modifier wants to know about times when you’ve felt challenged to
grow during a tutorial, as well as times you needed to use your writing
tutoring skills to navigate a controversial difficult moment in the Writing

*Writing tutoring, civil discourse and collaboration all share the core
tenets of respect, listening, and engaging. What does it mean to be a
Keeper of Collaboration? How can writing tutors use these skills to
preserve and promote community in a tempestuous world?*

*We are also open to creative submissions of artwork, poetry, photography,
book reviews, etc. related to our Fall 2017 theme. If selected, these
submissions will not be listed as newsletter articles but will appear on
our website in our Entertainment Category. Writers can submit to both the
Entertainment and Article sections!*

*Submissions are due no later than November 15, 2017.Email submissions to
danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com <danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com>*

*Click here for submission guidelines.

Monday, October 9, 2017

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Dark Angel; PBS story of Mary Ann Cotton, Victoria...

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Dark Angel; PBS story of Mary Ann Cotton, Victoria...: Nothing but husbands and children and demands, states Mary Ann Cotton in the PBS version of her life.  This less than excellent woman died o...

This is Jane Eyre gone very, very wrong. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Remembering 9/11

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Remembering 9/11: 16 years ago the world changed forever.  It is also the 5th anniversary of the Bengazi attacks.  Please take a moment to remember.  Below, i...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Remembering 9/11

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Remembering 9/11: 16 years ago the world changed forever.  It is also the 5th anniversary of the Bengazi attacks.  Please take a moment to remember.  Below, i...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Visiting Ancient Sites

When I was very little, I traveled extensively with my family. I stood at the Oracle of Delphi when I was nine.  Now, I watch television shows of ancient archaeological sites.  It thrills me when I am lucky enough to visit these places, and to stand where ancient people once stood.  I feel their footsteps through the soles of my shoes.  Did they in turn, wonder, when they stood on ground that those even more prehistoric than themselves, stood--there has to be a great connection, a collective memory or consciousness of humanity.  It must live through the sands around the great pyramids, on Acropolis, at Delphi, and so many more places now real estate for ghosts, but once as active and lively as our own Chicagos, New Yorks, and Denvers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Girl of Glass and Snow

The Girl of Glass and Snow:


Feminist revision of fairy tales is not new.  Interpretation of any story is to be expected.  Literature dies without vision and revision. 


Pointing out the negative archetype aimed at older women in fairy tales is not a bad thing.  Remember, “older” could mean late twenties.  I was shocked last week at a wedding shower of friends whose family belongs to a strict religious denomination.  I heard comments describing her as an “older” bride.  She’s 26.  I was older than that when I married.  I must be a Methuselah bride.  Or corpse bride.  Another friend at 30 said she was called a Cougar.  My response was, “If you’re a cougar, then I’m a saber-toothed tiger!”


Seriously, I’m not considered old.  I still think the way I did in my twenties, and I don’t dress like I’m old. 


Yet, there is a stigma that is ancient against older women, however older is defined.  There is not enough room here to explore the hag archetype, and how it has affected literature, myth and history.  Certainly, that archetype was aimed at Erzebet.  When her husband died, she was somewhere in her 40s, wealthy, alone, of a different religion.  Other women in her position were also accused of witchcraft and perversion as she was, their properties forfeit.


The same thing happened to accused “witches” everywhere.  Our own Salem Witch Trials followed the same pattern.  The old, the poor, the healers, the single, the too wealthy, the outsiders, these were denounced.  Sarah Good, the pauper of Salem, is regularly described as an old hag, yet she was young enough to have a five year old daughter.  The best account is Marion Starkey’s, The Devil in Massachusetts.


On a PBS special of Walt Disney last night, I watched their account of the making of Snow White, and the implications of the magic mirror.  Mirrors are huge in feminist studies, and in the myth of Erzebet Bathory.  In a play by Velasquez, Las Meninas, the painter was brought before The Inquisition for a painting of Venus in front of the mirror.

The hag, or evil witch, and Maleficent, were straight out of the examples in Sheila Jeffries’ excellent book, The Spinster and her Enemies.


Older women, widows, those retired in late Middle Age, the Marcia’s and Leonora Eyre’s of Barbara Pym’s works, her Miss Clovis’ and Excellent Women, there has often been no room for these in societies all over the world.  Native American peoples in some cases left widows out to die among the elements. James Michener told their story in fictional with his novel, Centennial.  Some Hindu societies had them die on their husband’s funeral pyres.  Even well meaning modern societies for orphans and widows marginalize them.  They are usually older, over 25, let’s say, and may have property which everyone else is only too happy to divest.


The story of Erzebet is a cautionary tale, universal in its tragedy, embodied in our fairy tales and retellings of “Snow White.”


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!: September 2017 Sneak Peek   Our cover this month features a beautiful duet of two rare and wonderful Izannah Walker dolls.   The...

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!: September 2017 Sneak Peek   Our cover this month features a beautiful duet of two rare and wonderful Izannah Walker dolls.   The...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: August Sneak Peek!!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: August Sneak Peek!!: I love August, season of doll shows and dog days of summer!  This month's lavish and beautiful issue is sure to delight.  Below are some...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy 4th of July!!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy 4th of July!!: The Star Spangled Banner Find all things patriotic at USA-Flag-Site.org Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light What so proudly w...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know: Rush Limbaugh on the Byronic Hero--No Kidding!

My dissertation, "In Small Things Forgotten" on Barbara Pym's subversion of the romance drama into romantically comedic literature morphed into my book, The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of  Barbara Pym, The Popular Press, 1998, currently, The University of Wisconsin Press.  One of my sources was an article title "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know."   The piece appears in the book Dangerous Men  and Adventurous women, Ed. by Jayne Ann Krentz, a romance writer. Of course, the title comes from the term Lord Byron's lover coined for him.  Here is one source of other works that borrow the title.  The Cradle of Filth song is surprising.  One of my prized possessions is a CoF T-shirt my mother gave me the money to buy.  They are hard to get, these shirts.  Mine has very provocative, but nasty-mean vampire girl on the front and back.  I can't wear her to work, but when I wear her to Walmart, or Hot Topic, I get adoring glances and compliments from the 20 and under set.  I'll take it.  My mother used to iron the shirt for me, and called the little vampire, "That Ugly Girl."  Yet, maybe not too surprising; in one T-shirt, the group also alluded to Cardenio, the controversial play some say as Shakespeare's.

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know was a phrase used by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe Lord Byron. It has since been used as follows:

Yesterday or the day before, I heard Rush L. on the radio talking about how successful, attractive, strong women often prefer the "bad boys", the pirates, reformed criminals and lost heroes, to stable, responsible men.  That's a very brief summary; you'd have to find him on line for the rest, but wow! In a nutshell,  he described a good part of my book and this essay.  There were also other essays, many written by romance writers.  He mentioned Harlequin, and asked if anyone had ever read one.  My friend, the late Angela Wells, wrote many.  She was an accomplished, well-educated author who could hold her own anywhere, in any genre, but she loved writing for Mills&Boon.

Rush also mentioned and discussed the success of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Kudos to rush and the Fifty Shades author, though I confess I only read a few chapters and thought it was about an English major trying to get a job and settling for corporate America.  Have't we all?!

I belong to romance writers group, though mine turn into Flannery O'Connor type pieces.  Still, I published one, Wild Horse Runs Free, and it is on Kindle, should anyone care. 

Jayne Ann Krentz, very successful romance writer, was one of the authors kind enough to respond to my inquiries and to help with the research form y book.  She writes criticism on Byronic heroes, including Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester types.  You can read similar comments abut bad boys in the implicit critique of Jane Austen through her narrator in Pride and Prejudice. 

Certainly Pym had her own versions of Mr. Rochester and assorted Byronic heroes.  Even Dracula is a Byronic hero in some literary circles.

Rush and others claim we like to reform bad boys, we like to civilize them, though Rush pointed out that they are civilized int he sense that they can eat with utensils and walk upright.

We romance folk do pop our bodices in the news every so often. Johnny Carson on the old TS talked about them last week, and made some comments.  

I just had to note Rush's talk, and was really pleasantly surprised to hear the allusion.  Happy Pym Reading, summer reading, and I hope you find a Byronic hero to add to your life. Me, I adore Lord Byron on many levels.  IN the country of my birth, he will always be a hero of the Revolution.  One has to give mega dittos to that, too. :)