[DWJ] Book recommendation

Helen Schinske hschinske at aol.com
Thu Jul 16 12:15:37 EDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Farah Mendlesohn" <farah.sf at gmail.com>
To: "Diana Wynne Jones discussion" <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:30 PM
Subject: [DWJ] Book recommendation

> For those people who enjoyed Judith Ridge's paper on being an Australian
> reader, I must recommend _Rosetti's Wombat_ by John Simmons. (Middlesex
> University Press)
> Did you know Rosetti had a wombat? Me neither. The book is all about the
> craze for Australian animals in Victorian England and it's a hoot!

One of Charlotte Yonge's lesser works, _My Young Alcides_, has two brothers 
coming back from Australia with, among other things, a young kangaroo. (If 
you are not familiar with Yonge's work, do not, I beg of you, begin with 
this example. You will never recover it. It would be like starting one's 
study of Dickens with _The Life of Our Lord_.)

*I* knew Rossetti had a wombat. The story about it curling up in a epergne 
or whatever it was (perhaps as a baby? I *think* he got it young) is 
supposed to have inspired Lewis Carroll's Dormouse.

On the Victoria listserv there was once a series of absurd joking posts 
about Mrs. Gaskell's pet elephant (I've just looked them up -- it was in 
August 2001). Several people were fooled (Mrs. Gaskell did not, in reality, 
possess a living pachyderm of any sort) and quite annoyed.

Helen Schinske 

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