Tag: 1800s

  • What happens in Hunted Down by Charles Dickens?

    “Hunted Down” was published in instalments across 1859-60, almost 20 years after Poe’s well-known detective story which kicked the genre off.

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Various Notes

    Various notes collected about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

  • The Signalman by Charles Dickens Short Story Analysis

    “The Signalman” (1866) is a ghost story by iconic English author Charles Dickens. If you’ve ever fantasised about leaving your open office or customer service job to work alone in a tiny box in the middle of nowhere, unbothered and free to get on with your straight-forward but very necessary job, this might be the […]

  • The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Analysis

    The Princess and the Pea was first published in 1835, one of a handful of satirical, colloquial fairy tales in an unbound collection by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. The colloquial language didn’t go down well with critics at the time, who also didn’t appreciate that Andersen’s silly little “wonder tales” failed to convey a moral suitable for children.

  • The Annotated Night Before Christmas

    “The Night Before Christmas” is an alternative title of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (controversially) by a guy called Clement Clarke Moore. The poem was first published anonymously in 1823 and only later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837, the start of the Victorian era. A Dutch migrant called Henry Livingston might be the true author. We don’t know.

  • The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Analysis

    A character is different from their family/tribe and feels utterly alone. Eventually they find their ‘people’ who accept them for who they really are. Understanding they are not alone in the world after all, the main character accepts themselves. Now they can be happy.

  • The Elves and the Shoemaker Fairy Tale Analysis

    The Elves and the Shoemaker Little Golden Book

    Read a modern re-telling of “The Elves and the Shoemaker” and you might conclude it’s a tale in praise of gratitude: Gratitude is noble. If someone does you a kind turn, be nice in return.

  • Jane Campion’s The Piano Film Study

    The Piano Film Landscape

    The Piano (1993) is a lyrical, fairytale film written and directed by Jane Campion, set and filmed in New Zealand near the beginning of white colonisation. SETTING OF THE PIANO Like many creative New Zealanders, Campion comes from Wellington. I don’t know why so much creativity comes out of the Wellington region, but I suspect…

  • Man-Size In Marble by Edith Nesbit Analysis

    Louis Haghe - Tomb de Lalaing Hoogstract 1850

    “Man-Size in Marble” (1893) is a gothic short story by Edith Nesbit. You can read it at Project Gutenberg, as part of Nesbit’s Grim Tales collection. This tale is her most widely anthologised short story. What must it be like to be ahead of one’s time? It’s happened to scientists over the years. The guy…

  • The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte Analysis


    If you like playing Red Dead Redemption, if you enjoyed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, I recommend “The Outcasts of Poker Flat“, a short story by Bret Harte, published in the late 1800s as the century was coming to a close. This short story was adapted for film in 1919, 1937 and again in 1952.…

  • The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce Analysis

    The Damned Thing Ambrose Bierce

    Hard to remember now, but ‘damned’ used to be a full on swear word. A teacher at high school once pounced on me for using it (though by the 1990s I think she was being ridiculous). ‘Damned’ was certainly shocking 100 years earlier than that, in 1893, when Ambrose Bierce published his horror short story…

  • The Three Strangers by Thomas Hardy Short Story Study

    The Three Strangers house

    “The Three Strangers” is a short story by Thomas Hardy, published as a serial in 1883. The story is set in 1820s pastoral England and is one of Hardy’s ‘Wessex Tales’. SETTING OF “THE THREE STRANGERS” Reading this story now, nigh on 200 years after it’s set, the setting of “The Three Strangers” feels almost…