Fred Vargas is one of my favourite crime fiction writers. It’s not a genre I read extensively but sometimes an author or a series comes to my attention almost by accident. My husband first picked up a Vargas novel from the public library and recommended it to me because I read all of Ian Rankin’s […]

Molly Clavering’s novel Near Neighbours totally captivated me as I read it recently. It tells the story of two neighbouring houses and their occupants in 1950s Edinburgh: Miss Dorothea Balfour in No. 4 and the Lenox family in No. 6 Kirkaldy Crescent. The Balfours had lived at No. 4 ‘for upwards of a hundred years’. On the […]

Originally posted on Manutius in Manchester:
“Aldus Manutius” is the Latinised name of Teobaldo Manucci, an Italian humanist and printer, who was born in 1449 near Rome. After studying Latin and Greek in Rome, Manutius eventually moved to Venice during the 1490s to start a publishing business, funded by his former students – Alberto and…

This formidable looking gentleman, Sir Walter Scott, has caused my latest literary obsession: the literary marketplace 1800 – 1830. It all began quite harmlessly with the need to curate an exhibition for Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Sydney, for a gap in the calendar in the New Year. I chose familiar ground from […]

I can appreciate a good rose perfume and whilst I do not like to wear them myself, they are perfect for me when worn by intelligent and enquiring men: hence Samuel Beckett. The book pictured belongs to my husband and is one of a handful he chose to bring with him across a hemisphere from […]

Women rendering Romantic Europe Exhibition board 1: http://sdrv.ms/186jI3W Exhibition board 2: http://sdrv.ms/186jR7v 1. Lady Elizabeth Craven, Magravine of Anspach (1789) A journey through the Crimea to Constantinople. In a series of letters from the right honourable Elizabeth Lady Craven, to his Serene Highness the Magrave of Brandebourg, Anspach, and Bareith. Written in the year MDCCLXXXVI. […]

A presentation I recently gave: If you require further details send me a message.  

I have wanted a new improved, refocused blog but don’t want to lose my past mental meanderings, so here they are http://essen5e.blogspot.co.uk/. It’s a bit like moving old books to the store ready for re-selection…. the above image is of Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian.

Symson, E. et al. (1696) A Farther essay relating to the female-sex. Containing six characters, and six perfections. With the description of self-love. To which is added, a character of a compleat beau. 1st edn. London: Printed for A. Roper and E. Wilkinson at the Black-Boy in Fleet-street. I love this image and find it […]