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2 September 2021

This lovely, breezy Dorothea Sharp painting was sold not so long ago at Millington Adams, so someone somewhere has it on their wall and is enjoying the feeling of the breeze and the sea and the cheerful children playing. More details here.

1 September 2021

Beach at Courseulles (but this could be called 'woman reading while children play at her feet') by Henri Michel-Levy (1844-1914). Unsurprisingly, he was a close friend of Degas, Manet and Boudin.

31 August 2021

August is very nearly over, and to celebrate some of us having been at the seaside, as well as the reading of The Fortnight of September on BBC Radio 4 next week (for a fortnight!), this week on the Post: pictures of the seaside. Boudin first, he is always tremendous. This is Beach Scene at Trouville 1863 and it's at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

13 August 2021

From Monday, the Persephone Post is on holiday until September 1st: we shall be walking along the promenade as in Joseph Southall's 1910 painting Along the Shore, details here. But Instagram continues. And soon we shall again send out the Persephone Letter as an email. Then there is the publication of two new books on October 1st and, on roughly that date, the new Biannually will start to arrive in the UK. Happy Holidays to readers of the Post and of course a big thank you for reading it.

12 August 2021

Who knew that plasticine was invented in Bath?! 'Though Plasticine would become best known as a children’s play material, William Harbutt first concocted it as a serious tool for his adult sculpture students: clay could be hard to work and dried too quickly. So he began experimenting in a makeshift laboratory set up in the basement of the Alfred Street family home. And in 1897 he came up with the winning formula... He patented his recipe in 1899 and, after a period of laborious domestic production involving grooved wooden butter pats to shape the slabs, Harbutt soon geared up to industrial processing in an old flour mill at the Grange, High Street, Bathampton' (here).

11 August 2021

The novel to which the reviewers are referring is Little I Understood (1948), to which this 1951 novel is a sequel. We have long wondered whether to publish both in one volume. They are about a girl growing up in Oxford (like Princes in the Land they are set there) and for various reasons – her temperament, her parents' obtuseness – she is very silly, in fact maddening. The second volume shows the effect on others and the result of her stupidity/her own obtuseness. Has anyone read them? We find them rather unforgettable and brilliantly perceptive. It's just that they leave such an uncomfortable taste in the mouth.

10 August 2021

A whole book could be written about the psychological divide there used to be between having a 'profession' and being 'in trade'. People used to be snobby about the latter. This is why we adore High Wages by Dorothy Whipple: Jane, who sets up a dress shop, is being both brave and subversive; it wasn't something young women 'did'. We get a little, tiny bit of this at Persephone Books. A publisher 'in trade'? And of course this is relevant to why most publishers don't also have bookshops. It's not just that they don't want to annoy the distributor (the middle man between the publisher and the bookshop), it is more than this. Anyway. For those who find it odd that Persephone Books, dedicated to reviving forgotten women writers, is also in trade, here is proof that it is part of our genetic make-up: in Germany at the turn of the last century our ancestors ran the 'Habitat' of Breslau ie a large and flourishing ironmonger cum department store. The building is still there in Wroclaw, formerly Breslau, but then you could enter the building on three different sides, nowadays the three buildings are divided one from another. But they still exist. And the genes ditto. (This  nicely printed piece of cardboard once had a calendar at the bottom, now lost, so it's impossible to tell what date it is but presumably around 1900/1910.)

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