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Essays

  • The Cabinet of Dreams selected short stories by Katherine Ann Wynne
    Seven short stories: Fragment | From a Traveler’s Journal | Where Were We? | Beneath the Bodhi Tree | Biba | Aunt Nonie | A Terrible Loss
  • The Animals of Fernwood Cottage (with Digressions on the Author’s Country Life)
    A collection of essays including: Sheep | Fernwood Cottage, Its History and Hazards | South is Up, North is Down | Roger Sells His Farm | Horses | Neighbors | Our Wedding | Dogs | More Horses and Sheep | Starlight | Ducks and Geese | Children of Nature (furred) | Thibaut the Guardian ...
  • The Animals of Cottage and Castle Pigeons, Doves and Squab
    Pigeons, Doves and Squab: for food, sport, communications, and as icon Pigeons: those annoying fowl who strut about underfoot in most cities, have been living cozily with mankind since at least 3,000 BCE, providing food, sport and communications services for most of that time. First, “pigeon” and “dove” are the same thing, though multiplied into numerous ...
  • A Fable of Mud (a very short story)
    The Land between the Great Waters was in decline, though a decline so recent that its inhabitants could barely sense the apex from the gentle slope of its failing hegemony. Gallantly, or wickedly, the mountains, forests and the sweeping pastures of its many regions had been wrested from their primordial rulers not so many generations ...
  • Writing Montfort
    I began research on Montfort in 1977. By 1985 I had the first draft completed, at approximately 1,500 pages.  There were a few fairly recent academic biographies on Simon de Montfort; I chose to frame my work as a novelized biography for the greater freedom of informed speculation as to how his life progressed from ...
  • Truth, History and the Historical Novel
    How “true to history” is an historical novel – or a scholarly history for that matter? There is the question of egregious license, where the writer for the purposes of art deliberately fictionalizes an event, as when Dorothy Dunnett credits her fictitious character, Francis Crawford of Lymond, with France’s conquest of Callais from England in ...
  • The Montfort Lion
    Chartres window of Simon de Montfort’s father The family of Montfort had as their device a European lion rampant. Unlike the African lion, it has no mane; it’s similar to the American cougar. The Montfort colors were red and white, in the language of heraldry, gules and argent. Younger members of the family “differenced” their heraldry ...
  • The Death and Rebirth of Book Publishing
    November 8, 2012 Since movable type brought an end to the copyist garrets and sweatshops of the Middle Ages there probably has not been a more profound change in the way books are created and marketed than is going on at present. That the major American trade publishers have failed to move with, or even lead ...
  • The Long Summer Ends
    September 19, 2012: Where I live, near the top of a mountain, 2000 feet up facing north and at a latitude similar to Cape Cod, summer usually ends toward the end of August, with the first frost. The last frost has usually been in late May or June. The local joke is “Nine months of ...
  • Remembering Celeste Holm
    July 18, 2012 Celeste Holm (April 29, 1917 – July 15, 2012) It must have been 1992 when I met Celeste. A mutual friend, Carmela Ross, high in years to be undertaking such a thing, was launching a new theater company. The party, on New York’s East Side in the neighborhood of the UN, was ...
  • The Millennium
    June 20, 2012 The Millennium – a period of a thousand years in which peace, justice, the fulfillment of mankind’s hopes will be met? This idea has risen, submerged and risen again repeatedly in Western Europe and the countries effected by its cultures. Repeatedly the notion has brought on wars, has transformed the entire economic and social ...
  • Democracy, Progress and a Lost Chance in 1265
    May 23 2012 I’ve recently returned from a conference sponsored by the Mortimer Society in the UK, the subject was “What if Simon de Montfort had won the battle of Evesham?”  To those who haven’t gotten through the fourth volume of my book Montfort this mightn’t be an animating subject. But it is. For the history of ...