Sapphics, by Eric Stenbock

Eric Stenbock
Eric Stenbock – from Strange Flowers on WordPress

Count Eric Stenbock (1860–1895) is a lesser-known ‘Decadent’ writer. In his short lifetime, he published three short collections of poetry, Love, Sleep & Dreams (1881), Myrtle, Rue and Cypress (1883) and The Shadow of Death (1893), a collection of short stories, Studies of Death (1894), and a separate short story, “The Other Side: A Breton Legend,” in The Spirit Lamp (Vol. IV, No. 2 June 1893). CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Hilda Conkling’s formidable mother

When a child seems precocious and does things generally regarded as above the capacities of her age, one often wonders what role her parents did play in her achievements. Did she develop her gifts by herself, independently of any adult influence? Or did her parents encourage her talent? Or did they train her intensively like a circus animal in order to artificially create a genius? CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Concerning Hilda Conkling

Hilda Conkling (1920)
Artist unknown – Hilda Conkling (1920) – from Poems By a Little Girl (via Cadbury Research Library)

As a little girl, Hilda Conkling recited poems to her mother, Grace Hazard Conkling, who wrote them down. She would then, apparently without telling Hilda, publish some of them in journals and periodials, in particular in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. In the issue of September the 1st, 1919, there is an interesting correspondence about Hilda, then approaching her 9th birthday, her writing and her talent. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Peter Freuchen marries Navarana

Navarana and Peter Freuchen in Thule
Navarana and Peter Freuchen in Thule (1916-1917) – Photo: Arktisk Institut

The Danish explorer and ethnologist Peter Freuchen (1886–1957) is famous for exploring the Arctic, in particular with his colleague and friend Knud Rasmussen (1879–1933). He lived many years in North-West Greenland, trading with Inuits, befriending them and adopting their way of life. In 1911 he married an Inuit girl, Navarana. Being born around 1898, she was thus aged approximately 13 at their marriage, while he was 25-year-old. Most biographies avoid mentioning this detail, referring to her as an “Inuit woman”. But in his 1935 book Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North he first mentions her as a “little girl,” and just after their marriage as “my little wife,” and in the 1961 book Peter Freuchen’s Book of the Eskimos edited by his widow Dagmar, he refers to her as a “little girl, just reaching the marriageable age,” but he also mentions that “Eskimo girls marry so very young that a girl will often continue to play with the other children right up to the time of her first pregnancy.CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Minou Drouet et René Julliard

Minou Drouet et René Julliard
Minou Drouet et René Julliard (février 1956) – Le Figaro

Minou Drouet et René Julliard entretenaient une relation complexe mais asymétrique. Pour l’éditeur, Minou fut tout d’abord un écrivain à succès, même si tous deux se lièrent d’amitié et correspondirent. Mais pour la petite fille, Julliard fut d’abord un ami, qu’elle surnommait « ma Sonate », et comme avec ses autres amis, elle lui exprima tout son amour ; mais bientôt elle souhaita qu’il fût son père (elle vivait uniquement avec sa mère et sa grand-mère adoptives) : CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe

W.S. Hartshorn - Edgar Allan Poe
W.S. Hartshorn – Edgar Allan Poe (1848) – from “Famous People” collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-10610]

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19th, 1809 — October 7th, 1849) is an American writer known for the strangeness both of his writing and of his life. He was named Edgar Poe, the second child of two traveling stage actors; his father abandoned his family in 1810, and his mother died on December 8th, 1811. His father was also dead then, and Edgar was taken into the home of John and Frances Allan, who served as a foster family, though they never formally adopted him. From them he got his middle name Allan. The family moved to Great Britain in 1815, then back to Richmond, VA, in 1820, so Edgar was educated in both countries. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

L’univers musical et sensoriel de Minou Drouet

Minou Drouet playing a sonata by Mozart
Minou Drouet playing a sonata by Mozart (ca.1960) – from Cabinet n° 40 (2010/11)

Dans sa petite enfance, Minou Drouet souffrait d’un strabisme très accentué et d’une grave déficience visuelle. Sa vue ne s’améliora qu’après l’opération de ses yeux par le professeur Paufique à Lyon, quand elle avait huit ans. Les aveugles et déficients visuels compensent souvent en développant les autres sens, en particulier l’ouïe et le toucher. Il semble effectivement que ce fut aussi son cas, comme le montrent certaines de ses lettres, citées ci-dessous. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Mark Twain on the sexual superiority of women and girls

Mark Twain and Dorothy Quick
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Dorothy Quick aboard the Minnetonka (July 1907) – from

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (b. November 30, 1835; d. April 21, 1910), the American writer and humorist better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a free mind who evolved towards radicalism as he aged, opposing slavery and American imperialism, promoting civil rights and hailing labour unions. Although he was raised as a Presbyterian, he became distrustful of dogma and established religion. He did not publish in his lifetime his most controversial works about religion, and some of them were withheld from publication after his death, because his family disapproved them, notably: the novel The Mysterious Stranger published in 1916, the short story Little Bessie first published in 1972, and the collection of essays Letters From The Earth, written around 1909 and published only in 1962. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…