Literary references

The business of comparing national literatures across languages and time is definitely tricky. Take the English 19th century prose from Jane Austen through Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Trollope, George Eliot, Hardy, to Joseph Conrad. By any yardstick it would be...
Where is Europe?

Where is Europe?

Is this a silly question?  It certainly seems silly.  Of course, we all know where Europe is.  But do we really? To know where Europe is one has to know where its borders are.  And what are Europe’s borders?  Well, it’s all water, isn’t...
Etymology

Etymology

There is something about etymology, the study of the history of words, which makes it difficult, once one has started to look up the origin of words, to stop. Perhaps it is because there is always another word that just begs to be looked up, and then another, and so...
Wormwood and Honey In Ancient Rome

Wormwood and Honey In Ancient Rome

In Chapter XXXI of The Estate of Wormwood and Honey, Sergey recalls his mother using wormwood as a medicinal remedy.  To overcome the child’s resistance to drinking the very bitter medicine, his mother smears some honey around the rim of the cup.  This...
Wormwood, Absinthe, Degas

Wormwood, Absinthe, Degas

The technical name of the wormwood plant is Artemisia absinthium.  Is there thus a connection between wormwood and the popular French drink absinthe? The ever helpful “The Wormwood Society—America’s Premier Absinthe Association and Information Network” explains...

A Couple Reviews

Here is an excerpt from a great review at Amazon: This novel is full of psychological aspects. You see the difficulties of Nicolas’ mission, how much he suffered but also how strong he became. Furthermore you learn about Russia in the 19th century, a life on a...