Traces Remain: Essays and Explorations Kindle Í

Traces Remain: Essays and Explorations Charles Nicholl is a very worthy writer I think I would read any topic he chooses He is familiar with playwrights of the 16th and 17th century, of a tale of an Abruzzo girl who is remembered centuries later with a history that has perhaps no truth in it He also writes about Dublin the 80s and the mystery of Jim Thompson s disappearance.He is interested in a great many topics all of which are well researched I want to readof him. excellent non fiction book that walks you through the arcana of some famous and less famous characters of yore The chapter about the Shakespeare controversy telescoping out of the argument as to whether he was real, to look at the argument itself was particularly good. The very best type of popular history entertainingly and provocatively written but also balanced and grounded in serious research Nicholl provides compelling new angles on household names such as Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci and familiar stories such as Jack the Ripper whilst also shining a light on some fascinating characters who have disappeared into historical obscurity A particular standout for me was the French Swiss boxer poet adventurer Arthur Cravan Fabian Lloyd many of the char The very best type of popular history entertainingly and provocatively written but also balanced and grounded in serious research Nicholl provides compelling new angles on household names such as Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci and familiar stories such as Jack the Ripper whilst also shining a light on some fascinating characters who have disappeared into historical obscurity A particular standout for me was the French Swiss boxer poet adventurer Arthur Cravan Fabian Lloyd many of the characters in this book have multiple or uncertain names, nationalities and professions , who vanished somewhere off Mexico in 1918 but sightings of whom continued to be reported years afterwards in various parts of the world Cravan s story has been inexplicably neglected in the English speaking world at the time of writing there had still been no English language biography and only a handful of media articles and he is one of several people covered in this book that I ve come away wanting to learn and researchabout Nicholl s other great achievement is to communicate human emotion powerfully and credibly without appearing to take major liberties with the source material, which in most cases is very limited Cravan s tempestuous relationship with the poet Mina Loy, for example, and the essayist critic William Hazlitt s humiliating infatuation with his land lady s daughter are communicated in a way that is immediately recognisable, pathetic in the older sense of that word and makes these characters come affectingly alive, in some cases across multiple centuries History, as is told and read these days, often focusses on the grand scheme of things, the all encompassing narrative it is told in timeframes of eras, ages epochs, with whole decades thrown into a generalization like the Hippies, or the French revolution.I have read tried to understand history this way, as it was taught to me in broad sweeps, and though there may be some merit in looking at an entire age through a lens of this sort, there is sometimes great beauty poignancy in looking History, as is told and read these days, often focusses on the grand scheme of things, the all encompassing narrative it is told in timeframes of eras, ages epochs, with whole decades thrown into a generalization like the Hippies, or the French revolution.I have read tried to understand history this way, as it was taught to me in broad sweeps, and though there may be some merit in looking at an entire age through a lens of this sort, there is sometimes great beauty poignancy in looking at the bygone through the eyes of individuals or from the viewpoints of the mundane, everyday things.This is what historical fiction tries to do mostly succeeds in it gives us a close look at people and places we are sometimes never aware even existed I obviously don t mean the sprawling novelizations of the lives of great people royalty novelists in the British tradition These sometimes futile inaccurate reimaginings are our forays into a world we didn t know but recognize as our past The why of this is quite easy we just want to know these things.This is why Charles Nicholl s books have enthralled, entertained and won a fawning, loyal fan following This collection of essays, collected published as Traces Remain, is very much in the same tradition, and though it may seem like a few of them have been just thrown in to lend some weight to the tome, a few essays here are nothing short of stunning.Travel, literature, history a fascination for the arcane and the forgotten collide in these pages, producing stories like that of Thomas Caryote, Beatrice Cenci and Jim Thompson Nicholl takes us on sometimes wild trips, give us details like that of Shakespeare s landlord s shady dealings and William Hazlitt s weaknesses They are endlessly interesting none of these essays seem like an end in themselves, they only serve to pull you into some story or the other, and you find yourself trying to figure your way through this muddle of the past.I took my time reading Traces Remain, if just to honour all the work that Nicholl must have put into to reveal all these obscurities murky happenings But sometimes just because I needed time to think about all these remains of the past, and wonder at them An enjoyable mixed bag of historical essays. Well written, short essays that offer a slice of life viewing into history Euro centric, but that is to be expected and the book makes it clear that it is framed this way Debunks some popular narratives in history, but never crosses the line into contrarianism. In these wonderfully stylish and eclectic essays, Charles Nicholl pursues the fugitive traces of the past with the skill and relish that have earned him a reputation as one of the finest literary and historical detectives of our time His subjects range from a murder case in Renaissance Rome to the disappearance of Jim Thompson in s Malaya, from the boyhood of Christopher Marlowe to the crimes of Jack the Ripper, from the remnants of a lost Shakespeare play to the last days of the poet boxer Arthur Cravan in a Mexican fishing port Full of insights, curiosities and unexpected discoveries, these thirty pieces written over two decades show the author of The Lodger and Leonardo da Vinci at his inquisitive best

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