Literature isn’t kind to November. As Tom Nissley reminds us in his Reader’s Book of Days when Ishmael leaves Manhattan for New Bedford and the sea in Moby-Dick, it may be December on the calendar, but he’s driven there, to the openness of oceans, by “a damp, drizzly November in my soul.” And where else could Dickens’s Bleak House begin but, bleakly, in “implacable November,” with dogs and horses mired in mud, pedestrians “jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper” (not unlike Ishmael “deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off”), and, of course, the English fog. Jane Eyre begins on a “drear November day,” with a “pale blank of mist and cloud” and “ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.” And it’s on a “dreary night in November,” as “rain pattered dismally against the panes,” that Victor Frankenstein, blindly engrossed in his profane labors as the seasons have passed by outside, first sees the spark of life in the watery eyes of his creation. Is it any wonder that Meg in Little Women thinks that “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year”?
Here on Literary Life, we have a more cheerful view. The month before Advent is a beautiful occasion to give thanks as we look forward to the annual gatherings of family and friends to commence the holiday season. Literary Life is a nod to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria which poet and priest Malcolm Guite describes as “…an eclectic mix of autobiography, philosophical history, literary criticism, rambling anecdote, and radical new theology, all held together and threaded through with a constant witness to the power of the Logos, to the great analogy of language. At its heart is the idea that the cosmos is spoken into being by Mind, that nature is itself a kind of language, and that our own use of language is, therefore, a series of clues as to the meaning of both mind and cosmos. So the literary criticism and the theology are not separate and disparate parts of the book; they are the same thing.”
In this gathering of readers from around the world, thanks will indeed be given. In addition to this site, our closest friends from over 130 countries meet in our Facebook discussion group, which you can join by clicking HERE.
Come. Read with us as you live your Literary Life.
Rick Wilcox | Editor in Chief