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International Dorothy Dunnett Day 2012

The second International Dorothy Dunnett Day (IDDD) will take place on Saturday 10th November 2012.  Once again, Dunnett Readers across the world will meet in homes, restaurants, pubs, parks, museums or any other location; and at 13.00 (1 pm) local time raise a glass to toast the Lady who started it all.  If you would like to help organise an IDDD meeting, or to attend one, go to http://dunnettcentral.org/news/international-dorothy-dunnett-day-2012 for contact details and the latest information. It doesn’t matter if there are two of you or two score!

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She Reads Novels blog update

At shereadsnovels.wordpress.com, blogger Helen, whose progress through The Lymond Chronicles kept us glued to our seats, has now got cracking on The House of Niccolò and - lucky us - we can read her reflections on the books as she goes along.  She has just posted her review of The Spring of the Ram here.

Fumbling around tumblr...

Originally posted by fajrdrako at Fumbling around tumblr...


Some Dunnett fans have been setting up a board on Pinterest for casting the Dorothy Dunnett novels. With some terrific suggestions.

Inspired by that, I tried to set up a tumblr page to put pictures of my own picks for the Dunnett casting game. And then... once I'd done that... I couldn't get to the page. Even though I remembered my password. It's at Dunnettcast on tumblr.

Grump.

And then I had trouble getting into my regular tumblr site as fajrdrako, which is mostly about Marvel comics. Eventually sorted out my problems and got back.

So in the end I set up a second one at Dunnetcast on tumblr. That works fine - though I'd rather use "dunnettcast". And my Dashboard keeps showing other people's pictures, which I don't want.

Advice, anyone?

Added later: Amazingly enough, I have figured it out. Right. So Dunnettcast on tumblr is now functional.

And if you're interested, here are the sites on Pinterest:

EDITED TO ADD: The second Pinterest link above may not work work - try http://pinterest.com/aralmiles/the-lymond-chronicles-from-the-written-page-to-the/ instead.  Thanks, Leander!

The Idle Woman blog

How long is it since you started reading The Lymond Chronicles?  Two years?  Five?  Twenty?  Fifty?  If you would like to relive that first, wonderful experience, hie thee to http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/ to follow the progress of Leander as she reads The Lymond Chronicles for the first time.  Spoilers abound, so we don't recommend this link to other new readers, but for those of us who won't be troubled by key revelations this is a beautifully written book diary which will get you thinking and probably send you running for your battered copy of The Game of Kings to start your umpteenth re-read!

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Elizabeth Chadwick and Dorothy Dunnett..

Originally posted by fajrdrako at Elizabeth Chadwick and Dorothy Dunnett..

From an interview with Elizabeth Chadwick:
    Dorothy Dunnett. Whenever I wanted to raise my game, I would read Dorothy Dunnett. Not that I ever have or will raise my game to her level. She was in a league of her own and still is. She taught me a great deal about the imaginative and fearless use of language.
"Fearless use of language." I like that description.
Originally posted by nwhyte at July Books 24) The Spring of the Ram, by Dorothy Dunnett

Not quite a year after I read the first in this series, I've read the second, and have certainly worked up an appetite to read the rest now. Niccolò, the Flemish apprentice-turned-magnate of the first book, is sent on a mission of cut-throat mercantile competition to Trebizond, the only surviving point of the Byzantine Empire; but the year is 1461, and Trebizond's time is also running out. There's some very skeevy (though not at all explicit) underage sex in this book, though our hero nobly stands aside from it; there's also a lot of appropriately byzantine political conspiracy, with tendrils reaching from Georgia to Scotland in a beautifully drawn pattern of entanglement. It's all very lush and convincing, and just as I was wondering if Niccolò would ever actually lose any of the conflicts he gets involved with, I was blindsided by one of the several twists at the end. Good stuff.
It’s time women’s writing was taken seriously and not simply corralled into crime or packaged as chick-lit, hears Dani Garavelli in The Scotsman.

... Professor Willy Maley, co-founder of Glasgow University’s creative writing course, thinks discrimination [against women writers] is particularly entrenched in Scotland because of its male-dominated literary lineage which runs from Walter Scott to Alasdair Gray and James Kelman. “It’s a gendered landscape,” he says. “And I think the same snobbery that applies to literary notions of popular fiction have worked against many prominent and gifted writers, for example Dorothy Dunnett. It’s easier for women writers to make a home in established genres than to break into the literary fiction niche.”  Read more.

The Romance of the Middle Ages

No kind of writing is an island, entire of itself: romances incorporate motifs and settings from epic poetry, Norse sagas, Middle Eastern tales, saints’ lives, chronicles, and lyric love poetry. Most of all, romances are impelled by the narrative shape of a life, tracing an arc from orphaned child to emperor, from exile to return, or from slandered daughter to revered queen. In this way, they create person-shaped narratives that satisfy our repeated desire to learn about ourselves through telling stories.

The Romance of the Middle AgesAnd if that doesn't sum up Dorothy Dunnett's story-telling, what does?

There is a wonderful collection of medieval (and newer) manuscripts to be seen in Oxford at the moment as part of the Bodleian Library's The Romance of the Middle Ages exhibition. Visit the Bodleian website for a glimpse of the treasures on display and a fascinating video recorded by Oxford academics who explain the history and significance of them.

The exhibition is on until 13th May.  And if you can make it on Wednesday 7th March or Friday 23rd March, you can sit in on a lunchtime lecture by Dr Nicholas Perkins (University Lecturer and Tutor in English, St Hugh's College, Oxford; Curator of the exhibition) or Prof Helen Cooper (Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Magdalene College, Cambridge).  If you can possibly get there, this exhibition is not to be missed - and it doesn't cost a penny to get in.

The book that accompanies the exhibition is on sale at amazon.co.uk.
The Dorothy Dunnett Society has added three Amazon storefronts to its website at DunnettCentral.org.  Every purchase made from Amazon - not just of books - via those storefronts will result in some of Amazon's profits going to the Society.

The latest Dunnett addition to the Amazon catalogue is five of the Dolly/Johnson Johnson mysteries that have just been republished for Kindle.  There are three more on the way to complete the set, and the whole series will also be released as printed books.  Kindle books aren't available yet on amazon.ca, but Canadian readers can find them at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk.

Visit DunnettCentral's "Shop at Amazon" page to see more, and bookmark the link that leads to your preferred Amazon site.  Don't forget to pass it on to your friends and family, too!
Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination
We highly recommend any Dunnett reader to see this exhibition at the British Library if they can. It is on in London until 13 March 2012. It showcases the illustrations in the handwritten books, bibles and psalters made for successive English and French kings in the Middle Ages, covering a period from about 750–1603.

There is a good collection of illustrations created in Bruges c. 1450 and one, in particular, features some ladies beside a river (or could it be a canal?) with their henins blowing vigorously in the wind! For the technocrats among you, there is a Smartphone App available through bl.uk/app.

The beautiful exhibition catalogue is on sale at amazon.co.uk