Friday, 11 March 2016

Literary Houses - nostalgia, fantasy and magical places

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the fiction of my childhood for a number of reasons over the past couple of months. I found out about the death of Jonathon Crombie, who played undeniable heartthrob Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables. I mean yes, he left us nearly a year ago, but I only found out a few weeks ago. Silo cinema screened The Secret Garden, and then The Princess Bride. Plus, taking two postgraduate papers at Summer school alongside work left me exceedingly keen to ignore adult life and delve into something cosier and more magical. Valentine’s Day has probably also had something to do with it – I’ll never again find a love like Tom Sawyer or Samwise Gamgee, after all.

In typical me fashion, I’ve wanted to revisit the literature but I can’t decide. I can’t choose, and what if I find it’s just too junior now and it ruins it for me? I huffed and puffed and requested and returned. Until I found the perfect book. I could not have imagined a better one. I stumbled upon it on a goodreads wander, swooned, and located a copy in the central basement. It’s one of the best basement treasures I have found yet.

Children's Literary Houses is an illustrated guide to famous dwelling’s in children’s fiction. The dwellings’ are taken from such literary delights as The Secret Garden, Little Women, David Copperfield and Alice in Wonderland. The art is gorgeous, and the excerpts are superbly well-chosen. And as if it weren’t already perfect for my current dilemma, it just happens to be written by Lisa Tuttle – one of my favourite science fiction/fantasy/horror writers, prolific from the 1980’s onward – and Rosalind Ashe, who appears to be of the same oeuvre. I infuriatingly cannot credit the beautiful illustrations, which are simply credited as “Copyright Dragon’s World Ltd, 1984”.

Dragon’s World Ltd, though, appear to be an absolute goldmine of fantasy, science fiction and esoteric art publishing out of Surrey during the late 70’s and early 80’s. For fans of Chris Achilleos and Heavy Metal etc, it should be worth investigating. And an added Bonus: Rosalind Ashe, I discovered, published Literary Houses two years prior, and it is just as brilliant.

So if you're looking for a smorgasbord of nostalgia with some beautiful - have a look! 

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