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General Discussion > The Saracen's Head

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message 1: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Dear Fellow Curiosities,

Since we have now set out to follow young Nicholas Nickleby's way into the world and to discuss his exploits, defeats, joys and sorrows, it behoves us to leave behind us the shady premises of The Three Cripples and betake ourselves into the more respectable care of the landlord of The Saracen's Head, Snow Hill.

The Saracen's Head was an ancient inn of quite some renown, destroyed in the Great Fire of London, but rebuilt and frequented, among others, by John Bunyan. It is not to be confused with the inn of the same name in Pickwick Papers. Our inn is described like this in Chapter 4 of NN:

"Near to the jail, and by consequence near to Smithfield also, and the Compter, and the bustle and noise of the city; and just on that particular part of Snow Hill where omnibus horses going eastward seriously think of falling down on purpose, and where horses in hackney cabriolets going westward not unfrequently fall by accident, is the coach-yard of the Saracen’s Head Inn; its portal guarded by two Saracens’ heads and shoulders, which it was once the pride and glory of the choice spirits of this metropolis to pull down at night, but which have for some time remained in undisturbed tranquillity; possibly because this species of humour is now confined to St James’s parish, where door knockers are preferred as being more portable, and bell-wires esteemed as convenient toothpicks. Whether this be the reason or not, there they are, frowning upon you from each side of the gateway. The inn itself garnished with another Saracen’s Head, frowns upon you from the top of the yard; while from the door of the hind boot of all the red coaches that are standing therein, there glares a small Saracen’s Head, with a twin expression to the large Saracens’ Heads below, so that the general appearance of the pile is decidedly of the Saracenic order."


Looks like a cosy place, but let's walk in on tiptoes because I am afraid Mr. Squeers is still in the coffee-room, and I would not like to meet him. We might just as well stay in the tap-room and have some drinks there, might we not?

By the way, the landlord of the Three Cripples will keep his shop open for two or three days more, and then close for some necessary renovation.


message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3447 comments Mod
Yes indeed, The Saracen’s Head. It was time to move on. I’m glad to see that our local for this novel has the internet. While our move was successful we are unable to get internet service for a few days.

I’m in a booth in the corner so drop by and have a pint with me.


message 3: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments As a golfer, the name Saracen keeps conjuring for me the late great Gene Sarazen.


message 4: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Never heard of Gene Sarazen, I'm sorry to admit, John ... but then I'm not a golfer. I have heard about pints, though, and think I will try one, just to see what it is like ;-)


message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 6383 comments Mod
Me either.


message 6: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Gene Sarazen was a great American golfer of the 1920s.

If I could put a literary bent on it, he was playing at the same time F. Scott's Fitzgerald's Jordan Baker was playing golf in The Great Gatsby. ;)


message 7: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Thanks for the information! I didn't even remember that golf was being played in The Great Gatsby. I just remember the general plotline of the novel, which we had to read at school.


message 8: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2520 comments Thank goodness we've moved on. I have to admit, the Three Cripples attracted a certain element that made me uncomfortable. Hopefully the Saracen’s Head's clientele is a bit more reputable.


message 9: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 969 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Thank goodness we've moved on. I have to admit, the Three Cripples attracted a certain element that made me uncomfortable. Hopefully the Saracen’s Head's clientele is a bit more reputable."

Plus peepholes at Cripples, you know? Kind of makes you fell like someone's watching you.


message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda | 363 comments Mary Lou wrote: "Thank goodness we've moved on. I have to admit, the Three Cripples attracted a certain element that made me uncomfortable."

Phew, I guess I'm glad that I did not set foot in the Three Cripples! I admit that I have been wandering aimlessly the past few months, and I'm glad I've finally caught up with everyone here at the Saracen's Head. I'm in desperate need of a cozy chair by the warm fire, and I'm happy that it appears I have arrived after Mr. Squeers' departure.


message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim | 6383 comments Mod
Where are the tea bags anyway?


message 12: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Well, it's 4:30 PM and I'm about to settle in for a cuppa.


message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments You people are fun.


message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim | 6383 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "You people are fun."

The word crazy came to my mind.


message 15: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Speaking of tea, I've been drinking ginger tea lately. I like the spicy kick to it and yet, at the same time, it has a calming feel to it.


message 16: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2520 comments John wrote: "Speaking of tea, I've been drinking ginger tea lately. I like the spicy kick to it and yet, at the same time, it has a calming feel to it."

Twinings has a lemon ginger tea that I was surprised to find that I liked. Good for what ails you. ;-)

Whatever everyone is drinking, please raise your glass (or cup) and drink a toast to my new little family member! As you may remember, we adopted a bulldog in June, and have been looking for a buddy for her ever since. I learned the hard way that my back is no longer up to managing the larger breeds I've always been drawn to, so we started looking at smaller dogs in need of a home. In a classic case of overcompensation, I'm pleased (but a little surprised) to announce that we now have an 8 week old, mixed chihuahua puppy in the family! Of course, since our bulldog is named Stella, we've made that short for Estella and are calling our wee boy - what else? - Pip! So far, I don't think anyone I've told has made the connection, which saddens me. But when the day comes that someone hears their names and smiles knowingly, I'll know I've found a kindred spirit. :-)


message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda | 363 comments Stella and Pip, that's so cute Mary Lou!! Congrats on the pups, and hopefully they will become great friends. :)

I haven't tried ginger tea, but I am partial to the Chimes spicy ginger candy chews.


message 18: by John (last edited Sep 06, 2018 02:09PM) (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Mary Lou wrote: "John wrote: "Speaking of tea, I've been drinking ginger tea lately. I like the spicy kick to it and yet, at the same time, it has a calming feel to it."

Twinings has a lemon ginger tea that I was ..."


Congratulations, Mary Lou! There's such an abundance of Dickensian names that I have to consider it for future family members in the form of pets (I have three cats and I recall reading of Dickens love of cats).

I will have to try a squeeze of lemon in my ginger tea.


message 19: by Linda (new)

Linda | 363 comments Mary Lou wrote: "our bulldog is named Stella, we've made that short for Estella and are calling our wee boy - what else? - Pip! So far, I don't think anyone I've told has made the connection, which saddens me."

I finished a book last week where the main character went by the name of Dodger in the online video game he played regularly. He said that everyone assumed he was a baseball fan and did not realize that it was actually a Dickens reference.

Then, coincidentally, I was also reading a totally different book where the main character thought to himself that another character probably thought of himself as sly, an Artful Dodger, yet he was actually far from being artful and more like pathetic. ha ha.

Anyway, I was starting to suspect that these two books were telling me that I shouldn't have missed out on our Oliver Twist read here.


message 20: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2520 comments Linda - Terry Pratchett wrote a young adult book called "Dodger" which was, I believe, meant to be an homage to The Inimitable. At the very least, it was very heavily influenced by him. Sounds like that should be your next selection!


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda | 363 comments Mary Lou - I do have Dodger on my list of books to read! Someone mentioned it in this group awhile back, perhaps it was you? I don't remember, but I had not heard of it until it was mentioned here.

I'm am actually in the middle of reading through Pratchett's Discworld series at the moment and am enjoying it immensely. The humor is right up my alley. One book per month and I'm currently on #16. Another couple of years until I finish up.


message 22: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3447 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "John wrote: "Speaking of tea, I've been drinking ginger tea lately. I like the spicy kick to it and yet, at the same time, it has a calming feel to it."

Twinings has a lemon ginger tea that I was ..."


Mary Lou

Pip is very lucky to find a new home with you. Even better that his ending is one that is clearly with Estella. I know both will find happiness with you.

Yes indeed. When anyone makes the connection with the names scratch them behind the ears and ask them to join us as we take our walks through Dickens’s world.


message 23: by Julie (last edited Sep 07, 2018 08:10AM) (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments Congratulations on the arrival of Pip!

When I was in grad school and reading Hard Times and got my first email account, and when I was more innocent than I am now (I started to say far more innocent, but who am I kidding), I picked "girlnumber20" as my email ID. To clarify, it was about the same period Spike Lee came out with a movie called Girl 6, and nobody has ever once thought it was a Dickens allusion. Not even my grad school advisor. I still use it for junk mail.


message 24: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments The O. Henry Book of the Best Stories 2018 just came out. Stories published in 2017 and selected by an awards committee of three writers.

I read two of them.

Ho hum mediocrity. Either I'm getting jaded or modern tastes have passed me by.


message 25: by Alissa (new)

Alissa | 317 comments Ginger tea, one of my favorites. That and chai latte, mmmm.

A pup named Pip, how cute! I love the Pip and Estella idea.


message 26: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Congratulations on the new family member, from my side, too, Mary Lou! It is a pity that no one is able to make the connection between Stella and Pip - but then neither Pip and Stelle were able to do so themselves ;-)

It is quite strange that many people do not recognize the names of literary characters, but it is a melancholy fact. When I went by the name of Tristram Shandy on one other Internet platform, there was one member who said the name sounds like that of a male porn star, which - of course - gave me an exact idea of the kind of freetime activities that special member must indulge in. I never deigned to correct his assumption, however, because I am sure, had he actually read Tristram Shandy, he would have got the nose references all wrong.


message 27: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
John wrote: "Speaking of tea, I've been drinking ginger tea lately. I like the spicy kick to it and yet, at the same time, it has a calming feel to it."

I like ginger tea, too, especially if you sweeten it with honey and drink it in winter. The smell alone is like a Christmas greeting to me.


message 28: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 08, 2018 08:47AM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Me too! Congrats Mary Lou :)

Peter - I'm in receipt of my cyber-invitation too, on sumptuous deckle edged parchment paper. I must saw that your calligraphy skills are admirable :) But we should definitely steer clear of Mr. Squeers. He's graduated to the hard stuff now!

Today I was in Port Bredy market (Bridport, for those not intimately acquainted with Thomas Hardy) and in between trying to balance on my crutches and using them as a handy way to get through the throng, I picked up a copy of Una Pope-Hennessy's biography from 1946, Charles Dickens. Has anyone read this one? She also wrote one on Edgar Allan Poe apparently.

By the way, be careful not to "buy" it on kindle. It looks as if it's a bargain, but in fact the link is incorrect and takes you to the one by G.K. Chesterton. It's not actually on kindle.


message 29: by Peter (new)

Peter | 3447 comments Mod
Bionic Jean wrote: "Me too! Congrats Mary Lou :)

Peter - I'm in receipt of my cyber-invitation too, on sumptuous deckle edged parchment paper. I must saw that your calligraphy skills are admirable :) But we should de..."


Hello Bionic Jean

I imagine you are a real terror on those crutches. Yes, let’s skip Squeers’s class and romp around the moors.


message 30: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 08, 2018 09:17AM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) LOL! I might well have been if anyone else tried to get near that book ... fortunately I had Chris with me, to sprottle on the floor and rummage through a box of old books :)


message 31: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments Tristram wrote: "Congratulations on the new family member, from my side, too, Mary Lou! It is a pity that no one is able to make the connection between Stella and Pip - but then neither Pip and Stelle were able to ..."

Tristram Shandy, because your name reads only "Tristram" on the discussion boards, it took me a while to discover you were THAT Tristram.


message 32: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Is anyone called "Tristram" these days? Not that I don't like the name ...


message 33: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Oh, I always forget that it just reads "Tristram" and have no idea how to make the "Shandy" appear.

I don't know if anyone is called Tristram these days, and don't know if the name was even used in former times. I actually like that name quite a lot, but that's probably because the book happens to be one of my all-time favourites.


message 34: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments So my friends hosted a spicy crab boil last night, which is one of my favorite things in the world, but I'm now up before 6 recovering with some lemon ginger tea.


message 35: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 09, 2018 06:33AM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Tristram wrote: "Oh, I always forget that it just reads "Tristram" and have no idea how to make the "Shandy" appear ..."

Find your own page and in tiny letters to the right it says "edit profile". Click this and you get a different screen. Just add "Shandy" to the top where it says, "first name" (ignore the rest) and scroll down to the bottom to click "save profile settings". That's it.

If you look at this in edit, you can see that theoretically you should be able to have a first, middle, last, and display name all in 4 separate fields, but when I edited my own name recently, it didn't work properly. So I did what I just described, to add "Bionic".


message 36: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments I needed several cups of ginger tea several days ago. Mainly due to a bachelor fridge. 🤓


message 37: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
Bionic Jean wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Oh, I always forget that it just reads "Tristram" and have no idea how to make the "Shandy" appear ..."

Find your own page and in tiny letters to the right it says "edit profile"...."


Thanks, Jean, I'll try that in the course of the week!


message 38: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Something I came across: fake book titles in Mr. Dickens' Library.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...


message 39: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments I was reading briefly the other day about one of Dickens' daughters -- Kate Perugini. An artist. It occurred to me, and I was wondering, with a lot of yearly sales of books, who is the beneficiary of that?

I didn't know. Some great great grandchildren?


message 40: by Peter (last edited Sep 14, 2018 05:44PM) (new)

Peter | 3447 comments Mod
John

That is a very good question and one I have no idea of the answer. The copywrite on publication rights to his novels would be expired I imagine, but am at a loss for all the other material. Movies, TV, the theatre, naming rights and on and on. Quite an industry.

There are many descendants of Dickens and some are closely connected to Dickensian publications, museums and the like.


message 41: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) And many impostors too! It's quite a minefield.


message 42: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4856 comments Mod
John wrote: "Something I came across: fake book titles in Mr. Dickens' Library.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en..."


That's funny, even though the humour of some titles is probably no longer obvious to the modern-day reader. I like the History of a Short Chancery Suit, and wonder if the book describing it was short or long ;-)


message 43: by John (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "And many impostors too! It's quite a minefield."

I can see it being quite a minefield. I would surmise that it could be a minefield even if Charles and Catherine only had two or three children. But starting with ten kids and proceeding from there must make for some interesting cases.


message 44: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "And many impostors too! It's quite a minefield."

Copyright would be expired in both the US and the UK (I don't know about other places), the only exception potentially being for materials never previously published, for instance The Life of Our Lord: Written for His Children During the Years 1846 to 1849, which according to its publisher Dickens asked not to have published until all his children had died because he wrote it for them (and that fascinates me: has anyone read the book? I haven't.) Anyway, that would include not just the books, but all the movie and other rights. Anyone can do anything with the material from a Dickens novel without paying royalties.

Imposters, Jean? What do Dickens imposters do? Make theme park appearances? This is also fascinating.


message 45: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments Tristram wrote: "John wrote: "Something I came across: fake book titles in Mr. Dickens' Library.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en......."


Cockatoo on Perch! Love it.


message 46: by John (last edited Sep 15, 2018 09:38AM) (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments Julie wrote: "Bionic Jean wrote: "And many impostors too! It's quite a minefield."

Copyright would be expired in both the US and the UK (I don't know about other places), the only exception potentially being fo..."


It's fascinating and somewhat counterintuitive (at least to me) that a movie producer could proceed with something like "The Man Who Invented Christmas" and the entire thing, the idea, the story, the representation of Dickens himself, the words he wrote-- nothing is paid anywhere, not even a good faith donation to a charity Dickens might have liked.


message 47: by Linda (new)

Linda | 363 comments John wrote: "Something I came across: fake book titles in Mr. Dickens' Library."

I would like to peruse the book Growler’s Gruffiology, with Appendix. :)


message 48: by Bionic Jean (last edited Sep 15, 2018 10:33AM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) LOL Julie - They've tried to make claims on his estate, or more recently, just the kudos of being related :(

Yes I've read The Life of Our Lord: Written for His Children During the Years 1846 to 1849 - it's quite easy to find in antiquarian bookshops here. A bit too sentimental for my tastes, as I remember. The Victorians seemed to have an odd idea of how to write for children, the little perishers darling little dears!


message 49: by John (last edited Sep 15, 2018 11:05AM) (new)

John (jdourg) | 1120 comments I could not settle on one favorite title from his bookshelf, so I must name three:

Drowsy's Recollections of Nothing
Kant's Ancient Humbugs
Bowwowdom: A Poem

And an Honorable Mention:

King Henry the Eighth's Evidence of Christianity


message 50: by Julie (new)

Julie Kelleher | 1342 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "LOL Julie - They've tried to make claims on his estate, or more recently, just the kudos of being related :(

Yes I've read [book:The Life of Our Lord: Written for His Children During the Years 184..."


Guess I'm not surprised to hear it's sentimental, but I like the idea that he'd gift writing to his children by refusing to profit from it while it could still be theirs.


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