Afterward by Edith Wharton, The Perfect English Ghost-story Masterpiece

Reading Edith Wharton offers an enjoyment that the reader carries through. She not only writes beautifully with a sharp account of the society she knew, but she knows how to tell the tale and take the reader along until the last page of the book. Her ghost stories just like her novels at core deal with same aspects that she is so preoccupied with, respectively wealthy people, their vanity and the questionable morality expressed in all their deeds. In Afterward by Edith Wharton, we see a young American couple going through tremendous anxiety to find a suitable old English mansion to live in but quite strikingly a mansion with a real live ghost is offered to them by chance turning the story to an interesting dimension. The thing that makes people glued to the storyline is that while reading they cannot realize they have actually come across a ghost and it is only ‘afterward’, in the course of events, that they know the truth.Afterward by Edith Wharton, The Perfect English Ghost-story Masterpiece

The storyline

The storyline goes like this. A young American couple decides to buy a large mansion in the English Countryside. They were actually looking for an old house to offer their own living mark. They even like to live in a house with a ghost. Finally, the house they buy seems to lack these aspects and though there is likely to be a ghost it is not found until long afterwards.

Mary and Edward Boyne, the couple fixes up the place quite well. They are also financially well-off thanks to the successful business of the later. They have a very bonding relationship and almost everything in their lives is perfect. In one laid out afternoon, they decide to hike the hill near their home when a man is seen walking up the driveway. When venturing to catch him the man disappears suddenly before anyone could get there. Though finally, all comes out well and settled again, the time after seeing this disappeared man offers a few intriguing twists and turns and that deserves a firsthand reading rather than knowing the storyline in review.

It is intriguing and involving

Many of us have been kind of people who are easily spooked with slight frightening things. They can be ghosts or demons or evil spirits that make the perfect nightmare deepening our fright for the darkness and invisible. Edith Wharton’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Wharton) present story is just way ahead of the so called ghost story clichés. It is through and through intriguing and involving and moreover, quite living with regular characters. In ‘Afterward’, the disappearing man appears again and again for a palpable duration offering them the nerve raking fright of ghost that they were so romantic about while buying the house. We have to wait for the final revelation about the ghost’s existence until much later when one of their friend arriving suddenly recalls the past related to the house.

Wharton’s craft stand out

For many of us who have an uncanny knack for the capturing horror, may find this story more enjoyable than so called volumes of horror books. That slow build up of frightening and foreboding that only crafty writers can utilize to the fullest extent and use potently in stories, is more rewarding and impressive than so called made-to-frighten clichés with same repetitive elements in different shapes and ambiences. The true horror and tension of relating the weird events goes well together and our present writer has an exceptional skill in that.

First of all, the mansion at Lyng seems as the ideal ambience for Edward and Mary Boyne to make their home with some fantasized idea about ghosts. The scenic landscape all around and their desolation are quite complementing to each other. It is quite what seems to be the kind of place the couple were looking for. When they are informed that the mansion has the presence of a ghost, they rather took it as a fun element added to their happy life. The real turn of the story is in the discovery of the ghost long ‘Afterwards’ and the whole story is a systematic progression or building up of that horror element that surprises us all including the couple in the book.

The circumstances that ensue are undoubtedly strange and this strangeness achieves the peak when Edward is observed with a slightly distressed behavior and a strange man is seen walking up the driveway that quickly disappears as soon as he tries to get hold of him. An otherwise happy life of the couple gets threatened by this mysterious appearance and disappearance.

Wharton as a master storyteller weaves every aspect of the story to make the revelation of the ghost a surprising event taking hold of her readers and obviously her characters. The plot has been devised in a slow progression with the delicate weaving of details to build the story’s encapsulating suspense and take the reader’s anxiety to the optimum level.

Select High Quality Vacuum Jug from Reliable Thermos Manufacturers

Various Models of Flasks are Available

Since the invention of vacuum flask by Sir James Dewar in the year of 1892, the instrument has undergone drastic changes. The technological innovations that have taken place in the modern era have brought in handy novel features to this mechanism. The present-day thermoses are not only highly functional but also cool ones that will add allure to the place they occupy. In our time, buyers consider the design and modishness of the flask also, apart from the precise requirement. This means that traders will have to store sufficient quantities of different models of flasks, so that customers get the best option.

Thermoses Have Wide Applications

The use of thermoses stretches beyond the domestic arena, albeit the general tendency is to take them merely as one of the domestic appliances. The application of the flasks stretches to various research labs too. Modern thermoses are also termed as travel mugs, because, people take with them this product to carry homemade beverages while traveling. These appliances will carry coffee, tea, or such drinks for a long time without any damage to taste. In scientific and industrial laboratories, flasks are made use of for storing various chemicals, liquidized gases, etc., without any smash ups.

Store Flasks with Eye-catching Design Straight from the Manufacturing company’s Warehouse

The best way to attract the attention of prospective buyers is to store marvelously designed flasks; this is all the more true in this internet age, because, there are lots of online traders who specializes in thermos selling. The competition is truly hard-hitting. Moreover, a website visitor will not stay in a store where he or she is unable to find the particular model flasks that please their mind and aesthetic sense.

Thermos traders can surely garner great extra benefits by filling their stock straight from the storehouse of the manufacturing company. The supplementary profits often come as liberal discounts or volume/trade commission. In many cases, dealers can also expect to get free transportation and handling charges. All these are the added advantages, apart from the usual price reduction.

In addition, such professional thermal ware companies will have special departments to look after all their sales related jobs. There will be experienced and proficient marketing specialists in this division with whom traders can discuss their sales problems and solve all the relevant sales snags pragmatically. Moreover, these experts will be able to guide the traders properly; this professional advice and support will be of great help to allSelect High Quality Vacuum Jug from Reliable Thermos Manufacturers China vacuum jug or flask dealers, especially during the present though market competition.

However, traders must adhere to certain basic points while selecting a thermos flask manufacturing company. This is vital for making their efforts, winning.

The company must be well experienced in the manufacture of various types of flasks.

The manufacturing unit must have sophisticated tools and machineries, and above all, competent management and labor force. These fundamental factors will make the flask stand out from the rest of the crowd. All customers will be pleased to buy such products.

The manufacturing company must also have competency to perform the dual functions of designing and manufacturing all alone. In other words, the company must be an ‘Original Design Manufacturer (ODM)’, as well as an ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)’. These operating skills will give utmost visual clarity and functional supremacy to the products.

Thermoses must possess the official documentations such as ‘FDA’, ‘LFGB’, and ‘BSCL’. These certificates are the real pointers of quality and durability, and by storing such quality flasks, traders can not only satisfy their customers’ requirement but also earn their loyalty.

Dealers must also make sure that the flask manufacturing company with which they plan a tie-up is equipped with a modern CNC processing center. This means that there will be absolute precision in the production process.

Select High Quality Vacuum Jug from Reliable Thermos Manufacturers

Vacuum jugs have become par for the course of the modern-day human life. There will not be a single house across the globe where flasks are not used. Such is the high demand this product enjoys; a lot of wholesalers and retail vendors store various types of thermoses in order to cash on this high customer requirement. Dealers can gain the wholehearted support of their clients by selling top-quality thermos flasks. However, for achieving this, they have to comprehend and take into consideration one significant point, before purchasing thermoses to fill their stock. Customers give extreme importance to quality and durability. Therefore, traders must select high quality vacuum jug from reliable thermos manufacturers and that is the only way to confirm the overall functionality of the appliance.

Purchase Quality Airport Flasks at Reasonable Price from Thermos Suppliers

Contemporary Customers Prefer Better-quality Airpot Flask

Airpot flasks have an edge over the traditional ones, because of the high usability factor and of course, the cute, stylish structure. Another distinctive trait that makes this model desirable is the fact that it is a perfect flask to carry during travel time. Most of the modern-day customers prefer this model in that way. In a conventional flask, the stored beverage overflows when it is in a sloping position, and this can happen even accidentally. However, this is not the case with an airpot flask; the user will have to press the provided button, or the lever to extract the beverage. When the button is in the off mode, there is no possibility of spillover.

Purchase Quality Airport Flasks at Reasonable Price from Thermos Suppliers

The existing thermos market is very much active, as well as aggressive. Hence, to get the due market share, dealers will have to take maximum care while storing the required products. One of the main matters that make the competition tough is the availability of different models of thermoses that are suitable for varied needs. Furthermore, often customers’ demand differs in line with their specific requirements and it is only natural that they wish to have broad options. Consequently, they would like to see all of the latest model flasks having different sizes and colors, so that they can pick the most appropriate one. Hence, dealers will have to stock diverse model flasks. This is practically impossible to achieve by engaging middlemen or particular agents. Such agencies will not have sufficient stock with them many a time, as they will have to cater the needs of several sellers. Considering this matter, it is always advisable for both wholesalers and retailers to avoid intermediaries; they can purchase quality airport flasks at reasonable price from thermos suppliers.

Purchase Quality Airport Flasks at Reasonable Price from Thermos SuppliersPoints that Dealers Must Make Sure

•  Customers generally prefer to buy flasks that have stainless steel body. Such flasks will have tempting attractive shapes and will hold heat much longer than plastic body flasks. The top cover also must be of stainless steel. Steel flasks are much more durable. The adaptability of the nose of the flask is another feature that all customers will like.

•  It is good to store various sizes of double walled vacuum flask, as buyers are more likely to go for such flasks because of high efficiency.

•  Another probable feature that some of the customers will look for is the use of ‘Polypropylene (PP)’ for the head portion, handle, and the base. However, the push-button or the lever must be of stainless steel. Having said that, there are buyers who like to have flasks with special features such as a stainless steel base, or zinc alloy lever.

•  In general, people will always favor convenience over fashion; this is one of the intrinsic human traits. This natural trait plays an important role even when people pick various contrivances for everyday use. In spite of this, if a product falls under the ‘highly convenient’ category and has a cool design, for sure it will become all the rage. This is exactly true as far as the thermos market is concerned.

•  Dealers must take care to store different colored Airport Flasks such as ‘silver’, ‘black’, ‘red’, etc. Such cool models have earned customers’ endorsement.

•  Customers will definitely wish to have quality flasks that have secured the official approbation. Hence, both stockists, as well as small-scale shop owners must store only superior products with quality certifications such as ‘LFGB’, ‘BSCL’, and ‘FDA’. Traders must comprehend that these are authoritative documents, which corroborate quality. Such companies will use only high-quality and fresh materials in the production process.

•  Traders must ascertain that the manufacturing company from which they are planning to take their stock is an authentic ODM and OEM. Moreover, the company must also have a CNC processing center. These are the indicators of uniqueness and quality.

•  Generally, all competently managed, specialized manufacturing companies, which carry out stringent quality controls during all phases of the production process, offer comprehensive warranty that extends to one year.

•  Dealers should take special attention to purchase flasks from such companies, so that they can offer their clients expert after-sales service, even on technical matters. All customers will appreciate prompt and effective customer service.

•  An added advantage of filling the stock directly from manufacturing companies is that traders can stay away from middlemen and thus save unnecessary expenses.

Timely delivery is another significant point; professional flask manufacturing companies will have separate departments for carrying out the distribution work. This branch will have the support of qualified and experienced sales staff, and they will assist the dealers in sorting out their marketing problems.

Why Food Banks are becoming so Popular?

Many recent reports clearly shows that enquiries made to food banks are increasing at galloping pace creating much positive vibe in favor of various free food and hunger management programs. Various social economic factors apart from the pangs of poverty experienced by people across the globe are making the popularity of food banks inevitable.

Why Food Banks are becoming so Popular

It is nevertheless worrying that even in technologically advanced countries there is a vast number of people reeling under the poverty stricken conditions struggling to feed themselves and their family. It is unquestionably a matter of utter shame that in 21st century world many people are forced to live on the generosity of others to survive. But with increasing number of food banks it almost took the shape of a social movement in many countries and no longer food banks are just generosity driven social undertakings. With the continued moral, social and financial support from the do-gooders food banks in the time to come can play a huge role in alleviating hunger and poverty.

Food banks dealing with poverty and more

Do food banks only deal with poverty? As far as the recent experience and findings goes, in many parts of the world food banks besides serving the hungry and poverty stricken people are also playing responsible role for people in distress and in other detrimental conditions. Besides the so called low income and no-income and diseased population food banks are helping various sections of society including abused women, families suffering from debt problems and students not getting meals. The non profit food organizations now serve many people with distress and hunger than the typical stereotyped poverty stricken sections of society.

The real social scenario

Looking at how much the food problem is affecting people and exactly who are the people affected most should be a priority now. Students, particularly children make up a major portion of beneficiaries of food banks. Among the employed ones low income people with poorly supported family and unemployed people make up the rest. Working families are increasingly taking help from food banks as the cost of living is increasing in many cities and urban areas.

As families are struggling to make their ends meet they are seeking social and community support systems like food banks. Increasing number of working families are just being pushed to the wall by the rising cost of livelihood and daily amenities. For these working populations living on the verge of poverty food banks offer a great support.

Moreover, in the present context food banks are taking the case of developing dependency seriously. Most food distribution agencies and food banks agree that without getting to the core problem behind the food scarcity they cannot make a real contribution in alleviating hunger and poverty for a vast population. This is the reason why many food banks are also working towards offering short term employment to hunger stricken people in their capacity. Offering unemployed youth a responsible social job in community food distribution system is good in engaging people for a good cause while creating a scope of employment for some people.

While debate over the effects of government policies will continue, it is more necessary to shape the food banks as a community initiative for people reeling under the poverty and suffering the pangs of hunger. While due to the rising economic pressure federal and provincial governments is actually cutting out the so called social benefits, food banks as community initiative serving people for their right to live and right to food.

With the increasing livelihood cost and decreasing government support a lot of underprivileged working families are finding it hard to meet their daily requirements of food. Inflation is making the situation even more complex and even the so called regular workers are also sometimes facing drastic situations to make ends meet. Food banks in this context are increasingly playing crucial role in bridging this gap for working people in financial distress.

Food banks serving mainstream people

From the above mentioned situations and impacts of food banks on the larger sections of society and population it is clear that food banks now have become a mainstream phenomenon rather than being limited to only the marginalized section of society. In many developed countries continued economic recession and slow economic growth made huge number of people turn to food banks every year. Some countries are experiencing a whopping 80 per cent growth in new food bank enquiries and the time is not very far when food banks will be more regular than all other socially motivated community organizations.

Food banks once were for solving a problematic but in the present socio economic context they can no longer be considered in their erstwhile minority serving status. Food banks (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-food-bank.htm) are now helping increasing number of people in the mainstream having regular jobs. Food banks these days became particularly instrumental in serving mainstream people who are migrating downwards due to economic pressure. As incomes are not increasing in comparison to inflation, low paid people are finding it hard to maintain their livelihood and this is the biggest reason behind the popularity of food banks among mainstream population.

Finally one must understand that food banks are not signs of a society going bad but far from it. They are actually the signs of our community strength against the uncontrollable hectic outcomes of economic maneuvers. Actually the emergence of food banks should be seen as a sign of strengthening social fabric. While there are millions of people reeling under the clutches of poverty and hunger and government welfare just not being able to address this worsening condition, a community to community support system like food banks can really play an effective role.

Ways to Donate Time and Money to Feed Hungry Students and Seniors

One of the most important reasons why mankind still remains to be the strongest and most civilized species on earth is because we are bound together by the love and care that we share for one another. We humans are gregarious creatures who look out for one another and stand by each other in times of difficulty. Poverty, population control, epidemic diseases, education are few of the burning issues in this world that every other human must care about. One such crisis that haunts mankind and takes away millions of lives every year is hunger. While it is rampant and alarming in underdeveloped nations of Africa, Asia and South America, developed nations like the United States of America is no stranger to the hunger crisis as well. There are millions of people in the US alone who are hungry, malnourished and underfed. It’s not just the lack of nutritious and healthy food but there are a lot underprivileged people who are unable to afford even two meals a day. Though most of us are immune to such daily hardships, it is unfortunate that we often tend to overlook these issues and ignore the people who are hungry and weak.

It is observed that senior citizens who are weak, ill and unemployed are one of the worst victims of hunger. And, though it might come as a shocking revelation, thousands of students in popular American universities are going hungry to bed due to poverty. While senior citizens who worked for the future of this nation deserve to live a life of dignity, the students who are the future of this nation need to be well fed and strong. Hundreds of social service organizations have realized the role they have to play in cases of such crisis and are trying their best to serve Ways to Donate Time and Money to Feed Hungry Students and Seniorsfree meals for seniors and students. As a citizen of this country, the least you could do towards this noble cause is donate your money and time to help provide free food for college students and elderly. Here is a list of few simple and effortless ways to do this.

• The easiest thing to do is to donate the leftover surplus food to food banks when you organize a party or event, instead of throwing it away. While it doesn’t bother you to throw away the unused food, the same food can save somebody from going hungry to bed that night.

• While you shop for groceries, you could pick up a few extra groceries and when there is plenty, you can go out to the streets and donate it to the needy and help them cook their own meals. Many senior citizens and students could use a little assistance to buy groceries on a regular basis until they can find an alternative.

• There are many food banks and pantries who dedicate all of their time, funds and energy to serve free food to college students and elderly. Apart from donations and moral support, these non profit food bank (http://www.ehow.com/info_7765224_grants-nonprofit-food-banks.html) organizations could also use some help to cook and serve food, organize food drives and help raise funds. You can volunteer on a weekly or monthly basis and do your bit by being a part of their divine cause.

• One could also use his/her time to help feed the hungry senior citizens and students by organizing fundraisers and going online to help spread the word for help. You could take up to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to inform your friends and followers about this noble cause and volunteer to help the food banks collect donations from them.

• If time is a valued asset you can’t seem to afford, you can also donate money to food banks and social service organizations that you trust. Any contribution, big or small, is feeding somebody and there’s nothing more divine and noble than that.

• You can also dedicate yourself to help feed the elderly and students on a full-time basis by being a part of various non profit food organizations, travel with them to understand the hunger crisis, write letters to local authorities and governments, hold rallies and marches and ensure that the voice of hungry people are heard loud and clear with your assistance.

How to Find Wholesale Airpot Flasks and Save a Bundle

It is difficult for a supplier or a retailer to choose the best airpot flasks, which meets their customers’ requirements. As customers have varied needs that have to be addressed, it is of primary importance to make sure that variety of flasks are available to them.

Suppliers and retailers of airpot flasks will have to ensure high quality of such flasks so that it meets their customers’ diverse requirements. Airpot flasks are a new-age self-service system, which is being widely used by office goers and travelers. There is no chance of spillage in these insulated airpot flasks that are backed by nozzles, which works in co-operation with either pump or push button.

a.  Pump System Airpot Flasks: These flasks’ nozzles work with the help of a pump. Therefore, every time your customers are in need of coffee, they can easily pour their favorite beverage without even lifting the flask.

b.  Push Button Airpot Flasks: In push button system, the customer wil have to lift the airpot flask and pour it. Since, it works with the push of a button there will be no leak when the vessel is resting upright.

To purchase a bundle of airpot flasks on wholesale basis, it is important to keep below checks in mind:

1.  The Required Approval: When selecting an airpot flask distributor or manufacturer, it is significant to ensure that manufacturer has got approval from FDA and BSCI for their products. Not only this, internal checks for quality assurance should be ensured during the production stage of airpot flasks.

How to Find Wholesale Airpot Flasks and Save a Bundle2.  Fresh Raw-Material Used: Since, airpot flasks are mostly used by your customers during travel or in the office, assurance over the raw-material quality is also essential. If the inputs are not fresh, the output would not match the set requisite standards.

3.  Comfortable Design Requirement: Since, airpot flasks will be used by your customers on a daily basis, the proper design requirement and quality has to be ensured. The airpot flasks, which are too sleek or have a very complicated nozzle/ nose will create problem in cleaning and thus, cause hygiene issues.

4.  Resilient Outer Structure: It is very important on the part of supplier or retailer to make sure that the outer structure of the airpot flask is as strong as the inner structure. A high quality airpot flask will have thick, double wall, stainless steel body with PP plastic head and handle. It also includes a zinc alloy lever and stainless steel base to ensure uniform temperature. Apart from this, a good deal on wholesale airpot flasks are also a decisive need of the supplier. It is also necessary to certify the reliability of the airpot flasks’ manufacturer.

5.  A Guarantee Card: A reliable manufacturer will always be ready to provide with test results and will provide one-year guarantee on their products. A thermal ware manufacturer always looks forward to building a long-term relationship with the supplier or retailer and will ensure that they are in good light.

6.  Bulk Deal Offer: A long-term relation with the suppliers is important for a manufacturer in terms of ensuring sales and value in the market. As a supplier or retailer, you will be showered with offers, discounts or coupons by the manufacturer.

7.  Less Intermediaries: Thermos suppliers and retailers should always choose a manufacturer with whom they can directly stay in touch with. It will be helpful in the case of emergency support, faulty products and/or urgent bulk requirement.

8.  After-Sale Services: Continuous support from the help desk team of the manufacturer helps in keeping track of deliverables and good professional relations.

9.  Deliverables on Time: The manufacturer’s duty does not end at ensuring quality, but a double–check, tracking and timely delivery plays a key part in the long-term relationship with the suppliers or retailers.

About the Book ‘The Adventure of the Black Lady’ by Aphra Behn

A novel with a little Victorian setting and a typical Jane Austen like ‘Sense and Sensibilities’ – that was the impression I had as I began to read this short novel About the Book ‘The Adventure of the Black Lady’ by Aphra BehnThe Adventure of the Black Lady by Aphra Behn. I had my reason to be skeptical about the potential of the story to take me all through the last page. After all, a reader always expects to get enticed from the very first sentence. Yes, there are novelists who give you the essence of the entire story in the first few paragraphs followed by only dramatic and psychoanalytical progression of the characters and their existential dilemma. And there are novelists who do not reveal the quintessential mystery that holds the character together until the last lines. Personally, I am an admirer of the former types. It weaves the story around some unpredictable and predictable characters can be characterized as having signs of both worlds.

The tension that arose upon the arrival of the Bellamora as a provincial lady among her relatives continued through the pages until it begins to shed light on the characters around. Although, the pace of the novel could have been slower at times to offer more ponderous moments for the readers, even though we admit the brilliance of such storytelling. But then, it is the storytelling that alone remains as praiseworthy, because the expression of sensibilities and ironies in this story do not have much to offer for our already over-consumed twenty first century readership. So, smart and entertaining storytelling apart, the novel could not leave an impression deep down the memory lane.

In the novel Bellamora represents all the pride and sensibilities typical of highly esteemed provincial ladies who never found a dearth of interest from men of equal social status. But, unlike the women of high self-esteem in a provincial setting her objection to pretended love and other expressions of flattering reveal her inherent moral strength. Moreover, amidst misfortunes of all sorts she always maintained calm and never failed to show the charming side of her personality. This typical compose of moral character and social appearance, create the kind of somber aura around her personality that readers no sooner can forget. The author Aphra Behn (http://www.wisegeek.com/who-is-aphra-behn.htm) created her female protagonist with all the precise and delicate shades of a proud, sensible and charming provincial lady personality. If a novel can make a lasting impression thanks to the portrayal of a brilliant character who takes the reader through the pages, then this novel will continue to inhabit reader’s mind thanks to Bellamora.

To make an honest judgment of this novel one needs to shrug off the storyline and the aura created by its central character. Yes, any creative writing should be judged on account of literary merit alone and in that respect the novel lacks a few things. First of all, the story has been told in a hurried manner without much meditation and focus on each character and drive. Secondly, the pleasure of reading has been compromised as either sense of humor or apathy lacked in various places. After all, through literature we become aware of the inherent motivation and drive of the character rather than just the surface reality of their condition and interaction.

Most importantly, the novel in spite of being quite well written, just could not be enough appealing. Whether in sensual aspects or for creating a moral saga or in paving the path for an alleviating spiritual journey, it could not satisfy any literary objectives. It could not be sensual or thought provoking or emotionally heart rendering to create a lasting impression. The novel began by just stating a fact in a mundane manner. The author failed to create an ambience and situate the context within. From the seemingly abrupt nature of the characters and their progression, it seems we are reading it from the middle of the novel. Similarly, the ending does not lead to any truthful or poetic expression that takes us beyond the storyline.

An Overview of the Biography ‘The Life of John Ruskin’ by W. G. COLLINGWOOD

John Ruskin as the famous Victorian era art critic, poet and prolific prose artist has already earned a special place in context to the discussion of modern artworks and criticism. This elaborate biography- The Life of John Ruskin by W. G. Collingwood is a critical discussion on Ruskin’s life, work and influence is a decisive work to understand his life, time and works.

The Book One of the volume consisting of total 10 chapters dealt with various stages of An Overview of the Biography ‘The Life of John Ruskin’ by W. G. COLLINGWOODJohn Ruskin’s life, from the artist’s early childhood, his ancestry, childhood influences to his grooming as a prolific art critic and writer. In different chapters, his beginning as a prolific young poet, his early inclination towards nature worship, introduction to the modern works of art and paintings, his love affair and marriage, the detailed account of getting prize and accolades from Oxford and his growing delusion with the aristocratic circle around him and his deteriorating health condition have documented with details.

The Book Two of the volume basically dealt with the art criticism that he is so well known of. His admiring criticism of Turner’s works continued and he expressed the close links of the painter’s works with that of the ancients. His seminal work named Modern Art have been discussed in the first chapter, followed by his work on Christian art, a study on Gothic Era architectural works named as Seven Lamps, a book on artworks and architectural works of Venice, work on pre Raphael era art and lastly, his great volumes of lectures on several subjects ranging from political economy of art to the continued aesthetic discourse on emerging expressions of modern art.

Book Three of this authoritative biographical work dealt with the most matured topics of interest of the artist. As the author expressed, following the publication of the last installment of his seminal work Modern Painters, Ruskin began to utilize art criticism as a vehicle to talk about major polemic topics including religion, ethics and economics. From this time, as the author expressed, he took art as more of a text rather than his focused theme. Facing the intensely intimidating war and political scenario in the late 19th century Europe, he developed a political and social doctrine that would continue to find an audience across niches from all over the world. His expressed role as a hermit and heretic at this stage of life has been well documented and discussed here.

From little boy poet to becoming as the most important art critic of his time to his ultimate transformation in the role of a hermit and heretic lecturing on ethics and social issues, the book captured this prodigious author in totality. This has been far beyond the mere biographical accounts as it incorporated his artistic wisdom, almost all his subtle leaning and interests and his greater social and philosophical vision beyond the discourse on art and artworks. In that sense this elaborate biography inherits the great tradition of looking at the life of a prodigy with a broader vision of his historical contribution and his influence on the future of art beyond the lived experience of his time.

John Ruskin throughout the latter half of the Nineteenth century and beyond was considered as an original thinker on art who took his discussion on modern art to the level of a refined discourse that influenced generations of thinkers, artists and critics. Naturally, taking a closer look at his life, time, major influences and accolades, the development of his thoughts, his works and his continuing legacy is a hilarious task that W.G Collingwood as the author of this work succeeded to reach through.

The book deserves positive attention and praise for incorporating a scientific approach to the analysis of the insinuations that led to the development of the latest approaches and thoughts. This typical psychoanalytical focus on the relatively unnoticeable happenings in the artist’s life gave the book a novelistic charm. Collingwood discussed his thoughts and artistic leanings, not just from typical biographers approach, but tried to dig into the relevant influences in his life, time and influences that shaped those thoughts. Deciphering the artistic wisdom of a prodigy like John Ruskin (http://architecture.about.com/od/greatarchitects/p/ruskin.htm) not only requires years of scholarly meditation on the author’s work, but also an expansive study on the history of art in general. This authoritative and scholarly study achieved this mastery of artistic wisdom and analysis to the right degree.

About the Book ‘The Mystery of the Sea’ by Bram Stoker

The mystery lies in our perception of things around us rather than in the things themselves. That is a subjective way to approach mystery, but the author Bram Stoker before beginning with his spiritual search for mystery tried to dwindle around some mysterious visions on the sea shore. The vision was not entirely his, because another strange lady of considerable mystery around her also saw the same thing on the sea shore. The novel began with this dilemma of two similar visions enticed with two different individual perceptions. The vision about carrying of a coffin by two elderly persons was ephemeral and hallucinatory in character that ultimately led the subsequent interest by our protagonist. The novel, About the Book ‘The Mystery of the Sea’ by Bram StokerThe Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker, revolved around the supernatural reality perceived by some of the characters, including our protagonist and subsequent revelation of the underlying mystery. In that sense, this novel deals with a philosophical theme of the supernatural underlying the so called reality around us.

Bram Stoker in his narrative could enliven the inherent tension pertaining to the search for the truth behind the mystery throughout and that alone gave the novel an undisputed excellence. Unlike other great novels that in trying to deal with a vague, mysterious vision and subsequent revelation gets caught in the traps of falsified imageries and cliché narrative explanations, this one could make it sound exceptionally precise and devoid of any common clichés. As readers, we can really enjoy some breathtaking moments between the pages and there has hardly been a moment when the storyline failed to stick to our attention. For a novel, this alone is a great achievement and it is even more because of the complexity of the theme and storyline in this novel.

What the revelation is all about? Does it have any philosophical vision? Is it at all relevant to the reader apart from the context of the story? These questions are sublime in judging for the merit of the novel. To be honest, besides the good and fairly engaging narrative that never missed its ground under the feet, the novel in dealing with the supernatural aspects and revelation could not add any valuable philosophical statement. The vision it constantly talks of is very relative and esoteric in nature and the author seemed to be fairly inept in addressing this esotericism in all its importance and relevance. In spite of the characters playing convincing roles and constantly shredding lights on the mysterious things that are taking place on the sea shore, the light could never enlighten the bottom of their very existence and their search. In that respect we can only say that the novel remained philosophical only on the surface level.

It reminds me a little bit of Graham Greene (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Greene) in some aspects of the novel, particularly in the typical laid back lifestyle and grave tone of the protagonist. Yes to confront unexpected visions and get drenched in them one needs to be well composed and develop a kind of passivity about the life around. That relaxed and passive way of looking at things alone helps uncover many aspects of life otherwise unknown or unattended. Even though the novelist gave every situation its required clarity along with the composed, laid back pace of looking at things at length, sometimes we could not help but feeling the utter monotony of revolving around the same cacophony of signs relating to the mystery. All we feel at such times is that the author could be a little creative in incorporating a variety of settings rather than just sticking to the series of events on the same ladder of developments.

Finally, judging the tonality, expressions, engaging storytelling and narrative of the novel, it can well be recommended for the readers who have an uncanny knack for themes related to existential mysteries. But then, the reader should expect only an ephemeral perception of the mystery rather than a strongly grounded enquiry in deciphering the mysterious signs in life and things as we often find in Becket’s novels and other short writings. The present enquiry itself is dramatically entertaining and praiseworthy for engaging the reader until the last lines. But, since the novelist has been successful in building expectation with his gritty narrative, we naturally fancy the limits he could have broken through.

A Brief Review of the Book Youth of Becket by Charlotte Mary Yonge

Thomas Becket known also as Saint Thomas of Canterbury was a Christian saint, archbishop and martyr widely venerated by both the Anglicans and the Catholic Church. This vivid account of his life and great deeds dealt with various historical facts closely associated with his influence and deeds. He is still cited as one of the rare examples of Christian saints who had elaborate conflict with the political hegemony of kings and in spite of death came victorious by influencing the population with conviction and faith. Author Charlotte Mary Yonge did a great job in presenting one of the most revered Irish saints who long after his death continued to be regarded as legend among the Christians all over the world.

The challenge in writing such a vivid account of a monk of Middle Ages lies not only in the demands of accurate historical research but also in coming to terms with the already existing and different biographical accounts written over the ages. Yes, the legendary figure of Thomas Becket had been subject to a long series of biographies over the ages. A majority of these works have primarily been written by his contemporaries while there are few that had been undertaken by the Christian scholars and authors of later era. In the book A Brief Review of the Book Youth of Becket by Charlotte Mary YongeYouth of Becket by Charlotte Mary Yonge, the author had been consistent with the historical facts provided by the majority of works by these erstwhile biographers. But she also proved her account, alternatively viable by venturing to decipher the historical events with their social and political context and in that respect this book offers enough food for thought for people interested in Christian history or political history in the Middle Age.

The book began without any direct reference to the subject of the book – the life of Archbishop Becket. The author tried to describe the detail social and political scenario in the then England and London, but made a mistake of not providing a few passages in introducing Becket to the context. This obviously had a toll on our attentiveness as readers because while going through the details of historical facts we try to figure out the connection between the life of Becket and the backdrop. It took quite a few passages to know the context and get to the theme of the book. The biggest fault of the book is that it just forgot to introduce the saint to the readers in the very beginning of the book. Introduction was necessary to present the biography and life of the saint to the wider audience. In other respects, the book showed enough merits drawing readers between these pages for various reasons.

Writing biography one should always venture to create the circumferences and situations the individual in question lived in and when it comes to medieval saints like Thomas Becket (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket) the task seems even harder as little authentic historical accounts you can actually depend except those volumes of staggering biographies dealing with his life in the manner of devout disciples of faith. The objective truth about the life and deeds of a great individual should be the focus of a biographer and wherever the author fails to maintain that he is likely to fall in the trap of following the clichés and so called established ideas. The challenge becomes even bigger with the life of important religious figures that for ages had been the source of inspiration for countless individuals. Often, the difference between the life of the great individual in question and his saint public image gets blurred over the years by the ‘larger than life’ accounts and mythical accounts of his life. That makes scientific and objective evaluation of the historical facts and individual harder for the scholars. The author of the present volume should particularly be praised as she could successfully avoid this mythical image of the saint while unveiling the prodigious deeds and historical importance of the saint.

The book, besides offering a highly sophisticated textual account of the political events and time of the saint, it also gave the reader a typical fictional charm in some parts. Writing in a storytelling pattern and offering engaging conversations between the characters, the book practically helps transcending the time to get a lively feel of the Middle Age, the then psyche of people and the overlapping historical events. The book in considering its lively style and brilliance of storytelling can easily be read as a good biographical novel. But, unlike most biographical novels the storytelling never actually distorted history and always remained true to the facts and historic truths. This rare combination of objective history and inspirational storytelling gave the work an aura of importance and reading pleasure.