Recent blog posts

On the French penchant for inventing things already in existence elsewhere (en)

François Dominique Séraphin, Bourbon favourite and reputedly the father of ombres chinoises (shadow puppetry), began operating 15 years later than is generally thought, and may have copied his techniques from an itinerant Italian or a London Alsatian. Featuring the memoirs of the valet to the later Louis XVII, early descriptions of the delights of the renovated Palais Royal (including a pygmy show), jolly old Baron Grimm on the lamentable state of French opera, shadow plays, and marionettes, and William Beckford's favourite designer of theatrical perversions. (2017/09/12)

He would an elegy compose / On maggots squeez’d out of his nose (en)

Samuel Butler on a writer of doggerel. (2017/08/15)

Tweets for July 2017 (en)

Twitter’s death agony probably won’t continue for very long, so I’ve written a PHP script to parse their JSON output and post it here. I’ll improve presentation when I’ve got a mo. (2017/08/14)

Sister Mary and the Bird (en)

Translations from Welsh and Yiddish revealing ornithomancy amongst the 19th century north Welsh and Jewish Lithuanians. (2017/08/07)