Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dickens meets Barbie

The other day, I babysat my niece’s twin five-year-old girls for the day. Part of the time was spent watching a Barbie movie: a remake of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Or, should I say a reimagining of A Christmas Carol, with Barbie telling the story to her younger sister – but in this version, it…
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What’s in a name?

‘What’s in a name?’ Juliet asks Romeo. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ Hmmm.  If you knew the flower we call a rose was called a ‘skunk blossom’, would you really perceive its scent as piercingly sweet, as redolent and seductive, as achingly nostalgic? Frankly, I doubt it. It’s why companies…
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Researching Venice for A Letter from Italy

Although most of the action in A Letter from Italy is set in Brindisi in 1917, the last section is set in Venice.

All cities changes over time, even historical centres like Venice, and I wanted to be very sure of my descriptions. Fortunately, I stumbled over (well, all right, I rigorously researched until I found) the Visualizing Venice project.

This is a collaboration between Duke University, the University of Venice and the University of Padua, and is a digital recreation of some parts of Venice, showing the changes to the city over time.

Fortunately for me, one of the main sites of my story, the piazza outside the church of SS Giovanni e Paulo (Saints John and Paul), was one of the their first projects, and 1911 was one of the years they picked to focus on. Perfect!

You can see the changes over time to this important part of Venice (which not only has the church, but also the hospital where the wounded were taken in WWI).

I love historians, especially when they make their work so easy to search for and understand!