Sunday, 29 November 2009

Eça de Queiroz

"José Maria de Eça de Queiroz is generally considered to be the greatest Portuguese writer in the realist style. Zola considered him to be far greater than Flaubert. Others rank him with Dickens, Balzac and Tolstoy.

... Eça worked in the Portuguese consular service and after two years' service at Havana was stationed at 53 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, from late 1874 until April 1879.

Eça, a cosmopolitan widely read in English literature, was not enamoured of English society, but he was fascinated by its oddity. He wrote: "Everything about this society is disagreeable to me - from its limited way of thinking to its indecent manner of cooking vegetables." As often happens when a writer is unhappy, the weather is endlessly bad. Nevertheless, he was rarely bored and was content to stay in England for some fifteen years. "I detest England, but this does not stop me from declaring that as a thinking nation, she is probably the foremost."

The Newcastle years were among the most productive of his literary career. He published the second version of O Crime de Padre Amaro in 1876 and another celebrated novel, O Primo Basilio ("Cousin Basílio") in 1878, as well as working on a number of other projects. These included the first of his "Cartas de Londres" ("Letters from London").

[a plaque to Eça] was unveiled in Grey Street, Newcastle, in 2001 by the Portuguese ambassador."


His books are published in English by Dedalus.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Newcastle then, and now, mainly.

I think that all of these pictures are of buildings in Newcastle that existed pre-1914, maybe pre-1900, and still exist now, bar maybe the last one, as I'm not sure where that is. The others are Stephenson Monument near Central Station, The Side, Eldon Square, Dog Leap Stairs, Central Station (from the west) and the Central pub in Gateshead.

I'm reading a bit about Victorian Newcastle at the moment but these are images I've taken from the internet. I haven't noted where I found them. Sorry about that. Newcastle Libararies on Flickris good though, as is Amber photography's website (even if you don;t give two shits about the Victorians or Newcastle).

In ruins (of local interest only, if that)

These are pictures of Newcastle in the late 19th century and, top, Tynemouth in the 20th century. The buildings (in Tynemouth, Pilgrim Street, Sangate and Gateshead Quayside) have mostly been knocked down or, in the case of Tynemouth, burned down. The elephants, on Grey Steet, no longer exist, but Grey Street does. Not that there aren't a lot of good buildings in Newcastle still. That's the next post.

Thursday, 19 November 2009