Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Lucy Hughes-Hallett comes to the world of fiction after writing nonfiction, including The Pike, a very good book about Italian writer and gold-plated weirdo Gabriele D'Annunzio. Her opulent new book Peculiar Ground, her debut work of fiction, is probably predictably steeped in history, split between two very different eras.

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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

For such an enduringly popular writer, Alexandre Dumas, pere, has been surprisingly ill-served by his English-language translators. This is nowhere more true than in the case of his most famous and endlessly-adapted novel, The Three Musketeers. That book’s original 19th century translators, conforming to the delicate sensibilities of audiences across the Channel and the Atlantic, excised much of the sex, gambling, and bloodshed from what was once a happily raunchy historical adventure, transforming it into a fun but politely Victorian story for boys.

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Worlds Undone

Worlds Undone

A pseudonym, though it obscures, is not always successful as a bid for obscurity. Witness Elena Ferrante: while her work stands on its own, the added mystery of authorial absence has no doubt contributed to the years-long international firestorm of publicity and speculation.

Nevertheless, a pen name may still give personal shelter to the author who chooses it.

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