Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Having a Heatwave 1911

Emmaline Pankhurst 1913

I've read the first four chapters of The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson, about 1911 in England and it's a lot of fun. But I also went back and read the forward. Nicolson says she chose 1911 randomly. She was re-reading The Go Between, (one of my favorite novels) that takes place sometimes at the turn of the century during a hot summer, which inspired Atonement, and decided to write about a hot summer. So she researched and discovered that 1911 was very hot indeed. Seems a bit weird. But I think that's how creative people work.

1911 was also a hot year in Quebec. Margaret writes in July: We have had awful heat. We slept out on the verandah. Took the mattresses. The Skinners (neighbours) did as well." There were terrible forest fires in Ontario where Norman was posted on the railroad.

The next chapter is on the Ballets Russes. I've read a lot about them, in other contexts... biographies of Belle Epoque characters.