Author | Journalist | Content Strategist | The Modern Salonnière
I cover a broad sweep of literature here on The Diary of an Improvateur. I return to the writings of my literary heroes time and again, and they never disappoint.
I don’t stop at the obvious—the novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton for instance. They were both avid travel writers and I enjoy their musings on their wanderings just as much as their fiction. In my diary entry The Red Carpet Treatment, I sit in The National Arts Club, where I stay when I travel to New York City on business, and channel Wharton’s era given the interiors reflect Old New York sensibilities. In fact, a scene from The Age of Innocence was filmed at NAC. Every time I walk up the steps to the bar, I think of Daniel Day Lewis, who ascended the same stairs!
If you haven’t read Jane Austen’s novels, you might think that set decorators are able to draw the décor surrounding the actors in films based upon her books but it’s far from true. Austen rarely “set the scene” in her fiction, concentrating instead of the dialogue that would bring the relationships in her books to life. I explore the novel and the film Emma to present examples, offering a number of suggestions from Might & Magnificence: Silver in the Georgian Age, a sale at The London Silver Vaults for items that would have decorated her table.
I also take a train with Edna St Vincent Millay, leaving New York City to Croton-on-Hudson where she would summer with her friends. I channel her poem, “There Isn’t a Train I Wouldn’t Take” as I trundle along the hem of the Hudson River and visit the library to read her collected letters in a town that would be an important one in her life—it’s where she met her husband Eugen. If you didn’t know Vincent van Gogh was an avid reader, you might want to read his letters to his brother Theo. The scope of his reading was awe-inspiring so to press upon my readers just how vast the subjects he covered was, I put together a summer reading list that sprung right from his missives. In Vincent van Gogh was an avid reader, another entry featuring the painter, I shared a poem I wrote to highlight the publication of my first book of poetry Anywhere But Here.