A strange case and a mummy

When searching for short gothic fiction to read while on bed rest, I found recommendations for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe and The Mummy’s Foot by Theophile Gautier. I also read Two Doctors by M.R. James, although I learned later that it is more antiquarian than gothic. But I’ll talk about it just the same.

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar tells of the process by the narrator in mesmerizing a patient who is very near the end of his life. Mesmerism, I just learned, is a form of hypnotic induction theorized by German physician Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer.

“The aim of mesmerism was to rediscover that central point so that the individual might recover the total of his or her psychic energy and the unknown riches within.” (Source: www.mesmerism.com/mesmerism/)

Edgar Allan Poe

Photo: A practitioner of mesmerism. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Poe himself was considered among the creative geniuses who practiced mesmerism, alongside Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas.

Continue reading


Reading the Bible in 2017

The Bible, to me, is a formidable piece of literature, having survived a long censorship history.

When I was young with a lot of free time, I voluntarily read the entire Old Testament of my cousin’s Bible that has eye-friendly text and stick figures for illustrations. It was covered with black leather and when opened, it was about half a meter in length. I would spread it on my study table and read it after school, in the evenings. I finished the Old Testament in less than two weeks.

This is my way of saying that I found the Bible a highly interesting piece of literature. I’m not surprised to discover that, with all its simplistic descriptions about gory situations and punishments, it was once (or for that matter, a lot of times been) banned. In fact, in the book, 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature by Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald and Dawn B. Sova, the Bible has a very – with emphasis on very – long censorship history.

(This above text is an excerpt from my old post, Did you know that the Bible was once upon a time a banned book? on my now defunct blog, www.nancycudis.com.)

Operation Deepen FaithBecause of my fascination with the Bible, I’ll be reading it again, this time from Genesis to Revelations, including the hymns and prayers, with the help of the 2017 Operation Deepen Faith hosted by Becky at Operation Actually Read Bible. I found her through Risa at The Next Chapter, a favorite blog I’ve followed in the past and following again now that I’m back to blogging.

Like Risa, I’ll be following the Legacy Reading Plan. I prefer no set daily readings. Set monthly readings are fine; they can help me focus. My husband already promised to buy me a bigger bible with friendly fonts because of my eyesight. I also downloaded the YouVersion Bible app as my support.

Becky also encourages participants to read Christian non-fiction books. For some time, I’ve been meaning to read my 1964 copy of The Hidden Stream by Msgr. Ronald A. Knox. It’s an anthology of “essays on the enduring truths of the Faith considered in the light of today’s challenges”.

I’m looking forward to the reading experience.

A walk down memory lane…to the post office with handwritten letters

(Updated) – Do you know this line: “What happened to romance? Sappy, soppy longhand love letters…”? If you have seen the film, Beastly (2011), a quiet modern-day rendition of one of my classic fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast, then you would have heard this line said about twice.

And it’s really something to think about: What happened to romance AND handwritten love letters?


Maybe the best question should be: Where have all the men who would choose to brave the intricacies of grammar and the battlefield of composition writing gone? The next best question would probably be: Where are the women who demand (deftly, that is) these letters be given to them without the dictates of holiday spirits?

Better yet, looking at the big picture, why is our constantly evolving culture failing to support a certain system, including a post office, that is deemed capable of feeding the thrills and joys of a seemingly huge population of romantics who are most likely wishing at the back of their minds for handwritten letters?

Continue reading

The Forty-seven Ronins

Japan fascinates me. Not because of the cherry blossoms my sister is dying to see when she travels to that country soon. I respect Japan for its efforts to preserve its heritage. I am awed by Japan for its rich literature and equally rich cuisine. I’m rendered speechless by some of their good no-nonsense dramas and historical movies, including one of my favorites, A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story.

I like Japan very much, even though I haven’t been there yet, even though hordes of its people occupied my country in the past in the most brutal way. While I have my share of painful family stories that happened during that dark period in Philippine history, I am more interested, if not comfortable, in exploring Japanese literature, which I regrettably have limited knowledge of.

I just started with the cluster I enjoy the best: folktales. So I turned to Project Gutenberg that I learned about from Nina of Multo (Ghost) a long time ago and found an epub of Tales of Old Japan, a compilation of short stories gathered by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, Lord Redesdale, formerly Second Secretary to the British Legation in Japan.

Continue reading