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I am posting my blogs, written over a period of some nine years, I believe.  I am posting them in the order in which I wrote them, I say to anyone who might have gotten this far going through my blogs.

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Reflecting on my blogs at the Times Union

I have just read through my blogs, which began in 2009; this is when Michael Huber, a graduate student at UAlbany, asked me if I would like to write blogs for the Albany Times Union.  I told Michael that I didn’t know what blogs were; he replied that that didn’t make any difference; if I was interested I could write them and email them to him; he would post them.  I don’t know how many I have written; perhaps it was 150 or 200. 
Michael left his position at the Times Union a few months ago; I retired from UAlbany in 2013 and now live in retirement in Florida, but I continued to write blogs  until Michael retired.  He spent a few days’ vacation here when he retired; he stayed with his sister, her husband, and their children. I regret to say that I have lost contact with him since I saw him here. I have just read through  all of my blogs several times; doing so has driven home to me how much they have meant to me.
The woman who took Michael’s position with the Times Union notified me t…

Barnum and Bailey Circus

I don’t know if the forthcoming demise of the Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Circus was reported in Albany, but it certainly was in Sarasota, Florida, where I, a former Albanian, now live.  This is where John Ringling, who became head of the circus, lived; this is where the Ringling Museum, which he founded, is located.  And this is where there is much memorabilia commemorating the circus has been gathered.  John Ringling became head of the Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Circus; he was one of the wealthiest men in America before the 1929 depression.
The story of the Circus begins with Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1889), who was born in Bethel, Connecticut; he moved to New York City in 1834; he moved into a house on Hudson Street.  He wrote in an autobiographical account that “I had no pecuniary resources, excepting such as might be derived from debts left for a collection with my agent in Bethel, and I went to the metropolis literally to seek my fortune.”  Someone told him about  a Negr…

Regarding Jane Austen

I was surprised to see a reference to one of my books in yesterday’s Book Review section of the New York Times (7-17-2017):  “In 1979, Warren Roberts produced a thoughtful study called “Jane Austen and the French Revolution.”  The great event is never mentioned in the novels, but it is there, Roberts argues, invisibly woven into the narratives.  Kelly (who wrote the book under review) makes the same point herself to support her “secret radical” thesis.  But Roberts conclusions are cautious.  Kelly’s are adventurous.  Some work better than others.”
My book on Jane Austen came out in 1979; I wrote it after spending a sabbatical year in England in 1970-71.  I had just completed my first book and had no idea what I would do next.  We lived about fifty miles from Steventon, where Austen grew up; I had read her novels and decided to drive to Steventon, even though her village house no longer stood.  But the chapel, just outside the village, still stood; seeing it, being inside it, made a d…