Meanwhile, I just finished Mugby Junction, a collection of short stories centered on the railway and a train station written mainly by Charles Dickens and four of his Victorian contemporaries for a magazine Dickens himself edited.
Of the collection, Robert Macfarlane writes in the foreword,
The different ‘storylines’ of Mugby Junction differently register what one character calls the ‘perilous and marvelous’ qualities of the railways. Together, they form a collection which celebrates the potential of the new technology to link previously distant people and places, but which is also anxious at the new types of violence it has bought into being.
According to the flap, the compilation was reprinted for the first time in its entirety since its original publication. This, I must confess, is also the first work by Dickens that I read (apart from my failed attempts at getting through A Tale of Two Cities three years ago).
I guess I have to hand it to Hesperus Press for introducing me to some works by classic authors who I never bothered to open before, including those by Zola, Hugo, Casanova, and d’Annunzio. Hesperus Press’ oeuvre of shorter works by these masters makes for a good introduction to their lengthier works. ■