In Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem ‘Autumn: A Dirge’ the month of November is the first month during the course of a year that equals certain sadness which lasts until the spring. Nature is dead and the speaker wishes for the chilly and dark months to pass. Indeed, it may seem that November brings about melancholy as the air is chilly, it rains frequently and it’s dark at four o’ clock by the end of the month. My perspective on November is quite different as I pay attention to the multiplicity of colours which the falling leaves display and the beauty of the sun in the puddles on the pavement.
Having reminded all of us about the landscape which will surround us this month, I would like to mention two major works of fiction which Dedalus will publish in November. The first is Robert Irwin’s ‘Wonders Will Never Cease.’ It is his seventh novel. His first novel, The Arabian Nightmare, published in Dedalus’ first list in 1983, became one of Dedalus’ most successful books. Irwin’s novel is set in fifteenth century England during the War of the Roses. It combines historical events with the fantastical as it tells the story of Anthony Woodville, Lord Scales who is slain at the battle of Towton only to be resurrected as Hell is full owing to the carnage caused by the War of the Roses. For many it will read like The Games of Thrones but with real history. On November 3rd Robert Irwin will be talking about ‘Wonders Will Never Cease’ in the London Review Bookshop with the Guardian critic Nick Lezard.
The second novel, ‘The Maias’ tells the story of Carlos de Maia, an aristocrat whose life changes dramatically after he meets and falls in love with Maria Eduarda. The novel, written in 1888 by Eça de Queiróz, who is generally regarded as Portuga’s greatest novelist, concentrates on relationships within society. Dedalus has published nine novels by Queiróz in new translations by Margaret Jull Costa and in February will publish the tenth, ‘The Illustrious House of Ramires’. Its publication is the final instalment of a project began in 1992 to translate all the major work by Eça de Queiróz English.
November may be dark and rainy but for Dedalus it will be an interesting month.