Although it is in September when the autumn starts, it is not until October that you really feel it begin. Last month it was still warm and the trees were only beginning to lose their leaves. October brings about bigger changes. The trees are almost bare, their brown leaves are covering the pavement and chestnuts are scattered about. And as you see the sun setting around seven o’clock, you feel that summer is over and you get a bit melancholic and regret its passing. Indeed, the transition from summer to autumn which appears with October affects everyone, we all have the realisation that something has changed. This ‘change’ is reflected in poetry as many poets have produced poems about autumn as well as the month of October. Some, like John Clare and Robert Frost, pondered on what this month looks like, others, like Dylan Thomas and Christina Rossetti, used October’s altering nature to write about life-changing situations. It struck me how many works are devoted to the season that we have welcomed in a few weeks ago, such as John Clare’s ‘October’.
John Clare introduces the new season as an inspiration for the poet who starts his walk in order to see all of the elements characteristic of the month. The poem can also be read as a tribute to the country life as the speaker mentions the milk maid, cutting hay and cattle. The countryside is where he is observing the shift of seasons. To my mind, Clare depicts October as a beautiful month. When we think about the last few months of the year, we think of the short days and cold and unpleasant weather which makes us want to stay at home and ushers in melancholy. The speaker in the poem, however, focuses on the beauty of autumn and on the work that is being done in the country at that time of year. Indeed, at the beginning of the poem he says that although the summer is over, there are wonderful things which the poet wishes to marvel at and half way through the poem he repeats that what he sees gives him pleasure.
By the end of October Dedalus will have in print, Robert Irwin’s ‘Wonders Will Never Cease’ and Octave Mirbeau’s ‘The Diary of a Chambermaid.’ The former novel is a new title and it will appeal to fans of both historical fiction and fantasy. It is a story set in the fifteenth century during the Wars of the Roses. It follows the character of Anthony Woodville who, having been resurrected, comes across a series of peculiar challenges. The novel teeters between fantasy and reality, the elements of the supernatural intermingle with the true events of the past. It is like the Game of Thrones with real history. The latter novel, ‘The Diary of a Chambermaid’ is a story about a girl named Celestine who, having been corrupted by men, begins to live her life in a different way, far from innocence or kindness. The novel is set in Paris of the turn of the twentieth century and provides a background for the city’s life of the time. Dedalus first published the novel in 1991 as one of the first titles in the Decadence from Dedalus Series.This October it makes a welcome return.