THE WOOL-GATHERER
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Who or What is the Wool-Gatherer?
 

Well, first of all, the Wool-gatherer is Hugh Parry. Welcome to my website. 
 
I have taught literature courses in adult education for over 20 years. As subsidies were cut and utilitarianism advanced, my teaching opportunities shrank, and finally I decided that it was only possible to offer unaccredited courses, unswamped by bureaucratic paperwork and nonsensical mission statements, by working as a freelance. I now offer a few residential courses, and produce written material which is sent to everyone on my mailing-list.


A year’s subscription costs £10, and subscribers receive newsletters, two editions of ‘The Wool-gatherer’ (a magazine containing short articles on miscellaneous literary topics), and selections from writers who are not well-known or readily accessible. Many of the articles spring from courses which I have taught, but it is not necessary to have attended these; my optimistic belief is that there exists, at least potentially, a substantial minority of people who might be described as ‘general readers’, and that they are hardly being catered for at all these days.

I don’t write for academics – I am not one myself. If you are interested in that old and unfashionable pursuit, reading, and are willing to explore the writing of the past, then you should find something that will intrigue or amuse you, and, if an article stimulates (or goads) you into a reaction, ‘The Wool-gatherer’ will offer you space in which to have your say.

Individual copies of ‘The Wool-gatherer’ may be ordered for £2.50. Other publications as shown below. Prices include postage within the U.K. To buy any of these, or to receive all the 2017 issues (£10), please send a cheque payable to D.H. Parry at:


Gilfach,
Llanddewi Brefi,
Tregaron,
Ceredigion
SY25 6SB

Please scroll down this page to see full list of publications.

Click on the links below to see the content of each individual Wool-gatherer or visit the Extracts page to read excerpts:

Wool-gatherer 1 Wool-gatherer 2 Wool-gatherer 3 Wool-gatherer 4 Wool-gatherer 5 Wool-gatherer 6 

Wool-gatherer 7 Wool-gatherer 8 Wool-gatherer 9 Wool-gatherer 10 Wool-gatherer 11 Wool-gatherer 12  

Wool-gatherer 13 Wool-gatherer 14 Wool-gatherer 15 Wool-gatherer 16 Wool-gatherer 17 Wool-gatherer 18

Wool-gatherer 19 Wool-gatherer 20

 

 

Other publications (see Extracts page to see excerpts from each):

SARAH FYGE

A selection from the work of the pugnacious, witty 18th century poet, Sarah Fyge, whose couplets were better-organised than her life. This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet: click here to order from Amazon (£3.75).


ALEXANDER SMITH

A generous selection of verse and prose by the Scottish 'Spasmodic' poet and essayist (1829-1867). This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet: click here to order from Amazon (£4.95).

 

MATTHEW PRIOR

An introduction to the work of Matthew Prior (1664-1721), who found time in a high-powered diplomatic career to be one of the leading poets of the age: cynical and witty, but also full of humane good sense. This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet: click here to order from Amazon (£4.95).

 
MARY LEAPOR

An introduction to the work of Mary Leapor (1722-46), who in her short life overcame barriers of class and gender to write varied, amusing and endearing poetry. This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet: click here to order from Amazon (£4.65)


AUSTIN DOBSON

An introduction to the poetry of Austin Dobson, once a much-loved writer of light verse and now unjustly neglected. This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet; click here to order from Amazon. (£3.70)


ROGER FRITH

A substantial selection from the work of the lyric poet Roger Frith, who died in 2008. This collection is available as a print-to-order booklet; click here to order from Amazon. (£4.95)

 

IN MEMORIAM ROGER FRITH

A pamphlet with an introductory selection of the poet's work. (£2.00)


‘YOU WHAT?'

Shakespeare’s pronouns: an investigation of formal and informal language in King Lear. (£2.50)

 

THE LETTERS OF GEORGE WOODWARD

A selection of extracts from the letters of the rector of East Hendred, Oxfordshire, written between 1753 and 1761. (£2.00)

 

THE DIARIES OF BENJAMIN ARMSTRONG

A selection from the diaries of a 19th century Norfolk parson. (£2.00)

 

'ONLY FOUL WORDS - AND THEREUPON I WILL KISS THEE'

Formal and informal language in Much Ado About Nothing. Coupled with 'I am as like to call thee so again', which discusses the same topic in The Merchant of Venice. (£2.00)

 

MORALIA BY MOONLIGHT

Short essays on aspects of The Merchant of Venice, including the purpose of the Belmont moonlight scene; echoes of Plutarch; the Jacob theme; Antonio's relationship with Bassanio; and some statistics on the allocation of lines to boy actors in Shakespeare's plays. (£2.00)
 
 
AMATEUR HOUR AT THE COMEDY CLUB

Some observations on aspiring and apprentice jesters in Shakespeare: Parolles, Jaques, Rosalind and Berowne. (£2.00)


PRELATES PRINCIPLED, PREDATORY AND PREPOSTEROUS

Shakespeare’s portrayal of the clergy; plays include Richard II, Henry IV Part Two, Henry V and Henry VIII. (£2.00)


RALPH JOSSELIN

Selections from the diaries of the 17th century Essex parson, Ralph Josselin. (£2.00)


THE BACHELOR’S BANQUET (£3.00)

A collection of miscellaneous 16th and 17th century writing, much of it not easy of access. The writers and topics are as follows:
1. The Bachelor’s Banquet: a pamphlet of 1603 describing the dubious joys of the married state, with vivid portraits of the domestic life of the time (3 extracts).
2. The Anatomy of Abuses: a satire by the puritan Philip Stubbes on the wickedness and folly of the age, which is a treasure trove of details about late 16th century social life, especially clothes and folklore (several short extracts); followed by a brief glimpse of Stubbes’s tribute to his dead wife, A Crystal Glass for Christian Women.
3. A short pamphlet about the Sussex Dragon, which was making a nuisance of itself around Horsham in 1614.
4. Some incidents from The History of Tom Thumb.
5. Examples of different styles of writing in the ‘Character’ genre, including essays on ‘A Tailor’, ‘An Improvident Young Gallant’ and ‘A Fair and Happy Milkmaid’.
6. A selection of extracts relating to the taking of tobacco in the 16th and 17th centuries.
7. Some handy hints from a compendium called A Thousand Notable Things.
8. Extracts from An Apology for Actors by the prolific playwright, Thomas Heywood, countering puritan propaganda against the theatres.
9. An account of the fire of 1561 which damaged St Paul’s.
10. Extracts from A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures by the future Archbishop of York, Samuel Harsnet, an exposure of the fraud behind Catholic claims of success in performing exorcisms; a work which influenced Shakespeare and left its mark clearly on King Lear. Harsnet used a great many theatrical analogies.
11. A passage from Second Fruits by John Florio, a manual to teach Italian which, like most text-books of the time, invents dialogues of daily life given in English and the foreign language, arranged on facing pages.
12. Extracts from the diary of the London merchant, Henry Machyn, between 1550 and 1563.
13. A pamphlet describing the murder of a goldsmith by his wife and her lover, and their subsequent arrest; possibly by the playwright Thomas Kyd.
14. A selection of stories from the jest-book A Hundred Merry Tales, referred to by Shakespeare.
15. A selection of epigrams by Thomas Bastard, from his book Chrestoleros.
Each section has an introduction and, where appropriate, notes and a glossary.


THE LOTTERY OF 1608  (£3.00)

 A second collection of miscellaneous 16th and 17th century writing. The writers and topics are as follows:

1.   The Lottery of 1608: an extract from a news pamphlet about a Jacobean lottery.

2.   A verse portrait by Samuel Rowlands of a lout about Town.

3.   God’s Tokens: anecdotes by Thomas Dekker, showing the paranoia rampant in time of plague.

4.   The London authorities take measures to control the spread of the plague.

5.   The pamphleteer Nicholas Breton is unimpressed by the calibre of the human species.

6.   The poet Thomas Randolph indulges a sensual fantasy, and gets mileage from a lost finger.

7.   An extract from a pamphlet reporting on the execution of the Gunpowder Plotters.

8.   The Life and Pranks of Long Meg of Westminster: a ‘ladette’ from Lancashire.

9.   Robert Dallington makes some observations in 1604 on the French character.

10.  Some extracts from the ‘Parnassus Plays’, including a humiliating bid for artistic patronage.

11.  Will Kemp the comedian dances from London to Norwich in 1600.

12.  Versified agricultural advice from Thomas Tusser.

13.  Claudius Holyband the French master takes us into an Elizabethan school-room.

14.  Extracts from ‘Kind Heart’s Dream’ by Thomas Chettle (1592): professional trickery.

15.  Some anecdotes from a jest-book based on the actor, Richard Tarlton.

16.  The vogue for nonsense writing.

17.  Thomas Coryate shares his observations on travelling through Europe.

Each section has an introduction and, where appropriate, notes and a glossary.


JAMES HENRY

An introduction to the lively, witty and highly idiosyncratic poetry of James Henry, a distinguished Irish doctor and scholar whose verse was virtually unknown in his day but who is beginning now to be appreciated for his distinctive literary approach. (£2.50)
 
 

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD

A selection from the poetry of Robert Bloomfield, who achieved a brief spell of fame with ‘The Farmer’s Boy’ in 1800, but died in poverty and neglect.  (£2.00)

 

‘A GRATIFYING GALLIMAUFREY OF THESPIAN THEMES IN A PLENITUDE OF PENNY POETRY’

A selection of 17th century broadsides from the Pepys Collection which relate to the theatre world of the age, with notes, and an appendix of illustrative woodcuts.  (56 pp., £3.00)