Read The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff Free Online

Ebook The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff read! Book Title: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
Loaded: 2436 times
Reader ratings: 6.5
The author of the book: Helene Hanff
Edition: Avon Books
Date of issue: March 1st 1973
ISBN: 0380006340
ISBN 13: 9780380006342
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 33.70 MB
City - Country: No data

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A week ago I read 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I found the concept of writing to the same pen pal over a twenty year period to be a refreshing and charming idea for a book. That the book has endured for nearly fifty years shows that many share my views of this slim memoir. In the comments of the review it was brought to my attention that Hanff had written a follow up to Charing Cross Road. Twenty years after she began correspondence, Hanff finally made it to London. A friend encouraged her to keep a diary. The result was The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

Following the positive reception of 84 Charing Cross Road, Deutsch Publications in London invited Helene Hanff to promote the book. After twenty years of invitations from the staff of Marks and Company Bookstore and their families, Hanff was finally able to take her trip. Her primary contact and friend Frank Doel had tragically died of a heart attack three years earlier but his widow Nora and her daughter Sheila maintained correspondence with Hanff, inviting her to stay with them. Hanff decided on a quaint hotel in the heart of London, close to Charing Cross Road, and immediately won over the hotel staff and became an instant friend to all the people she met in London. In her five week stay in the city, in addition to seeing Buckingham Palace, The Tower, and Windsor Castle, Hanff became known as the duchess of Bloomsbury Street. Writing down all her experiences in a journal, one can only feel empathy for Hanff who would have loved to make her trip to London while Doel was still alive and Marks and Company still open for business. She reveled in every moment of her vacation and was sad to return to New York, preferring her time in her newly adopted city.

Hanff writes in a witty, humorous style as she invites readers into her life once again. If I found 84 Charing Cross Road to be a humorous, intelligent blend, I found The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street to be even more so as I finally experienced Hanff's encounters with the people she only knew through letters during a twenty year period. The experience of seeing the sites that she only learned about through literature became a humbling one for Hanff. She breathed in the same air once lived by Shakespeare, Donne, Henry, and others, and admitted to not being as well read as some of her acquaintances because she would rather read one book fifty times and memorize it than fifty books one time. Yet, Hanff was a natural for London, reveling in its sites, its food, and her new friends and acquaintances. If it wasn't for the lack of funding, I could see her remaining in the city indefinitely and becoming an ex-patriot. Thus, being in London, seeing 84 Charing Cross Road almost felt anticlimactic because the book store was no longer open, and Hanff knew that after her experience came to an end, that she most likely would never return to London.

Another review for this book encouraged readers of 84 Charing Cross Road to have a copy of The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street on hand upon finishing the first book. Readers would be eager to know if Hanff ever made it to London and what her experiences would be in the city of her dreams. For a sequel, Bloomsbury is full of Hanff's now familiar brand of humor and wit that makes it easy to see why she became an instant friend to all who met her in any encounter in her life. Usually a writer for not so successful television show, Charing Cross Road and Duchess of Bloomsbury Street were Hanff's only forays into books, leaving me upset because I know I do not have any more of her intimate writing to look forward to. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street left me with a happy taste in my mouth, and I am glad I heeded another reviewer's advice to have it on hand upon completing Charing Cross Road.

4 stars

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Ebook The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street read Online! Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916–April 9, 1997) was an American writer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she is best known as the author of the book 84 Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a play, teleplay, and film of the same name.

Her career, which saw her move from writing unproduced plays to helping create some of the earliest television dramas to becoming a kind of professional New Yorker, goes far beyond the charm of that one book. She called her 1961 memoir Underfoot in Show Business, and it chronicled the struggle of an ambitious young playwright to make it in the world of New York theatre in the 1940s and 1950s. She worked in publicists' offices and spent summers on the "straw hat" circuit along the East Coast of the United States, writing plays that were admired by some of Broadway's leading producers but which somehow never saw the light of day.

She wrote and edited scripts for a variety of early television dramas produced out of New York, all the while continuing to try and move from being what she called "one of the 999 out of 1,000 who don't become Noel Coward." When the bulk of television production moved to California, her work slowly dried up, and she turned to writing for magazines and, eventually, to the books that made her reputation.

First published in 1970, the epistolary work 84 Charing Cross Road chronicles her 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, the chief buyer for Marks & Co., a London bookshop, on which she depended for the obscure classics and British literature titles around which her passion for self-education revolved. She became intimately involved in the lives of the shop's staff, sending them food parcels during England's post-war shortages and sharing with them details of her life in Manhattan.

Due to financial difficulties and an aversion to travel, she put off visiting her English friends until too late; Doel died in December 1968 from peritonitis from a burst appendix, and the bookshop eventually closed. Hanff did finally visit Charing Cross Road and the empty but still standing shop in the summer of 1971, a trip recorded in her 1973 book The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

In the 1987 film of 84 Charing Cross Road, Hanff was played by Anne Bancroft, while Anthony Hopkins took the part of Frank Doel. Anne Jackson had earlier played Hanff in a 1975 adaptation of the book for British television. Ellen Burstyn recreated the role on Broadway in 1982 at the Nederlander Theater in New York City.

She later put her obsession with British scholar Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch to use in a book called Q's Legacy. Other books include Apple of My Eye, an idiosyncratic guide to New York City, and A Letter from New York (1992), which reprinted talks she gave on the BBC's Woman's Hour between 1978 and 1985.

Hanff was never shy about her fondness for cigarettes and martinis, but nevertheless lived to be 80, dying of diabetes in 1997 in New York City. The apartment building where she lived at 305 E. 72nd Street has been named "Charing Cross House" in her honor. A bronze plaque next to the front door commemorates her residence and authorship of the book.

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