Page 80. " The play was 'The Shaughraun,' "

  The Shaughraun is a play written by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault. Set in late-19th-century Ireland against the background of the Fenian Movement, which was then reaching its peak, the melodramatic play follows the adventures of gentleman Robert Ffolliatt and his sister Claire. Comic episodes are provided by Con the Shaughraun, who was played by Boucicault in the original cast.

The play opened at Wallack’s Theatre in New York on 14th November 1874 and was a huge success, making Boucicault a reported $500,000. The most recent performance in New York was at the Irish Repertory Theatre, in May-June 2011.

The title of the play comes from the Irish word seachrín, meaning ‘wanderer’ or ‘vagabond’.

Page 95. " rows of Delft plates "
A Delftware Dish
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA Delftware Dish - Credit: Leoboudv

  Delft pottery is a blue and white glazed pottery made in and around the city of Delft in the Netherlands, which had its heyday between 1640 and 1740. Painted pottery was produced in Delft since around 1500, but the iconic blue and white patterns were inspired by the porcelain imported from China by the Dutch East India Company in the early 17th century. Only the richest could afford the original Chinese pieces, but soon the Dutch master potters were copying the detailed designs, making them affordable to nearly all.

Delftware in the Pushkin Museum
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDelftware in the Pushkin Museum - Credit: Shakko

  Delftware ranged from simple earthenware jars to vases, from tiles to intricately patterned plates. Whole ranges of plates were produced featuring religious motifs, traditional Dutch landscapes and even the words to poems or songs – once the plates were clear, the assembled dinner guests would burst into chorus. Many houses in the Netherlands still retain their Delftware tiles today.

From the mid-eighteenth century Delftware began to lose its popularity to British porcelain, however a few factories remain in production to the modern day. ‘Delfts Blauw’ (Delft Blue) is the brand name which can be found on all genuinely Delft-produced pottery.

Read more about the processes involved in making Delftware, or visit a still-working Delft Pottery.

Page 96. " allusions to Edgar Poe and Jules Verne "
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849)
Public DomainEdgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) - Credit: Library of Congress

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer and poet, best known for his tales of mystery, supernatural and the macabre.

He was considered part of the American Romantic Movement, one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and the inventor of the detective fiction genre.

Famous works include the poem ‘The Raven’, the short stories ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ and ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, and the novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.


Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905)
Public DomainJules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905) - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jules Gabriel Verne was a French writer, who is widely held to be the father of the science fiction genre.

He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days.