Sunday, November 22, 2009
Bear vs. Thief
Last year I noted the UK publication of Madeleine Goold's Mr Langshaw's Square Piano, which follows the social history of a single Broadwood square piano -- and I lamented at the time that there was no sign of a US publisher. Well, now it has one!
Friday's Wall Street Journal lauds the book:
The author has a gift for gathering charming and peculiar historical details, from the niceties of producing ornate copperplate handwriting to the trained bear who guarded Broadwood's premises... Ms. Goold's researches take her from graveyards in Lancashire to archives at Emory University in Atlanta, and her narrative touches on the American and French revolutions, the British diaspora in India and Australia, and the Victorian-era Age of Mahogany. But no matter how far afield the author's interests take her, she maintains her focus on one culture-changing development that has only in recent decades lost is force: the piano in the parlor.
Here's an 1822 Bradshaw square piano at work: