That’s a quote from A Kitten In Paradise by Cicely Hamilton—born 1872 in Paddington, London / died 1952 in Portugal, at age 80.
Welcome to The Literary Catcast—dedicated to the preservation of writings with well-developed cat characters in world literature. I’m Phebe Phillips.
Wow! Cicely Hamilton! She was born Cicely Mary Hammill, later changing her name to Hamilton. She’s fascinating, and a major contributor to many of the rights and options we have available to us today. I encourage you to do an internet search of her.
She was an English writer, journalist, playwright, suffragist, and feminist. An integral player and shaper for women in the U.K., and the U.S. Her best known play How The Vote Was Won, sees a male anti-suffragist change his mind when the women in his life go on strike.
She founded and was involved in many leagues, unions, and organizations for women. Her influential book, Marriage As A Trade (1909) was an important contribution to changing the perspective of women, and about women. In it she argues the point that women were brought up to look for success only in marriage, and this severely damaged their intellectual development.
She followed the success of this book with another novel, Just to Get Married (1911) this book explores the degrading scheming of the heroine to ensnare a husband.
There is a lot to say about the contributions of Ms. Hamilton which is why I encourage you to internet search her. She deserves awareness, and to not be lost in time…which is somewhat what this podcast is about.
Now, to the Cat Story, A Kitten In Paradise. It’s one of twenty-one tales in the anthology Puss in Books edited by Elizabeth Drew and Michael Joseph, copyright 1932 by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. I ordered it through Abe Books, where I get most of my books. She uses the word, “gaol” which is jail.
I have to tell you, I should post a photo of my bookcases. Every Sunday night I tell myself, “I will not order a book this week,” and six days later, by Saturday night another book has arrived! I think I have a problem. Most of my books do come out of England, and I seek signed, First Editions to help at least build a credible collection.
What I’m finding with this anthology, Puss in Books, is there’s usually no research available on the particular cat story. However, there’s a lot of history to be found about many of the authors.
So, here’s what I have concluded. Michael Joseph, one of the editors and creators of Puss in Books, was an English author, journalist and editor. He published a lot of authors through his publishing company. He was in tune with the literary scene at that time, and friends with most of the influential writers of those times. Michael Joseph also loved cats, and had a famous Siamese named Charles. His fondness for cats lead him to publish anthologies and other writings about interesting cats. I believe he reached out to these writers and asked them to contribute to his anthologies. Being that they are short writings about cats, they are not deemed important enough to be in the authors biography. Which gives this podcast an even greater mission.
After reading about Ms. Hamilton, I can see that A Kitten In Paradise reflects her heart. It reflects her hope. This story wrings out the heart with sweetness. In fact, It took me over ten times to read it for this episode, as my voice would become tearful with the ending. Don’t worry, it’s not sad at all—it’s a portrayal of what I think we all hope to see in the world—kindness to the most invisible, the tiny, and the helpless.
And with that…let’s get on with the story, which means I can hear my tea kettle, I’ll be making a cup of Earl Grey, and the kittens Pidds and Greyson have just finished a big game of chase behind me. It’s time for the CatCast… .
Illustration for A Kitten in Paradise
The Literary Catcast is here to rescue vintage cat literature that may be lost forever in time. It gives me purpose to find these stories for you, to log them into history, and commit them to a podcast using the best recordings possible. This podcast has helped me develop a new skill and the more I read, the more I am convinced it is not work done in vain.
I thank you greatly for listening. If you feel like it, I would enjoy reading your comments in the reply section of this website, The Literary Catcast (dot) com. While there, you can surf around, and read the bios of the cats—we live with four at home, and three in our studio…yes, seven cats! All loved, and all in great need of love, and a home.
I’m also attaching into the show notes for this episode my blog post, A Case For Siblings…about cats, not people.
The meows for this episode are from TillySue
Now wait for those final meows.
I’m Phebe Phillips
Thanks for listening
I’ll see you next time.