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Julia Blackburn julia blackburn    
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  The Leper's Companions is, in part, the story of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem undertaken by a group of medieval villagers. (The enigmatic leper of the book's title, who has healed himself during a previous voyage to the Holy Land, is the villagers' guide). The Leper's Companions is also the story of the inward journey of a woman afflicted with the deep sadness of a love lost. This nameless narrator first sees, then inhabits, a Europe one generation removed from the Plague, a world of portents and miracles, superstition and supernatural disturbance, where mermaids wash ashore and women give birth to fish, where a leper's afflicted flesh peels from his body like the scales of a shedding serpent and leaves him as a witness to others of the miracles of Creation.

In this issue of Bold Type, read a preview of Julia Blackburn's work-in-progress, a biography of Francisco Goya called Old Man Goya. Blackburn offers a reminiscence of life with her father, Thomas Blackburn, which will serve as introduction to a collection of his poems due for UK publication by Carcanet in January. Also, read an excerpt from The Leper's Companions.

--Anson Lang
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  Photo credit: Jerry Bauer

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