Books 2010

Books 2009

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Monday, 19 October 2009


Pfew! I hope no book was harmed in the writing of this post! Since you have been reviewing books, you have never been that sharp and severe, except perhaps when it came to that book about Shakespeare's life. I think you must be rather angry again the BBC film.
When I saw this book appear on your left column, I decided that this would be my 2009 yearly Austen, although it doesn't fit my resolution to read the books in the same order that they were written. Too bad. Anyway, I ought to start with Sense and Sensibility. I'll tell you about the book by the end of the year.

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Minnie - thanks for your comments, and keep
visiting. Its odd that we nowadays think of country life as an escape -
but you rightly point out that it cd be a prison.


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Very interesting critique of the novel (didn't see the latest telly version), & I do agree with most of it. Just wanted to add my own view that 'Emma' is about the claustrophobia of life - narrowed to focus on a particular social stratum, but could apply to almost any. The phrase near the beginning summing up the aftermath of snowfall as 'a white world' says a lot, I think. And Emma HAS to marry Knightley: no other choice without relocating (which isn't a possibility thanks to Mr W's 'frailties'). So they just have to accommodate each other. And I suspect that's what it's about: as much as the stifling nature of country life, it's about making do with/making the most of what you have. All a bit glum, and far from romantic. Perhaps that's why we don't like it? No sparkle.
Great blog; have enjoyed my visit. Thank you.

Lindsay & Cornflower, dare I admit that "Northanger Abbey" is the only book by Austen that I have read? Will you still talk to me? I can imagine you saying in scandalized tones "There you are, I told you he wasn't a proper reader!"

Now, come down off that fence, Lindsay!

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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