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Showing posts from November, 2008

Sunsets Notwithstanding

47. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery When I got home for Thanksgiving, I didn't intend to fully reread this childhood favorite, but between last night and this afternoon, I did. Obviously, I'm not the one making the meal! I remembered the charming characters and events and wanted to revisit those passages that bore resemblance to my own experience at college. I'm afraid my social life has not quite lived up to Anne's, but it hasn't fallen too short either. I haven't received so many proposals yet, but that contributes more to my relief than anything else. Anne of the Island chronicles the college experience of Anne Shirley, formerly of Green Gables. Montgomery expresses many timeless sentiments through Anne and her "chums" and their house mother, Aunt Jamesina. They experience the pressures of studies and social lives, along with the rarely mentioned but present tension of being among few female students. Anne reflects on turning twenty, and

Questionless, A Pale Imitation, Haply, Amusing

46. The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox What if Don Quixote's peculiarity were transported across the European continent and English Channel, from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth, into the person of a young noble woman? Charlotte Lennox, a female novelist making her way in an England only beginning to respect her profession in men, and still somewhat disdaining fiction in favor of history, tried to answer this question. Yet, her use of Cervantes' form and style is to comment on the absurdities of her own society and perhaps particularly the position of women. Arabella, the Female Quixote, is addicted to romances as the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance was to his novels of chivalry. She is raised in isolation, and only introduced into society at age eighteen, after the death of her father. Her uncle is appointed her guardian, and her male cousin Mr. Glanville falls in love with her, as her female cousin Miss Glanville envies her for

In One Smooth Move

It is nearing the year's end, and I still have nine books to go. As I declared when I read The Ultimate Hitchhikers' Guide and counted it as one, I am not ashamed to go back and count those books as five. Accordingly, at this time, I am officially increasing my total to 45, in order to appropriately acknowledge that massive effort. I would also like to announce, lest anyone suggest I am shirking, that I am currently in the midst of; Northanger Abbey, Mrs. Dalloway, The Female Quixote, Brisingr, and The Famished Road. So, if I finish all of those, or the other book I'm scheduled to read before the end of the semester i.e. The Castle of Oltranto, or any other work, of course, I will have reached my goal. Support? Snaps? Something?

Virtue Endured

41. Pamela; Or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson This eighteenth century classic barely dignifies notice. This is over five hundred pages, in the eponymous character's letters, of expostulation on the proper behavior of a servant whose master wishes to rape her. Worse, Richardson is in dead earnest. Oh, sure, social commentary on the contemporary relationship between rich and poor, and Victorian ideals for women can be found here, but the popular conduct manuals of the time are probably comparatively fascinating. Pamela is an insufferable heroine, obsessed with her Virtue, and yet not possessed of the sense not to marry a man who several times attempted to rape her. The would-be rapist, Mr. B, is a wimp as a villain, as he never actually commits his intended crime, and yet he expects the (albeit complying) Pamela to yield to his every wish the instant he presents her with the coveted ring. A single passage from this novel is enough to confirm its subject, any historical or lite