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By TheophileEscargot (Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 11:10:23 PM EST) Reading, Me, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Grand Sophy". Me. Web.


What I'm Reading
Finished "The Grand Sophy", the classic Regency Romance by Georgette Heyer. I'm trying to explore the genres a bit more, and apparently this is a good example.

Independent-minded Sophy is parked in a houseful of relatives, and decides to sort out their romantic problems while looking for a husband herself.

Seemed interesting at first. It's quite decently written, with a large vocabulary and a good period feel. The plot setup reminds me of P.G. Wodehouse: it's the sort of thing that's much harder to construct than it looks.

Struggled with it a bit once the novelty had worn off. Why do these women have to faff around so much? It's perfectly obvious who's going to pair off with whom, so why not just get on with it? Why all this mucking about with getting engaged to the wrong guy?

Also find the grand Sophy rather creepy. As soon as she gets into this house there's an immediate frisson between her and the heir George. She also sets about splitting him up with his bluestocking fiancée Eugenia. However, she doesn't seem to draw any connection between the two, apparently believing that she's just breaking them up to keep the rest of the family safe from Eugenia's depressing influence. There seems to be some kind of weird denial going on there: she's ruthlessly wrecking relationships in pursuit of the richest guy on the scene, yet somehow convinces herself that she has only the noblest of motives. If you ask me, that poor bastard Charles ought to gallop a mile to get away from the barmy bint.

Also found the anti-semitic overtones with the moneylender a bit disconcerting. Wouldn't have stood out in an 18th or 19th century novel, but this was written in the 1950s.

...the door was slowly opened to reveal a thin, swarthy individual, with long greasy curls, a semitic nose, and an ingratiating leer. He was dressed in a suit of rusty black, and nothing about him suggested sufficient affluence to lend as much as five hundred pence to anyone. His hooded eyes rapidly took in every detail of Sophy's appearance, from the curled feathers in her high-crowned hat to the neat kid boots upon her feet.

"Good-morning!" said Sophy. "Are you Mr Goldhanger?"

He stood, a little bent, before her, wiping his hands together...

...The instinct of his race made him prefer, whenever possible, to maintain a manner of the utmost urbanity, so he now smiled, and bowed, and said that my lady was welcome to do whatever she pleased in his humble abode.

I think it's the subtle hierarchy of snobbery that I find hard to take. It's not just that there's "our social class" and an assumption that you have to marry within it. Instead there's the sense of an elaborate ladder: when the Duke of York visits he must be fawned over; the eldest son has higher status than the younger scions; Augustus is dismissed as the sort of man "waiters serve last"; honest yeomen are higher than Jews. Anyone more that a couple of degrees away needs to be treated with either contempt and obsequiousness.

Overall, a bit of a mixed experience, amusing in places, but drags in the middle and with some unpleasant overtones. Pretty well done though, with decent writing and dialogue, and a great period detail. Plot is predictable and a bit silly, but well worked out. Was interesting to read one, but don't think I'll be seeking out many more in the Regency Romance line. Might look out for her detective books.

Georgette Heyer bio, Wikipedia.

Me: random
I've been generally sleeping well lately: about 7 hours a night or so. Not sure why.

I'm pretty sure I smelt the notorious Euro-whiff yesterday.

Not much planned at the moment. Ought to book some kind of holiday at some point. Was thinking of Vienna which seems logical from an art-tour point of view, but can't really get up any enthusiasm for it. Maybe should try Istanbul or Athens instead, but they're more winter things.

YouTube
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Web
Economics: Food scarcity or speculative bubble?

What colour are the plants on your planet?

Animal pharm: caricatures of musicians.

Hopelessly obscure. Loltheorists. Lolcats illustrate the knapsack of white privilege. (MeFi)

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Do not forsake me oh my darling | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Literary explorer by johnny (4.00 / 2) #1 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 02:54:36 AM EST
It's good that you read things to the end so you can report back to us.  Me, I would have stopped at the excerpt you include above.

I read somewhere that readers or romance novels read one a day.  There's an undending demand for that stuff, just as there is for porn.  In both cases you would think the available inventory would suffice pretty much forever, but evidently not.  Or maybe it's just a speculative bubble.
Buy my books, dammit!


Anti-semeticism by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 06:35:39 AM EST
It's sadly common in 19th century fiction. You'll be reading a perfectly good novel and then bam, there it is like a turd in your soup. It is amazing how sensibilities have changed in a century.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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I was under the impression by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 06:07:17 PM EST
That English anti-semitism was still pretty rife if not howling until post-WWII. Haven't really got any reference for it though. George Orwell noted the music hall Jew joke dying off but the Scottish jokes still alive and well in one of his post war newspaper columns.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

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Sci-fi weapons by Herring (4.00 / 3) #2 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 03:32:48 AM EST
Why is it that when you see Star Wars type blaster weapons, the "pulse" not only moves slower than light, but significantly slower than a conventional bullet. Probably even slower than a crossbow bolt. That's just rubbish.

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.


But otherwise by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 03:46:53 AM EST
How could you parry the bolts with a lightsaber?
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
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As embarrassed as I am to admit it ... by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 07:31:23 AM EST

We, especially tps12, have covered this already; in moderately excruciating detail, be warned.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
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Plasma beam? by marvin (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 09:22:17 AM EST
Perhaps that could account for the speed?

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Food by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #5 Sat Apr 19, 2008 at 06:38:13 AM EST
Perhaps science will fix the problem with vat-grown meat. I'm not entirely joking about that.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman


quorn. by misslake (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:44:34 AM EST
we've already done it.

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Anti-Semitism by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:56:11 PM EST
I read a book of diaries from the Mass Observation movement of the postwar period and it was rife in Britain in the 40s and 50s. It seems that the Holocaust didn't enter the country's consciousness until much later, for example, because people just didn't care.

Having said that you expect better from literature, and it's not something I've come across in C20th books before.

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It's political correctness gone mad!


The reason why they didn't care in by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #11 Mon Apr 21, 2008 at 01:24:52 AM EST
Immediate post-war Britain probably was they'd been through an extremely hard and difficult time themselves what with the bombing, the uncertainty, the rationing and their sons and husbands being conscripted and killed. Plus it wasn't exactly easy living in austerity post-war Britain where the rationing was even worse than after the war. 

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Good explanation ..... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:24:09 PM EST
.... but by the mid 50s it just doesn't cut it as an excuse.

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Rationing only ended in 1954 by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:56:00 PM EST
You don't really recover from having cities flattened , large numbers of young men killed, and massive debt repayments overnight.

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You can explain it like that. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:24:21 PM EST
I will grant you that.

But explaining is not excusing, the rampant anti-Semitism in European societies is something shameful that has still to be fully acknowledged, specially by the triumphant countries in WWII (the history of Jews in France pre WWII is something chilling, and it seems here in the UK the situation was not entirely devoid of problems).

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Do not forsake me oh my darling | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback