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Observation for Friday - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 4th, 2006

10:40 am - Observation for Friday

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Following up Pride and Prejudice (yes, I finally read it!) with a cheesy haunted house novel by an unknown writer, that is clunky and grammatically incorrect, but dead scary anyway, is a fun juxtaposition.


Funny thing about Pride and Prejudice. The culture, lifestyle, dress, language and attitudes of the time are both foreign and a little repugnant to me (Get rid of your daughters by marrying them off? "Sorry my darling, I can't marry you, your parents are too poor and it'd look bad, what what."). The storyline is kind of predictable, and I'm pretty sure Mills and Boon writers worldwide have copied it mercilessly - Girl Meets Boy, They Don't Like Each Other, They Fall In Love Anyway, Circumstances Throw Them Together Repeatedly, There's A Crisis In Which They Both Redeem Themselves In Each Other's Eyes, Everything Ends Happily.

However, the people, and the insights into the way they tick, are relevant even today. I like the way there are no wanky pretentious flights of words, using purple prose do describe something that's complex enough without embellishment - people. The English is plain and to the point, and the author's observations of people and their ways are scarily keen (a bit like someone I know, actually. Anachronistic, or just destined to be an author?)

I wonder if that's what makes a novel a classic? That you can read it a hundred or more years after it was written, and find relevance? *cough* The other thing that it screamed loudly, is that you can change location, culture, all the things I listed above, up to and including century, and people are still people. All that Dark Ages, or Victorian, or 60's counterculture, or Stone Age, or Back When Jesus Was A Cowboy? Everything was different, but the stuff that goes on in people's heads stays the same. The happiness, the petty jealousies, the insecurities, the humour, all that stuff. People are just people.

So please, you pagan lot, stop romanticising the past. If you were back there you might be dressed differently and eat different food or talk a different language, but you'd still be thinking about the opposite sex (or whatever floats your boat) far more than you think you should be, you'd still go all shy and funny around someone you fancy, and you'd still have body image concerns and worries about people's reactions to you. There'd most likely still be gossip too. Only nowadays we have the internet and antibiotics, and girls wear corsets because they're hot. And you'd probably get arrested for clubbing some poor unsuspecting woman over the head and dragging her off by her hair.


I bet they laughed at farts in those days too. *nods*

As for the other book, how can two words (come inside), clumsily plonked in the middle of a sentence about something completely different, be so chilling? I don't know whether the author is a genius or just lucky, but it works. I'm still reading, anyway. And scaring myself silly. It's great.

And yeah, I know I promised songs, but ftp from work is Teh Suck Corruptorama, so it'll have to wait. Yay for Friday, too.

Comments:

From:caycos
Date:August 3rd, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
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you can read it a hundred or more years after it was written, and find relevance

That's also why I like Oscar Wilde - not only is he very clever but all his observations and epigrams etc still ring very true...
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From:tatjna
Date:August 3rd, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
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*adds Oscar Wilde to reading list*

Recommendations?
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From:caycos
Date:August 3rd, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
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Maybe read his fairy tales first, and then his plays if you don't mind reading plays - there are a few good film versions of the Importance of Being Ernest.

Also he has one novel - The Picture of Dorian Grey - which is kinda dark but quite good...
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From:tatjna
Date:August 3rd, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
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Hahaha my Mum was inThe Importance of Being Ernest</i>!

But ok, fairy tales ahoy! 'Twill make a nice change from cheesy horror..
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From:caycos
Date:August 4th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
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Shall I post you my copy? Will save packing it!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 4th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC)
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That would be awesome!
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From:caycos
Date:August 4th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC)
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email me your address :) caycos@caycos.net
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From:fuvenusrs
Date:August 4th, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)

Yeah it's good!

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I had a copy of the Picture of Dorian Grey, and I lent it out to a woman a year ago, and she vanished. With my book.
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From:tigerweave
Date:August 4th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC)
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I LOVE The Importance of Being Earnest. I saw a film version with Ruth Cracknal as the cantankerous old woman. Anything with Ruth Cracknel in it I tend to love. (Mind you I both love and hate Mother and Son.) But I loved the Importance of Being Earnest AND Ruth Cracknell in that film.

Never read any of his stuff though. I like watching plays rather then reading them.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:August 4th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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Chaucer certainly laughed hugely at farts
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From:tatjna
Date:August 4th, 2006 12:09 am (UTC)
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He is in very good company then. ;-)
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From:tigerweave
Date:August 4th, 2006 08:32 am (UTC)
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If that is what you like about Jane Austin, you HAVE to read (have to have to pleasepleaseplease :)Georgette Heyer. She is really good in that way too. When you read one, and then are therefore hooked, the good news there is she wrote a lot... um maybe 30? Dunno. But I have read almost all of them.

As for the plot... well it is only a cliche in the hands of a bad author. Jane Austin wasn't, I reckon. But copying her plot does not necessarily a good author make - pity, that is the easy bit, copying a plot. Like copying Georgette Heyer doesn't make you write Regency romances well (trust me I have read a lot of authors compared favourably to Georgette Heyer and I think the critic quoted on the dustjackets should be had up for false advertising.

Hard bit is writing well. Oh well, at least writing is a neverending challenge, like Violin playing.

I feel like I am saying something really obvious but with the intention of being really profound. Better sign off I think.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 4th, 2006 10:49 am (UTC)
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The other thing I really enjoyed in Pride and Prejudice was the verbal duelling between the two protagonists. Brilliant.
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From:tigerweave
Date:August 5th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
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ooooh try Sylvestor: or the wicked Uncle" it inspired my journal title.
Am and another one I forgot which... oh alright, just read them all. (Georgette Heyer I am still talking aobut.)
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