A Conversation for The h2g2 Post: 14.05.18

Worst crime?!

Post 1

SashaQ - happysad

"We have a confession: of all the terrible things the h2g2 Post is responsible for, probably one of our worst crimes is that we've actually increased the 21st-century readership of Ms Charlotte Yonge. Okay, maybe only by a dozen, but that's probably a dozen too many. The American Library Association probably hates us."

smiley - laughsmiley - laughsmiley - laugh

It is rather fascinating how some texts become fashionable and yet others fall from favour. Reminds me a bit of this piece http://lithub.com/how-to-suppress-womens-writing-she-only-wrote-one-good-book/ but then Charlotte and her contemporary Mrs Henry Wood sadly did tend to put unsubtle doses of internalised sexism into their work alongside strong female characters, so perhaps that is why they are less palatable to current modern tastes than eg the Brontes or Jane Austen...


Worst crime?!

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Thanks for that article - that is marvellously well-put! Especially about Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who is much better than most people realise.

Yes - my objections to Charlotte are:

1. Her style - she once put me to sleep with several pages of inconsequential chitchat, only to burn down a house so fast I missed it. Talk about burying the lead...

2. Her Oxford Movement Christology. These religious irritated so many people with their view of Jesus as doormat that the reaction created Muscular Christianity, which was a real plague. I read one of hers about a dying, saintly youth that was appalling on so many levels...

3. Her class consciousness, which is also anti-feminist. This grates.

I wonder if you've tried Louisa May Alcott? I saw a very good biopic on her the other week. She wrote a lot of YAF, but her heart wasn't in that - she just made a lot of money at it. Before that, though, she wrote hair-raising Gothic thrillers under pseudonyms...she had a wild fling with a Polish count, I think it was...she was a corker.

In her most famous book, 'Little Women', there's a 'love interest'. Alcott didn't want a love interest. It was foisted on her by her editor. So, to make them all mad, she married him off, not to strong feminist heroine Jo, but to simpering, selfish sister Amy. smiley - rofl Then she married Jo off to a progressive German professor who was a composite of her two favourite people, her eccentric father and his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. (She thought Henry David Thoreau was a cool friend, too. A87890331 )

'The Atlantic' has kindly shared some of Alcott's more adventurous work under her own name. The reviewer says 'Debby's Debut' is good. Let me know what you think:

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/aandc/alcott/debbyf.htm


Worst crime?!

Post 3

Elektragheorgheni -Please read 'The Post'

Sasha, I think you'd be interested in Julia Ward Howe as a writer as well although her book 'The Hermaphrodite' wasn't published until 2004. This was mentioned in DG's entry: John Brown's Body: The Battle Hymn of Snark, A87887687 .


Worst crime?!

Post 4

SashaQ - happysad

Yeah, I've been lucky with my Charlotte so far - Countess Kate was a bit over moralising at the start, to say the least, but fortunately it mellowed, and Hopes and Fears was very good, but yes her antifeminist class consciousness grates indeed... I have heard about but not read the saintly youth one...

Very interesting about Louisa May Alcott - I once tried Little Women, but didn't like it at all (perhaps because it was on my school reading list so I wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it, I don't know). As the article said, her other works were not on the reading lists so I was given the impression she was a 'one hit wonder', sadly...

Some of the language of 'Debby's Debut' pains me: "Debby was a true girl, with all a girl's love of ease and pleasure" ... "he permitted curiosity, that feminine sin, to enter in and take possession of his manly mind"...

Some good humour in it: "he stuck his glass in his eye and stared till it fell out, (the glass, not the eye,)" ... "the fearful prospect of a peony-faced protegee"

The plot wouldn't be out of place in a modern soap opera, though, as Debby does know her own mind but messes around with a love triangle instead... Not particularly to my taste...

Julia Ward Howe's writing is intriguing - thanks Elektra! "The Hermaphrodite" was ahead of its time indeed... I like the flavour of her prose from what I've seen so far http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dfRVAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false - "I can hurry up my hot cakes like another, when there is any one to pay for them" smiley - ok


Worst crime?!

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - laugh Yeah, Julia Ward Howe is a surprise to most people. Alcott, too - I suspect she pandered a bit to her audience, there, too....


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