Gothic and other 19th C Novels, Was: Re: Best of 2001

Gross Family argross at bigpond.net.au
Thu Jan 17 10:50:43 EST 2002


Hallie wrote:

> Yes, the Radcliffe novels are there, but that wasn't the scene to
> which I was referring.  There's this wonderful bit in NA in which the
> narrator defends the novel.  She shows an imaginary reader (female),
> who replies when asked what she is reading, it is "only a novel",
> with shame.  And then goes on to say "only Cecelia, or Camilla, or
> Belinda", with great praise for the novels.  _Cecelia_ and _Camilla_
> were by Burney and _Belinda_ by Maria Edgeworth.  It's even more fun
> because she snubs her nose at the canonical, "good" reading material
> (all written by males, of course) of the time in a deliciously
> subversive manner!
>
> Oh here, listen to what she says (uh, if you want to that is):
>
> "'It is only Cecelia, or Camilla, or Belinda', or, in short, only
> some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in
> which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest
> delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and
> humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language."
>
> Couldn't you just substitute SF, or children/teen books for the novel
> in the above defense?

You are quite right, and a wonderful paragraph it is, too. (Told you my
memory has gone walkabout.) Oh yes, it would be wonderful to be able to
reply to those people who say, "It's only a fantasy/SF/YA novel" with those
words!

[next bit snipped]

> Snap!  We're doing _Northanger Abbey_ and _Dracula_ this year too.
> If you can smell the garlic wafting over you'll know it scared me as
> well. :)
>
> Hallie (who's writing while cooking dinner, much to the detriment of
> both.  And there are still too many interesting messages to be read!)

I have been known to *read* while actually cooking, at the same
moment--using a see-through recipe book holder...Ah, it's good to know I'm
not the only...um...unusual person in the world!

Ros

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