[DWJ] What are you reading?
schwartzbergj at newberry.org
Mon Nov 2 16:24:36 EST 2009
Thanks for the information on Yonge. I suspect that there are a lot of
references to Telemaque in 18th- and 19th-century fiction that pass
unobserved because we don't recognize them anymore. I'm just starting
to explore how much of an impact it had and it's really fascinating.
Helen Schinske wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jenny Schwartzberg"
> <schwartzbergj at newberry.org>
> To: "Diana Wynne Jones discussion" <dwj at suberic.net>
> Sent: Monday, November 02, 2009 11:27 AM
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] What are you reading?
>> Ah, I don't know if what I'm reading is appropriate for discussion,
>> except that it's the very first novel for adolescents, Les Aventures
>> de Telemaque, fils d'Ulysse (first published in 1699). Known in
>> English as The Adventures of Telemachus, the son of Ulysses. I'd be
>> curious if anyone on the list knows this book and how they come to
>> know it since it's mostly forgotten today except as a French
>> "classic" novel. But in its day it was a major bestseller in all the
>> European languages and remained part of every well-educated boy's
>> library for two centuries.
> I've heard of it through Charlotte Yonge's book _A Modern Telemachus_,
> but have never read it. _A Modern Telemachus_, by the way, is based on
> a true story of shipwreck, not on _Telemaque_, but one of the
> characters is fond of _Telemaque_ and makes frequent references to it.
> (I find on Google Books that several of Yonge's characters make
> reference to Telemaque, which I hadn't previously noticed.) In _A
> History of Christian Names_, Yonge says "Telemachus (distant battle)
> had one notable namesake in the devoted hermit who for ever ended the
> savage fights of the amphitheatre; but, though Telemaque [the novel]
> was a triumph of genius and tender religious feeling in spite of bad
> pseudo-classical taste, has not been again repeated."
> I have been reading some essays and letters of George Orwell, and
> re-reading the letters of Jessica Mitford. It was quite a surprise to
> find Orwell worrying about the British birthrate, and suggesting
> seriously that there should be centralized laundries (with pickup and
> delivery) to make taking care of babies easier, so that the average
> family size could be closer to four children than two. Apparently the
> possibility of electric washing machines was not even on his radar
> (though they were already fairly common in the US -- there were even
> coin-op ones in apartment houses by then).
> Oh, and I also read _Liar_, by Justine Larbalestier, the other day. I
> usually hate first-person present-tense books, but this one was really
> well done. It was a real page-turner *and* I'm enjoying thinking about
> it afterward. It's maddening that it's so hard to discuss without
> spoilers, though.
> Helen Schinske
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