[DWJ] What are you reading?

Jenny Schwartzberg schwartzbergj at newberry.org
Mon Nov 2 16:24:36 EST 2009

Dear Helen,

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
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj

More information about the Dwj mailing list