[DWJ] Monthly Read-Along - Charmed Life

Levi W. zebraspotz at gmail.com
Mon Nov 5 22:15:33 EST 2012

Wow, good point about the imperialism.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks about what it would be like to be
dropped into the world of whatever book you're reading.  It's all the more
appropriate in *Charmed Life* when that's basically what happened to
Janet---you have to wonder how you'd react.  And then I have to adjust for
me being a queer, very butch Jew.  :/

Please forgive my ignorance of British history, but world 12A is still best
described as "Victorian," right?  Whatever the era, it always made me think
of the 1890s and early 1900s.  One assumes that the action of *Charmed
Life* takes
place in the 1970s, when the book was published.  There must have been
social (and fashion!) changes in the last 70 or 80 years---are they just
invisible from our limited perspective, or is it the implied lack of World
Wars/toned down Industrial Revolution, or what?

Didn't DWJ once say that the reason there hadn't been a female Chrestomanci
yet was sexism?  But it wasn't even clear to me from the books whether
women *could* be enchanters.  There also seems to be a division between
nine-lived ones and single?-lived ones (such as Uncle Ralph, I think? it's
been too long since I read *Lives*), and I would still like to know whether
there are two- or eight-lived enchanters.


On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM, Andrea Höst <andreakhost at gmail.com> wrote:

> One discussion point which was raised on a different forum about the
> Chrestomancis was the set-up of having a white "English" man dispensing
> justice and judgment over not only his whole world, but a number of other
> world.  The question of what gives him/his government authority over any of
> these people.
> [Also, strong lack of female Chrestomancis.]
> On 5 November 2012 14:15, <jodel at aol.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > >>I have been noticing in Jones that the good guys are very often at the
> > top of
> > the social order--such as Crestomanci in his mansion--something one finds
> > much
> > less often in American fiction.  We all grew up from younger sons,
> > disenfranchised folk, runaways, slaves, etc. and don't much expect the
> > people
> > running things to be honorable or dependable.
> >
> > Jameela Lares
> > Professor of English
> > The University of Southern Mississippi<<
> >
> > It sometimes looks that way, but I'd say that DWJ is more solidly in the
> > E. Nesbit camp of giving adventures to mostly middle-class children.
> There
> > are exceptions (Mitt in Drowned Ahmet is the first that comes to moind,
> but
> > I'm sure there are others). And the people "in charge" in DWJ are so
> often
> > making a thoroughgoing botch of it.
> >
> >
> > Adventures for the middle-class made a lot of sense in Nesbit's day,
> since
> > children of the poor wouldn't be as likely to be reading her books (apart
> > from the rare Dickie Hardings), and may have already been holding down
> > jobs, anyway.
> >
> >
> > By mid-20th century there was a lot less excuse for that. But it seems to
> > have been a fairly common trope which is only somewhat breaking down even
> > now.
> >
> >
> > But Chrestomancy Castle is not an indication of upper class background.
> > It's a Government facility and the title is a government office.
> > Christopher Chant himself probably qualifies as genteel in origins, but
> his
> > part of it are sort of "poor relations" and his own particular branch of
> > the family are largely considered a somewhat disreputable example of a
> > misalliance. The certainly weren't rich enough to support the style of
> > living that his mother considered her due.
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Dwj at suberic.net
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> >
> --
> ---
> Andrea K Host
> andreakhost at gmail.com
> www.andreakhost.com
> ---
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