Archive for November 14th, 2010


Consider my cockles warmed

I’ve been suffering recently from a bout of chronic disorganisation, mostly the effect of a difficult patch at work spilling over into everything else. One of the things that has most suffered, particularly with my use of what time has been available to try and keep up my blog writing, has been my blog reading. However, during a brief lull in the storm, I did find find a few restful minutes to hop around my bookmarks, and discovered over at Wuthering Expectations three almost back-to-back posts that left me quite giddy. It can sometimes be lonely out there in blog-land (“Hello? Is this thing on?”), and suddenly I wasn’t feeling so lonely after all.

First up, on the back of my look at Clara Reeve’s The Progress Of Romance, I found Amateur Reader, too, considering the apparently eternal question of “the novel” vs “the romance”, this time apropos of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Walter Scott. Then, a bit further down the page, I discovered some words that instantly engraved themselves upon my heart as, after pondering why exactly he was so set upon reading some of Hawthorne’s more obscure works, ones which held little inherent appeal for him, Amateur Reader concluded that it was due to the neurotic satisfaction of completeness. Oh, boy, do I understand that!

The knock-out blow, however, came a little further on again, in a post about The Demi-Monde, a play written by Alexandre Dumas fils in 1855. In the course of discussing the fact that it was Dumas fils who invented the expression “the demi-monde”, Amateur Reader quotes a passage from the play, which I, too, must quote:

“Each woman here has some blot in her past life; they are crowded close to one another in order that these blots may be noticed as little as possible. Although they have the same origin, the same appearance and the same prejudices as women of society, they do not belong to it: they constitute the “Demi-monde” or “Half-world”, a veritable floating island on the ocean of Paris, which calls to itself, welcomes, accepts everything that falls, emigrates, everything that escapes from terra firma – not to mention those who have been shipwrecked or who come from God knows where.”

Emphasis mine, of course. That island certainly did get around.

The cherry on top of this swift trip around the blogs was The Little Professor‘s review of Sister Agnes; or, The Captive Nun, a scurrilous piece of anti-Catholicism that is now firmly entrenched in The List. I may say that, under the Prof’s influence, I’m growing increasingly excited at the prospect of taking a look at this particular category of novel-writing, and can hardly wait until a spin of the roulette wheel lands me upon one of its entries.

What? No, of course I can’t just go and read one. That would be silly.