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Thanks for the follow-backs, journalfolk. I have no plan for how to make it worth your while.

I am finished Barchester Towers, and glad to be quit of it.

I liked The Warden very much, and there are many things to like about Barchester Towers, but, having read this novel of his, I cannot say with conviction that I like Anthony Trollope. I wonder if the reason I gave up on the Chronicles of Barsetshire all those years ago was my annoyance with this book and specifically its constant lumbering jocularity about the Nature of Woman.

Some of the good qualities of The Warden are still in evidence; Trollope is very good on the pettier, more self-concerned, but not actually evil side of human behavior -- the way that resentment and pride override charity and compassion, for example. Mr. Arabin, ruefully trying to remake his life at 40, moves me, and the signora, though not precisely adequate as a portrait of a woman with a disability, comes close to being a fascinating character study. I wouldn’t say she tips over, quite, into actually being fascinating, though the ambiguity around her injury and its cause, and the constant speculation about What's Under the Blanket, would provide excellent material for, say, Lacan.

The major characters of The Warden seem to have foregone any further personal growth in the sequel and are content to run the little grooves of their personae over and over, like table hockey characters. That was my feeling; the book group liked them better, and thought that the relentless babbling about the hilarious weakness of women was meant more ironically than I did.

(Some poking at the mass conversation (Look! The Victorian Web is still there!) produces various interesting possible positions on this question.) (When I was a youth nothing pleased me more than nested parentheses, especially if I could wrap them all up together at the end: ((())).)

In The Warden there are really no villains – just short-sighted selfish people, and I like that about it. Barchester Towers is painted in broader, almost Dickensian strokes. Mr Slope is stuck in the begged question of bad guys: why is he the villain? Because he's bad. How do you know he's bad? Because he's the villain. Also, red hair. Watch out.

Next up: Howard's End, last read about the same time as BT, which is to say, a very long time ago indeed.

I got violently winded walking to book group yesterday, though the sticky toffee pudding was worth it. Today a little errand walking similarly exhausted me. It was ten days ago the walk-in clinic doctor gave me the puffer and said this thing would play itself out.

So tired. I think tomorrow will be an ugly shirt day (a day when you're too tired to iron the good shirts).

An invitation, of course, to think about illness and wellness, access and ability. Something to discuss with the senora.


Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/1082.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.
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I am in a classics reading group, which during 2016 I mostly failed to show up for, excepting January's David Copperfield (1850) and December's The Warden (1855).

You might therefore assume I give special precedence to British books written during the 1850s, though I do not know that to be the case.

The only Trollope I had ever read before was Barchester Towers (1857), in second or third year uni. It is, of course, the sequel to The Warden, but I'd never read that. I don't know why.

Reading choices in early university seem in retrospect both more random and more joyful. I read a book on Provencal poetry, for example, and acquired a permanent affection for Langue d'oc, though I followed up on that in no way. Maybe my reading the book had something to do with Pound? I don't think so, though. I hadn't heard of a lot of big names at seventeen through nineteen, though I wanted to think I was literary.

All I remembered about Barchester Towers until this re-read, so many years later, was Eleanor's shrinking widow's cap and her stomping her "little foot" at one point, which had startled me at the time, as until then I had been assuming she was a fully developed female character.

Further Thoughts on Barchester Towers )

Enough of Trollope for now, I think. I've a drawing date with a friend down the road. This three-week cold has left me short of puff, but I should just about be able to make it a block and a half.


Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/973.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.
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I want to keep up more regular posting here, but I've also finally started organizing/writing/creating the Other Blog, and that has left me drained. So here is -- some stuff.

Random Logistical Stuff

I still have not decided what the Next Thing is.

Everything is fine, except that everything about my life is about to be in need of repair and I don't have the funds, even the fake funds, to repair it.

From the ground up, off the top of my head: )

Meanwhile, I am a member of two reading groups now: )

Also am in magical working group and may join editorial collective of the online magazine I review for. Also am taking the film course and theoretically at least writing a conference paper for November. Oh,and taking the massive open online course through the Kelly Writers' House, ModPo (Modern American Poetry.)

Is that enough things? Probably, right? Oh, I have some reviews coming due now that the summer hiatus is over.

Also figuring out that Next Thing. Which is the only important thing in all of this, and the only thing I'm not doing, which I guess means I am doing it, passively. This thought, though, is depressing, so let's return to the immediate conditions of my life, which, as I have said are -- good.

For example: I spent most of yesterday reading in parks, which was as brilliant as it sounds. )

Today after the poetry group I went to the beach and had a very brief, very cold swim in the ocean. I wanted to have swum again before the end of the summer (which this only technically is.) Then a long walk not exactly home -- all along Beach Drive, through the golf course, where offshore (or: Offshore!) a red and white sailboat was struggling against fresh whitecaps under an enormous moon.

There was a complicated business involving urination and bushes and deceptively steep slopes and somewhere in there I lost my bamboo mat. but generally -- a good sort of day. That tends to mean walks and books and feats of extremely minor derring-do.



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