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06 June 2009 @ 12:38 pm
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Wow, so, this is clearly the original prototype for the 'Rocks Fall. EVERYONE DIES' method of storytelling.

I'm not even joking! It was a domino effect. As soon as Margaret's mother died, every succeeding chapter culminated in another death. It made the book so essentially pointless. Margaret had to move to Milton because her father Dissented, but then he died, so she moved back home; she was poor, but her godfather died and left her a fortune, so she wasn't. Deaths are supposed to make the reader at least sad, if not grief-stricken; they are NOT supposed to make the reader say, "Huh, how convenient."

The romance was yucky. I think the best characters were Edith and her dopey husband, but sadly we hardly saw anything of them. I wanted the entire Higgins family to DIAF. I mean, did Gaskell know anything about the Industrial Revolution she lived through? Because it reads like she hasn't a clue.

His father had made the blunder of bringing him up in ignorance and taking it for innocence.

I like this line! However, I don't know how you can keep someone innocent without also keeping them ignorant. The solution is to stop making innocence out to be this all-fired great thing (except, obviously, in murder cases).

Slow deep breaths dilated her thin and beautiful nostrils.

OH GOD I ABOUT DIED. This made me think of a HORSE. Horses have freaky nostrils! So does Margaret.

Margaret the Churchwoman, her father the Dissenter, Higgins the Infidel, knelt down together. It did them no harm.

This is the best line in the book. However, it reminds me - COULD Gaskell have given less information about Margaret's father's decision to leave the Church? There's cloudy motives and then there's no discernable motives at all, and I don't think I need to say which I approve of and which I DON'T.

"Sometimes I used to hear a farmer speaking loud and sharp to his servants; but it was so far away that it only reminded me pleasantly that other people were hard at work in some distant place, while I sat on the heather and did nothing."

I love this, because Margaret comes off as SUCH AN ASSHOLE and she's presented all the way through as a saint crossed with an angel crossed with a paragon of virtue. HEE

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
The Duke and I, Julia Quinn
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Merit: Miscmeritjubet on June 6th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
"Sometimes I used to hear a farmer speaking loud and sharp to his servants; but it was so far away that it only reminded me pleasantly that other people were hard at work in some distant place, while I sat on the heather and did nothing."

Lol, seriously? Victorians liked their hero (or heroines) pious but utterly devoid of sympathy for anyone who wasn't proper.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: stripey cupsscoradh on June 6th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Aha, it all becomes clear!
Shezan: Sir Humphreyshezan on June 6th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
This made me think of a HORSE

It's an ENGLISH novel! Most Englishmen like their horses BETTER than their women!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands PATD Brendon's squishyscoradh on June 6th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
lol TRUE. But I just don't know why anyone ever felt the need to describe nostrils at all, let alone in this exhaustive detail!
Shezan: Ninashezan on June 6th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Rant all you will against Gaskell, the incontrovertible fact is that North and South gave us Richard Armitage in a cravat.

I rest my valise.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: majestic catscoradh on June 6th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
He is kind of how I pictured Thornton! Only my Thornton had a fatter face.
Shezan: Ninashezan on June 6th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
OMG you've never SEEN North and South? Armitage is absolutely to DIE for, he's so brooding and pretty and brooding and manly and did I mention pretty? Oh, and the CHOCOLATE NORTHERN VOICE. Yum.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on June 6th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
No! I don't like watching period drama unless I've read the book (Lark Rise to Candleford being the exception that sucked me in.) And then I tend to end up disliking the books too much to watch the dramas - ie Middlemarch asdlfkjhslkjfhsd.
Snakelingsnakeling on June 6th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? The drama was good and full of pretty, too.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on June 6th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
I have! And I liked the latest adaption of Jane Eyre even while being lukewarm about the book, so maybe I should try it out...
Shezan: Ninashezan on June 6th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, but now you've read the book, you're RIPE for the pretty the miniseries!
jehnt: pineapple express - bfffsjehnt on June 6th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: owlsscoradh on June 6th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
I missed the fact of the second season! So annoyed! The lord dude better come back and seduct the post mistress, I am telling you.

Did you see the Christmas special, though? MADE OF FAIL.
jehnt: sga - gossip girlsjehnt on June 7th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
I am still in the first season, lol. The episodes are soooooo longggg so it's taking me a while. And yeah, the lord dude! I feel sorry for his wife because he and the postmistress are obviously so in love, but. I still ship lord dude/postmistress pretty hard.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: House: ;( facescoradh on June 7th, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Darling. They're an hour. (Okay, maybe that seems less when you're watching them on a Saturday night in winter.) But yeah, how could you not ship him with someone who 'dreams more vividly in blue'?

jehnt: sga - rodney mckayjehnt on June 7th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
But usually when shows are an hour, they're really only 45 minutes! That extra fifteen minutes is A LOT of time! I should finish watching that show. And Pushing Daisies (which, have you seen it? idk if you might like it, but it is very fairytale-like), and, uh, that other show I'm watching that I can't remember the name of. LEVERAGE (it has thieves! and they steal things! FOR GREAT JUSTICE, believe it or not).

Edited at 2009-06-07 12:39 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Attention bunnyscoradh on June 7th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
ahhaha I HATED PUSHING DAISIES. With all the hate an overbearing V/O and trying so hard to be arch they're not funny characters. EW.

You're just teasing me with these SGA icons now, aren't you. Plus, rec me some ST recs!
jehnt: sg1 - stargatejehnt on June 7th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
Yes I'm teasing you with my stargate icons, muahahhahahah. (lol, I never even finished the last season of SGA. hahah, whoops. I downloaded all the episodes but didn't watch them.)

Whaaaaat, you hated Pushing Daisies? But it is so darling! And a fairytale! I am always massively entertained by it.

And I don't really have ST recs, due to how I haven't had time to read much lately, but I did see this resource somebody is making for new writers. It's terribly thin on knowledge from DS9/VOY/ENT, but seems decent otherwise. I have been reading florahart's trek fic, and I'm planning on scouring trek_news for more whenever I have time.
Snakelingsnakeling on June 6th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
You make a compelling case.

(I've seen Spooks, now I'm wondering whether I should get Robin Hood, despite the horrific reviews from my flist. RA in leather, ahem.)
Shezan: Ninashezan on June 6th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Armitage TOTALLY makes Robin Hood. He starts of as yr generic evil minion #7458 and becomes this dark tormented hero in black leather. We are now in season 3, in which he has NEVER BEEN MORE BEAUTIFUL (ahem.)

Snakelingsnakeling on June 6th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
Is that eyeliner? Om nom nom.

*heads off to the Pirate Bay*
Blindmouse: Lyn-Z's bassblindmouse on June 7th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
I think that the weirdness of Margaret's father's heresy is a context thing. In the time she was writing, these things were desperately important and talked about and understood, when now they look like such insane nitpicky things to base your life around.

I actually really like this book. Wives and Daughters is supposed to be her big classic, but I found it thin and trivial and uninspiring; N&S was much richer. Also, the miniseries is pretty awesome :-)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: frangipaniscoradh on June 7th, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, they sure do, but I'd think that about anything to do with religion. No, my gripe was - and clearly in the context you speak of, it was so common as to not matter - that it was never bloody EXPLAINED. What was his religion, and what about it made him turn against it, and what was he afterwards? I have no clue.

I found the romance a bit too flat, considering it was like, the driving plot of the book. I started reading Cranford but it just made me itchy. Not ever going to be a Gaskell fan, methinks.
goldensealgoldenseal on June 8th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
this is very interesting because I have never read the book but the bbc miniseries is probably one of my favourite things to watch and rewatch.
it's clear that some things have been altered from the book to the screen!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: maskscoradh on June 8th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
I think the Beeb's Pride and Prejudice is the ONLY case I've ever heard of where something wasn't messed around with in the script. Usually you just have to cross your fingers and pray it wasn't fucked up beyond measure. :D