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Tony Grist

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Woke Up This Morning..... [Mar. 19th, 2005|09:31 am]
Tony Grist
During the week the postman arrives round about mid-day. On Saturday he knocks on the door at 7.40. How is that acceptable?

Gah, I know; I'm being petit-bourgeois. And if there's one thing I try to steer clear of it's that. I will NOT whinge about minor inconveniences. I will NOT be one of those old bores who writes to the newspapers about litter in the streets and the youth of today. It's not even as if I really mind the postman calling early on a Saturday. He's a man and a brother and I guess he starts early in the hope of finishing early and getting to the football match. Actually I find it mildly amusing. Look at me, I'm being all Zen about it. Observe my smile of detachment.

I persevere with The Mysteries of Udolfo. It's the late 18th century equivalent of Lord Of The Rings- a massive wodge of escapist fantasy, with creepy things happening in a beautifully realised romantic landscape. Oh the umbrageous shades, the hoary headed mountains, the far-sounding torrents! For me it's a time machine. Jane Austen is for all time and takes me into the human condition rather than times past, but Radcliffe has nothing to say about people and everything to say about a very particular, time-coded sensibility. I like being in her company. She soothes my fevered brow.

Right now my gal Emily St Aubert has just returned home from a pointless excursion through the Pyrenees, in the course of which her nobly sententious daddy took ill and died. She is understandably weepy and faints a lot. As she ponders her future she is comforted and disturbed in equal measure by the attentions of that noble youth Valancourt, a man unspoiled by any contact with the sink-hole of corruption and false values that is Paris. She has assured him of her regard and he has departed a happy man. Meanwhile the mysteries thicken round her and she keeps thinking she sees ghostly figures gliding about in shadows of her country estate.

And now I'm going into Manchester to eat curry.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 02:34 am (UTC)
It certainly is-

Blissfully trippy.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-19 05:01 am (UTC)
Our mailman never knocks.

And he's always late. I swear, I think the man takes breaks in between houses. He shuffles up to the door, sometimes when it's nearly dark, and at least once every two months leaves a letter that's meant for someone else on our street.

On Tuesday, he shuffled up to my next-door-neighbor's and left him my Time and Newsweek, which were returned to us the next day.

(I'd like to say I found toast crumbs on page four, but it would be a lie.)

Have fun with curry!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 09:10 am (UTC)
Oh, it's such a good curry house.

We're recognised now and treated as regulars. It's a good feeling.

One day you and Kate will eat with us there.
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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2005-03-19 03:03 am (UTC)
I'll join you in the petit-bourgeois codgerliness. The ONLY acceptable time for the post to come is clearly after one is awake but before one has left the house. How hard can it be?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 03:24 am (UTC)
Exactly.

I don't pay my taxes to be rudely awoken at......

Erm, except I don't actually pay any taxes....

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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2005-03-19 03:30 am (UTC)
Heh, me neither. Which makes petit-bourgeois griping a delicious affectation!
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-03-19 05:51 am (UTC)
My husband keeps an abridged version of Udolpho in his bedside cabinet -- he says it's one of the world's great soporifics. I read it in the original some years ago when I had borrowing privileges at the University of Pennsylvania Library... I'm sorry to say I read it for plot. Perhaps I should go back and read some of it for landscape.

The abridged version is in a sampler volume that also contains a chunk of Walpole's Otranto, similar genre and similar time.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 09:12 am (UTC)
Udolfo has a plot?

So far it's just aimless wandering and gliding apparitions.

"one of the worlds great soporifics". Yes, I know exactly what he means.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-03-19 09:31 am (UTC)
"Oh, that dreadful black veil! Will the poor girl ever escape?"

Or aren't you there yet?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 09:45 am (UTC)
No, there's no black veil as yet.

Ooh good- something to look forward to!
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-03-20 06:10 am (UTC)
If you will cast your mind back to Catherine Morland's reading of the book in Northanger Abbey, you will recall that Isabella Thorpe was telling her about the "black veil" sequence.

After Austen's treatment of it, I found the real thing to be a bit of an anticlimax, but I suppose it is something to look forward to.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-20 10:55 am (UTC)
It's a long time since I read Northanger Abbey. I must go look up the reference.
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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-03-19 06:02 am (UTC)

people

perhaps it is not so much saying something about
people which is a problem as what sort of thing
one says about them? I am thinking that Thomas Love
Peacock says a good deal about people in Crotchet
Castle or Headlong Hall or Nightmare Abbey etc
but one doesnt regret it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 09:16 am (UTC)

Re: people

Radcliffe's people (at least her heroes and heroines) are motivated by the purest ideals. They wander through sublime landscapes, thinking noble thoughts and indulging in elegant and improving conversation. They're kinda sweet- but not like anyone I know.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-03-19 10:53 am (UTC)

Re: people

What got me was how often she fainted.

Just wait till you meet the uncle!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-20 10:57 am (UTC)

Re: people

People used to faint a whole lot more than they do nowadays.

I remember being told that it had a lot to do with corsets.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-03-21 01:34 am (UTC)

Re: people

Even by the standards of the time (and at this stage it probably would have been stays which were less restrictive) it's impressive!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-21 02:43 am (UTC)

Re: people

I'm not sure I know the difference bewtween stays and corsets.

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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-03-19 12:53 pm (UTC)
me neither. umm peacock for me!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-19 01:09 pm (UTC)
It's ages since I read anything by Peacock. I guess I should look at him again.
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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-03-19 01:25 pm (UTC)
a good deal is online and one can dip in...
well you now dont expect , I dont know what,
the psychology of a Dostoevsky or a Proust
or something...
but more like Wodehouse...
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