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Misers [Dec. 14th, 2005|11:48 am]
Tony Grist
Whatever happened to the misers?

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries people loved their misers. There was a whole literature about them. They were mean, they stank, they hid guineas in dung-heaps, they made pies out of long dead sheep. Mr Boffin in Our Mutual Friend is an avid collector and consumer of miser-porn. Daniel Dancer, John Elwes, Vulture Hopkins- these guys were famous.

There were famous fictional misers too- Scrooge, Silas Marner, Uncle Ebenezer Balfour.

But then along came the 20th century and misers- both real and fictional- dropped out of sight.

So why don't we have them any more?

[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-12-14 07:54 am (UTC)
Kate and I joke about a "ha-penny newspaper," from an old book I have, The Lodger, in which a man and woman were so poor they had to save up to buy a newspaper, so it was a special treat.

When I get all frugal (soup for three-days-running, or re-using old teabags), Kate accuses me of having a "ha-penny newspaper" mentality...

Scrooge is my favorite miser. I love his cold room, his meager fire...how delightfully gloomy!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-14 08:29 am (UTC)
A "ha'penny newspaper"- that's lovely.

I've always thought Scrooge's lifestyle had a lot to recommend it. "Bah, humbug!"
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-12-14 08:35 am (UTC)
I seem to remember that Dickens wrote his Carol in two weeks, being desperate himself for money.

My favorite part of the book is the scene when Scrooge walks home through the foggy cold streets and then into his gloomy apartments.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-14 09:05 am (UTC)
I like Marley's ghost. Especially the bit where his face appears in the door-knocker. Deliciously scary.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-12-14 09:09 am (UTC)
Nothing like Marley's ghost.

Is he the first chain-rattler?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-15 02:24 am (UTC)
There's a chain-rattling ghost in a "true" ghost story told by one of the ancient Roman writers (Pliny, I think.)

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