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Tony Grist

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Cultural Jottings [Jan. 15th, 2009|10:52 am]
Tony Grist
1. Ailz is getting into her new Open University course. Last year we lay in bed and talked about Shakespeare. Now we lie in bed and talk about Marcel Duchamp.

2. Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch have made up their quarrel- and Virgin cable are carrying Sky again. The two Sky Arts channels are a real find. There was that rare, Godard movie for starters. Since then we've watched Simon Schama on Rembrandt and Bernini and a short on the photographer Nan Goldin.

3. I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't.  I'm reading Wise Children.  The characters are stereotypes and the writing is packed with cliches- eyes are "sky-blue",  accents are "cut-glass. The one good quality I can't deny her is energy.

4. I got three Carters out of the library- more fool me- because I thought she was going to be my next "project".  The only other thing I got was a big, heavy book on the Romanesque- with gorgeous colour plates and a text translated from the German. My man Rolf Toman characterises the early medieval period as being in the grip of a "death cult"- all crusades and last judgements and saints being torn apart for their relics. And, yes, I see what he means- but I think he's missing the youthful energy, the urge- suddenly- to build up and up, the playfulness of the carving, the simplicity and directness of the lyrics.  When I go into a Romanesque building or listen to a troubador song my heart lifts. I find I'm smiling.  It's as if I can feel the April sunshine on my back.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2009-01-15 11:49 am (UTC)

I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

I'm glad you said that. I've always wondered what was wrong with me. Why didn't I like this iconic woman writer? and for the same reasons you give shallow writing. Trite, expectable plots.........yawn........
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-15 12:30 pm (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

Phew! I thought I might be the only one....

I'm still expecting flak.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2009-01-15 01:49 pm (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

No flak from me! I can't stand Angela Carter either and have no idea why she's held is such high regard.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-15 02:39 pm (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

Oh good!

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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2009-01-15 05:00 pm (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

If you haven't upset anyone, then you haven't done your job correctly!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-16 11:02 am (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

There's that, too.:)

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[User Picture]From: mikesmaddie
2009-01-15 11:51 am (UTC)

That book...

...on the Romanesque sounds quite interesting. *big smile*

And I wish Aliz the best with her new course. *big big smile*

Hope that you and yours are doing all right, that things are going okay, and that the rest of the day goes all right for you all.

God bless and take care. :).
Olga/Maddie
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-15 12:31 pm (UTC)

Re: That book...

Thanks Maddie.

I love art books with big, glossy illustrations.
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[User Picture]From: mikesmaddie
2009-01-15 12:51 pm (UTC)

You're both...

...most welcome. *big smile*

God bless and take care. :).
Olga/Maddie
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-01-15 01:15 pm (UTC)
You've described the romanesque joy perfectly. I've never understood why people find it heavy and oppressive.

I've never even felt the urge to read Angela Carter. Thanks for confirming my feelings haven't been off.
:)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-15 02:46 pm (UTC)
It's getting so I find the gothic too sophisticated for my taste.

One of my LJ friends was praising Carter and I thought what's not to like about a wild, feminist, magical realist? As it turns out, quite a lot.
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[User Picture]From: petercampbell
2009-01-15 06:12 pm (UTC)
Wise Children is probably my least favourite Angela Carter novel - probably not the best one to begin with. I'd suggest The Infernal desire Machines of Dr Hoffman are a more typical example of her work. I think when she uses cliche, incidentally, it's with a knowing wink - there's quite a lot of knowing irony in there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-16 10:55 am (UTC)

Re: I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't

OK. I'll give her another whirl. It crossed my mind that there might be a a dash of irony in there...
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[User Picture]From: nineweaving
2009-01-15 06:29 pm (UTC)
I am dismayed that you don't like Angela Carter. Her collected short stories--above all The Bloody Chamber and Black Venus (or Saints and Strangers)--are a desert island book of mine. She enlarged what I could do as a writer, as a fantasist. And her beauty and audacity amaze me every time.

Before you hurl the books back at the library, maybe you could leaf through the others? With your interests in Jacobean drama and film you could at least try her "John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore"?

By the way, "sky-blue" and "cut-glass" are Dora Chance's voice, not Carter's.

Nine
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-01-16 04:45 am (UTC)
By the way, "sky-blue" and "cut-glass" are Dora Chance's voice, not Carter's.

(Why don't I ever read comments before I add my own?)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-16 10:59 am (UTC)
I did wonder whether the cliches- which pour out relentlessly- might be something to do with "voice".

I was dismayed too. I was sure this was an author I was going to like. I'll try again....:)
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-01-16 04:44 am (UTC)
I'm reading Wise Children. The characters are stereotypes and the writing is packed with cliches- eyes are "sky-blue", accents are "cut-glass.

If Wise Children does nothing for you by the end of the book, I would give something else of hers a try—her short fiction is what I like best. The author's voice does have to be differentiated from the voices of her narrators, and Dora Chance is the kind of narrator to use "cut-glass" and "sky-blue."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-16 11:01 am (UTC)
OK, I'll soldier on. I'll admit I haven't really given her a chance.
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