The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph
You may remember that I picked this book up at the museum's book sale. It's by Frances Chamberlaine Sheridan (1724-1766), which is a fantastic name, right? She married an actor/director and wrote several plays (two of which were put on by David Garrick, which was a Big Deal) and novels, encouraged by Samuel Richardson. Her son was Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the writer of A School for Scandal
is a three-volume novel, and I've just come to the end of the first volume. IMO, it should be studied alongside or instead of Pamela
- it's a much better read and just as literatury. So this is an epistolary/diary novel about a young woman having a suitably dramatic life: she lives with her mother, and her brother brings home a friend for her. The two fall in love and are preparing to get married, but a Moral Impediment is found (the friend impregnated a young woman) and her mother cuts off the match, with Sidney sadly complying. After a while, they (minus the brother - he's inherited their father's title and is off doing his own thing all the time) go for a long visit to a friend of the mother's, where the mother and her friend set Sidney up with a different young man. She's not in love with him but appreciates how gentlemanly and good he is, so they get married and the affection comes later. Several years and two daughters later, the friend comes back into the picture as her husband turns out to be having an affair with a neighbor; the neighbor is revealed as a nasty person who was involved with the friend impregnating the young woman in a bad way, and she orchestrates the husband into believing that Sidney's having an affair, and he hypocritically kicks her out. (End Vol. I.)
One of the things I really like is that, unlike Richardson, Sheridan doesn't hit you over the head with THIS CHARACTER IS BAD or THIS CHARACTER IS A PARAGON. The mother's actions are conventional and what most would have lauded, and Sidney's filial obedience is praised by the text (and I think by the author), but there's certainly critique of the social norms. There are also some side stories that contribute to the critique - the young woman's isn't finished yet by a long shot, Sidney suspects that she's not as innocent as she makes out (which at this point could mean anything from "she kind of wanted to have sex with the friend" to "she helped orchestrate their encounter to trick him into marriage"), but there's certainly a condemnation of what happened to her; the mother's friend has a daughter that married against her mother's wishes for love, and the narrative is very sympathetic to her and unsympathetic to her mother.Finding Dory
SO CUTE. I wasn't sure if I was going to go see it - I'm a bit older than the demographic that's all "we've been waiting ten years for a sequel to Finding Nemo
!" - but I saw it had 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and decided to do it. ( Collapse )Crown Duel
I got this and its sequel, Court Duel
, out of the library because of a rec online related to The Goblin Emperor
(I think?). I was surprised that they turned out to be fairly slim YA volumes, but because they're older YA - back when it was "children's literature but a bit more complex and mature" - they're not full of the adolescent bullshit that usually makes me put YA books back on the shelf without finishing. The heroine is a teenager in a sexism-free medievalloid setting, and she and her brother have to rebel against the king on their father's death. She gets captured by the young aristocrat leading the king's forces, who they'd initially written off as a gambling fop, and they're clearly being set up for a future romance. I love it! (So far.)Ilvermorny
My Ilvermorny opinions are probably somewhat controversial. (Link to JKR's writing on the first/biggest American magic school here
, in case you haven't seen it.) It took me some time of pondering and mulling over to get at what was bothering me. See, Rowling doesn't even do the kind of interaction between Muggle and magical history and culture that people are expecting from her in other countries in her own
. Magical Britain in Harry Potter is not just like modern day Britain, but with wands. She doesn't deal meaningfully with the Protestant Reformation/Jacobite Rebellion/reign of Victoria/WWI home front or the differences between all the regional cultures in the UK. It's very reasonable to say that you can do that to your own culture but not someone else's, but it seems like the common thought is that she was especially accurate to Britain and then did America worse and "wrong".
Basically, Rowling's worldbuilding is equal parts pastiche and Rule of Funny/Cool, and people want more standard urban fantasy worldbuilding. The magical world in HP is a thing totally apart from the Muggle world, not separated by a thin curtain so that every state/city has essentially the same culture on both sides. And TBH I wouldn't want it any other way.
... Actually, thinking about it, I would probably go with tight ethnic enclaves for American wizards, with some marrying in from local Muggles. There's definitely not a high enough population to support them spread out over the entire continent.Writing
I just cannot write
lately. I had a pretty good idea recently that could probably work as a novel but realistically, I know I could only do as a longer short story. Part of the problem is that I can't seem to get it started, and part is that I can't figure out what I'd do with it afterward. It's not salable (except maybe to a magazine from the Edwardian period), and if I put it on Amazon, do I use a pen name? Should I republish A Worthy Connection under a pen name? LIFE. I need someone else to make my decisions for me.Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/910815.html - comment wherever you please.