lotesse: (curioser)
something that I think is important about Middlemarch - Dorothea is appallingly wrongheaded in her goals/means, most evidently in her reasons for marrying Casaubon - but the people in her community who criticize her are additionally and equally wrongheaded, without having even the excuse of youth or passion to cover them. Mrs. Cadwallader is absolutely right that Dorothea ought not to marry Casaubon, but at the same time she displays an almost total ignorance of Dorothea's real character, ethos, and desires for her own life.

Even if they tell you so and it turns out bad, it doesn't mean they were right.
lotesse: (viclit_beckysharp)
... so now I really want to read the one where Hetty Sorrel survives transportation to Australia and goes on to have badass adventures in the outback. Adam Bede sequel time!
lotesse: (ribbons)
Such young unfurrowed souls roll to meet each other like two velvet peaches that touch softly and are at rest; they mingle as easily as two brooklets that ask for nothing but to entwine themselves and ripple with ever-interlacing curves in the leafiest hiding-places


jfc, Eliot, you write that porn!

Unrelated, but I'd give anything for the damned weather to cool the hell down. It gets up in the high 80s every afternoon, and the evenings stay hot. It's October. I made it through a whole summer of sweating, and I'm sick of it. And I hate hate hate dressing to teach in warmer weather, because I overheat so easily that it's difficult to stay as modest and covered-up as I prefer to be in that context.

Well, if I've got to sweat, and least my Readin Matter's equally hot.
lotesse: (prydain_eilonwyredgold)
- cohort meeting next week, not today. Plus side: I got in an extra walk?

- preliminary connection spotted between Adam Bede and Tess of the D'Urbervilles - no, not unwed mothership. Further notes, if any, to follow.

- total reshuffling of comp syllabus: in progress. Lots of work, but ultimately lovely & freeing - it turns out that I took instruction on this project a little too well, and focused so hard on the "composition" part and the "not overpoliticizing" part and the "not having a thesis" part that I policed myself out of a strong conceptual structure.

And I've got 14,000 words on my [community profile] ladiesbigbang fic - not that it's done yet! Wordcounts and plots do not seem to be matching in this case. Sigh. If I could go back to writing short fic, maybe I'd post stuff sometimes! As is, I'm writing up a storm over here, but since stuff just keeps on branching ...
lotesse: (laputa_sheeta/pazu)
things that are Getting Better:

enrollment for next year done! successfully, even.

I just ate the last hundred pages of Middlemarch. I'm going to have to go back and write notes over the next week, but I just couldn't help myself. I am totally unable to resist George Eliot when she really gets her roll on - and girlfriend gives good ending.

Writing is also happening! Mainly on Prydain - and I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do with this fic. It's turning into a monster - over 8,000 words and I'm only just getting started, and I'm thinking about maybe posting it as a WIP? Which is something I never do, really, because I'm too much of a control freak/backward writer - but I want this to see daylight at some point!

My proposal for my spec-fic comp course went off today. I ended up including nuTrek, Serenity, LeGuin's "Winter's King," and N.K. Jemisin's "The Effluent Engine," as well as essays by LeGuin, Frederic Jameson, Joanna Russ, Francesca Coppa (TWC represent!), Elizabeth Freeman, and Adrienne Rich. So I'm excited about that, and hope it will get accepted - and also I am pleased that I have one less thing to work on.

Yesterday we went out to the farm and did things with tractors, and The Baby helped me pick a huge bunch of early jonquils, and we watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie with him, which he'd never seen. We've successfully converted him to Star Wars - we watched the OT together two summers ago, and now his closet door has a handwritten sign on it indicating the entrance to the "Jedi archives," so.
lotesse: (sarc_victlit)
... yes, that's right, obviously the thing you should do is write a term paper that demands rereading of The Mill on the Floss. Because just one gargantuan Eliot novel isn't possibly enough to be getting on with.

I need my coursework to subside so I can write fic! Though tbh I spent waaay too much time this last week faffing about watching anime and whatnot to bitch too much.
lotesse: (fairytale_goldenbird)
I'm so much happier when I'm reading things, rather than only reading things about things. If that makes any sense! Fandom makes it easy for me to maintain contact with naive, passionate experiences of reading, but I also feel really good when I can make that happen with old books. Maybe time to pick up A Room With a View again - the right time of year! But I also have an anthology of British Suffrage lit on my list, and a new read sounds better right now than an old one.

Random Nineteenth-century Ladybook thought: I wonder if part of the reason why those novels work so well as implicitly feminist texts isn't because of the heaviness of their narration - the way it gives weight to their experiences, philosophies, arguments, and literary rebellions. My current seminar on George Eliot keeps trying to criticize her authorial/narrational heavyhandedness as theatricality or self-consciousness, but I don't buy it - she was trying to change the shape, nature, and content of the novel to make it hold a real heroine, and her narrator is her key tool.

Anyway, it's spring here in Indiana, and my windows are open to the wind, and the birds are singing. We'll see how long I can hold on to this good mood. If I can get to writing again, I think it'd help, but words have been hard coming.
lotesse: (classic)
I read George Eliot's "The Lifted Veil" for the first time, and - seriously, how do I keep missing Eliot stuff? By all rights I should have read her as a child. I would've loved her then. Not that I don't now, but! Anyway, TLV is thoroughly great. Deliciously typical gothic stuff, with psychics and visions and blood transfusions that can bring you back from the dead. Also, fascinatingly, did that same thing Mary Shelley always does with the male protag/first person gender identity confusion - speaks as an "I" through the body of a man. Which femmes out the protag significantly - and attractively. Apparently the first person is required for the gothic?

And of course it's not nearly as good as Middlemarch, but I couldn't put it down. Why are psychic visions so damn pleasing, anyway? *Wriggles*

Now, back to reading too much criticism and not enough fiction.

fic rec

25 Jan 2011 01:38 pm
lotesse: (sarcasm!)
The Birthright, by Bekah. This is a long Pride and Prejudice class-reversal au that's really almost deliciously hyper-romantic. Darcy and Wickham with their positions swapped - so Wickham is the eligible young bachelor and Darcy has the living at Kympton that canon!Wickham chose not to take. Very much Austen as crossed with Eliot - lots of loving descriptions of strong masculine bodies at work, but still fundamentally hopeful of the possibility of true heterosexual love.
lotesse: (viclit_beckysharp)
Department of cool stories from Loti's seminars:

Apparently, in 1827, someone lent Marianne Evans' sister a copy of Scott's Waverly, which had to be returned before Marianne - who would've been, what, eight? - had been able to finish it. According to Edith Simcox, Marianne proceeded to write out the story for herself. (The book I need for the exact citation on this is out of the library, and as I'm just tickled I don't want to recall it. It's in Simcox's "George Eliot: Her Life and Works" in Nineteenth Century, anyway.) There seems to be some debate on whether Marianne was writing out what she could remember, or if she was finishing the story herself. I'm inclined to hope for the latter - and to wish that I could read what she wrote!
lotesse: (Default)
'Cause I love me some historical ladywriters. From the top: 1. Christina Rossetti, 2-3. Charlotte Brontë, 4. Emily Brontë, 5-6. George Eliot, 7. Louisa May Alcott, 8. Gene Stratton Porter (<3), 9. Lucy Maud Montgomery, 10-12. Virginia Woolf, 13-14. Edna St. Vincent Millay

of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen )
lotesse: (viclit_beckysharp)
quoted in one of my course readings from George Eliot's Scenes From Clerical Life, and entirely too h/c-alicious to not share:

It is a wonderful moment, the first time we stand by one who has fainted, and witness the fresh birth of consciousness spreading itself over the blank features, like the rising sunlight on the alpine summits that lay ghastly and dead under the leaden twilight. A slight shudder, and the frost-bound eyes recover their liquid light; for an instant they show the inward semi-consciousness of an infant's; then, with a little start, they open wider and begin to look; the present is visible, but only as a strange writing, and the interpreter Memory is not yet there.
lotesse: (porn?)
I keep feeling like I'm not the fan everybody's looking for, at least wrt the warnings debate. Because while I'm fortunate enough to not have any real-life triggers, I also prefer my fic plastered with warnings and spoilers of every sort.

I do this with all narrative, actually, because I don't like suspense, and I find the first reading/viewing/hearing of a piece to be the least interesting. I connect much harder to characters once I know where they're going - and often I love sequences in hindsight that bored me the first time around, because I've since fallen in love with the people in them.

I also have fairly ironclad characterizations and interpretive patterns - so what [personal profile] ratcreature's been talking about with the deeper issues relating to the Blair Sandburg haircut warnings definitely applies to me. I often have a very inflexible vision of canon - I'll read exceptionally good fic that falls outside it, but I'll put up with a lot more mediocrity when my preferred tropes are active. So my Daniel Jackson needs to be a gentle civilian geekboy, and my Jim Kirk is really damn smart and personally withdrawing, and my Frodo Baggins is unquestionably an adult as opposed to a teenager, and my Faith Lehane is something more than an evil bitch, and my Edward Elric is weird about his little brother.

Most fics that deviate from those characterizations get closed out of - they have to be really, really good for me to keep reading. And I like it when it's fairly obvious from the outset what character facets particular writers subscribe to, because I hate it when I read far enough in to get invested in the plot before I find out that an author's characterizations are just too different from my own for her story to work for me. And when warnings, descriptors, summaries, and author's notes give me such information right upfront, well, the happier I am.

I realized, in talking with my beta about my (almost finished I swear!) big postquest LotR fic, that the direction of the ending is not actually obvious in the narrative climax. And I thought about trying to hide the outcome, to keep any eventual readers in suspense. But then I realized that I would absolutely hate it if such a thing were done to me - particularly, in this case, because the question at hand involves the Grey Havens, which are traumatic enough that I need to have fair warning going in if they're going to happen as read. If I read through a whole novella thinking that there was hope only to have it snatched away from me - or vice versa - I remember, about two years ago, reading Middlemarch for the first time having only previously done Eliot's depressing stuff. I was sure until the end that everybody was going to die horribly, and I was shocked when they didn't. And I was less involved in Dorothea/Will than I might have been otherwise, because I was bracing myself all the time for a blow that never fell.

At any rate. As a rule, I don't click through to stories that don't have posted summaries, warnings, and indicators as to length. I want specific data before I commit! Am I really that unusual?

eta: just to make clear, I'm not making a political argument, or one of social responsibility, though I think those are important. I'm arguing from the practical - if your story doesn't have information tags all over it, why would I click that link? I'm arguing that information tags are good for fanwriters and fanreaders, as advertisements.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin


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