lotesse: (afrofuturist)
two things make a post:

-I'm starting a first watch of Lois & Clark; i hear it gives good het, and Dean Cain is a toothsome fucking morsel. 20 minutes into the first ep and I'm (mostly) hooked: the 90s gender stuff is egregious, but the Due South-y/Quantum Leap-y sugar and social responsibility vibe is v. nice. And also damn the old lady reciting Chekhov in the condemned theatre is giving me all kinds of feelings about my own grandmother and maybe choking me up a little.

-Apparently the release of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman this week is actually going to be really exciting? could be spoilery i guess? )

(there's going to be so much scholarship. like, easily a decade of publications. a big first wave in a year or so. I can't wait.)
lotesse: (kink_chien)
(at this time of the night?)

first part of some sort of thought-like thing: Fredric Jameson argues that scifi uses "elaborate strategies of misdirection" to allow fiction to address the present. We modern things, he says, can't get to the world around ourselves straightforwardly, because every apparatus of our lives serves to otherwise channel our attention/energy. So we take our world, wrap it up in space ships and warp drives, and fling it out toward Saturn in order to gain enough perspective to see the bloody thing. Which makes a certain amount of sense (corrected typo:sex).

I'm in research mode at prisint, reading about masturbation (in connection with reading/reverie more than strict biopolitics). And contemporary criticism keeps struggling with the repressive hypothesis: the old way of thinking about sex oppression, which was to assume that sexual material was actively suppressed and silenced and excess sexual activity squirted out the top in the form of porn/decadence/whathaveyou. Which the Victorians get way too much of. But they all talk a blue streak about sex - as do we. Repression in that way is manifestly not what we're looking at. The thing about Victorian novels that makes them easy to characterize as repressed is the way they displace sexuality - Jane Eyre comes into Rochester's room in her nightgown and the bed is on fire, and a little later the hawthorn tree is riven by lightning, but there's not a bit where the text actually straight-up tells you that they want to fuck/are fucking. Which looks like repressive eruption, sure, but is also kind of an amazing textual erotic technique. Victorian sexual misdirection is really hot - and it's entirely possible that they knew that, and were doing it ON PURPOSE. So the buttoned-up puritans might actualfax be the most skilled pornographers of all, utilizing a sort of Jamesonian misdirection to successfully write about sex. Like the gorgeous bit in Midnight's Children when Rushdie describes the "indirect kiss" the bollywood lovers give one another on screen: "kiss[ing] - not one another - but things." Which is really hot.

Considering the existence of the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards, this doesn't seem to be something that we liberated luckies are having any great success in. I'd always thought of the eroticism boost of indirection as a sort of positive side effect, the last little bit in Pandora's box that makes it not all horrible - they couldn't write about sex, but at least their novels still managed to be hot. But now I'm wondering if they didn't really have something going on there, something that we've actually kind of lost. Turning over the traditional relationship of past to present a bit - kind of cool & attractive as a concept.
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.
lotesse: (vindicate)
From The Last Man:

"And I go to-day," I cried; "this very hour I will engage a sailing balloon; I shall be there in forty-eight hours at furthest, perhaps in less, if the wind is fair.


Everything favoured my journey. The balloon rose about half a mile from the earth, and with a favourable wind it hurried through the air, its feathered vans cleaving the unopposing atmosphere. Notwithstanding the melancholy object of my journey, my spirits were exhilarated by reviving hope, by the swift motion of the airy pinnace, and the balmy visitation of the sunny air. The pilot hardly moved the plumed steerage, and the slender mechanism of the wings, wide unfurled, gave forth a murmuring noise, soothing to the sense. Plain and hill, stream and corn-field, were discernible below, while we unimpeded sped on swift and secure, as a wild swan in his spring-tide flight. The machine obeyed the slightest motion of the helm; and, the wind blowing steadily, there was no let or obstacle to our course. Such was the power of man over the elements; a power long sought, and lately won; yet foretold in by-gone time by the prince of poets, whose verses I quoted much to the astonishment of my pilot, when I told him how many hundred years ago they had been written:—

Oh! human wit, thou can'st invent much ill,
Thou searchest strange arts: who would think by skill,
An heavy man like a light bird should stray,
And through the empty heavens find a way?
lotesse: (earthsea)
Our heroine, having read a great deal of misogynistic philosophy of late, becomes depressed and reflects that God must have forsaken her, having created such an imperfect being as woman.

So occupied with these painful thoughts, my head bowed in shame, my eyes filled with tears, leaning on the pommel of my chair's armrest, I suddenly saw a ray of light fall on my lap, as though it were the sun. I shuddered then, as if wakened from sleep, for I was sitting in a shadow where the sun could not have shone at that hour. And as I lifted my head to see where this light was coming from, I saw three crowned ladies standing before me, and the splendor of their bright faces shone on me and throughout the entire room. Now no one would as whether I was surprised, for my doors were shut and they had still entered ....

Then she who was the first of the three smiled and began to speak, "Dear daughter, do not be afraid, for we have not come here to harm or trouble you but to console you, for we have taken pity on your distress, and we have come to bring you out of the ignorance which so blinds your own intellect that you shun what you know for a certainty and believe what you do not know or see or recognize except by virtue of many strange opinions. You resemble the fool in the prank who was dressed in women's clothes while he slept; because those who were making fun of him repeatedly told him he was a woman, he believed their false testimony more readily than the certainty of his own identity. Fair daughter, have you lost all sense? Have you forgotten that when fine gold is tested in the furnace, it does not change or vary in strength but becomes purer the more it is hammered and handled in different ways?"
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: (literature - Victorian)
It's been like fandom party central these last couple of days, between the AO3 opening and Yuletide and the shiny new Merlin ep and just wow. I heart this thing of ours so hard. It makes me so happy that between the AO3 and Dreamwidth and Fanlore we're really coming to be in possession of our own arts, and my inner cultural historian is also really thrilled that we've begun constructing our edifice, making our mark a little more indelible.

Erroneously gendered contemporaneous reviews of George Eliot just make it all the better. Sporfle.
lotesse: (fairytale - snow white)
I heard A.S. Byatt speak at the University this afternoon, which was just unspeakbly lovely - she's absolutely charming, and from the excerpt that she read, I think her new novel The Children's Book sounds fantastic.

The following is something she said at the Q&A preceding the reading, which I liked so much that I recorded it on my little camera and then transcribed:

When I was a child it was the fairy stories I liked reading, it was the stories about things that were not real but were more real than real. And so it gives you in a sense the possibility of telling - I don't like the word spiritual but cosmic - truths, or truths about the nature of things which is harder to do when you're writing about men and women cooking lunch for each other - or even making love to each other. It's a different world; I like that. I like the rules that there are to fairy story worlds.

The English Writer Angela Carter said in the 1970s that she'd been trying to write realist novels about social behaviors for years and suddenly realized that actually she wrote because she had lived in this other world of fairy stories. And what I've found is that I'm happy putting the one world into the other world and juxtaposing them, because that's how you actually live - the things that you read are both more real and more unreal than your daily life. And there was a point particularly when I got to writing possession when I couldn't go on writing and then he sat down at the table and took up his knife and fork without also writing there were two little girls who went through the forest like Hansel and Gretel. But if I combine them, for me, I can make the knife and fork look more interesting because it's next to the forest, if you see what I mean.

le sigh. Now I am off to make spinach and feta pie for dinner. Maybe with a little bit of pesto?
lotesse: (viclit_beckysharp)
now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white
a BtvS/Vanity Fair crossover
Angelus/Becky Sharp, Angelus/Darla
1,718 words, explicit
Her savagery, hidden under the thinnest veneer of maidenly propriety, fascinated him utterly.

now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost )
lotesse: (literature - Victorian)
Am I the only one who really wants Darcy to somehow get wind of all Mr. Collins' nasty insinuations about Lizzy - that she's saying "no" because she really means "yes," that she may never have another marriage proposal, all the nose-rubbing later at Rosings - and give him a good whomping? With, like, sardonic eyebrows and frosty sarcasm and maybe even a bit of macho beatdown when the more subtle methods by which he expresses his disdain rebound of off Collins' thick skull?
lotesse: (literature - Victorian)
So I'd heard about the egregiously Twilight-tastic new cover for Wuthering Heights, but apparently that's only the beginning of it.

cut for images and ranting )
lotesse: (sad!Gwen)
Hoo. Spent today doing business - trying to sort out my stupid loans, because my college is full of dips who don't think they need to continue sending out enrollment information, and panicking around about graduate financial aid. Apparently, the state of Indiana does things late - they've only just set this next year's tuition, and aid packets won't go out for another two weeks. I'd been freaking, because omg July! and I didn't know about my loan yet! but I think I should be okay.

Lauren, sent out your dwth invite code, sorry to have dragged my feet about it.

I've been watching Merlin on the telly with The Baby, and man, they weren't even trying. The whole "born like this" deal? So. Stinking. Queer. I continue to not like Gaius. King Uther yay!

I just finished reading Gene Stratton Porter's "A Daughter of the Land," and was shocked by how dark it was. And grown up - I'm used to her doing bildungsromans, but this was a novel about adults. Perhaps the cynicism came from that. It lacks her usual transcendentalism, but it's strongly shot through with a very Midwestern kind of work ethic, one that values honest craft and tasks well done over riches or beauty. Her heroines are always very restful for me, because they're so often not beautiful, and yet remain loved and lovely. Though "Freckles" does rather break that pattern, at least wrt the Angel. I suppose that Freckles himself isn't exactly pretty, when you come to it.
lotesse: (porn?)
five questions meme, from [personal profile] idlerat. Comment for five topics of your own - rat gave me: Lotesse (your name!), Tolkien, Jane Eyre, Spike!Elizabeth Bennett (your icon!), Oregano (your motto!)

Read more... )
lotesse: (lotr_movie!sam)
Hi, fandom! Hi! Hi!

Oh, I think it's time for me to stop being reclusive! After we moved, I found that I just wanted to tuck up into the woods and hide a bit. Which was fine, but I think it has stopped being healthy. Erm.

Indiana! Gorgeous, woodsy, feels very good after the post-industrial wasteland we left behind. Am currently playing with a small child for money, which is v. fab. Reading as many Victorian novels as I can - lurrrved Adam Bede, which I finished in about four days. Was bored absolutely by Portrait of a Lady, which I expected - I don't think Henry James will ever be one of my own. Am now investigating Vanity Fair, which is a nice bit of fluff, though not entirely to my loving.

But mainly hobbits! Which is what I've been doing while not journaling. Thanks to my withdrawal from social life, I now have nearly twenty thousand words of angsty cracky postquest au-age. Which I shall begin posting shortly, I hope, if I can keep on a-rolling.

Maybe tonight I'll finally open up my Dreamwidth invite code, and start making the move. I don't know - I rather expect I'll stay on eljay for the summer. My internet connection out here in rural land is not as good as it could be, and I'm not sure I want the hassle of trying to port files over such a shaky connection. So I'm thinking that autumn will be moving time.
lotesse: (lotr_movie!sam)
Also, hobbits! Oh hobbits. I have read so much hobbitfic over the last few weeks, you have no idea. Too much to do individual recs for, but they're all stacked up in my delicious, over yonder.

I've been trying to puzzle out just why on earth I lurve them with such passing fervor, and I think last night I finally hit on it - they're Victorians who get to go on Quests. Seems obvious, but when I unpack it, I think there's a lot there for me.

I can manage it. I must. )

Oh, hobbits!
lotesse: (fairytale - snow white)
If there's one point that I continue to waffle about with wrt fairytales, it's their fitness as feminist or woman-positive artifacts. I took them as such in my thesis last year in a tradition of thirdwave/minority feminist concepts of wholeness, subversion, and reappropriation - but I still haven't completely shaken my anxieties.

Okay, but. I was reading fairytale stuff this afternoon, for no particular reason, and I'm just going to go ahead and quote at length.

From Maria Tatar, Off With Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood )

And here's my thought: if patriarchy feels like it has to contort itself into such utterly bizarre readings of fairy tales, there's got to be something scary, something major, hidden there. Obviously the tales as they stand are for some reason deeply offensive to the literary sensibility of the patriarch. And I figure, anything those guys are so scared of is probably something I want a closer acquaintance with.

If fairy tales were simply and fundamentally patriarchal, male critical responses to them would be equally simple. As Tatar points out, though, they're not. Dudely philosophes apparently couldn't just let fairy tales stand. And in order to sanitize them, they had to resort to Orwellian doublespeak: oh, these stories obviously mean the exact opposite of anything you'd expect! Abandoned children? No, those are clearly horrid brats who drive their parents to distraction! It's victim blaming, and it's crazy, and its presence indicates a latent power in fairy tales.

Sometimes you can best see your allies by noticing who's furthest away from your enemies.
lotesse: (love)
Tangentially jumping off of a topic on narrative friendship at fangs, fur, & fey -

It's a mistake, I think, to see all fannish involvement with a text as somehow indicative of what fen want that text to be. Ficcing a pairing doesn't mean you want them together in canon - although it can mean that, of course - so much as it means that you see an interesting possible story in their hooking up. Fanwriting is spidery. Unlike prowriting, it doesn't per se drive toward a goal narrative.

This is negative capability with a vengeance - no irritable grasping, just flinging webs of possible, divergent stories. Ideally unprivileged? Like some sort of pornographic quantum event, where everything is everywhere at once until we look straight at it, and becomes so once again after we look away.
lotesse: (narnia - no other Lion)

to my dearest Yuletide santa )

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin


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