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Chibiabos83
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
The 18th century was a really exciting time for novels. What i woiuld rate as their Top 5 - Roxana, Gulliver's Travels, Clarissa, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy - have not yet been surpassed.

Even by Dickens? Maybe not by a single Dickens novel... Though it's impossible to be absolute about this. I'll get on with Gulliver's Travels and Tom Jones soon.


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Evie
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really must read some of those early novels.  The Faulks programme was the first thing that made me want to read Robinson Crusoe (though Jane Gardam's novel Crusoe's Daughter also had an impact in that respect), though I still struggle a bit to be inspired about Fielding, Smollett, etc, despite Himadri's sterling efforts on their behalf, though I am prepared to believe I would be converted if I tried!  I am generally such a fan of 20C novels, but have spent too much time there lately.  Am about to read Scott, though, so I may be scurrying back to the marvellous economy of DeLillo and Auster after that!


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Freyda



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have finally got around to watching this. I found Sebastian Faulks perfectly acceptable - even his voice sounds different from on radio where I know him from The Write Stuff, a programme I very much dislike, probably due more to its presenter than its resident captain, I now conclude.  But the content was so thin, and I can think of many other heroes, or lovers, which could as easily have been selected. I must say I am very tired of Mr Darcy - his ideal as a lover seems to come more from his many turns on TV and film, and the ubiquitous Colin Firth, than the character in Jane Austen's book, who is difficult and most unloverlike but in the end honourable.

But if this programme was light and thin, I also tuned into the Channel 4 - or was it ITV ? - Book Club hosted by Jo Brand. This was awful, really daytime-TV lite, with various famous or not famous people gushing about a book ('I loved it!') like the least rigorous, untelevised, book group you might find. The only person who put in a slight criticism  - he found the many characters confusing - was actor Bill Paterson, who sounded most apologetic for saying so. The book was Catherine O'Flynn's 'The News From Where You Are', which sounded vaguely interesting or at least unusual: it is about ageing, both in people and the architecture of cities. Nobody commented that the book had a terribly unappealing cover design, like a rather dim children's story.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chibiabos83 wrote:
TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
The 18th century was a really exciting time for novels. What i woiuld rate as their Top 5 - Roxana, Gulliver's Travels, Clarissa, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy - have not yet been surpassed.

Even by Dickens?


Well, we all have our personal preferences, but those 5 I cited above seem to me to be about as good as it gets, and while the likes of Dickens & Eliot may have equalled their achievements, I don't think they've surpassed them.

Evie - Smollett is, I admit, a trifle rumbustious, but Humphrey Clinker, his last novel, is considerably mellower than his other work. Fielding's Tom Jones really is a delight. I have both Jonathan Wild and Amelia on my shelves: the latter is a rarity as neither Penguin Classics nor Oxford World Classics, nor even the Everyman Library, seem to publish it. It is meant to be a very dark, tragic novel, and very distant from the high spirits of Tom Jones.

Freyda wrote:
 I must say I am very tired of Mr Darcy - his ideal as a lover seems to come more from his many turns on TV and film, and the ubiquitous Colin Firth, than the character in Jane Austen's book, who is difficult and most unloverlike but in the end honourable.


Hello Freyda, it has been some time since I read Pride and Prejudice, but this is my impression also. Surely the point of the title is that D'Arcy has to overcome his pride as Elizabeth has to overcome her prejudice? D'Arcy the proud aristocrat, as presented by Austen, does not frankly strike me as too attractive a character. Lizzie felt snubbed by him at their first meeting, and surely she had every right to feel snubbed.



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Evie
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the content of the Faulks programme is *that* thin - he does spend a long time on each book, and is encouraging a relatively serious level of analysis for the average reader.  I know some of us still crave some more in-depth discussion of books on TV, but for Saturday night TV, I think this is pretty good.

For example, his discussion of Mr Darcy did bring out much of the subtlety of the way Jane Austen presents him - the way she laughs at society initially for only caring about him being handsome and rich, but through Elizabeth shows that there is more to him, and that through this we see the transformative power of love.  He also showed the skill of Austen's writing in showing the spark and then passion that exists between them which they both fight - that fabulous first proposal where he admits he is proposing against his better judgement is both hilarious and painful, and, as John Carey pointed out, highly sexually charged.  Darcy ultimately becomes someone worthy of Elizabeth because through his love for her - and hers for him - he acts out his true but hidden character, and becomes truly heroic in what he does - not just what he does for Lydia, but in trying to conceal his part in it.  Even at the end, Austen admits he still has a lot to learn, but she is confident that life with Elizabeth will continue to transform him.

The theme of the programme was about lovers, and the way novels teach us about love, and I think P&P is a fine example of this.  (Colin Firth may be ubiquitous at the moment, but only because he is winning so many awards for one performance...and I do think his performance as Mr Darcy was as perfect as it's possible to be in that role.)

Overall, I think the Faulks is offering a level of analysis that is very rarely seen on television, and his way of showing the development of a theme from the early novels to contemporary ones works well.  It is flawed in certain ways (and some of those offering comments are one of the biggest flaws - what on earth was Alain de Botton on about with regard to male authors having erections while writing about their heroines?), but I am enjoying it as something that is opening up these books a bit, and certainly making me want to read some of the ones I haven't read, and re-read some of those I have - including Tess, which I have read so many times.

It's certainly a step in the right direction for those of us who want some discussion of books on TV.


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Ann



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: Worcestershire

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree Evie, and it is lovely to have so many book related progammes on at the moment. My problem is that no programme is as good as reading a book. Very Happy


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Rebecca



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alain de Botton was on Radio 5 last week, (not sure why he was talking about love), but he said novels tell nothing of love just "boy meets girl, catches girl, loses girl, gets girl again."


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Chibiabos83
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Alain de Botton, but maybe he's not been reading the right books...


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Green Jay



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chibiabos83 wrote:
I like Alain de Botton, but maybe he's not been reading the right books...


Very Happy

He's not even reading the ones where girl meets boy, loses boy or is thwarted, gets boy in the end.

Let alone Sarah Waters...  Wink


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Green Jay



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann wrote:
My problem is that no programme is as good as reading a book. Very Happy


Yes, me too. Or reading a book about books.

But Faulks is making a more favourable impression on me than I had expected.



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