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Alexandrian Women

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May 5th, 2005

ex_roomette173 @ 11:03 pm: Speaking of Oprah sucking moose in Alaska...
Ladies, I present my appeal.

I caught myself watching not just Oprah, but the special edition of Oprah After The Show. This is not really good for my brain. I should not be so familiar with daytime television.

Can we have another book? I have my sanity to defend.

March 17th, 2005

besideserato @ 02:19 am: Earth Control to Major Anaiis
I was writing something when I remembered all you wonderful ladies and this fabulous place. I thought to myself, "Oh no! Has the community gone the way of montparnasse?" I ran over ready to post a whiny entry about it when I realized that not only was babel_library still alive and well, it had never faltered!

I thought maybe it had fallen off my friends' list. I checked. Nope. How have I been missing so many entries? I haven't posted in months thinking nothing was happening. And I tend to be good about my friends' list. I'll go back 100 entries a day, sometimes more! There is no logical explanation!

I am so annoyed with myself!

But no more! Can you guys do me a favor, though? If I appear to be MIA, do you think that you could leave a random comment on some entry with a little reminder or something each time a new book comes up? I know that's a lot of hassle, and I promise I will be better about coming here directly every month, but yikes! Help me out, anyone?

Thank you, love you and miss you!

March 3rd, 2005

ironed_orchid @ 01:53 pm: Finished reading
General thoughts about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

(AKA trying to say something without being too spoilerific)

On the whole it's refreshing to have such an independent and strong minded heroine. However, this independence is counterbalanced by an incredible piety, which makes me wonder if it was only possibly for Anne Bronte to justify the independence of thought by basing it in religious faith. That is, if a woman who was an independent thinker without the virtue of a strong faith would have been unattractive to either AB or to her audience. However, these qualms aside, it's nice to see a female character who acts on her beliefs despite going against social customs to do so.

Also interesting to see how Helen is contrasted to Annabella, both in their own way defy social convention, but Helen is always seen to do so from pure motives, whereas Annabella, who could quite equally be seen as a headstrong and independent woman is unsympathetically portrayed as a self-serving and unscrupulous flirt. I guess it's just the virgin or the whore thing all over again.

As for the narrative structure, I'm not sure that this novel actually gained anything by being structured as a series of letters and a diary. AB does get around the letters by saying that Gilbert is recounting a story that will take some time, and he does refer to his letters as "the next chapter", but still it seems rather artificial. I also had a problem with the idea that given their relationship as friends and brothers-in-law, that (name forgotten) the recipient wouldn't have any previous acquaintance with the events recounted. Surely, even if Gilbert hadn't said anything, there's no reason to suppose that Rose wouldn't have filled in some of the details.

Also the diary, sometimes it works, other times we must be supposed to imagine that Helen has sat down and written 15 or more pages summing up the events of the last six months.

So on the whole I found the embedded narrative too be artificial. I suppose it is a way of being able to write each of the leads in first person, but as one accustomed to authors who feel free to switch between points of view, it doesn't work so well for me.

I also think that my appreciation of TWH benefited from having been read directly after Mansfield Park. In terms of their piety, Fanny Price and Helen are very similar, yet Helen's belief in her moral code and her understanding of religious obligation drives her to act, while Fanny remains quite passive, and in fact at her strongest uses a passive form of resistance, saying no to something she does not desire (but even then not so strongly that she is believed by all parties) rather than actively pursuing that which she strongly desires.

February 17th, 2005

reticent_manner @ 12:23 pm: A Not-so-Literary Observation
I'm not too far into the novel, but does anyone else think the title is, well, strange? The word choice of "tenant" is a bit obscure even by 19th century standards and "Wildfell" for a hall? Really? I wonder if this is why no one really reads Anne.

January 26th, 2005

reticent_manner @ 02:40 pm: February book choice
The Bronte-saurus takes it! Our book for February is...

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Order it, steal it, check it, buy it - just get it.

January 23rd, 2005

reticent_manner @ 04:06 pm: The Athens of the Modern Woman

catvalente "It's funny how we end up going back to that...like the Athens of the modern woman. Can't escape the Bronte-saurus."

Indeed. In light of that, here are the books under consideration for February.

Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

The Ghost Stores of Edith Wharton

Hopefully, no one will have read these as I chose them for their relative obscurity and tendency to get buried under the more famous works. Which one will be the book for February?

Voting Ends Wednesday, January 26th

Vote early and vote often.

December 16th, 2004

catvalente @ 04:05 pm: Kick Off
CMV here. I wrote them thar book what's called The Labyrinth.

I know there hasn't been much discussion, so I'll stick my neck out.

I've had the good fortune of reading two extremely positive pre-publication reviews in the last day and a half or so, reviews which are more perceptive than the average one, and bring up issues that are not often addressed by critics. One being the lesbian themes which I thought were pretty blatant, but only one reviewer has so much as commented on, (perhaps everyone is being silent on the subject to keep me from being banned in Alabama), and another being the idea of the Labyrinth itself as a character in the novel.

From the way the last reviewer phrased the observation, I don't believe she actually understood my intent with regards to the depiction of the Labyrinth, particularly in the last chapters. Hey, it's no crime, I'm a little obscure sometimes. She seems halfway there, but faltered at the finish line. That's ok--I am open to a number of interpretations and I love it when people come up with images of the novel which diverge from mine. There is, however, an interpretation that is mine.

So, I'm curious, you all being frightfully intelligent women, and therefore pretty much my target demographic. What do you think the end of the book "means"? Who is the Angel and who is the Monkey? What is their relationship to the Labyrinth? I'll tell you what I intended once I've heard what you perceived. ;)

(Also, for reticent_manner, the Latin in the Door sequence is from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and it describes the chase of Daphne by Apollo.)

Any other questions you have about the book, I'm also more than happy to answer...

November 9th, 2004

reticent_manner @ 07:06 pm: Membership
Ladies! We have been quiet lately, not quite our boisterous selves. I think our silence is due to the arrival of The Labyrinth at our doors, but ladies, ladies, please keep your wits about you and tell us of your travels through the maze.

If you would rather not play with us, please exit stage right to make room for new players that have no fear of center stage. If anyone knows of an understudy seeking an audition, please serve them up and plead their case. For all that are still present and would like to remain on the playbill, please stand up and bend over.

October 28th, 2004

reticent_manner @ 10:52 am: Connections
I have been reading Invisible Man (which everyone knows is one of my favorite books) and The Labyrinth and was delighted to see how many conenctions there were.

(These are, for the most part, disparate lines, so if you haven't received your book yet, reading this won't ruin it for you. Unless you are a purist. In which case, wait. Sucker).

The Labyrinth and Invisible ManCollapse )

There are tons of others, but I am curious as to what connections you all notice with other texts. So what did you think of when reading The Labyrinth?


October 27th, 2004

reticent_manner @ 12:33 pm: New book!
I think everyone is getting or is going to get The Labyrinth by our very own Catherynne M. Valente and that is our book for the next several weeks.

So. Lovely book. Women are reading it. Take a moment. Now discuss. (That means you, too, Ms. Valente)

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