Monday, April 9, 2012

Woman in White: part one

It is nearly 11pm, my voice is nearly gone from all the hanging out with girlfriends this past week, and I just broke the ears off my chocolate rabbit. LET'S WRITE A POST FOR THE READALONG.

Here's the point at which I thought, oh, this is going to be fun.
When the writer of these introductory lines (Walter Hartright by name) happens to be more closely connected than others with the incidents to be recorded, he will describe them in his own person. When his experience fails, he will retire from the position of narrator; and his task will be continued, from the point at which he has left it off, by other persons who can speak to the circumstances under notice from their own knowledge, just as clearly and positively as he has spoken before them.

How delightfully, absurdly Victorian is this novel? We've got goofy inferior foreigners, fainting weak-minded women, sulky servants, the works. I especially like how, apparently, it's totally normal to have some seduced woman write you an anonymous letter about your fiance's bad character. ("... the too common and too customary motive that has led many a woman to interpose anonymous hindrances to the marriage of the man who has ruined her." Also: "Things of this sort happen constantly in my experience. Anonymous letters-- unfortunate woman-- sad state of society.")

Speaking of which, "Sir Percival Glyde" is the most DISGUSTING name in the history of literature.

I suppose I should say something about the characters so far. I know Walter Hartright has told us a lot about himself but I don't feel like I know all that much about him (or at least he seems like kind of a dope). Laura Fairlie (oy, that name) is barely a character. I suppose we're meant to think she also fell for Hartright? although it's hard to tell; it could just be her superior virtue making her excessively embarrassed over the situation. I know some people will love Marian Halcombe (*coughAlicecough*) but the alignment of ugly, intelligent, and forward, man-like manners just makes me shake my head. Overall, I'm enjoying this novel as a spectator so far.

I should probably write more, but I'm fresh out of chocolate rabbit.



    I'm sorry you're out of rabbit. I'd send you Easter candy, but I somehow feel like Homeland security would blow it up due to my faulty wrapping skills.

  2. I guess... we're not meant to be sure whether or not Laura likes Walter because it's all from his brain and there's no omniscient narrator thing, which Collins spells out loud and clear? I just assumed that she was desperately in love with him and cried herself to sleep every night for having to marry the old guy!

  3. Oo, the ears are the best part. Good choice.

    So Victorian! I don't know how to feel about Pesca. I'm really enjoying his outrageous energy and turns of phrases, but then I worry that with said enjoyment I'm playing into that Victorian idea of the childish, inferior foreigner, as you say. But then I say, "Deuce-what-the-deuce!" and read on.

  4. Laura, I think you're right; it's just that Miss Fairlie's total silence started to get to me...

  5. You're right, I love the fact that Collins says ladies are just CONSTANTLY sending anonymous letters out. This thing happens all the time! It's the classy version of Springer.