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Everything posted by KEV67

  1. Lady Audrey's Secret

    Go on then, what did you think?
  2. Victober

    Does anyone do Victober? It's a BookTube (YouTube) thing. Katie from Books and Things and three other readers with YouTube channels mount a series of Victorian literature challenges. It's either a lot of fun, or a lot of reading. Last year the challenges were to read something by an author you'd liked before, to read a Victorian collection of letters or diary, to read something you'd been putting off for a long time, to read something in your favourite genre, and to read Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. Then you discuss them on GoodReads. I don't always feel the challenges are very scientifically selected. OTOH, it's a rare opportunity to discuss Victorian literature with other people. It takes place in October. I am guessing the group read will be Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell: she's well ahead in the poll. I don't know what the other challenges are yet. I hope one of them will allow me to read Framley Parsonage, because that's on my TBR shelf.
  3. Victober

    I think Bram Stoker lays the erotic allusions on a bit thick. I wondered why Van Helsing did not bring a lantern with him rather than lighting candles. It was so the hot sperm could fall on the coffin. He could have used an oil lantern, or a wax candle, maybe a tallow candle, but he had to use a candle made of spermaceti. It was a superior candle, but all the same.
  4. Victober

    Things have started happening in East Lynne. I think it was partly down to the three volume structure Victorian novels used to follow. The first volume sets the scene. Things move on in the second volume. Everything is tied up in the third.
  5. Victober

    I am now intrigued by Mina Harker's knowledge of railway timetables. She tells Van Helsing that if he gets the 10:30 train from Exeter, he will get to Paddington by 2:35. I sometimes have to travel back via Exeter St Davids by rail to Reading, which takes about two hours. You would have to add about another half hour to get from Reading to Paddington. However, I expect the 1897 train stopped at more stations. After Taunton the modern service does not stop until Reading. Van Helsing always stays at the best hotels, so I expect he travels first class in one of those six seat compartments. Probably a good call if he could afford it. In second class, he would not be subject to other passengers' interminable phone conversations and noise from their electronic devices, but there were probably just as many noisy buggers on the trains, and probably more kids.
  6. Victober

    I wonder whether Dracula was as erotic a book as could be published in 1897. The following is slightly spoilery. Yesterday I was thinking that all Lucy's three suitors had transferred their bodily fluids to her, as had van Helsing. Then I wondered whether I was reading a bit too much into that, not having a degree in English literature or cod psychology. Then today I read Lucy's fiance say he regarded himself as having married her after giving blood to her. Dr Seward and van Helsing resolve not to tell him about the other transfusions. So in effect Lucy had been figuratively gang-banged by her male friends. I hope her blood group was AB+; otherwise she would probably have reacted badly to one of her blood transfusions, unless they were all 0-, which is unlikely. There was another steamy bit where Dr Seward and van Helsing put Lucy in a warm bath to warm her up. Dr Seward writes that they put her in the bath as she was, which I assume means in her nightdress, but then her nightdress would have gone transparent. Then he writes that they dried her off with a towel, so they must have taken her nightie off then. Of course Dr Seward and van Helsing are medical men, not dirty, old men like me. They would not have been affected by the sight of Lucy's beautiful, nineteen-year-old body as I would have been.
  7. Victober

    I am beginning to find East Lynne a bit dull. I hope someone succumbs to temptation soon. Either that or they make some progress in uncovering the mystery. With Dracula I am getting turned on by the thought of Lucy Westenra in her night gown. That aspect of the book is fairly Hammer House of Horror. One odd thing is that for all the film adaptions of Dracula I have seen I don't think any have stuck to the book. There was the film with Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman, but I am not sure they stuck to the story neither.
  8. Victober

    Really, that's the first time I've heard that! I can understand extending the Edwardian era to 1914, but myself I would not extend it into Victoria's reign. I read Lady Audley's Secret last year. At first I thought it was just entertainment, but I found it quite thought provoking by the end.
  9. Victober

    King Edward VII was dead four years by 1914. How could the Edwardian period start then? Books started to change after WW1. You get all those Modernists and experimental writers. Edwardians seem different to Victorians in that they have motor cars, although in other ways Edwardians seem more like late Victorians than late Victorians seem like early Victorians, at least in literature.
  10. Victober

    I thought I would be able to read a Penny Dreadful online for nothing, but I am having difficulty finding anything, particularly Spring Heeled Jack, which I planned to read. Also, Philip Pullman has written a version of the story, which I want to avoid. I think I managed to read the first chapter of Spring Heeled Jack and I thought it was bobbins. I have been looking on Amazon. I considered Claude Duval, but that came out in 1902, therefore Edwardian. Then I considered Black Bess, but then I ordered The Frozen Crew of the Ice Bound Ship, Or The Terrors of the Arctic Regions.
  11. Does anyone have a problem keeping their TBR list under control? Books are so much easier to buy than read. I currently have seven books on my bookshelves waiting to be read. One of them is 1700 pages long. Another looks about 1000 pages long. I am trying to restrict myself to one new book for every two I read. It's a bit like paying off the national debt.
  12. Victober

    Dracula has arrived in Whitby. I last went to Whitby during a cycling holiday. I visited the ruined abbey mentioned in the book. The bookshop had lots of fancy editions of Dracula. I am a little surprised at the extent of Dracula's powers. It looks like he can raise storms, sail ships by himself, and shape shift into a giant dog. I am aware of their reputation for turning into bats, but not dogs. Perhaps he is a werewolf as well as a vampire. However the report was definitely of a dog, not a wolf. The three witches in Macbeth could control the winds, but I was unaware vampires could. Vampire powers and limitations are never entirely consistent. The three girl vampires could just appear or disappear in a room at will. They did not need to open any windows or doors.
  13. Victober

    I have just been wrong-footed by East Lynne; as wrong-footed as Billy Wright was by Ferenc Puskas in the 1953 international friendly between England and Hungary. https://youtu.be/9j4WDzf6WF8?t=12
  14. Victober

    Tut, tut, a bit of antisemitic stereotyping in East Lynne.
  15. Latin phrase place holder

    Omnia Romae venalia sunt. - All things in Rome are venal (or up for sale).
  16. I have been trying to learn Latin. It is difficult. My main incentive was that, from time to time, I come across Latin phrases in books. It annoyed me that having spent three years attending Latin classes at school, I could never translate anything. Anyway, I am reading The Red and the Black by Stendhal. The lead character, Julien Sorel, is studying to become a priest. The seminary is a nest of vipers. Quid tibi dixerunt? [What did they say to you?] Erit tibi, fili mi, successor meus tanquam leo quarens quem devorit. [Because for you, my son, my successor will be as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour] Cornelii Taciti opera omnia [The complete works of Tacitus]
  17. Victober

    Dracula has started to remind me of Wilkie Collins' Woman in White and Moonstone, with all the diary entries, letters and changes of perspective. Got to say I think Bram Stoker does it well. One of the characters, Dr Seward is in charge of a lunatic asylum, which is a very sensation novel thing to be.
  18. Victober

    Already!? You'll be able to finish Varney the Vampire this month at that rate.
  19. Does anyone read the Hard Case Crime books? They are paperbacks with lurid covers, often with a young woman showing some cleavage or leg. I have read five of them: Blood on the Mink by Robert Silverberg Cut Me In by Ed McBain Joyland by Stephen king Nobody's Angel by Jack Clark The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer Often they are reprints of old pulp fiction stories. Joyland was only published a few years ago. I am not sure it is really crime, because of the supernatural element. Nobody's Angel was interesting. It was written by a Chicago taxi driver. It had quite a bit of sociology in it. If you want to know what it was like driving a taxi around Chicago in the 80s was like, it is probably your book.
  20. Victober

    I wondered whether this bit was hinting at same-sex love. Not really sure. 'How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I have forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you'll have to deal with me.' The fair girl, with laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him:- 'You yourself never loved; you never love!' On this the other women joined, and such a mirthless, hard, soulless laughter rang through the room that it almost made me faint to hear; it seemed like the pleasure of fiends. The the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively and said in a soft whisper:- 'Yes, I too can love; you yourselves can tell it from the past. Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him, you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done.' Something about the introduction that has occurred to me. I don't think Professor Roger Lockhurst mentioned syphilis. Syphilis was rife in the nineteenth century. Actually he did mention it. He speculated Bram Stoker had it. Syphilis could cause death and deformity in children. It is also nasty in that it goes away, but then comes back many years later in a different form. Quite often it attacks the nervous system. Maybe vampirism reflects on tuberculosis too. TB is not sexually transmitted, but it is a long term wasting disease. I think one symptom is paleness. Having either disease may count you among the living dead or under a curse. Not a very original thought, I'm sure.
  21. Victober

    Those Varney the Vampire books do look. I'd be interested to hear if they are any good.
  22. Henry James

    What does the forum think of him? I have read several short stories, including Daisy Miller and Turn of the Screw. I was not very keen on either. He is often well represented in greatest books of al time lists. A Portrait of a Lady is supposed to be good.
  23. Victober

    Started East Lynne by Ellen Wood. It has 62 chapters, so that is two chapters a day. Dracula has 27 chapters, so that is almost a chapter a day. That is quite a lot of reading, since I've several other things I'm reading too. Don't know about East Lynne yet. It forms the third part of the great 1860/61/62 sensation novel trilogy with Woman in White and Lady Audley's Secret. So far in the first two chapters we have been presented with an aristocrat with a massive estate (check), a beautiful and motherless daughter (check), a fine young man and probable hero (check). Ellen Wood has introduced the cad rather early in this one.
  24. Victober

    I have the Oxford World Classics edition. I am trying to think what resemblance Oscar Wilde has to Count Dracula
  25. Victober

    I read the introduction of Dracula today. Apparently, all that sucking of blood is a metaphor for sex. The book symbolises a late Victorian fear that our good old Anglo Saxon blood was getting tainted by our women having sex with immigrants. But then it says Count Dracula was, in a subconscious way of speaking, Oscar Wilde. Lord Ruthven, from The Vampyre by Dr Polidari, was Lord Byron, which makes more sense. Oscar Wilde was Irish, not all that foreign. Strangely, Bram Stoker married a woman who turned down Oscar Wilde. I know Oscar Wilde was married, but I thought he was mostly into young men. Bram Stoker's folks knew Oscar Wilde's folks, and I think Bram Stoker also worked for Sheridan Le Fanu on one of his publications. The Anglo-Irish Gothic fiction writing community was obviously a close-knit one.