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Everything posted by KEV67

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Victober

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

    Omnia Romae venalia sunt. - All things in Rome are venal (or up for sale).
  5. 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]
  6. 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.
  7. Victober

    Already!? You'll be able to finish Varney the Vampire this month at that rate.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Victober

    Those Varney the Vampire books do look. I'd be interested to hear if they are any good.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Victober

    I have the Oxford World Classics edition. I am trying to think what resemblance Oscar Wilde has to Count Dracula
  14. 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.
  15. Victober

    I am going to read East Lynne, Dracula and some episodes of Spring Heeled Jack if I can find them.
  16. Victober

    Yes, the top 3 as itt currently stands would be good for me. I would have to get a Gothic book, which would probably be Dracula. I tried reading it once before and did not like it, but I'd push through this time. I have read Frankenstein, which is the other great C19th monster novel. TBH I did not like Frankenstein that much neither. It is odd to think Frankenstein was written the other end of the C19th to Dracula, and is not strictly a Victorian book.
  17. Victober

    Challenge suggestion 7: read a story relating to the clergy. BTW, when are we going to stop taking suggestions and hold the poll? When do we intend Victober to start? It doesn't have to be October.
  18. Chesterton

    I have read two of his novels: The Man Who Was Thursday and The Napoleon of Notting Hill. Both were mad. I read his Father Brown detective stories. They were like Sherlock Holmes, but not quite so good. He would be in big demand today for his plots. He would be great at writing scripts for Doctor Who for instance. He was a good poet. I especially like his Rolling English Road. He seems to have had a bit of a problem writing women. I get the impression he felt he did not understand them, despite being a married man. His Christianity is very apparent. Chesterton is still popular in the more religious parts of the USA because of his faith.
  19. Kingsley Amis

    I have read Lucky Jim, which I enjoyed. It's a campus novel. Quite funny. I also read The Old Devils, which beat The Handmaid's Tale for the Booker Prize. It was an unusual plot. It was about these Welsh pensioners who spend too much time down the pub. An old acquaintance of theirs, who made it big being a professional Welshman on the telly, retires to the area. Things happen, but it's not like Last of the Summer Wine.
  20. Victober

    I'd rather it was to read a sensation novel than it be to read Lady Audley's Secret. I was going to read East Lynne for the other Victober anyway, and I read Lady Audley's Secret last year.
  21. Victober

    The exemplars are The Woman in White, Lady Audley's Secret, and East Lynne. They generally include stuff like secret identities, bigamy, murder, blackmail, amateur sleuths, and young women being locked up in lunatic asylums. Their heyday was the 1860s.
  22. examples of plagiarism

    Comics publishers may well sue you if you copy a character too closely. This video is instructive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2yZwh_gCIU Captain Marvel was closely based on Superman, so Fawcett was sued by Action Comics, the forerunner of DC Comics. L Miller and Son, who used to repackage Captain Marvel for the UK, simply renamed him Marvelman, changed a few names, special words and distinguishing characteristics, and carried on publishing. Eventually L Miller and Son had to close down, because the US were allowed to export their superior, coloured-in comics to the UK. Twenty years later Marvelman was resurrected by Dez Skinn for Warrior. Marvelman was renamed Miracleman, because Marvel the comic publishers would have sued otherwise. The new writer for Miracleman was a young writer, Alan Moore, who did absolutely brain-scrambling stuff, and revolutionised the super-hero genre forever. Now, I hear Marvel has bought the copyright to Miracleman, although it is still unclear what they are going to do with it.
  23. Victober

    Challenge Suggestion 3: Read several chapters from a Penny Blood / Penny Dreadful. I might read my namesake, Varney the Vampire; or I might read Spring Heeled Jack, a sort of early Batman.
  24. examples of plagiarism

    Shakespeare was a pretty bad plagiariser. He rarely worked out any of his own plots. Some people have pointed out that 1984 by George Orwell has similarities to a book called We by a Russian writer whose name began with Z. There were some similarities, but they were also quite different. J K Rowling was not the first writer to think about a wizard school. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series was set in a wizard school. I expect the Harry Potter stories are still quite different, although I have not read any.
  25. Something similar to Sharpe?

    There are the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. I used to like them. Flashman is a bit different to Sharpe. Then there are those Horatio Hornblower books. Bernard Cornwell is a big fan of those.