I wrote down everything I read and began writing my own first novel...

This blog aimed to contrast what I was reading in in 1975-79 with the same month, week and day, 30 years later in 2005-2009. I'm leaving the blog up in archive mode, blogging in real time on Live Journal--and still writing novels.

Lynne Murray's Live Journal and Bride of the Dead Blog

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Old wine, new bottles

The internet came to my rescue once again last week, when I couldn’t locate my paperback copy of Jane Eyre during a week when I was indulging in the stunning BBC dramatization of that work. The BBC site is very cool by the way, Grace Poole's diary was surprisingly touching! But to return to my rescue by the internet--a few days later, while delving into the 1996 (6-hour!) DVD of Pride and Prejudice, I couldn't find that paperback either!

Most classic texts are now available online, so I didn’t have to wait for the delivery of the new copies (or haul out my very heavy Complete Novels of Jane Austen hardcover) to check out how the dramatizations might have changed the sacred texts that have provided emotional healing for me (as for so many others) at various times in my life when it was most needed.

But even the best dramatizations--often the best!--take certain liberties with the text. For example, Jane Eyre’s parting with Rochester after his secret was revealed. I was able to confirm what I kind of remembered from my reading--that no bed was involved in their parting scene in the book (though there was a sofa, it was more used for sobbing than for touching). The breathless chemistry was appropriate to the novel though.

A friend lent me the A&E Pride and Prejudice dramatization, and in return I lent her the 1986 BBC Northanger Abbey, confidently assuring her that Colin Firth was practically a chameleon to be able to play Mr. Darcy in P&P and also play Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey, and look so different. Almost like a different person.

Astute readers and BBC aficionados will be way ahead of me here. Colin Firth was so amazingly different-looking in his characterization of Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey because the part was, in fact, played by Peter Firth—another actor entirely. Also excellent--with his own gift for revealing thoughts as well as emotions on screen--just not the same person.

I guess there’s no point in having so many Gracie Allen moments if you can’t laugh at yourself in the process.

At least I discovered that Henry Tilney has his own fan club, who refer to him as "Da Man"--who knew?

My Jane Austen obsession flares often enough that one friend gave me a
Jane Austen Action Figure
for a Christmas gift.

I visited The Republic of Pemberley
for the online texts of Pride and Prejudice, and found that Austen summarized, rather than exactly quoting, a great deal of Mr. Darcy’s original, ardent proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, and the A&E dramatization did quite well putting the summary into dialog.

The Republic of Pemberley, by the way, has the subject of each chapter in the link(and a lot of other links to topics in the books).

John Barrymore was of the opinion that stopping to read footnotes while enjoying great works of literature is like answering the doorbell on your honeymoon. I tend to agree. But once you’ve had the enjoyment of a read or two or twelve of some of these books, an appropriate footnote can help deepen the experience. Marital aids, perhaps?

January 21 to February 7, 1977

I can’t help but notice my restless library roving in 1977 brought me home 13 books (some I only partly read, versus the two books, I own but ended up reading online during the same days of 2007).

The Mote in God’s Eye, Niven & Pournell
I enjoyed this book a great deal and have re-read it more than once.
A 30-year-old review goes into the “Crazy Eddie” concept at some length

The Jacqueline Susann Story, Jeffrey Ventura
My note: “effeminate prose” whatever that means.

We’re Going to Make You a Star, Sally Quinn
My note: “a little celebrity watching in the haute monde of the journalism world. Having been fascinated by the Washington Post’s role in investigating Watergate, I read quite a few behind-the-scenes books. My final note was: “The ‘society’ orientation makes me bristle a bit.”Sally Quinn on wikipedia

Lonely in America, Suzanne Gordon,
My note: didn’t finish

Memoirs, Tennessee Williams
My note: Such frankness that one is forced to applaud, yet not particularly painful to read

The Life of Raymond Chandler, Frank McShane
My note: Read some of it. Very sad, dreary
I think that one was really painful to read, although I totally admire his prose, his life was less exuberant and more agonizing than Williams' life.

The Deep, Peter Benchley
My note –Skimpy & trivial but readable. All the villains are black, all the heroes white, coincidence no doubt

Headache: Understanding—Alleviation, James W. Lance
My note: Not helpful

On the Edge, James Mills
My note: Skimpy

Bubbles: a Self-Portrait, Beverly Sills

Future Corruption, Ed. Roger Elwood
My note: very amateurish. Didn’t finish

Combat SF, Gordon R. Dickson
My note: Didn’t even half finish

Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, Maya Angelou
No note on this, but I read every Maya Angelou book I could find, poetry and prose.

January 21 to February 7, 2007

I probably enjoyed re-reading these two books as much as I enjoyed reading the 13 from 1977.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen