Posts Tagged ‘elinorglyn’

h1

Edwardian/WWI-era fiction at Edwardian Promenade

February 1, 2012

There have been a lot of articles and blog posts floating around lately about what to read if you’re into Downton Abbey. One in particular, which talked about Elizabeth von Arnim apropos of one character giving a copy of Elizabeth and Her German Garden to another, made Evangeline at Edwardian Promenade say, “hey, what about Elinor Glyn?” Which, obviously, is the correct response to everything. And then I read it, and thought, “yeah, Elizabeth and her German Garden was popular when it came out in 1898, but would people really be trying to get each other to read a fifteen year-old(ish) novel by a German author during World War I?” And then we decided that we could probably come up with an excellent list of Edwardian and World War I-era fiction that tied in the Downton Abbey. And so we did.

It’s a pretty casual list, mostly composed of things we came up with off the tops of out heads, a bit of research on Evangeline’s part and a bit of flipping through advertisements on mine, so we’re making no claims to be exhaustive. If you have suggestions for additions to the list, leave a comment.

h1

The Contrast, and other stories

July 17, 2011

The Contrast is the first book of Elinor Glyn’s short stories I’ve read, and it’s a pretty mixed bag. There are five stories in all; “Fragments” is the shortest and “The Point of View” by far the longest.

In no particular order, except that I saved the best for last (and by best I mean worst): Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The Career of Katherine Bush

July 13, 2011

As if I needed another reason to think Elinor Glyn was awesome.

As usual, Glyn writes about the moneyed British upper class. Less usually, her heroine is a stranger to it. Katherine Bush is one of six children in a middle class family. Her father was an auctioneer, her mother’s father was a butcher, and her siblings are kind of embarrassingly unrefined, but Katherine is smart and driven, and she’s determined to raise herself to a better position.

We know she’s going to manage it, because Elinor Glyn wouldn’t have written the kind of book where she doesn’t, and it’s not like this is a totally unfamiliar plot, but The Career of Katherine Bush manages to be pretty exciting. It’s got that trademark Glyn combination: the gooiest possible romance mixed with total ruthlessness. And a bit more politics than you wanted. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Reviews at EP: The Visits of Elizabeth, etc.

January 17, 2011

My new post at Edwardian Promenade is up! It’s about one of my favorite Elinor Glyn books, The Visits of Elizabeth, and two sequels, one by Glyn and one…not.

I found myself thinking, halfway through Elizabeth Visits America, about the way books take place in their own separate worlds. I mean, I often think about how an author’s style sort of creates an alternate universe, so the works of Elinor Glyn take place in a world where women are naturally a bit conniving and men are very simple and countries age like people, but here I was thinking more about how I read a lot of books set in the same time period, but somehow I always relate them in terms of style, not history. Anyway, there’s a bit in Elizabeth Visits America where Elizabeth is in New York, and she talks about young people who aren’t out in society yet, and how the boys and girls are as familiar with each other as siblings, and how their dances are almost like children’s parties, and I suddenly realized that — remember, this is 1909 — hey, that’s Patty Fairfield that Elizabeth is meeting, basically. So, I don’t know, I thought I’d share that.

Anyway, the post is here.

h1

One Day

September 16, 2010

Remember Three Weeks? Remember High Noon?

Elinor Glyn published Three Weeks in 1907. Anonymous published High Noon in 1911. Anonymous — the same Anonymous, I’ve just found — published One Day in 1909. So, yeah, I went and read them in the wrong order. I’m not sorry, though; awful as High Noon was, I’m glad it wasn’t tainted for me by the total horror that is One Day.

What do I even say about One Day? Everything I can think of entails a level of profanity you don’t normally see on this blog. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Lady Betty Across the Water

May 20, 2010

So, Lady Betty Across the Water is by the Williamsons, but for the second Williamson book in a row, I was constantly reminded of Elinor Glyn. And this time, it wasn’t just a general feeling of Glynishness: my major recurring thought was, “this happened in Elizabeth Visits America, didn’t it?”

The answer, for about fifty percent of the events of Lady Betty, is yes. But apparently Lady Betty came first. I’m…actually probably going to have to work at not resenting it for that. Not that Elizabeth Visits America is significantly better, or that I didn’t really enjoy Lady Betty. It’s just that Elizabeth so embodies the kind of character that she and Lady Betty both are, that Lady Betty is always going to seem like an imitation. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The Port of Adventure

September 27, 2009

"Nick thought her adorable in her gray motor bonnet"

"Nick thought her adorable in her gray motor bonnet"

The Port of Adventure is mostly typical Williamsons — part romance, part travelogue, and a dash of adventure — but something about it leaves an Elinor Glyn-ish taste in my mouth. Maybe it’s the girl from Europe (sort of) traveling through the U.S., as in Elizabeth Visits America, or the unhappy marriage to a European prince, as in The Reason Why and Three Weeks, or the villainess’ generally Glyn-ish aspect, or the red-haired, green-eyed writer who seems like she could have been based on Glyn herself. So, yeah, there are lots of reasons, and much as I enjoy the Williamsons, they don’t compare well when they try to edge into Glyn’s territory. They don’t have her flair for melodrama, or the sharp sense of humor that makes it bearable.

Still, I got pretty invested in the relationship between princess-by-marriage Angela, traveling as a young widow, and former cowboy Nick, using his new oil fortune to see more of the country. They really do seem to have things in common, beyond both being rich and good-looking, but it’s hard to believe that two people can simultaneously instinctively understand each other and constantly misinterpret each others’ actions. Also, there’s a scene where Nick rescues Angela from stampeding cattle in the canary yellow car he named after her, which is probably the most hilarious thing ever to happen in a Williamsons book.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 228 other followers