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Steve H

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  1. I know what you mean. I read it a few years ago: it's great for the first few chapters, but then it drags. It picks up again towards the end, and is worth sticking with, but it's too long. The other W.C. novel i've read, 'The Moonstone', is great, though.
  2. Well, I'm with you on that, at any rate: it bored the arse off me!
  3. Another Open Literature student! AA316 rings a bell: remind me what it is; I think I may have done it. [Edit] Just found out, via a google: 'The 19th Century novel'. i did do it. I loved it, but there was a hell of a lot of reading to do. I was damn glads I took a year off from my studies before it, which enabled me to read some of the novels. I concluded that 'Mme Bovary' is one of my least favourite novels ever; what a horrible, deeply unpleasant book!
  4. Yes, I suppose it does sound like a nasty medical condition - as do Bourton-on-the-Water, the delightful Cotswolds town I visited a few years ago, and another Cotswolds town, Stow-on-the-Wold.
  5. OIC. I wasn't having a go at you, you understand! Also, I really should have read the whole thread before sticking my two-penn'orth in: I see now that the title debate's already been held. Oops!
  6. Oh - and for litmus tests: Red to blue, alkaloo; Blue to pink, acid, I think.
  7. Oak before ash, we're in for a splash; Ash before oak, we're in for a soak. (The order in which those two trees put out buds in the Spring was supposedly a guide to how wet or dry the summer would be.) Beer on whisky, very risky; Whisky on beer, never fear. (In other words, if you're drinking both, drink beer first.) As for wiring plugs, the way to remember is: Blue and Brown to the Bottom; Blue to the left, Brown to the right.
  8. Oh: and A metre equals three feet three: It's longer than a yard, you see. That and the thread title were dreamed up in the 70s as part of a government advertising campaign to persuade us to think metrically. Successive governments seem to have chickened out of imposing it by diktat, and we're still allowed our illogical pounds, ounces, feet, inches, gallons and pints.
  9. I remember being taught a slightly different version of that by my Chemistry teacher at school. Another cautionary tale, from my late mum: Here lies the body of Margery Day, Who died defending her right of way. She was right - dead right - as she sped along, But now she's as dead as of she'd been wrong. Another, from my sister's 'Princess' comic in the 60s (I used to have a surreptitious read after her), for remembering the difference between latitude and longitude: Latty rhymes with fatty, Who's wide around the girth, So Latitude must be the one That goes around the earth. Longy can't go wrongy If you will take to heart That Longitude is long enough To hold the poles apart. Not a rhyme, but if you want to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, think of ants in the pants: the mites go up and the tites go down!
  10. We oldspeak pedants call the book 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', because that is the correct title - i.e. spelled out, not numbers. The parallel of the opening with Chaucer and Eliot, referred to by somebody earlier on the thread, had never occurred to me before. I must read it again some day soon. Orwell was my first adult literary hero, back in the late 60s when I was in my late teens. Having read this book, and been shocked to the marrow by the ending, I rapidly read all his other novels and his non-fiction. A year or so later, his 'Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters' were published in four voulumes, and I bought the Penguin paperback versions, one by one as my limited funds allowed. Many years later, I made the mistake of lending them to a friend who is very bad about returning borrowed books. However, a few years ago, I blew 100 pounds - part of a small windfall - on a near-perfect hardback first edition of it (all four volumes: 25 pounds each, therefore, probably what they'd cost new nowadays, and they're in almost as-new condition, so they've exactly kept their value in real terms!).
  11. One of my absolutely favourite novels by anyone in any period. Re the apostrophisation of 'Its', as debated in the first few posts: It's is short for it is or it has; its means 'belonging to it'. Therefore, in the opening post, its is correct, and yes, strictly speaking it should be its, not it (and all the its's in this sentence should have quotes round them, but that would have confused the issue, so I left them out).
  12. I'm a big fan of Sir Walter, and am rather glad that he's been severely out of fashion for a century or so, because if he comes back into fashion in my lifetime (perfectly possible - there's no accounting for fashion), I can snootily claim to have been an admirer for decades, long before all the Johnny-come-lately bandwagon-jumpers. I haven't yet read all his novels, but I have read a few more than once, and hope to read all of them eventually: I've got a uniform edition in four huge volumes, about 1,000 closely-printed pages each, published in 1868 by Adam and Charles Black, and worth a bob or two (or at least, they'd better be: they cost me a bob or two, via the internet). What I said about Dickens on his thread is also true of Scott: he was great at eccentric minor characters. Also like Dickens, he came up with som wonderfully odd names for them: Jedediah Cleishbotham, Chrystal Croftangry, Boanerges Stormheaven, etc. (The last-named, a fire-and-brimstone Calvinist preacher, doesn't even appear in his novel, 'The Heart of Midlothian': he's simply mentioned in passing by another character.)
  13. Bored the pants off me, I'm afraid. I had to read it for an Open University course, otherwise I'd've probably given up on it. Pity, because I adored 'Silas Marner', the only other Eliot novel I've read. I therefore don't know what to make of her. I'll have to try 'The Mill on the Floss' as a decider (best out of three, and all that), because I've also got that on my shelves.
  14. 'Eleemosynary' is a word I first encountered in Dickens. It means 'to do with charitable donations'.
  15. Dickens is fantastic - the only literary novelist widely read by people who don't read literary novels. He has major faults, the most serious probably being cloying sentimentality, but he's such a good writer that you read on anyway. His characters are wonderful, especially his relatively minor and peripheral characters: I suspect that he felt that he didn't have to make them into realistic, believable people, so let his imagination, and great sense of humour, run wild, creating incredibly memorable caricatures - and he was a very gifted caricaturist, perhaps more so than a realistic portrayer of character. Wilkins Micawber, Sarah Gamp, Flora Finching, Susan Nipper, John Chivery, Dick Swiveller, Kit Nubbles - the list goes on, and that's only the basically likable characters, never mind the villains. The amazing thing is that they're all individual, and distinct from each other: he never repeats a character under a new name, something even Shakespeare was guilty of (Sir Toby Belch is really Falstaff in disguise).
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