Sunday, December 9, 2012

Barchester Towers: 31% Complete

Well, I haven't gotten much writing done this week, a product of studying for finals.  But by Wednesday at ten I will be done with school until after the new year, so I'll get back on track quickly.  (unless, of course, the world ends on 12/21/12, in which case this will all be in vain...)
Today's vocabulary word is "equanimity" which means "mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation" (definition from The New Oxford American Dictionary).  I liked this word because it comes from the same Latin root as "equal" which gives it a sense that mental calmness requires balance.
I have a rather long passage for you today in lieu of a quote.  In my "spare time" when I'm not trying to get into nursing school or reading copious amounts of literature, I am a as-yet-unpublished novel writer and this section deals with Trollope's philosophy on character revelations which I liked.  I also found it amusing that he put this right into the middle of his book.
"But let the gentle-hearted reader be under no apprehension whatsoever.  It is not destined that Eleanor shall marry Mr. Slope or Bertie Stanhope.  And here perhaps it may be allowed to the novelist to explain his views on a very important point in the art of telling tales.  He ventures to reprobate that system which goes so far to violate all proper confidence between the author and his readers by maintaining nearly to the end of the third volume a mystery as to the fate of their favourite personage.  Nay, more, and worse than this, is too frequently done.  Have not often the profoundest efforts of genius been used to baffle the aspirations of the reader, to raise false hopes and false fears, and to give rise to expectations which are never to be realized? Are not promises all but made of delightful horrors, in lieu of which the writer produces nothing but the most commonplace realities in this final chapter?  And is there not a species of deceit in this to which the honesty of the present age should lend no countenance?  And what can be the worth of that solicitude which a peep into the third volume can utterly dissipate?  What the value of those literary charms which are absolutely destroyed by their enjoyment?  When we have once learnt what was that picture before which was hung Mrs. Ratcliffe's curtain, we feel no further interest about either the frame or the veil.  They are to us merely a receptacle for old bones, an inappropriate coffin, which we would wish to have decently buried out of our sight. [this is a reference to the novel: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe] And then how grievous a thing it is to have the pleasure of your novel destroyed by the ill-considered triumph of a previous reader. 'Oh, you needn't be alarmed for Augusta; of course she accepts Gustavus in the end'  'How very ill-natured you are, Susan,' says Kitty with tears in her eyes: 'I don't care a bit about it now.' Dear Kitty, if you will read my book, you may defy the ill-nature of your sister.  There shall be no secret that she can tell you.  Nay, take the third volume if you please--learn from the last pages the results of our troubled story, and the story shall have lost none of its interest, if indeed there by any interest in it to lose".


  1. I hope that your finals are going well. My brother-in-law is a nurse. I was always amazed my how much reading and researching he had to do. That is a really hard major.

    That sounds like a really interesting book. I just might have to add it to my every growing TBR list. I look forward to hearing more about it when you have more time.

    1. Thanks so much! I'm planning to put up another post tomorrow once my finals are over!