Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939
But even after making allowances for that, I'm still disappointed in this book. As the title explains, it examines seven different marriages from a specific time & social mileu, looking at how the couples met, the ways in which they lived together or apart, took lovers or remained faithful, had children or avoided them. It's a fascinating sub ...more
The work opens with a fascinating introduction that touches upon the author's method and the nature of marriages today. Roiphe seems intent on learning som ...more
Though I like Roiphe's writing style and adore her subjects, I can't get past my feeling that this is tabloid literature. You can almost see the wicked gleam in her eye as she reduces her idols to comic figures in a narrative of her own.
I give this two stars: one for being a book and a second for its vibrant cast. Catty Roiphe gets no stars from me!
The glimpses into the seven marriages between pre-World War II literary figures (including H.G. Wells, Katherine Mansfield, and Vera Brittain) seem, at times, too intimate (in the sense that I sometimes felt like I was prying into a life whose inner workings I shouldn't be privy to). Katie Roiphe, though, handles the relationships with care; she's not judgmental but, rather, in awe ...more
"I can't rate this book, in good conscience, because I couldn't finish it. Terrible drivel. The problem isn't that Roiphe relies almost exclusively on already published material, nor that her prose is lumpy and dull. The problem is that she hasn't an idea in her head. She wants to say something about how these early twentieth-century literary relationships (be they marriages or affairs, or something les ...more
I picked up this book mostly because I am interested in a number of the people she wrote about -- Vera Brittain, Elizabeth von Arnim (because I liked the move based on her book, Enchanted April), and Vanessa Bell. The author sets out to examine seven marriages in the period between WWI and WWII in Great Britain (mostly), whose participants were trying to figure out how to live in a modern marriage -- which appears to be equated to involving other people, physically, emotionally, or bot ...more
The whole premise of each of these relationships is Modernity. It was the turn of the century and most of these men and women were larger than life literary masters. They felt as though they were on the cutting edge of a new way of living and loving. And ...more
Or maybe it's Roiphe. (Astute readers will notice I am always willing to blame the author.) Roiphe mentions once ...more
7 “marriages à la mode”—each rising to the challenge of intimate relations in more or less creative ways. Jane Wells, the wife of H.G., remained his rock, despite his decade-long relationship with Rebecca West (among others). Katherine Mansfield had an irresponsible, childlike romance with her hu ...more
And while I'm not sure I have any more insight into my own life after ...more
Have you ever seen those mind-map-like charts that begin with one celebrity and radiate / branch out to show who has had (ahem) relationships with whom? That's this book.
In no particular order, these are some of the linked literati: H.G. Wells, Rebecca West, Elizabeth Von Arnim, Katherine Mansfield, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Bertrand Russell, Clive Bell, Virginia Woolf, Vera Brittain, D.H. Lawrence, Vanessa Bell, Radclyff Hall, E. M Forster, Rebecca West - (no, wait, I already listed her - she ...more
I feel like there was something missing though in the interpretation of these people's actions and relationships. There is a lot of pettine ...more
What is it that makes intimate portraits of failed relationships so fascinating? Katie Roiphe doesn't romanticize or make excuses for her complex subjects and their entanglements but treats them with wit, warmth, and respect. Despite a few historical inaccuracies and questionable assumptions, critics considered Roiphe's perceptive exploration of unconventional marriages in the early 20th century a success. It can be difficult to empathize with the selfish and arrogant people who populate this bo...more