From "Contents of the Drawers on the West side of the Biography Room": 95. Doubtful Traditions. 117. Disguisings.—Dumb-shows.—Mummings. 127. Treatment o...moreFrom "Contents of the Drawers on the West side of the Biography Room": 95. Doubtful Traditions. 117. Disguisings.—Dumb-shows.—Mummings. 127. Treatment of Wife 139. Vice.—Fool.—Clown.—Devil.
From "Contents of the Drawers on the East side of the Biography Room": 4. Austrian Foolscap Paper. 19. Open Sesame. 27. Borrowed Books.
From "Contents of the lower Case of Drawers on the East side of Ante-room": 12. The Garden. 16. Bradawls and Gimlets.
From "Contents of the lower Case of Drawers on the West side of Ante-room": 15. Nippers. 17. Waste Cards. 28. Ellen and Katey
The book literally ends with 52 pages of blank paper. In case he gets more drawers? (less)
Marjorie Fleming was the perfect child of the nineteenth century – she died at the age of eight, before the vile world could corrupt her.
Romanticizing...moreMarjorie Fleming was the perfect child of the nineteenth century – she died at the age of eight, before the vile world could corrupt her.
Romanticizing death like this is clearly unforgivable, and much of John Brown’s book in consequently unbearable. But a good half of the book is straight up quotes from Fleming’s diary and letters, and these are really good. "I am now going to tell you the horible and wretched plaege [plague] that my multiplication gives me you can't conceive it the most Devilish thing is 8 times 8 and 7 times 7 it is what nature itself cant endure." It's like an 1810 edition of Kids Say the Darnedest Things
Like everybody in the nineteenth century except Robert Southey, Fleming was a good versifier, and her naive poems are sometimes genuinely funny.
His nose's cast is of the Roman : He is a very pretty woman. I could not get a rhyme for Roman, So was obliged to call him woman.
This passage is from a letter to her mother: "Isabella Heron was near Death's Door, and one night her father lifted her out of bed, and she fell down as they thought lifeless. Mr. Heron said, 'That lassie's deed noo,' -- 'I'm no deed yet.' She then threw up a big worm nine inches and a half long. I have begun dancing, but am not very fond of it, for the boys strikes and mocks me."
There's a lot of good stuff like that, and while Brown's irritating comments are intrusive, Fleming herself is an irresistible piece of work.(less)
Ellis can barely keep his rage in check when he writes about the Grimm's shenanigans, and the way they tried to cover them up. To be fair, his case is...moreEllis can barely keep his rage in check when he writes about the Grimm's shenanigans, and the way they tried to cover them up. To be fair, his case is pretty damning; and the cognitive dissonance of everyone who should have known better but still managed to pretend to themselves that the Grimms were models of folklorist propriety, which Ellis cites gleefully, is particularly hilarious.
The only thing I would have wanted more of from this book is an examination of the implications of Ellis's case. If a group of young Francophile local bourgeois ladies were the source for most of these stories, as they seem to be, why are the stories so different from Perrault, or other written sources? Why do they partake of universal (or at least pan-European) folklore motifs so readily? If the Grimms cleaned up the tales to make them palatable to a bourgeois audience (as Ellis proves they did), how did the bourgeois sources know the original unbowdlerized tales?
Grimms' fairy tales may not be the pure voice of the German volk (gag); they may not even be folklore. But they can scarcely be dismissed, and so--what are they?(less)