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Archived Group Reads 2013 > Can You Forgive Her? Chapters 1 - VI

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) To discuss these chapters


message 2: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Is there a suggested overall schedule for the reading, or are we to simply read at our own paces and post in the appropriate threads? (Or did I miss the schedule somewhere! [oops?])


message 3: by Terri (new)

Terri Edwards (teresaluvsbooks) | 19 comments I actually read this a year ago; I hope I can remember enough to add to the discussion!


message 4: by Lily (last edited Nov 27, 2013 08:08PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Here are the chapter headings for these six chapters, as an aid as to what to discuss in this thread:

Chapter 1. Mr. Vavasor and His Daughter
Chapter 2. Lady Macleod
Chapter 3. John Grey, the Worthy Man
Chapter 4. George Vavasor, the Wild Man
Chapter 5. The Balcony at Basle
Chapter 6. The Bridge over the Rhine

http://web.archive.org/web/2008120122...

Chapter 1 seems to have a misprint on this site. My ebook agrees with Eman's comment @12, so I am revising.


message 5: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Here is Trollope on the Victorian Web. SPOILERS definitely exist in this material, so if you care, be careful.

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/t...


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Lily wrote: "Is there a suggested overall schedule for the reading, or are we to simply read at our own paces and post in the appropriate threads? (Or did I miss the schedule somewhere! [oops?])"

Start on or about December 1 and finish on or about mid to late January...


message 7: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Nov 25, 2013 03:42PM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Lily wrote: "Here are the chapter headings for these six chapters, as an aid as to what to discuss in this thread:

Chapter 1. Mr Mavasor and His Daughter
Chapter 2. Lady Macleod
Chapter 3. John Grey, the Worth..."


Thank you for posting the chapters... I couldn't because only a certain amount of letters are permitted in the topic headings.


message 8: by Lily (last edited Nov 25, 2013 07:51PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Marialyce wrote: "Thank you for posting the chapters..."

Most welcome, Marialyce. I only did it because the Victorian Web link made it so easy. I was figuring out the chunks for myself, so decided to just slap into the first available message for each of the threads you had created so they could always be near the start for easy reference.


message 9: by Lily (last edited Nov 25, 2013 07:57PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments I see Alice referred to as "Alice Vavasor" and her father as "Mr. Mavasor." I think I missed something as to the significance of these names.

I think I would enjoy a copy of this novel with some of those old fashioned illustrations. Having recently read Magic Mountain, I wanted the different balcony setting at Basle, especially with the River Rhine nearby.


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments In looking for illustrations, I came across this about film adaptations of Trollope novels which may be of interest to some of you.

http://ellenandjim.wordpress.com/2009...

A cursory read did not indicate a film version of this novel, Can You Forgive Her?


message 11: by Lily (last edited Nov 25, 2013 08:14PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Here's what I was looking for, although not sure I don't like the images in my imagination better:

http://www.jimandellen.org/trollope/B...

http://www.jimandellen.org/trollope/p...


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "I see Alice referred to as "Alice Vavasor" and her father as "Mr. Mavasor." I think I missed something as to the significance of these names."

I think the Mavasor is a misprint. My Oxford edition has him at Vavasor also.


message 13: by Lily (last edited Nov 27, 2013 08:10PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "I think the Mavasor is a misprint. My Oxford edition has him at Vavasor also...."

Thx! I revised @4.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Marialyce wrote: "Lily wrote: "Is there a suggested overall schedule for the reading, or are we to simply read at our own paces and post in the appropriate threads?

Start on or about December 1 and finish on or about mid to late January."
..."


There were eleven discussion sections posted. Given about 60 days from December 1 to the end of January, if all were equally spread out that would mean about 5 days per section. Of course some will read faster and some slower, but for myself I figure if I plan on finishing Volume 1 by Christmas I'll be about on track. I don't like getting too far ahead of or behind the other readers.


message 15: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "I don't like getting too far ahead of or behind the other readers..."

Given no published schedule, I'm letting the story dictate to me insofar as possible, although I agree yours is the more sensible approach for a group reading.


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I don't like getting too far ahead of or behind the other readers..."

Given no published schedule, I'm letting the story dictate to me insofar as possible, although I agree yours ..."


Didn't I read in another thread that you had looked up a Wordsworth poem in connection with CYFH? Come on, share!


message 17: by Lily (last edited Nov 28, 2013 07:53AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "Didn't I read in another thread that you had looked up a Wordsworth poem in connection with CYFH? Come on, share! ..."

Patience. It's coming up. Chapter 27 is The Priory Ruins. One of the nice things about having all the threads up is that I can post little tidbits that are not really spoilers, just more background, even if people jump there.

It's posted if you want to look. I was trained that scanning a table of contents was a good reading practice. Others consider it risking spoilers! But in this case, that section is where I am reading at the moment.


message 18: by Lily (last edited Dec 12, 2013 08:10AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Beware of possible SPOILERS: A list of 52 characters is here, most described by quotations from the book (there appear to be duplicates, haven't actually counted):

http://www.amazon.com/Can-You-Forgive...

(view spoiler)


message 19: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments I am deeply enjoying this book. Even where I think it could have benefited by some strong-willed editing, I have been pulled into what I call a "good read" -- a book I want to read as quickly as possible to learn the resolution of its plot lines, but with enjoyable characters and character development.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Lily wrote: "I am deeply enjoying this book. Even where I think it could have benefited by some strong-willed editing, I have been pulled into what I call a "good read" -- a book I want to read as quickly as p..."

Lily, I am only up to chapter four but have to ask if you find that quite typical characters thus far?


message 21: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Marialyce wrote: "Lily, I am only up to chapter four but have to ask if you find that quite typical characters thus far?...."

Marialyce -- not certain I understand your question, but I would say that the characters introduced in the first chapters are quite typical of the characters introduced throughout the book. Obviously, they all belong to the period of the setting, they are of a variety of economic standings, most have both strong positive and rather strong negative characteristics -- making them interesting and somewhat unpredictable. The main characters continue to take provocative positions, both for themselves and relative to others, which I think is what has been keeping the story engrossing. I hope I can safely say that without in any way being a spoiler -- just that I think the reader is in for a good ride. It seems to me that there is fairly good layering of the development of the characters relative to their importance to the plot lines, so some of the very minor characters might approach caricature and even offer miniatures of humor, but I don't consider that applicable for the primary and secondary characters.

As I near completion, I am finding myself more and more curious about Trollope, our author.


message 22: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments For the balcony scene at Basle, I rather like the cover picture on the Penguin edition. I don't have ready access to it; is anyone using that edition and, if it identifies the cover illustration, would you please share that info?

Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser, #1) by Anthony Trollope


message 23: by Trudy (last edited Dec 03, 2013 05:29PM) (new)

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments I, too, am curious about the author. It's remarkable that a man of that era can seem so deftly able to mine the inner thoughts of a woman. I really enjoy books that delve deeply into the main characters' minds. The plot can develop slowly, I'm in no hurry. I'll enjoy the ride in immersing myself into Alice's world and her predicaments.


message 24: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Trudy wrote: "...It's remarkable that a man of that era can seem so deftly able to mine the inner thoughts of a woman...."

Actually, more than one woman! But of men, too.

Yet there are critiques that suggest Trollope can get tangled in his own coat-tails.


message 25: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments I'm only to chapter four so far! I'm glad he gets into the head of men as well. I like balance in tales involving romance/marriage. Too many novels give only the female perspective. I love knowing what's going on internally with both sides.


message 26: by Lily (last edited Dec 03, 2013 08:57PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Trudy wrote: "I'm only to chapter four so far! I'm glad he gets into the head of men as well. I like balance in tales involving romance/marriage. Too many novels give only the female perspective. I love knowing ..."

I really "loved" some of the things he said about/for men. At times, Trollope almost seemed to be giving them a "to-do" guide, even as he was suggesting where their heads were at.

I'll be curious if you think his intended readers were men as well as women. I happen to think they were. (The term "target market" may not have been used yet, but I suspect the concept was understood by writers and publishers.)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Lily wrote: "Trudy wrote: "I'm only to chapter four so far! I'm glad he gets into the head of men as well. I like balance in tales involving romance/marriage. Too many novels give only the female perspective. I..."

I agree...his audience would seem to have been both men and women. I thought the chapter that dealt with the concept of how we never lose sight of our wealthy family was interesting. I had never really thought too much of how that so often occurs. I believe the author has set up a nice little love triangle in the characters of Alice, George, and John. Wonder if she will give up John in favor of George. Interesting too, that Kate seems to be in the midst of all this and is conniving in her own way to see that Alice breaks it off with John. John is quite a trusting soul to have let his fiancé go off with her ex fiancé. Surely, this could be a recipe for disaster.


message 28: by Lily (last edited Dec 04, 2013 07:35PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Marialyce wrote: "...John is quite a trusting soul to have let his fiancé go off with her ex fiancé. Surely, this could be a recipe for disaster. ..."

Well, yes. But if trust is the fundamental basis of relationships... Trollope felt years ahead of his time to me on that one to create such a character. But in the modern work world, couples often must do such or similar on a regular basis. (It still surprises me when I encounter those who bemoan such realities.)

My one foreshadowing -- to my mind, Trollope will do a wonderful job of probing the impacts of his characters' choices, both John Grey's and those of his other characters. Yes, you will find it hard to stifle my enthusiasm about this novel, even though... well, wait.


message 29: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I believe Kate is what you call a "frenemy".


message 30: by Lily (last edited Dec 06, 2013 10:41PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Chapter 3. John Grey, the Worthy Man

"...Were you in danger of meeting Paynim foes, he, no doubt, would kill them off much quicker than I could do, and would be much more serviceable in liberating you from the dungeons of oppressors, or even from stray tigers in the Swiss forests. But I doubt his being punctual with the luggage. He will want you or Kate to keep the accounts, if any are kept. He will be slow in getting you glasses of water at the railway stations, and will always keep you waiting at breakfast. I hold that a man with two ladies on a tour should be an absolute slave to them, or they will not fully enjoy themselves. He should simply be an upper servant, with the privilege of sitting at the same table with his mistresses. I have my doubts as to whether your cousin is fit for the place; but, as to myself, it is just the thing that I was made for. Luckily, however, neither you nor Kate are without wills of your own, and perhaps you may be able to reduce Mr. Vavasor to obedience."

Trollope, Anthony (2012-05-12). Can You Forgive Her? (pp. 17-18). Kindle Edition.

I couldn't quite decide if John Grey was pleading for himself to replace George Vavasor or not in this clever little tongue-in-cheek piece with its perhaps bit (or a lot?) of political incorrectness ("Paynim") by today's standards.

Of course, we latter learn that the ladies essentially wait on George! Part of Trollope's low key humor that so often runs through the text and which I enjoyed.


message 31: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I enjoyed John Grey's letter to Alice. I don't need a man who is such a romance novel man, but can't find an umbrella in the rain! It's what is really needed. You can't spend your life in high drama.


message 32: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Chapter 4. George Vavasor, the Wild Man

"In talking of beauty to his sister he had spoken of himself as being ugly. He would not generally have been called ugly by women, had not one side of his face been dreadfully scarred by a cicatrice, which in healing, had left a dark indented line down from his left eye to his lower jaw. That black ravine running through his cheek was certainly ugly. On some occasions, when he was angry or disappointed, it was very hideous; for he would so contort his face that the scar would, as it were, stretch itself out, revealing all its horrors, and his countenance would become all scar. "He looked at me like the devil himself— making the hole in his face gape at me," the old squire had said to John Vavasor in describing the interview in which the grandson had tried to bully his grandfather into assenting to his own views about the mortgage. But in other respects George's face was not ugly, and might have been thought handsome by many women."

Ibid. "Chapter 4, George Vavasor, the Wild Man." (p. 33) Kindle Edition.

Did anyone besides me find George's "cicatrice" [scar] a bit of an (unnecessary and dated) Gothic effect in describing his physiognomy?


message 33: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments I hadn't thought of the passages concerning the scar as an outdated Gothic contrivance. I suppose I internalized the bit about the scar as an emphasis to his impulsive and risk-taking nature. That entire aspect of his character seems to add an element of foreboding. Giving him a scar adds a darker, Gothic flair - yes. But it seems to symbolize something essential in the man.


message 34: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Trudy wrote: "But it seems to symbolize something essential in the man...."

I agree, Trudy. But my 21st century sensibilities reacted to the possible unthinking linking of physical disfigurement with moral question-ability.


message 35: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments Lily wrote: "Trudy wrote: "But it seems to symbolize something essential in the man...."

I agree, Trudy. But my 21st century sensibilities reacted to the possible unthinking linking of physical disfigurement ..."

Right. That seems trite. Maybe he should wear black, too.... ;)


message 36: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments lol -- or red.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) To me his scar, makes him a less than perfect male specimen. It points to the fact too, I think, that women or possibly men can love and be attracted to someone who is not physically perfect. Many "love" stories of today and of course the Hollywood versions have the physical always trumping the character of the individuals.


message 38: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Trudy wrote: "I, too, am curious about the author. It's remarkable that a man of that era can seem so deftly able to mine the inner thoughts of a woman. I really enjoy books that delve deeply into the main chara..."

Trollope is a fascinating character. He held a full time government job with the post office, I believe as an inspector of some sort; he wrote a lot of his work on trains traveling to and from his jobs. He was a also apparently a passionate fox hunter; he has very detailed hunt scenes in several of his novels. I don't know a good biography of him. He did write an autobiography, but it's mostly a diary of his writing; the first chapters are "My Education," "My Mother," and "The General Post Office," but then he gets into his writing -- chapter 4 is titled "Ireland -- My First Two Novels, 1841-1848" and Chapter 5 is "My First Success 1849-1855." He was meticulous about recording his writing and what he got paid for it. There is some other discussion of writing generally: Chapter 12 is titled "On Novels and the Art of Writing Them" and Chapter 13 is "On English Novelists of the Present Day."

He talks about "Can You Forgive Her" in Chapter 10. Among other things he says:

"In August 1863 the first number of Can You Forgive Her was published as a separate serial, and was continued through 1864....I quie admit that I crowded my wares into the market too quickly, because the reading world could not want sucha quantity of matter from the hands of one author in so short a space of time [He had brought out Orley Farm; Brown, Jones, and Robinson; and the Small House at Allington out in 1862 and 1863)

"I have composed better stories--that is, have created better plots--than those of The Small House at Allington and Can You Forgive Her."

He expresses fondness for CYFH, which is based on a lay he had written but which had been rejected. The characters "have been as real to me as free trade was to Mr. Cobden or the domination of a party by Mr. Disraeli" He goes on to discuss the novel, but the discussion includes spoilers, and I've copied enough in for now anyhow.

If you want to read more, you can do so from Gutenberg, which you can read online (select HTML) or download to your ebook reader for free:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5978


message 39: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "I really "loved" some of the things he said about/for men. "

If you're willing, I'd love for you to be specific about some of the things you're thinking of.


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Teresa wrote: "I believe Kate is what you call a "frenemy"."

Ha! But not inaccurate. She certainly wants to drag Alice away from John Grey and into her brother's arms.

I'm not sure whether she really thinks Alice would be happier with George, or whether she only thinks that George would be better off with Alice than with some other woman. (And that it would be better to get him married, after which he might be a bit less wild.)


message 41: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: I couldn't quite decide if John Grey was pleading for himself to replace George Vavasor or not in this clever little tongue-in-cheek piece with its perhaps bit (or a lot?) of political incorrectness ("Paynim") by today's standards.

I didn't get that impression at the time I read it. But it's an interesting possibility.


message 42: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Teresa wrote: "I enjoyed John Grey's letter to Alice. I don't need a man who is such a romance novel man, but can't find an umbrella in the rain! It's what is really needed. You can't spend your life in high d..."

Grey would, I think, be an ideal husband after three years of marriage, when the romance/infatuation phase is past and you want a spouse who is steady and reliable and comes home on time at night and doesn't waste time in the club or pub.

But for the first three years, when kitchy-kitchy-koo and sweet nothings are still desirable, not so much.


message 43: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "...But for the first three years, when kitchy-kitchy-koo and sweet nothings are still desirable, not so much...."

I related more to Alice's concern about a solely country life, rather than one that included more cosmopolitan, worldly, and political interests.


message 44: by Lily (last edited Dec 06, 2013 07:12PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "Lily wrote: "I really "loved" some of the things he said about/for men. "

If you're willing, I'd love for you to be specific about some of the things you're thinking of."


Eman -- I certainly will, when we reach them. Hopefully, one passage that particularly struck me will be well marked.

(Even here, I enjoyed John Grey's hints about what would be graceful and appreciated attributes of a traveling companion.)

Glad to see you here in this discussion. (I am enjoying the Western Classics discussion on Socrates -- including your comments in particular -- but I'm not sure I can engage constructively in that melee.) Thx for the tidbits about Trollope's life. I'll check out the link you provided. (Chapter X starts on p69 of the online version.)


message 45: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: " (I am enjoying the Western Classics discussion on Socrates -- including your comments in particular -- but I'm not sure I can engage constructively in that melee.) "

Your past record shows clearly that you can, and can do so very successfully.

(I apologize for interrupting the CYFH thread with this off topic comment, but had to make it here since you aren't accepting private messages.)


message 46: by Lily (last edited Dec 06, 2013 10:23PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "Your past record shows clearly that you can, and can do so very successfully. "

Thx. Mostly, perhaps the years have taught me to better pick the "battles" in which to engage! LOL. A bit of humility sometimes helps, too. I like best to bring out the clearest ideas of others. (Okay, to challenge and spread the thinking a bit wider, too -- sometimes. But vibrant discussions usually do that anyway.)

My apologies, too, for the off-topic discussion here. I didn't realize I was accepting private messages only from friends (and those who reply to my messages). I've opened up my profile -- I can always close it again if need be.


message 47: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Chapter 5. The Balcony at Basle

"...They had tacitly agreed to spoil him with comforts; and girls are always happier in spoiling some man than in being spoiled by men. And he had taken it all well, doing his despotism pleasantly, exacting much, but exacting nothing that was disagreeable. And he had been amusing always, as Alice thought without any effort. But men and women, when they show themselves at their best, seldom do so without an effort. If the object be near the heart the effort will be pleasant to him who makes it, and if it be made well, it will be hidden; but, not the less, will the effort be there. George Vavasor had on the present occasion done his very best to please his cousin."

Ibid. "Chapter 5. The Balcony at Basle."(p. 37).

I noted the turnaround on the women being attended to by George Vavasor from what John Grey had suggested, perhaps even offered. But, I also noted that Trollope made a point to state that George, too, made an effort to be companionable and worthy of the spoiling he received. George is characterized here, as in some other passages, such as when an early business partner, of being capable of being capable.


message 48: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Everyman wrote: "Teresa wrote: "I believe Kate is what you call a "frenemy"."

Ha! But not inaccurate. She certainly wants to drag Alice away from John Grey and into her brother's arms.

I'm not sure whether sh..."


You could read a little homosexual need in Kate. She wants Alice around for herself as much as anything else.


message 49: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Everyman wrote: "Teresa wrote: "I enjoyed John Grey's letter to Alice. I don't need a man who is such a romance novel man, but can't find an umbrella in the rain! It's what is really needed. You can't spend your..."

I'm reading the character of John Grey as a good husband material through the veil of my bad first marriage! I'm done with the "exciting" husband material.


message 50: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "Chapter 5. The Balcony at Basle

"...They had tacitly agreed to spoil him with comforts; and girls are always happier in spoiling some man than in being spoiled by men. And he had taken it all well..."


George, in my view, is a master manipulator and totally self-centered.

The latter, perhaps, being natural for a young man of some social status (if not wealth) in the very patriarchal society of his day.


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