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2017 Forgotten Books Selections > Belinda - Week 4 (June 2017)

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message 1: by Luella (last edited May 23, 2017 07:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luella This week's reading is about: Chapter XX - XXV (20-25)


Dianne The drama and intrigue continues! Belinda and Lady D make amends, and Lady D finally lets her husband in on the secret of her illness. He is very dismayed and sympathetic, and Lady D regrets not telling him sooner. Helena returns to her mother's side at this time. Lady D becomes convinced she will die one night, and persuades her surgeon to postpone an operation. She later learns from the surgeon that she did not actually have a dire illness at all, and her whole demeanor towards life changes for the better. Meanwhile, Mrs. Freke was caught in a leg trap while trying to spy on Lady D and, believing that the surgeon was her secret lover, was much chagrined to find out the truth. We then see further machinations of Mrs. Freke and the ongoing attentions of Clarence and Vincent towards Belinda. We learn that Clarence has written letters explaining his circumstances, but we don't learn about the content in this section...


message 3: by Dianne (last edited Jun 27, 2017 08:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dianne A few questions on this section...

1. Who seems to represent the 'ideal' woman in the novel so far?

2. What are your thoughts on Belinda's comments about being 'accustomed' to Vincent? Is it possible to love someone by virtue of being 'accustomed' to them?

3. Do you think the characters in the novel are representative of English society during this time period?

4. How does Edgeworth use letters in the novel? Do you think this approach has merit?

5. Do you think Lady Delacour has truly turned over a new leaf?

6. Do you think Belinda is a compelling character?


Christopher (Donut) | 33 comments I am in the middle of this week's reading.

I do like Lady D's flashes of wit.

I'm glad there was a little more farcical 'stage-business' with the man trap and the peeping.

As far as Vincent vs. the first love (Clarence Hervey? I'm forgetting his name he's been away so long...)- I am confident that his "mistress" will turn out to be his friend's natural daughter a la Col. Brandon's mystery woman in Sense and Sensibility.. something LIKE that.

Though Vincent deserves to meet someone too. Hmm.


message 5: by Luella (last edited Jul 01, 2017 05:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luella 1. Who seems to represent the 'ideal' woman in the novel so far?

Well not sure how to answer that, in my mind each one of these women would be the ideal for someone but none of them are for me. Lady D is too dramatic, Belinda is like dry toast, Harriet is really crass etc etc

2. What are your thoughts on Belinda's comments about being 'accustomed' to Vincent? Is it possible to love someone by virtue of being 'accustomed' to them?

I think that happens a lot in arranged marriages but those people are more like its a good match rather than I'm in love with them. Marriages were usually in the past if I am correct were all about what was proper and the man (and sometimes the woman) had a little something something on the side even if it was just a flirtation that excited them. It was rare for people to marry for love I thought you only really got to do that if you didn't have much money because there was nothing at stake.

3. Do you think the characters in the novel are representative of English society during this time period?

Maybe? Don't know much about that. They seem like they would be perfectly proper for a reality tv show today though.

4. How does Edgeworth use letters in the novel? Do you think this approach has merit?

I was thinking about that. I liked the inclusion of the letters. It is interesting to get that little bit of the story detail it feels like a nice shortcut to me. One letter let's you kind of skip pages of development and connect the dots a little more easily.

5. Do you think Lady Delacour has truly turned over a new leaf?

Maybe, I mean that whole thing was ridiculous. I think the minute something else comes up that she doesn't like she'll go into a whole other me, me, me trip. Kind of like Aunt Pittypat in Gone with the Wind who always turns the attention back to herself somehow. (Well at least in the first section of the Gone with the Wind that I have gotten though anyway.)

6. Do you think Belinda is a compelling character?

Yes


Christopher (Donut) | 33 comments Luella wrote: Do you think Belinda is a compelling character?

Yes


Wait, compelling AND like dry toast?

I like these answers. The answer about 'true love' made me think of the answer about 'society of the time.' Notice how Lady D. had a true love and married someone else, and this was the root cause, somehow, of all her wild antics...

Percival says he loved Lady D.. and 'settled' on Anne, and never regretted it.

But it seems like Belinda is supposed to be of the new generation that marries only for love. (I think you're right that if you go back about a century, the premise of Restoration comedy is that ALL or nearly all married women want something on the side)

I guess for "ideal woman," the question is, Lady Delacourt, for all her antics, or Lady Anne Percival of the happy "totally not boring" home? Or Belinda Portman?


message 7: by Luella (last edited Jul 02, 2017 09:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Luella I think she is like dry toast but I looked up the definition and she fits that 4 bits for compelling character (A Driving Need, Desire, Ambition or Goal; A Secret; A Contradiction and Vulnerability) according to this: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-...

So I just answered yes. For ideal woman on those terms I'd pick Lady Anne.

Whats some of that Restoration comedy? That sounds interesting I think I'd like to check that out.


Christopher (Donut) | 33 comments Here's the wiki article on Restoration comedy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restora...

Four Great Restoration Comedies

Here is a summary of The Country Wife:

The Country Wife has three interlinked but distinct plots, which each project sharply different moods:

1. Horner's impotence trick provides the main plot and the play's organising principle. The upper-class town rake Horner mounts a campaign for seducing as many respectable ladies as possible, first spreading a false rumour of his own impotence, to be allowed where no complete man may go. The trick is a great success and Horner has sex with many married ladies of virtuous reputation, whose husbands are happy to leave him alone with them. In one famously outrageous scene, the "China scene", sexual intercourse is assumed to take place repeatedly just off stage, where Horner and his mistresses carry on a sustained double entendre dialogue purportedly about Horner's china collection. The Country Wife is driven by a succession of near-discoveries of the truth about Horner's sexual prowess (and thus the truth about the respectable ladies), from which he extricates himself by quick thinking and good luck. Horner never becomes a reformed character, but keeps his secret to the end and is assumed to go on merrily reaping the fruits of his planted misinformation, past the last act and beyond.

2. The married life of Pinchwife and Margery is based on Molière's School for Wives. Pinchwife is a middle-aged man who has married an ignorant young country girl in the hope that she will not know to cuckold him. However, Horner teaches her, and Margery cuts a swathe through the sophistications of London marriage without even noticing them. She is enthusiastic about the virile handsomeness of town gallants, rakes, and especially theatre actors (such self-referential stage jokes were nourished by the new higher status of actors), and keeps Pinchwife in a state of continual horror with her plain-spokenness and her interest in sex. A running joke is the way Pinchwife's pathological jealousy always leads him into supplying Margery with the very type of information he wishes her not to have.

3. The courtship of Harcourt and Alithea is a comparatively uplifting love story in which the witty Harcourt wins the hand of Pinchwife's sister Alithea from the hands of the Upper-class town snob Sparkish, to whom she was engaged until discovering he loved her only for her money.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) . Who seems to represent the 'ideal' woman in the novel so far?

I would agree with Luella here. Lady Anne seems to represent the ideal woman. I think Belinda is too young and untried to be that, but maybe she has the makings of the ideal woman.

2. What are your thoughts on Belinda's comments about being 'accustomed' to Vincent? Is it possible to love someone by virtue of being 'accustomed' to them?

I do think you can. There are all sorts of love, and loving someone based on their character is not much of a stretch.

3. Do you think the characters in the novel are representative of English society during this time period?

I think they are caricatures to an extent, but, yes I do think they are representative. It is a time of great indulgence by the upper class and of social unrest. I don't believe it is far in advance of the French Revolution.

4. How does Edgeworth use letters in the novel? Do you think this approach has merit?

I like the way she uses letters. I can see the influence on Austen here - in her personal life and her writing.

5. Do you think Lady Delacour has truly turned over a new leaf?

Having finished the book, I still don't know the answer to that one. I am almost inclined to think she is truly a kind and caring character , but then there is the treatment of her daughter. She did have some harsh realities forced on her early on in her marriage, which probably made her view the world in a much harsher, different light. I think she is the reason to read this "moral story." She presents a good quandary and food for thought.

6. Do you think Belinda is a compelling character?
I do. Despite having a strong moral compass. She is not very judgmental and is open-minded. I like her quite a lot.

I have just recently finished, and I wanted to respond to the questions still.


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