Virago Modern Classics discussion

March Discussion - Palladian

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message 1: by Karen (last edited Jan 30, 2011 03:20PM) (new)

Karen | 75 comments I'm going to read Palladian (Virago Modern Classics) by Elizabeth Taylor in March if anyone would like to have a discussion.

message 2: by Luann (new)

Luann Ritsema (luannr) | 42 comments You know I'm in on this one. Let me know when you want to schedule the actual deadline for discussion.

message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen | 75 comments I'm planning on starting to read March 1.

message 4: by Karen (last edited Mar 25, 2011 10:59AM) (new)

Karen | 75 comments I finished this last night. I think this is one of Taylor's less well-known books, Virago didn't release it with the new covers. I liked it a lot. I love the attention she pays to all her characters, even the minor ones. Interesting dynamics between the owners and servants. There's a little of Rebecca in here, a little Jane Eyre, a little Jane Austen.

message 5: by Luann (last edited Mar 25, 2011 10:43AM) (new)

Luann Ritsema (luannr) | 42 comments Totally agree. I feel like I need to really think about this book. So I started this morning with the title and looked up a little info on Palladian architecture. Here's one paragraph I found:

"His success as an architect is based not only on the beauty of his work, but also for its harmony with the culture of his time. His success and influence came from the integration of extraordinary aesthetic quality with expressive characteristics that resonated with his client's social aspirations. His buildings served to visually communicate their place in the social order of their culture. This powerful integration of beauty and the physical representation of social meanings is apparent in three major building types: the urban palazzo, the agricultural villa, and the church."

It seems to me that Taylor's choice of title is a big clue to how to look at the book. So right now I'm revisiting it from the perspective of facades -- if that isn't too crazy.

message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen | 75 comments No, I don't think that's crazy at all. Mrs. Veal, who has never been inside the house but imagines it in all its glory, has some of her illusions about the family shattered with the gossip from the servants.

message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura (digifish_books) | 15 comments Karen wrote: "I finished this last night. I think this is one of Taylor's less well-known books, Virago didn't release it with the new covers. I liked it a lot. I love the attention she pays to all her charac..."

Apparently, Virago are releasing a new edition in August this year.

message 8: by Karen (new)

Karen | 75 comments That's good to know, maybe it will give the book some more attention.

message 9: by Luann (new)

Luann Ritsema (luannr) | 42 comments The Austen influence really stood out for me -- Cassandra is much more Fanny Price than Jane Eyre. Its definitely not a subtle attempt on Taylor's part to harken back.

What did you make of all the references to Marion being so "effeminate?" I found that somewhat confusing as to what point she was making. I don't think he was gay but he certainly wasn't sexually robust either.

message 10: by Karen (last edited Mar 26, 2011 08:34AM) (new)

Karen | 75 comments Yeah, the Jane Eyre stuff was just the basic plot thing, not the characterization. And yeah, she used those influences for a mid-twentieth century book. It was much more directly sexual.

Yeah, I was thinking about the gay angle too. Do you remember, was it the other characters who were looking at him as effeminate? That might be the tendency of certain people to think of scholars in that light. He had no interest in a lot of the typical 'manly' activities - business, hunting.

message 11: by Luann (new)

Luann Ritsema (luannr) | 42 comments You know, Karen, if we were sitting on a couch drinking wine I'd have a lot more to say about this. In person, I never shut up.

message 12: by Karen (new)

Karen | 75 comments Yeah, I know. Were you surprised about the fate of Sophia (the book's not here, maybe my spelling is wrong). I don't think the subsequent events could have played out the way they did if if weren't for that.

message 13: by Luann (new)

Luann Ritsema (luannr) | 42 comments I actually thought that was a brilliant move. It really caught me short and changed the way I viewed the whole novel. It was as if reality injected itself into this fantasy.

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