Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Group Members Wanted:

Well everyone, we have officially moved our group blog to another site. I imagine you have all received Sarah's emails and just neglected to check them...I hope. Please, come blog with us! We need everyone to get in on the project and pour as much work into it as possible.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Oh the Hilarity!

There's something we've all neglected to mention about this this lovely little novel...It's HILARIOUS! Please everyone, follow me here - Fanny Throbbing? For those of you who don't know, this is akin to a North American V. Jyna Throbbing, but even less a euphemism. I don't mean to say that bathroom humour is the only source of humour...What about Mrs. Ape and her drinking? "Angels" singing There Ain't No Flies on the Lamb of God? Chastity always chasing men, or Divine Discontent being so discontent at not being the favourite? In the very first chapter, the very introduction of his novel, Waugh sets up a critique of society through humour. The commodification of religion and ever-shaky facade of the upper classes ($ for hymns and sea / ventilation sickness respectively) are only two of the more amusing pieces in the opening pages...So why this humour? Why does Waugh describe the Customs agent's stripping of our dear Runcible, while also poking fun at the audience reading the papers she will go home and complain to, revealing every "shy-making" detail? Well to pull us in of course! He's pulled us into his critique with the very things he is critiquing...oh what a clever fellow...I'm in!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Quick Note:

Hey Miss S.
Would you mind changing the blog settings to enable word verification for comment posting? I can't seem to do it, and I assume that is because you are the Grand Creator. Enabling it would stop people trying to sell me tires in exchange for my babble on modernism. :) -K.

Ok, so it looks like I'm gonna have to take the plunge as the idiot child of the group and ask Kim to explain the concept of futurism a little bit/more (I had a lot of trouble with that concept) Is it just, looking towards the future in text, or am I just making myself look dumber the more I go on? Moving on. I still haven't gotten much farther in the book...but I'm trying. As said before, I adore his writing style, and am getting more into the story as it progresses. The part with the customs agents going way overboard infuriated me, and I found it interesting how everyone reacted to the situation. I have also decided that my favorite characters are already Kittie and Fanny. They are just too humorous to not be adored. I will try to gain a more intelligent perspective and post it here. Until then, I shall take my place with the dunce cap. More strangeness yet to come.

Monday, November 07, 2005

To be a Modernist, or not...

I was considering this work of Waugh's in terms of its futurism, or its 'predictions' as mentioned in the comments of a previous post, and thought I'd look it up. In so doing, I came up with an article by Allen Brooke called Vile Bodies: A Futurist Fantasy. )If you'd like to read it, it can be found in Academic search Full Text Elite) Anyway, it talks about Waugh's struggles with modernism, how he 'railed' against modernist artists such as Picasso, but used the aspects of modernism, and its techniques, which were pleasing to him. Brooke argues that "It is because of this disaffection from the dominant theories of modern aesthetics that Waugh's use of modern techniques concerned itself almost exclusively with their superficial characteristics, often in an openly parodic fashion." The dominant theories Brooke refers to are often political, but he outlines others as well.
He also seems to say that Waugh is not really a futurist himself, but that he uses his parody of modernism to critique the theories of progressivism which came out during the era and footnotes a quotation in Black Mischief which reads, "
I am in some perplexity about Nacktkultur. Here have I spent four weeks trying to enforce the dictum prescribing trousers for the official classes, and now I read that it is more modern not to wear any at all"
Two other small points come up in the article, which I think are worth considering when reading the novel. Brooke points to 'pastiche' a technique of widely used in the modern era. For Waugh this technique is useful to parody his own era. We can maybe imagine the novel, as Brooke suggests, as a segmented layering-in of "contemporary magazines, newspapers, and conversation fragments"?

OED on Pastiche:
A. n.
1. a. A novel, poem, painting, etc., incorporating several different styles, or made up of parts drawn from a variety of sources.
2. a. A work, esp. of literature, created in the style of someone or something else; a work that humorously exaggerates or parodies a particular style.

The second small point I thought worth considering was Waugh's admiration of Hemingway. Brooke says that, "It is significant that Waugh wrote the novel at the height of his fascination with Hemingway, the writer he admired above all other moderns: the telephone conversations between Adam and Nina are, he later admitted, direct stylistic imitations of The Sun Also Rises." If that is all true, then perhaps we should keep our eyes open???

All the best, K.

Differing Opinions...

Please copy and paste http://www.isteve.com/Film_Bright_Young_Things.htm (as I cannot yet figure out hyper-linking) and follow it to an interesting, if controversial blurb/review of the Evelyn Waugh, and the movie made of his Vile Bodies.

It would seem that some people not only disliked the film, but disliked the book entirely. Where some have called Waugh's book his master piece, this fellow asserts that it "reads like a screenplay, and nobody reads screenplays if they don't have to." The same fellow, Steve Sailer, also feels himself enough of an authority to insult Hemingway, but he does make some interesting points.

Carry on blogging friends, we have much work to do!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Time Does March On...

Alright everyone,

This is my first posting about our novel, and I suppose it had better be the first in a long string, otherwise we're in some trouble come the end of term...hmmm???

After looking into the film and novel a bit, it would seem that the reason for the creation of the film itself...meaning, the reason the Evelyn Waugh's novel was current enough to even be considered possible for a screenplay...is that there are themes captured by the novel itself which are present in our own society. There are obsessions today, with celebrity and materialism, which were are concurrent with Waugh's day.

I think it is worth noting that Waugh himself tried to escape the notion of fame. According to the introduction to The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh, "On 20 October 1930 the Daily Express printed 'Converted to Rome'," an article on Waugh's conversion to Catholicism. The author argues that the sensationalism associated with Waugh's conversion was simply due to the fact that he was "notorious for his 'almost passionate adherence to the ultra-modern' (Daily Express, 30 September 1930, p.8)." The author also states that Vile Bodies itself was considered to be 'the ultra-modern novel.'

Perhaps an interesting 'way in' to the text might be through Evelyn Waugh's faith??? What is he critiquing and why - or, for Mike, what purpose do these angels serve...what conflict was there between the ultra-modern and the Catholic faith which causes such a stir....Just some possible questions.

Read on all! As will I, and hopefully we will all come up with some brilliant insights.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Following Mike's example

Following in Mike's footsteps, I also started the novel today. I was quite surprised by the amount of humour in it. I really enjoy all the names of the different characters, although I agree that at times it's hard to keep them in order. I also found it interesting in regards to all the religious imagery in it. Wasn't expecting that, but I suppose I should have been. More strangeness yet to come.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Well, I've cracked the book today.

I thought everyone would be thrilled to know that I have read the first fifteen pages or so of the novel. My general impression thus far? Lot's of potential for comedy, but I'm not quite sure what is meant to be taken literally or not (the "angels" for example). Also, bearing in mind that I have barely scratched the surface of the book, I have had some difficulty in sorting out the different characters. They have all been introduced at once and there doesn't seem to be a definitive protagonist just yet. Well, this is my early, early impression. If anyone else is as deep into the novel as I am let me know, maybe I'm the only one with these observations, maybe you'll want to call me an "ignoramus", in-so-much as I am . . .