Thursday, February 16, 2012

peripatetics - Oxford

I'm presently (re-)reading a compilation of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter short stories.  This brought to mind a visit I made to Oxford (the university Lord Peter Wimsey attended, as much as a fictional character can attend a real place), and also created an excuse to post a few pictures.

I also associate Oxford with Phillip Pullman's terrific middle reader, His Dark Materials Trilogy (and related books); some of the stories are in part set in an alternate-universe version of Oxford.

Friday, February 10, 2012

peripatetics - Sherlock Holmes Museum

On one of my trips to London I paid a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Reading Sherlock Holmes stories is associated with my college days, my freshman year, in particular.  I remember sitting in the university mess hall eating cafeteria food with my volume of Sherlock Holmes stories open before me.  So I have the association of rubbery tofu and nefarious plots.  Yum.

I also really enjoyed Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the 1980s-'90s television adaption of the series, as well as the 2010 "contemporary" adaption of Sherlock Holmes.  I'm looking forward to the second season coming this spring...
The "bobby" at the entrance was kind enough to pose for me.

His calling card.  Given the confidential nature of my visit to him, I cannot disclose particulars of the curious sequence of events and startling conclusions that followed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

peripatetics - Jane Austen - themed visits to Bath and Winchester

I, too, really enjoyed Jane Austen's novels, read them at least two or three times, and some years ago - never mind how long precisely (to quote Moby Dick), I did a "Jane Austen" - themed trip to Great Britain.  I went to Bath and Winchester.  I didn't make it to Steventon as it was off the BritRail line.  In Bath I visited the Jane Austen Centre and strolled around town.  I gawked at the front entrance to where she once lived.  Then in Winchester I visited the Cathedral, where she's buried, and also went by another front entrance to another home she once lived in.  It was more exciting (well, at least to me) than it sounds.  Really.

Of her novels, I like Pride and Prejudice the best, I think primarily due to the dynamics between the two main characters, Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy.  They were more-or-less "equals" in both their interactions with each other and as they grow in the course of the narrative and overcome their respective prejudice and pride.

I've had some discussions with my husband about the novel; he most definitely has not read all of Austen's novels, only reading what he had to as part of an academic curriculum.  He would rather be subjected to torture than read them of his own accord.  His contention regarding Pride and Prejudice is the primary premise of it is unrealistic with regard to the behavior of the male characters.  It consequently lost his interest quickly.

I guess by the same token, I have noticed when I've read novels, both "classic" and contemporary, written by men from the perspective of a female character, especially in first person narrative, that I've also struggled with finding them believable.  The reverse, my husband tells me, is the same with female authors trying to write from the perspective of a male character (case in point, Willa Cather's My Antonia; to quote my husband, "Great book, but the narrator [Jim Burden] wasn't a man." ).  I suppose if other elements of the book in question are compelling enough, I'm willing to suspend belief  and keep reading.  And, actually, sometimes it's nice read a female author's version of men (like Jane Austen).
Evidence of my visit to Bath.

More evidence.

Yes, the front entrance to where Jane Austen once lived.

And yet another front entrance to where she once lived (Winchester).

Winchester Cathedral.

I also did a painting of the Cathedral grounds (originally posted on my painting blog).