Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Eustace Diamonds, Candide, The Scarlet Pimpernel (thoughts)

The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope
I'm not a huge Dickens girl; I love A Tale of Two Cities and Pickwick Papers, but I could leave the rest of his books I've read. However, after reading The Eustace Diamonds, I think that Trollope is my Dickens. lol Trollope writes the same kind of character-rich, diversion-full, multiple-plot books that Dickens does. But, for some reason, Trollope and I get along perfectly. I enjoyed his little sidenotes to the reader, and I hated his villains and loved his heroes just like he expected me to. :D His writing kept the book moving, even when he meandered from the plot. His passages when characters go fox hunting are simple stunning. If you enjoy sprawling Victorian lit, Trollope might just be for you!

Candide by Voltaire
I went in knowing that this was supposed to be a philosophical novel. So I expected it to make a point. But, honestly, it just wasn't enjoyable. I see how other people would enjoy it, but for me the only good thing about it was that the chapters and book itself were short. The B&N edition that I read just didn't have a good enough intro (half the intro just summarised the book, chapter by chapter, how dumb is that?) for me; the intro didn't give me any info I didn't already know. I was also horrified by the pictures; they were very gruesome, which matched the gruesome violence throughout the story. The only chapter I enjoyed was the El Dorado chapter; I've always like utopias. I'm glad that I read this book, but I won't be keeping it.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Best. Adventure Novel. Ever. It was so much fun! First of all, the characters swear with words like "Egads!" and "Zooks!", lol. The villain is deliciously heartless; the main heroes are all clever and brave and, of course, handsome. It was a ton of fun. I'll be looking into the sequels.

Favourite Passages

Now she desired to be so in love that she could surrender everything to her love. There was as yet nothing of such love in her bosom. She had seen no one who had so touched her. But she was alive to the romance of the thing, and was in love with the idea of being in love, (Trollope, 81)

"She is the greatest vixen in all London."...
"There is no word in the English language," she said, "which conveys to me so little of defined meaning as that word vixen. If you can, tell what you mean, Clara." (Trollope, 119)

But poor Lizzie Eustace had no Binns and no Pouncebox. They are plants that grow slowly. There still too much of the mushroom about Lady Eustace to permit of her possessing such treasures. (Trollope, 226)

...I am content with almost nothing." The nothing with which the dean had hitherto been contented had always included every comfort of life, a well-kept table, good wine, new books, and canonical habiliments with the gloss still on; but as the Bobsborough tradesmen had, through the agency of Mrs. Greystock, always supplied him with these things as though they came from the clouds, he really did believe that he had never asked for anything. (Trollope, 362)

There are men in whose love a good deal of hatred is mixed; - who love as the huntsman loves the fox, towards the killing of which he intends to use all his energies and intellects. (Trollope, 410)

She understood that the task she had in hand was one very difficult to be accomplished-and she did perceive, in some dark way, that, good as her acting was, it was not quite good enough. Lucy held her ground because she was real. You may knock about a diamond, and not evenscratch it; whereas paste in rough usage betrays itself. Lizzie, with all her self-assuring protestations, knew that she was paste, and knew that Lucy was real stone. (Trollope, 628)

But it has always seemed to me that it
must be heavenly to be loved blindly, passionately, wholly...worshipped, in fact..." (Orzcy, 52)

"Virtue, alas!" sighed the Prince, "is mostly unbecoming to your charming sex, Madame." (Orzcy, 88)

He laughed, as Dante has told us that the devils laugh at the sight of the torture of the damned. (Orzcy, 186)


Gentle Reader said...

I feel similarly about Trollope. Though I like Dickens, I never felt the need to read all of his works, but I've read a whole bunch of Trollope...

litlove said...

I agree, too. I love Trollope, can't get along with Dickens and didn't like Voltaire's Candide either. Cartoon violence just doesn't do it for me!

Heather said...

Thank you for reminding me that I really, really need to read the Scarlet Pimpernel!

danielle said...

I failed miserably on my summer reading challenge even though I totally left it open in terms of books to read. Oh well. I will have to give Trollope a try--I have looked at his books at the bookstore, and I think I have one at home, but they look so massive. Of course sometimes that's a good thing! I really want to read the Scarlet Pimpernel--I think it looks like great fun, too--so glad to hear my perception is correct!

Sarah said...

I love Trollope. The Eustace Diamonds is on my TBR list, so I'll have to get to it soon!

Eva said...

Gentle Reader, what's your favourite Trollope? I'm trying to decide what to read next.

Litlove, I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy Candide. For a while, I thought I must just not be intellectual enough. Those cartoons were horrifying-I considered taking a pic and including it w/ the review, but I didn't want it on the blog!

Heather, it took me maybe an hour, hour and a half to read The Scarlet Pimpernel. So, it won't be a huge project. :D

Danielle, I wouldn't worry about the challenge! Trollope is kind of massive, but it's not the plodding sort of God-why-isn't-the-chapter-over massive. It's the good kind!

Sarah, so many Trollope fans! I hadn't even heard of him since quite recently. I wonder why he's not as famous as Dickens.

Anonymous said...

it fucking sucks