Ok. Today is not only the fantastic best-posts-ever (I'm sure) day for Woman in White, but IT IS ALSO LAURA FROM DEVOURING TEXTS' BIRTHDAYYYYY. Hey Laura, remember this gif? This is for you:
|May all the baby polar bear tickling be yours |
on this special day
NOW. Woman in White. Daaaaaaaamn, right?
Ok, so first of all -- VINDICATED. WE HAVE ALL BEEN VINDICATED BY THAT LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME I FORGOT. Wait -- Jacob Postlethwaite! Bless you, Jacob Postlethwaite, ye probable receiver of corporal punishment. Because what does he say? "Eh!--but I saw t'ghaist" -- BAM. This is why we thought this. Because when anyone sees a woman all in white, the automatic thought is 'GHOST TIME.'
I'm reading the Penguin edition (I think -- it's at home) and it has tons of annotations, which is a state of affairs both helpful and annoying. The only one I want to mention is this reference to Wilkie Collins hating corsets:
Marian goes against the mid-Victorian fashion for restrictive corsetry, which Collins despised. Collins confessed these proclivities to his friend, the photographer Sarony: 'I too think the back view of a finely formed woman the loveliest view, and her hips the more precious part of that view.'
You guys. Wilkie Collins finds the back view of a woman the loveliest view. I will never cease to find this hilarious.
What does the preface say? "An experiment is attempted in this novel, which has not (so far as I know) been hitherto tried in fiction. The story of the book is told throughout by the characters of the book." Oh, you're welcome, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN. But to be honest, I somehow don't think I REALLY believed he was going to do it until I was nearing the end of Hartright's section. I've never, ever read a Victorian novel that did that, so my mind kept being like "Okey dokey, so this is Hartright, and he's kind of a tool in a nice guy way, and I'm gonna be with him for the rest of the book." BUT NO. I'm overly excited about seeing things from other perspectives.
Getting back to a more linear reviewy thing (by the way, do I need to say these posts are all going to be spoilerrific? do I? really? fine), let's talk through Hartright's section:
How does this book start? This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve. Hey, fuck you, Victorian era. Let's take a moment and delve into passivity and activity and gender roles (just kidding, because this post won't be boring).
So I wasn't thrilled with the beginning, BUT THEN a tiny Italian man named Professor Pesca was introduced, who apparently is based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti's father, Gabriel Rossetti, and he is hilarious and made me begin to love ze book. "A Mamma, fair and fat; three young Misses, fair and fat; two young Misters, fair and fat; and a Papa, the fairest and the fattest of all."
He's swell. AND I love Hartright's sister Sarah, with her muttering over teacups. And I love Marian. MARIAAAAAAAAAAN!
How very interesting! Next week we shall know what that means!