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The Moonstone: Love, Music and Salad (and AWESOMENESS)

You guys. What if it were Mr. Franklin ALL ALONG.

WHAT is happening with Rosanna and him. Fingersmith is influencing me in untoward ways here. Let's all read some Sarah Waters after this. (fine. I'LL read some Sarah Waters after this)

And so begins The Moonstone! From what I could tell, pretty much everyone's had a similar reaction to the beginning, which is along the lines of "WHAT OMG THIS IS THE BEST. WILKIE WHY ARE YOU DEAD I WANT TO KISS YOUR OBSCENELY LARGE FOREHEAD WHAT'S UP WITH THAT WERE YOU DROPPED AS A BABY YOU KNOW WHAT IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE IT HAS RESULTED IN AMAZINGNESS."

Tika from Reading the Bricks kindly scanned in Wilkie's preface, because she is awesome, so it is here, here, and here.

I like to think Wilkie came up with the idea for this book in a tavern. Like, he and his bros were chatting and he was like "Oh yeah, there was a diamond or something that was cursed, right? Hey, what if I put the cursed diamond in an English country house and then it goes missing and it becomes, like, a detective story. Yeah. YEAH, damnit. I can write that."

There was obviously such a massive amount of stuff happening in this first quarter that if one tried to cover it all, it would take up a MASSIVE amount of space in people's Google Reader feeds. SO. I'm going to focus quickly on two things.

1. Nationality. Goodness gracious, Wilkie's really covering this, isn't he? It's 1868 and unlike many of his compatriots, instead of setting a novel in Italy (STOP DOING THAT VICTORIANS — YOU ALL SUCK AT IT), or broadly insulting all nationalities (thanks, Jane Eyre), he shows Indians who, while perhaps suspicious-seeming, aren't portrayed as evil (except for that bit about them not caring about human life). German philosophy is actually GONE INTO, which I was completely flummoxed by, making me realize Victorian novels that I have read do not — DO NOT — mention systems of thought from other cultures.

Of course, Mr. Franklin's multi-national education is not shown in the best of lights, but since different countries DO have different teaching methods, it does seem like learning pretty much all of them during impressionable years would leave someone confused. And I do enjoy when his Italian side comes out. Oh, those Italians.

David being Italian in the Victorian sense

So I'm pretty jazzed to see what comes of the further presentation of nationalities.

The SECOND thing is Lady Verinder. Also her bratty daughter, whom I SO wanted to like, but then she had to go and throw a fit over them looking at her clothes. IT JUST MAKES YOU MORE OF A SUSPECT, RACHEL.

So, we see the two of them solely through Mr. Betteredge, another STELLAR Wilkie narrator. Oh man. Him and his kind of pervy old man ways. I wish Marian were staying at the Verinders' house. Although knowing Marian, she'd probably see him pulling some servant girl onto his knee to 'comfort her' and she'd be like "Well, we are a ridiculous sex that needs that sort of thing." Oh, Marian. I love you.

ANYWAY. The only thing I'm getting, which is purely through subtext (...I think) is that Mr. Betteredge is completely in love with Lady Verinder, and she's kind of into him, but probably in a terrible, Remains of the Day kind of way. Damn I hate that movie. DAMN YOU CLASS STRUCTURE. And I'm assuming Wilkie's not gonna subvert it, or more would be made of this book. But yes, so we see the lady of the house, and she's painted as very commanding and super-awesome, and her daughter's supposed to be opinionated but ALSO awesome, but this is all Betteredge's opinion and limited viewpoint and AGH it's all very interesting.

"How it was, I don't understand, but we always seemed to be getting,
with the best of motives, in one another's way. When I wanted to go
upstairs, there was my wife coming down; or when my wife wanted to go
down, there was I coming up. That is married life, according to my
experience of it."
That is the best.

I totally count on you all to mention everything I didn't in your posts. EVERYTHING.


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