Victorian Author Olympics!

The James Dean of Your Rock Hudson…

Personal Life:

Oscar was a well liked and breed young man. He was the second of three children born to Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Wilde. He was also the brother to his father’s illegitimate children who were cared for by his father both emotionally and financially, but they were raised by other relatives and not with Oscar and his full siblings. When his sister Isola died at the age of nine from meningitis, later in life, he wrote the  poem “Requiescat” for her.

“Tread lightly, she is near

Under the snow

Speak gently, she can hear

the daisies grow”

What others thought him:

“Felstiner writes that Wilde elicited “a revealing mixture of skepticism and allegiance” from Beerbohm (Lies of Art 42). What the mixture revealed was that Beerbohm learned as much from criticising and satirising Wilde as he did from imitating Wilde. In the early letters, as Danson points out, “hero worship alternates with a more objective criticism: the parodic focus is not yet clear” (65). Over the years from 1892 to 1895, however, Beerbohm became an increasingly deft satirist. Having mastered Wilde’s style through imitation, Beerbohm parodied it. Having enumerated Wilde’s faults with a critical eye, Beerbohm satirised them.

Wilde never fully recovered from his prison ordeal, and died three years after his release (Ellman 585). Upon hearing of Wilde’s death, Beerbohm wrote to Turner: “I am, as you may imagine, very sorry indeed; and am thinking very much about Oscar, who was such an influence and an interest in my life….I suppose really it was better that Oscar should die. If he had lived to be an old man he would have become unhappy. Those whom the gods, etc. And the gods did love Oscar, with all his faults” (Letters to Reggie Turner 138).

So, too, did Beerbohm “love Oscar, with all his faults.” This was a rather typical response from someone who was, in a sense, a rather typical ex-disciple. Like many young writers in mentor relationships, Beerbohm began by worshipping and imitating Wilde. When disillusionment set in, Beerbohm became critical and even cruel. Out of all his very typical reactions, however, Beerbohm made something unusual. By experimenting with the component parts of his responses to Wilde-the imitation, the criticism, and the satire–Beerbohm was teaching himself how to make his own voice heard even when he was imitating another’s. He would get better at it with practice. In 1912, Young would write, “It is as though, instead of elaborately describing the clothes worn by his subjects, Max had himself put on each suit in turn, strutted or lounged awhile in the manner of each, and spoken thoughts like theirs in a telling imitation of their tones” (Beerbohm, A Christmas Garland xii). The Wildean suit may not have been the best fit, but it was the first Beerbohm wore.

In 1921, Beerbohm wrote a letter of advice to a prospective biographer, Bohun Lynch. “Years ago, G. B. S., in a light-hearted moment, called me ‘the incomparable,'” he wrote. “Note that I am not incomparable. Compare me” (Letters of Max Beerbohm 128). Comparing Beerbohm with Wilde reveals, on the one hand, a typical young writer in a typical mentor relationship. On the other hand, it also reveals the origins of the writer who would develop into “the incomparable Max.” (The Divinity and the Disciple: Oscar Wilde in the Letters of Max Beerbohm, 1892-1895, http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/index.html)

 Relation to Dickens:

“Dickens is often described as using ‘idealised’ characters and highly sentimental scenes to contrast with his caricatures and the ugly social truths he reveals. The story of Nell Trent in The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) was received as incredibly moving by contemporary readers but viewed as ludicrously sentimental by Oscar Wilde.” (Wikipedia)

The letters written by Beerbohm on Wilde is reminiscent of the duality that he shares with Dickens as art imitating life. While Beerbohm spent his time studying and later imitating Wilde, currently, authors of today do the same with Dickens in injecting pieces of themselves into thir works.

 Fast Facts from Wikipedia!
Born 16 October 1854(1854-10-16) Dublin, Ireland
Died 30 November 1900(1900-11-30) (aged 46) Paris, France
Occupation Writer
Language English, French
Nationality Irish
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin
Period Victorian era
Genres Drama, short story, dialogue, journalism
Literary movement Aestheticism
Notable work(s) The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Spouse(s) Constance Lloyd (1884–1898)
Children Cyril Holland, Vyvyan Holland
Relative(s) Sir William Wilde, Jane, Lady Wilde
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An Ode to Bleak House Bullet List

So I am begining my reading of Bleak House. Here are some things that are jumping at me.

  • Who has the time or energy (other than greedy lawyers) to fight a court case for generations over something that no one can even remember?

  • Dickens uses Esther’s doll as a means of her stability in an instable environment. When she buries it, it is a sign of her moving on in life and leaving her past behind.

  • Dirty, uncared for children…..Enough said Oliver!

  • I do like the idea of a haunting to avenge one’s pride….

What’s in an Ending????

So we have reached the end of the beginning and here is a recap!

Jasper:                                        

Edwin Drood:                                        

                                                                                                  Rose Bud:

 

 

 

 

In the beginning there was Jasper at an opium den. Then we meet Edwin Drood who visits Jasper and tells him about his doubts in marrying Rose Bud (interesting moniker) who lives at the Nun’s House. Neville and his twin sister Helena come to Cloistrham for school. Neville will shadow Rev. Mr. Crisparkle and Helena will live at the Nun’s House where she meets Helena and they become instant friends. Rosa’s guardian, Mr. Grewgious, tells her that she has a substantial inheritance from her father. When she asks whether there would be any forfeiture if she did not marry Edwin, he replies that there would be none on either side.

On Christmas Eve, Neville buys himself a heavy walking stick; he plans to spend his Christmas break hiking around the countryside. Meanwhile, Edwin visits a jeweller in order to repair his pocket watch; it is mentioned that the only pieces of jewellery that he wears are the watch and chain and a shirt pin. By chance he meets a woman, who is an opium user from London. She asks Drood’s Christian name and he replies that it is ‘Edwin’; she says he is fortunate it is not ‘Ned,’ for ‘Ned’ is in great danger. He thinks nothing of this, for the only person who calls him ‘Ned’ is Jasper. Meanwhile, Jasper buys himself a black scarf of strong silk, which is not seen again during the course of the novel. The reconciliation dinner is successful and at midnight, Drood and Neville Landless leave together to go down to the river and look at a wind storm that rages that night.

The next morning Edwin is missing and Jasper spreads suspicion that Neville has killed him. Neville leaves early in the morning for his hike; the townspeople overtake him and bring him back to the city. Rev. Mr Crisparkle keeps Neville out of jail by taking responsibility for him: he will produce him anytime his presence is required.A half year later, Neville is living in London near Mr. Grewgious’s office. Mr. Tartar introduces himself and offers to share his garden with Landless; Mr. Tartar’s chambers are adjacent to Neville’s above a common courtyard. A stranger who calls himself Dick Datchery, arrives in Cloisterham. He rents a room below Jasper and observes the comings and goings in the area. On his way to the lodging the first time, Mr. Datchery asks directions from Deputy. Deputy will not go near there for fear that Jasper will choke him again.

Fast forward to the Beginning of the End……..

I feel that the ending should be left as is. With all of the speculation and imitation of Dickens writing style I feel that any ending would be inferior if it were not written by Dickens himself.

The flow of the storyline would be altered from its truest form and I also feel that the characters would not receive their due of becoming fully expressed in the essence of Dickens and his style and technique.

This is exemplified in the projects that have been created since Dickens’ death of how the story should end. What one has found is that these creations have been less than good when it comes to giving both Dickens and Edwin their justice.

The Day that Comes Every Four Years….

So I did a little google and found out that there is a connection between Charles Dickens and Leap Year….

Leap year has been recognized for 400 years and this year (2012) we celebrate Charles’ 200 birth year, I have located the connection.

If you divide the number of years that Charles has been alive by the number of years we have recognized leap year, you will come up with the number 2. This two is a sign that Dickens was born with a fate driven characteristic of duality.