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« Miss Havisham's wedding cake? | Main | Department of unexpected publications »

November 24, 2008

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haruspex

A commentary full of interest; thank you. But, the very notion of Jamesian pastiche being as terrifying as it is, before I can plan to read the novel, I must ask: Does the sentence quoted on 295 run onto the rocks, as it appears to me to do? (Frankly, if a book is going to be nearly incomprehensible in the Jamesian manner I would probably rather it were actually James; and if it is going to be really incomprehensible I'd rather not read it at all.)

Oh, and so what do you think happens (for the reader) when we "reflect on pastiche's success" across a gap?

Miriam Elizabeth Burstein

The sentences really don't get seriously Jamesian until the end of the novel, although I think the themes are Jamesian throughout (and are consistent with the first book, as I said). It's still a heck of a lot easier to read than, say, The Golden Bowl.

In retrospect, my comment on pastiche seems a bit gnomic; in this case, I was thinking about the author's decision not to pastiche Romantic prose, but to write about the Romantic period in a pastiche (also inauthentic) of late-Victorian prose. We frequently judge historical novels with pastiched dialogue or style on their mimicry of our stereotype of that period. Here, we've got a pastiche that isn't doing what it's "supposed" to be doing--it seems deliberately anachronistic, instead of historical costuming. Another reminder that whatever it is we have by the end of the story, it isn't the "real" Annabella and Byron.

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