Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wilkie-Along Post II: Wilkie's Unduly Assertive Women

Are you ready for some more Wilkie? Because it's post II of our Wilkie Summer Readalong, hosted by Alice aka Reading Rambo.
So this week we read Epochs 2 and 3, Wilkie starts making money from his writing and also is basically common law married to a woman but DEFINITELY not freal married cos he does not approve of said institution.

I actually took a bunch of notes for this section. And by a bunch of notes I mean I wrote down a page number and then key phrases like "daisy hat" or "pretentious breezes". Stuff that was ridiculous and made me laugh. So I am pretty much going to bullet things out, just like I did last time around. #AintBroke #DontFix

But before I do that, I need to confess that whenever Lycett wandered away from talking about Wilkie or Dickens, I faded. Not even a guy named Egg could keep me interested. That's not to say these little tangents couldn't be interesting and I kept thinking how I would rather someone like Bryson was tackling those parts cos his books are like 46% tangents and I love them.

Anyway, let's list out ridiculous things that happened in these sections

  • "But here, to confuse matters, were to apparent opposites that Wilkie regarded as very similar. As he stated in his letter...he believed 'that the Novel and the Play are twin-sisters in the family of Fiction, that the one is drama narrated, as the other is drama acted.'" I reread this section like five times because...yeah, that seems like a pretty good working description of the difference between a play and a novel. Why are these apparently opposites? Is the opposite of a play a novel? Or vice versa? I tried Googling to see if that is a thing and Google has no idea what I'm talking about (it gave me a definition for "novel" the adjective and told me "work" is the opposite of play). Basically, Wilkie thinks these two similar things are indeed similar. 
  • Dickens and Wilkie (and Egg) go on vacation together and get on each others' nerves. Actually it seems like Wilkie mostly got on Dickens nerve by being stingy and cos he would whistle opera hits off-tune.
  • We also learned from this section that Dickens referred to himself as "Inimitable" in letters. As in, that is the name he gives to himself. "Inimitable bringing up the rear". So not only does he refer to himself in the third person but he gave himself a nickname. 
  • Wilkie had a cat named Snooks. That is all.
  • Wilkie hates the giant hats he sees women wearing when he's in Kent. Just real judgey about these women and their hats, which he does say are "as wide as umbrellas" so he may have a point BUT he also talks about how ugly the women are that are wearing said hats so shut up, Fivehead.
  • Dickens and Wilkie attended a production of Paradise Lost where the draw was that Eve would be naked. Just Eve apparently. Except the producers were unable to find a woman with "to her knees" to play that part. Dickens was duly disappointed.
Dickens, basically
  • Wilkie starts seeing a woman named Caroline who is below his station and also has a daughter (her husband died). He tells people that Caroline had been held prisoner by a name who controlled her through mesmerism (hypnotism) but she managed to escape when he threatened to kill her. Even Lycett is like "So this story is pretty much just bullshit."
  • Also, Wilkie Collins believes in mesmerism and when someone explains cold readings to him, he is INSULTED at the idea that this isn't real. I do sort of like the idea of Wilkie writing a book inspired by the Long Island Medium.
The Woman in White that could have been
  • Hans Christian Andersen "annoyed Wilkie by surreptitiously attaching some daisies to his hat and allowing him to walk thus into the village."
  • Wilkie continues to be annoyed at women's fashion, writing "his protestations about the proliferation of crinolines." Perhaps concern yourself less with judging women's clothing choices. (BTW, I would totally have read this lifestyle piece he wrote. I am a hypocrite.)
  • Wilkie had a temporary maid who kept busting in on him while he was in the bathroom. He wrote to Ward telling him "I have reason to believe...[she] must have seen My Person!"
  • Wilkie decides to hang out in London instead of going to the beach and talks about how the air in London is "so much healthier than those pretentious humbugs the seaside breezes" and WAS the air in London really ever healthier than pretty much anywhere else in the country? Also HOW are the breezes pretentious? 
Alright, this was pretty long, so sorry about that. But there was a LOT of important stuff to get through. So until next week!