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Topic: Belle Epoque novels -- feedback, please

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Subject: Belle Epoque novels -- feedback, please
Date Posted: 11/11/2010 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 250
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Since I've read Madame Bovary & most of Colette, I've been looking at Zola (The Conquest of Plassans, L'Assommoir, Nana or Germinal, maybe). I'd prefer Victor Hugo (Hunchback) or Conrad (The Secret Agent) but am doubting whether they qualify -- can anyone clarify? If they don't, any recommendations on the aforementioned Zola prospects? (Only Zola I've read is Terese Raquin.)

Thanks!

Date Posted: 11/12/2010 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I would call the person who came up with the category to the mat. He or she has some 'splain' to do. 

This was tough for me to figure out which books apply, but I see you have it much worse beings that you're so well read in this category already.

When I googled (yes, I google!) belle epoque novels I got a list of French women authors with unpronounceable names. Colette was among them though. Try doing the same.

This post is most unhelpful. Sorry.



Last Edited on: 11/12/10 10:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/12/2010 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Well, it was Barbara B. who suggested the category, and I thought it sounded promising. I'm going to do some googling; I'm sure I'll get some interesting choices.

                                                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 11/13/2010 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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Belle Epoque is simply the French name for a period in European social history that began during the late 19th Century and lasted 'til WW1.  In the United States, the comparable period was referred to as The Gilded Age. I don't interpret  the term Belle Epoque as only applying, in our case, to French literature. I chose it to identify a general period in European history from which we can draw literature. For that category, I've chosen a Henry James novel.

Date Posted: 11/13/2010 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,517
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In other words, an;ything by D.H. Lawrence will do quite well? Or, in fact, Anais Nin?

Date Posted: 11/14/2010 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,517
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I have it now!  There was this British cat, the ultimate dirty old man. He was, amazingly, popular in higher social circles, wrote rather well, and his "memoirs"  have attracted a varied audience through the years. I am sure that somewhere in the depths of the garage, where my sweet wife can never see that I ever owned it, is my belle epoque classic: The Life and Loves of Frank Harris. wink

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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OK John, I'll bite.  Are you by any chance being sarcastic? Do try to remember the quality issue.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,517
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Are you unaware that while I am no longer ever referred to as Speedo (my real name was never Mr. Earl), and have never been called The Space Cowboy, numerous participants on PBS forums have expressed feelings that I could, with justification, be called King Snark. cheeky

Frank Harris, in the eyes of many, including me, produced works of "quality" at least equal to anything Henry James wrote.

However, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women In Love ---  any   of those would certainly qualify on all counts, if I have correctly read your definition of belle epoque. ??

Date Posted: 11/16/2010 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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King Snark it is.  Make love not war dude.  If DHL fits into the time frame...groovy. If Frank Harris is your bag...groovy.  I just picked HJames because it fit the time frame and it is screaming at me to free it from the TBR pile, not because he is the gold standard by which all literature is to be judged. Bliberty, blaberty, gobblety, goo. I need some alcohol. How about you?

Date Posted: 11/16/2010 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,517
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Or something. Right now, we are using a new 2400$ stove for the second time. It is doing fine, except that the smoke detector keeps going off. With some difficulty, we have brought in a ladder and opened up the only opening into the area between the inside and outside roof. No smoke at all. Inside, there is no discernible smoke. Grrrr.

And I get to pick between three pretty good books by T.H.Lawrence while you engage in self-flagellation with ???  Personally, I found The Ambassadors and Portrait of a Lady the least painful. The Golden Bowl  ----MMM, don't do that to yourself I would give you a Henry James if it gets down to that.

Date Posted: 11/17/2010 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I've read 90% of Henry James' novels. I enjoyed them for the most part. There was a bit of a slog here and there, but I had no problems otherwise.....EXCEPT...wait for it...The Golden Bowl.  I forced myself one third of the way into that monstrous book before almost opting to hang myself. I talked myself out of it, but I took a blowtorch to that bloody awful book. It IS a great book for toasting marshmallows over.

Date Posted: 11/17/2010 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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It's such a shame that The Golden Bowl is so unreadable. Did anyone see the movie featuring Nick Nolte? It was spectacular. How rare when a movie surpasses a book!

                                                                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 11/21/2010 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Has anyone read Swann's Way?  I've always thought about reading it and this is the perfect category, but it sounds a little daunting.

Diane



Last Edited on: 11/21/10 7:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 2