Sunday, September 05, 2004

More literary paganism

Two more novels that carry the lingering strand of Victorian or Edwardian literary "paganism" forward into the 1930s and 1940s are Forrest Reid's Uncle Stephen (1931) and Jocelyn Brooke's The Scapegoat.

Uncle Stephen was the last of a trilogy, but it was written first and can stand alone. Reid then provided the earlier history of his protagonist, Tom Barber, in two more books: The Retreat (1936) and Young Tom (1944), written in reverse-chronological order. In Nick Freeman's words, they "offered a celebration of youth and sexual freedom alongside rhapsodic natural descriptions and the putting aside of quotidian responsibility," together with various supernatural elements.

I describe the Tom Barber novels as "Kennth Grahame (talking animals) meets Henry James (supernatural elements, lots of interiority) meets Mary Renault (evocations of Classical Paganism, much unconsummated homoerotic longing)."

As for The Scapegoat (1948), it's hard to improve on Peter Cameron's line in the afterword to the 1988 edition: "almost unbelievably subversive and kinky."

Earlier entries here, here, and here.

You know who you are

Dear blogger and/or Web designer:

Making the text on your Web page white on a black background does not thereby make your site "witchy," or "alternative," or "goth"; nor does white-on-black text honor the Dark Side, the Dark Mother, or the Dark Wombat.

Instead, it just cuts readability by about 70 percent. Even with my nice new LCD screen, it is excruciating, especially if I have been reading other pages before yours. Learn from the masters. Repeat after me: Dark Text, Lighter Background. There. That still leaves you more than one color combination to work with.


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