May. 12th, 2010

Women

May. 12th, 2010 07:57 am
marshtide: (Default)
Stray & largely undeveloped thoughts:

1. Has anyone written about that whole idea of The Madwoman In The Attic as it applies to the Sherlock Holmes stories? Does anyone have any thoughts on it? It comes up several times: either there is an actually mad woman or a woman who is locked up and claimed to be mad or just locked up and forgotten about, and other women who figure far less literally as a part of that dismissive tradition in one way or another. There are some fairly literal cases and some examples which I sort of mentally bracket under the same sort of heading, and I'm going to be terrible and not actually cite examples now because I can't remember them without hauling out books and I'm having a peculiarly weak day today & not getting out of bed yet. But I think the way that women figure in Sherlock Holmes stories generally is something interesting to poke at, in the wider context of Victorian society and in the context of literary convention. I haven't got any further than that yet. Partly because I'd need to do some re-reading and probably get hold of some literary theory books and read or re-read those as well. I feel under-educated again now. Oops.

2. I read Irene Adler as bisexual. I freely admit that this may be partly influenced by that beautiful scene in the Granada TV series where she's meant to be spending time with her lover the king but is clearly much more interested in eyeing up the legs of the dancing girls with the most appreciative expression ever, but I also don't think it's an invalid reading of the actual short story. I also think I'd need to be feeling a bit more energetic to lay out that argument properly. I'm chipping slowly away at getting the reasoning straightened (ha ha) out, though.

3. Still on women from that era, but now moving north! I'm half way through reading Victoria Benedictsson's Money, so of course I can't have full thoughts on it yet, but it's pretty interesting. Reading it I actually thought it was being quite shockingly frank about the situation of women and about sex as a part of that, for a novel of its time. Which is the point, of course: it's a novel all about sex and money. I didn't realise until Val was talking about students who'd missed significant points that I was still reading between the lines a lot to form that impression. Goddamn it, C19th. The spectre of Being Considered Mad for the crime of being a woman who wants to do something with her life hangs over this book too, by the way, but this time as a definite part of the point the author is trying to make.

4. When I'm done with that I've got a volume of Virginia Woolf's diaries to read and I admit I'm sort of procrastinating over posting about her until I've read at least some of that.

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