The Master of Ballantrae

 

bookshelves: adventure, classic, historical-fiction, revenge, britain-scotland, victorian, seven-seas, war, published-1889, hardback

Read in June, 2009, read count: 2

 

Description: Set in Scotland during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, in the exotic French Indies, and in the North American wilderness, the story has as its hero one of the most compelling yet horrifying studies of evil in nineteenth-century fiction—James Durie, Master of Ballantrae. The Master is about his infective influence—on his younger, less attractive brother Henry; on Henry’s wife Alison; and on those narrators whom Stevenson so skilfully employs to present their experiences of this charming, ruthless, and evil man.

A very fragile copy of my mothers – faded red cloth, inscribed Gillian R Tanner(1956) and the price? 4/-, that’s four shillings to us who remember the ol’ conundrums. I think this is my favourite RLS; it is so dark.

At that time [1745:] there dwelt a family of four persons in the house of Durrisdeer, near St Brides, on the Solway shore; a chief hold of their race since the Reformation.

The Rising(from Wiki)

The novel is presented as the memoir of one Ephraim Mackellar, steward of the Durrisdeer estate in Scotland. The novel opens in 1745, the year of the Jacobite Rising. When Bonnie Prince Charlie raises the banner of the Stewarts the Durie family–the Laird of Durrisdeer, his older son James Durie (the Master of Ballantrae) and his younger son Henry Durie–decide on a common strategy: one son will join the uprising while the other will join the loyalists. That way, whichever side wins the family’s noble status and estate will be preserved. Logically, the younger son should join the rebels, but the Master insists on being the rebel (a more exciting choice) and contemptuously accuses Henry of trying to usurp his place, comparing him to Jacob. The two sons agree to toss a coin to determine who goes. The Master wins and departs to join the Rising, while Henry remains in support of King George II.

Ailean Breic Stuibhairt was an 18th-century soldier and Scottish Jacobite resistance figure. He was the centre of a murder case that inspired novels by Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Notorious as the Appin Murderer.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

bookshelves: victorian, summer-2014, tbr-busting-2014, published-1899, women, lit-richer, classic, fradio, play-dramatisation, shortstory-shortstories-novellas

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 16 to 21, 2014

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dk864

Description: Holidaying on Grand Isle in 1899, Edna Pontellier feels she is living in a dream, so the attentions of the dashing young Robert Lebrun serve merely to amuse her.

When it was published in 1899, Kate Chopin’s novel shocked society and divided critics. Respectable, married Edna Pontellier, 28, is away from her home in New Orleans, holidaying on Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico with her husband and children. Teaching her to swim is the debonair young Robert Lebrun, known for forming an attachment with a different woman every summer. Despite warnings from her more conventional friend, Adele, Edna falls incontrovertibly for Robert. When he leaves Louisiana for Mexico, Edna realises she’s been “awakened” and questions everything: her marriage, her position, the society she lives in. But what is left for her? The novel is regarded by many as the first in a new wave of modern American literature.
Produced and directed by Marion Nancarrow
Dramatised by Janice Okoh

1/5 Holidaying on Grand Isle in 1899, Edna Pontellier feels she is living in a dream.

2/5 After a disagreement with her husband, Edna plans a trip alone with Robert.

3/5 Edna continues to be enraptured by Robert’s company, but there is a shock in store for her

4/5 Leonce hopes a visit from her father will stop Edna’s unconventional behaviour.

5/5 Edna thinks Robert’s return will make her happy, but events are to overtake them both.

How kind of BBC to help me shift a long-term TBR item. I’m sure this was a pearl-clasping tale back then and opened many a young lady’s eyes.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

 

Description: In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps–a community devoted exclusively to sickness–as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.

Total Duration: 2:18:04

Olwen Wymark’s BBC R4 dramatisation, first broadcast 2001:

Paul Schofield (narrator)
Robert Whitelock (Hans Castorp)
Clive Merrison (Settembrini)
Sian Thomas (Clavdia)
Simon Ludders (Joachim)
John Hartley (Dr Behrens)
Norman Rodway (Peeperkorn)
Rhodri Hugh (Naphta)
Richard Elfyn (Dr Krokowski)
Christine Pritchard (Frau Stohr)
Directed by Alison Hindell, with music by Colin Sell

Schatzalp Davos

Not sure what I thought this story was going to be like, however I have come away satisfied. Mann makes the reader perform emotional somersaults, at times this is stanley-blade morose then quickly the mood changes to satire. I really did not like the blizzard scene.

In the bigger picture, this is another way to view the mentality in Europe circa 1914 – how weird! The music.

Overall, from this superb BBC production, I come away with three Hans Castor(p)s

Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac, Johanna Ward (Narrator)

bookshelves: published-1846, france, winter20092010, classic, fraudio, revenge

Read in January, 2010

 

– James Waring, Translator
– Unabridged
– 12 Tapes = 17 Hrs. 30 Mins
– Blackstone Audiobooks
– January 2000

BLURB – “Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is, as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying,” wrote V. S. Pritchett. A late masterpiece in Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine, Cousin Bette is the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.”

——

FROM WIKI – French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec depicted lesbian relationships similar to (though more explicit than) that of Bette and Valérie, as in his 1893 painting “In Bed”

Lisbeth Fischer (Cousin Bette) is described as “maigre, brune … les sourcils épais et réunis par un bouquet … quelques verrues dans sa face longue et simiesque” (“lean, brown, with … thick eyebrows joining in a tuft … and some moles on her narrow simian face”)

Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky

 

rosado mp3 on the road.

Description: Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits compelled to venture illegally into the Zone and collect the strange artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered there. His whole life, even the nature of his daughter, is determined by the Zone.

Picnicers from SPAAAAAAACE!

Our poor human ego takes rather a pounding with the idea here. So insignificant are we that an alien ship stops off on planet for a minimal amount of time and fails to announce arrival. Same sort of discourtesy that anyone of us shows the ants etc. when we take out the ACME red-checkered picnic cloth over their pitch and squash the grass, drop our crumbs and wrappers, take a dump behind a bush.

There is a film loosely based on this book: Stalker (1979)

Three gold spheres as rating:

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

bookshelves: skoolzy-stuff, published-1794, gothic, gutenberg-project, e-book, summer-2014, classic, boo-scary

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: FutureLearn
Recommended for: Laura, Jemidar etc
Read from June 26 to 30, 2014

 

Read here

Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns,
And, as the portals open to receive me,
Her voice, in sullen echoes through the courts,
Tells of a nameless deed.

Opening: On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony, stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert. From its windows were seen the pastoral landscapes of Guienne and Gascony stretching along the river, gay with luxuriant woods and vine, and plantations of olives. To the south, the view was bounded by the majestic Pyrenees, whose summits, veiled in clouds, or exhibiting awful forms, seen, and lost again, as the partial vapours rolled along, were sometimes barren, and gleamed through the blue tinge of air, and sometimes frowned with forests of gloomy pine, that swept downward to their base. These tremendous precipices were contrasted by the soft green of the pastures and woods that hung upon their skirts; among whose flocks, and herds, and simple cottages, the eye, after having scaled the cliffs above, delighted to repose. To the north, and to the east, the plains of Guienne and Languedoc were lost in the mist of distance; on the west, Gascony was bounded by the waters of Biscay.

Haddon Hall is the basis for Radcliffe’s crumbling, spooky castles.

Close reading exercise. What adjectives does she use? How do both descriptions connect with the emotions of the viewer, Emily? How is the heroine’s uncertainty conveyed? Are there any nouns, verbs or adjectives in particular which convey uncertainty? How, precisely, is the castle of Udolpho personified?

Towards the close of day, the road wound into a deep valley. Mountains, whose shaggy steeps appeared to be inaccessible, almost surrounded it. To the east, a vista opened, that exhibited the Apennines in their darkest horrors; and the long perspective of retiring summits, rising over each other, their ridges clothed with pines, exhibited a stronger image of grandeur, than any that Emily had yet seen. The sun had just sunk below the top of the mountains she was descending, whose long shadow stretched athwart the valley, but his sloping rays, shooting through an opening of the cliffs, touched with a yellow gleam the summits of the forest, that hung upon the opposite steeps, and streamed in full splendour upon the towers and battlements of a castle, that spread its extensive ramparts along the brow of a precipice above. The splendour of these illumined objects was heightened by the contrasted shade, which involved the valley below.

‘There,’ said Montoni, speaking for the first time in several hours, ‘is Udolpho.’

Emily gazed with melancholy awe upon the castle, which she understood to be Montoni’s; for, though it was now lighted up by the setting sun, the gothic greatness of its features, and its mouldering walls of dark grey stone, rendered it a gloomy and sublime object. As she gazed, the light died away on its walls, leaving a melancholy purple tint, which spread deeper and deeper, as the thin vapour crept up the mountain, while the battlements above were still tipped with splendour. From those, too, the rays soon faded, and the whole edifice was invested with the solemn duskiness of evening. Silent, lonely, and sublime, it seemed to stand the sovereign of the scene, and to frown defiance on all, who dared to invade its solitary reign. As the twilight deepened, its features became more awful in obscurity, and Emily continued to gaze, till its clustering towers were alone seen, rising over the tops of the woods, beneath whose thick shade the carriages soon after began to ascend.

Two and a half wet tissues is all I can muster for this drivel. I can recommend Thomas Love Peacock as a skit on the Gothic Romance genre: Nightmare Abbey is really very funny.

The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott

bookshelves: summer-2014, classic, re-visit-2014, play-dramatisation, published-1819, under-1000-ratings, fradio, gothic, radio-4, britain-scotland, ghosties-ghoulies

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from January 01, 1976 to June 30, 2014, read count: 2


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047wb66

Less sprawling than most of Scott’s novels, “lean and tragic” (E. M. Forster), but still boasting his characteristic humor and wisdom, The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) brings to vivid life a historical incident from his own family lore and from Scotland’s turbulent past.

Description: Mike Harris adapts Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor.

The novel is set in the Lammermuir Hills of south-east Scotland at the beginning of the 18th Century and tells of a tragic love affair between young Lucy Ashton and her family’s enemy Edgar Ravenswood.

The Ashtons and Ravenswoods have been enemies for centuries – but will a proposed union between the warring families finally bring peace?

Music Composed and performed by Ross Hughes and Esben Tjalve
Violin and viola – Oliver Langford
Written by Mike Harris
Produced and Directed by Clive Brill
A Brill production for BBC Radio 4.

  'BLOOD WILL FLOW'

Deep cut water course on the eastern side of the Lammermuir Hills. The area is managed as the East Lammermuir Deans nature reserve.

Having read the greater part of Scott’s works whilst a young girl at the duty visits to Great Granny in Corstorphine, this BBC offers me a chance to wallow in sentimental reminiscing.

This fiscal Romeo and Juliet tale is only really enjoyable if one knows the impact of the Darien scheme on future generations.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

    Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan
    Sean Harris as Joss Merlyn
    Shirley Henderson as Hannah Davey
    Joanne Whalley as Patience Merlyn
    Matthew McNulty as Jem Merlyn
    Ben Daniels as Francis Davey
    Andrew Scarborough as Magistrate Bassat
    Danny Miller as William
    Scarlett Archer as Beth

Production details: Filming began in September 2013 in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria. It was originally decided that the series would be filmed in Northern Ireland. The BBC was criticised for filming in Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria, as opposed to a location in Cornwall. An investment from Screen Yorkshire was provided for the series. The three-part series was commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Danny Cohen, both from the BBC.

Episode 1: (the mumbling one) Orphaned Mary Yellan travels to the remote Jamaica Inn to live with her Aunt Patience and brutal Uncle Joss. Isolated and alone, Mary must learn to navigate the perils of the smugglers’ world and her dangerous desire for Jem Merlyn.

Episode 2:

BBC receives over 100 complaints for episode one

The story itself remains a 3.75* read, however this TV miniseries is atrocious and I could not possibly recommend it.

The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains by Owen Wister

bookshelves: film-only, published-1902, western, skoolzy-stuff, classic, spring-2014, lifestyles-deathstyles, lit-richer, north-americas, adventure

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Misfit
Read on April 26, 2014


Description: In the untamed West, pioneers came to test their fortunes — and their wills. The Wyoming territory was a harsh, unforgiving land, with its own unwritten code of honor by which men lived and died. Into this rough landscape rides the Virginian, a solitary man whose unbending will is his only guide through life. The Virginian’s unwavering beliefs in right and wrong are soon tested as he tries to prove his love for a woman who cannot accept his sense of justice; at the same time, a betrayal by his most trusted friend forces him to fight against the corruption that rules the land. Still as exciting and meaningful as it was when first published one hundred years ago, Owen Wister’s epic tale of a man caught between his love for a woman and his quest for justice exemplifies one of the most significant and enduring themes in all of American literature. With remarkable character depth and vivid passages, “The Virginian” stands not only as the first great novel of American Western literature, but as a testament to the eternal struggle between good and evil in humanity. With an engaging new introduction by Gary Scharnhorst, professor of English at the University of New Mexico, this volume is an indispensable addition to the library of American Western literature.

You know, I could happily spend some days going through literary Westerns such as this…

Laura found the full film on youtube

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy

bookshelves: published-1899, spring-2014, classic, slavic, lit-richer, radio-4x, prostitution, philosophy, politics, religion, psychology

Recommended for: Laura
Read from April 10 to 20, 2014


Classic Serial

Description: Resurrection (1899) is the last of Tolstoy’s major novels. It tells the story of a nobleman’s attempt to redeem the suffering his youthful philandering inflicted on a peasant girl who ends up a prisoner in Siberia. Tolstoy’s vision of redemption, achieved through loving forgiveness and his condemnation of violence, dominate the novel. An intimate, psychological tale of guilt, anger, and forgiveness, Resurrection is at the same time a panoramic description of social life in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century, reflecting its author’s outrage at the social injustices of the world in which he lived. This edition, which updates a classic translation, has explanatory notes, and a substantial introduction based on the most recent scholarship in the field.

1: Katerina Maslova is a young prostitute on trial for the murder of one of her clients. Serving on the jury, Prince Dmitri recognises the young woman as the girl he seduced many years before. Believing himself partly responsible for her predicament, he embarks upon a complex legal attempt to reverse the sentence passed upon her.

2: Prince Dmitri follows the young prostitute Katerina Maslova to Siberia. Having been unable to reverse the sentence for murder served in error upon her, he proposes marriage in the hope of redeeming the wrongs he did to her as a girl.

But he finds his proposal contested by a fellow prisoner Simonson, a man who has already made all the sacrifices in life that Prince Dmitri only threatens to make.

Katerina Maslova …… Katherine Igoe
Dmitri Nikhloydov …… Richard Dillane
Lydia Menshova …… Vivienne Dixon
Vera Bogovskaya …… Joanna Tope
Princess Marya …… Lesley Hart
Anatoly Krylstov/Rizin …… Joe Arkley
Gudz/Makar Dyerkin …… John Buick

Directed by Lu Kemp.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00772ff

4* The Death of Ivan Ilych
4* Anna Karenina
5* War and Peace
3* The Kreutzer Sonata
CR Resurrection
2* The Cossacks
TR What Men Live By
3* A Letter to Hindu
3* The Sebastopol Sketches