Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The stuff of dreams....

I wrote a piece for the Telegraph that appears today after Muriel Gray criticised the submissions for the long list of the Orange Prize. It is a slightly tongue in cheek approach to women's fiction:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml;jsessionid=HPLVLOP1O2MOLQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/portal/2007/03/21/nosplit/ftchicklit21.xml

I'll try to get the link to work properly later when I am back in college.

I should know that you mess with Heyer fans at your peril. A very kind friend put up a link to it on the Guardian talkboards. I was really touched he did so. However I've immediately been told off by the Guardianista bloggers for my first sentence being cringeworthy, and making them wince. (Ladies, in the spirit of Heyer, I was going for comic exaggeration and contrast - sorry if you took it as boasting).
My favourite is someone who asks sniffily 'what IS a Guardian research fellow?' (I'm not sure I know myself)
Maybe I should blog and reply to my critics. And at least put them out of their misery re the identity of the disabled man. Charles Audley of course, loses his arm at the Battle of Waterloo in An Infamous Army.......

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello. I enjoyed your aticle in the Telegraph today and have read Iyour pages which I also much liked. I am a literary agent representing successful authors and would ber much like to get in touch with me. If you don't already have a literary agent and would be interested to get in touch please email me on carolinesheldon@carolinesheldon.co.uk

Jenny said...

I'm sorry if my GUT post came across as sniffy; it really wasn't intended to be. I was trying to establish what your subject speciality was, that's all.

No, I think we all appreciated - the Heyer fans, at least - that your first line was intended for comic effect - it was someone's husband who, unfortunately, failed to appreciate it.

And while I hope you won't take this as me being "sniffy" again, I'm not convinced you can describe Babs as "learning to love" a disabled man - she's in love with Charles long before he loses his arm. On the other hand, the general point I decidedly agree with - and I very much appreciate your putting this view across!

Once again, I'm sorry if you thought I was being sniffy. I wasn't intending to be. And thank you for the article - I enjoyed it (mostly because I agree with it so much!)

Shelagh said...

Hello Glenda. I didn't mean to be sniffy either, and I appreciated your article too.

Where I differ from Jenny - and clearly I was quite wrong - is that actually the first line came across to me as 'So I enjoy this stuff, but I'm an intelligent educated person, honest'. Now, I've done this myself. We intelligent educated women enjoy reading Helen Fielding and Jilly Cooper and Georgette Heyer because, with our sophisticated critical apparatus, we can see all the things that make these books interesting and valuable, and we aren't just reading brain candy, not us. It's a kind of establishing your credentials - it says 'If I like it, it must be good'. And I thought you over-egged the pudding, a bit.

I hope this makes some kind of sense. You were perfectly right to pick up Muriel Gray's daft remarks, and I'd be interested to see what response she might have to your very sensible comments. It does no service to our position as women to have our everyday concerns dismissed as trivial (of course this is equally true for men) and to assume that the experiences of ordinary people - the human condition, in short - is too trivial a subject for fiction.

So - I hope I haven't offended you. More particularly since I'm a friend of your 'very kind friend' who posted the link and I wouldn't want to offend him either.

All good wishes

Glenda Cooper said...

Dear Jenny and Shelagh
Thank you for bothering to read my blog and take the time to comment on it....The top line, Shelagh, was not meant to set myself up as a intelligent, educated woman who could justify the reading of Heyer et al. It was meant to be an absurd p*sstake of a woman who was tries to portray herself as selfconsciously and selfrighteously highbrow - but yet all she wants to do was secretly rush to Paddington and buy the latest commercial novel. (I'm sure there must be a similar woman like this somewhere in the Heyer canon). Anyway I thought that by overegging the pudding I would make that clear. But plainly not. Next time I will arm self with gin and Benzedrine before writing...Now Jenny, as for the Bab Childe line - well that was mischief on my part. I was trying to give Heyer plots rather saucy Sun-style descriptions that would intrigue and make true fans guess what they are - and laugh. You obviously got These Old Shades and A Civil Contract. As for Infamous Army I said "learning to love" because I didn't think "falling in love" was right as Bab already does love Charles. Of course like the magnificent woman she is, his loss of an arm doesn't matter at all - but they do have to adapt their relationship (hence the 'learning' reference - but it was a mischievous comment rather than strictly truthful).
Finally I am not at all offended by your comments - I'm pleased you read the piece and felt strongly enough to write about them. The only thing I would be mortally offended by is that offered a choice of Damerel, Avon and Vidal - you don't go for Vidal.....
With best wishes
Glenda

Shelagh said...

Oh dear! Damarel, every time :-)

helbel said...

Damarel forever! (though I'd marry Freddie Stanton if he offered)

Glenda Cooper said...

Dear me. I just don't get the Damerel love...But Freddie Stanton - yes. I'm always terrified that Kitty will somehow go back to the horribly self-satisfied Jack....and his declaration of love makes me blub everytime.

Miss Mabel said...

I'm a bit late here, cause I just happened upon your article while shmooping about the internet. I just wanted to say (1) nice article, thanks (2) I will never forget The Goldfish, and (3) don't we get to read your research paper? Finally--as a bit of total randomness--I'm only now really getting into Jilly Cooper, and I think she's the only true heir to Heyer that I've read. This thought startles me, but I think it's true.

:-) Terri in Montreal, Canada

Glenda Cooper said...

I was in Kuala Lumpur airport and had to physically stop myself buying Score! again because I have it at home and it was some outrageous sum of money...I think Jilly is great. Or at least early Jilly. Lisa and Co, Octavia, Harriet (my personal favourite) and the early Riders, Rivals etc. Not so keen on Wicked! Pandora's Box etc...feel it is getting more forced and less jolly.
I'll dig out my paper!