Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh

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Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh

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1alaudacorax
oct. 21, 2018, 8:33am

2frahealee
Editat: oct. 21, 2018, 1:58pm

Here is a link to my 1st comment in the Carmilla thread, from March. It specifies that I'd just finished Villette by Charlotte Bronte and was surprised to come across the phrase 'through a glass darkly' or In a Glass Darkly again, as is Le Fanu's short story collection title published the year before he died in 1873. There was a rousing discussion of Carmilla & Uncle Silas and the fact that Villette had a key character called Pere Silas. This is for my own convenience mostly, since it states emphatically that Uncle Silas/Carmilla will be read in 2019. Once The Italian by Radcliffe and The Monk by Lewis (and even The Beetle) have been polished off, of course. The more snow we get, the faster I can consume them! I'd start sooner, but am committed to two more Dickens before year end.

http://www.librarything.com/topic/240683 (post 23)

Further to our discussion about word count and novel/novella/novelette/short story... now that ebook use has increased (weakened hands w/arthritis), I find it frustrating to not 'see' the size of a book, for visual estimation of time investment. Audiobooks online provide a quick reference. ie. MRJames, Blackwood, even Machen have short stories that vary from 15-20min or 45-60min, and some novellas ring in at 1-3hrs or even 4-8hrs. If I see a book listed as 10-15hrs or more, it's a doorstop (BFB/600+p.). There's no page or word count, but it does indicate whether a book fits into a weekend, a day, an hour. This research proves helpful with my ever-changing highly fickle selection process. Uncle Silas will be a long haul investment. =) Chapters/Indigo sets its Penguin paperback version at 528p. and Oxford Univ.Press paperback of In A Glass Darkly is 384p. with Carmilla clocking in at 112p. (I have no access to LT's page count apparently, since I am a 'free' member, so I must find it elsewhere, as pointed out to me by Yells c/o BigFatBook group.)

Current plan; do 3 short stories before the novel followed by the novella(s). Welcome to my topsy-turvy world!
1. Green Tea
2. The Familiar
3. Mr. Justice Harbottle
4. Uncle Silas
5. Carmilla
6. The Room in the Dragon Volant

I still prefer to group together works by one author, but that is increasingly impossible, with the continuous overlap of the Gothic group with my others (limited to ten). In realizing this though, the flow from one author to another, and one story to the next, is extremely exciting, so I'm not entirely sure I can honour my own reading pattern. One is constantly elbowing out another. I often found Uncle Silas calling this year; after reading The Woman In Black and after watching something on YouTube about a man who falls in love with a ghost, and the future is actually altered because of it, even though they don't end up together. The title escapes me at the moment, but a bit of research on IMDb will lead me to it... I just have to picture the face of the characters, the villain was known to me but never as an evil entity. Aha!

The Edge of the Garden (2011) with Kelly Monaco and Rob Estes and wonderful Canadian character actor David Lewis. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1732169/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_3 (description)
and the movie link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9zaIVLIqsc

... yes, it says Hallmark Channel movie, but even I'm not immune. I liked it a lot, and would watch it again, which is why the link is here (unsure if posted in the Gothic film thread). Sorry if I spoiled the ending for any who might actually take 90min to see it. The plot brought Edith Wharton's short ghost story to mind, called The Lady's Maid's Bell. I also watched it on YouTube after reading the tale.

3frahealee
Editat: des. 20, 2018, 7:25pm

Well, I've decided to flip the order;

Uncle Silas (current, final)
* ch.22 before I meet the title character? That's quite a prologue. =(
* "For the first time the superstitious awe that follows death, but not immediately, visited me."
* "The actual decay of the house had been prevented by my dear father; and the roof, windows, masonry, and carpentry had all been kept in repair. But short of indications of actual ruin, there are many manifestations of poverty and neglect which impress with a feeling of desolation. It was plain that not nearly a tithe of this great house was inhabited; long corridors and galleries stretched away in dust and silence, and were crossed by others, whose dark arches inspired me in the distance with an awful sort of sadness. It was plainly one of those great structures in which you might easily lose yourself, and with a pleasing terror it reminded me of that delightful old abbey in Mrs. Radcliffe’s romance, among whose silent staircases, dim passages, and long suites of lordly, but forsaken chambers, begirt without by the sombre forest, the family of La Mote secured a gloomy asylum." (ch.33) … nice shout out to Udolpho!
* "At this taunt the old man’s fury for a moment overpowered him. In an instant he was on his feet, quivering from head to foot. I never saw such a countenance — like on of those demon-grotesques we see in the Gothic side-aisles and groinings — a dreadful grimace, monkey-like and insane — and his thin hand caught up his ebony stick, and shook it paralytically in the air." (ch.51)
* “I am quite serious. I am going to have a ramble up-stairs and down-stairs, like goosey-goosey-gander; and if I do light upon his chamber, it is all the more interesting. I feel so like Adelaide, in the “Romance of the Forest,” the book I was reading to you last night, when she commenced her delightful rambles through the interminable ruined abbey in the forest.”
“Shall I go with you, Miss?”
“No, Quince; stay there; keep a good fire, and make some tea. I suspect I shall lose heart and return very soon;” and with a shawl about me, cowl fashion, over my head, I stole up-stairs.
I shall not recount with the particularity of the conscientious heroine of Mrs. Anne Radcliffe, all the suites of apartments, corridors, and lobbies, which I threaded in my ramble. It will be enough to mention that I lighted upon a door at the end of a long gallery, which, I think, ran parallel with the front of the house; it interested me because it had the air of having been very long undisturbed..." (ch.54)

2019: In a Glass Darkly / The Italian / The Monk / Melmoth the Wanderer / The Beetle / Vathek / The Vampyre / The Woman in White / plus random others? during my continued gothic binge.

4frahealee
Editat: des. 22, 2018, 6:45am

Finished off the Uncle Silas novel and the The Inheritance (1947) film, and I am so happy that I chose to read it first! Although characters are similar and the plot flows along, there are major differences where creative licence was taken in order to streamline the time frame. Young Jean Simmons, wow. I knew her mostly from Guys and Dolls.

The book …
Apart from the few quotes in my earlier post, this book infuriated me to no end! My frustration with a 17 year old girl is understandable, but it rippled out to her father and her uncle and her cousins (both) and her boyfriends and even to the staff working on both estates, and even to the highly flighty second cousin, likely meant to be endearing. I was flabbergasted with the lot of them, and could not stop reading, nor can I wait to read it again. =D Such is life.

5alaudacorax
Editat: des. 22, 2018, 7:51am

>4 frahealee:

Okay, it's a couple of years since I've read it (Whoa! Seven?), but I'm surprised you haven't mentioned what I remember as probably the most interesting character besides Silas.

6alaudacorax
des. 22, 2018, 8:14am

>6 alaudacorax:

Somewhere or other I speculated that with Madame Rougierre Le Fanu was influenced by the traditional Pantomime Dame or Ugly Sister role, then newly being played as a comic grotesque by male actors. I also suspect that panto itself is in some way a descendent of Gothic theatre (I think fallen out of fashion by that time - too lazy to look it up at the moment), so that the Dame or Sister of those days might have been a bit more 'grotesque' and a bit less 'comic' than in later years. Another of things I've been meaning to read up on for years.

7alaudacorax
des. 22, 2018, 8:16am

>4 frahealee: - My frustration with ...

I distinctly remember really, really wanting to kick Maud's father.

8alaudacorax
des. 22, 2018, 8:23am

>4 frahealee:

Never heard of that film, that I remember. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. High rating on IMDb and filmed by the same chap who filmed The Third Man - got to see that.

9frahealee
Editat: des. 22, 2018, 11:31am

I didn't mention her, because I fully expected her to be despicable. In a lot of English Gothic stories, the bad guy is either Italian or French. Maybe Arabic or Turkish or Asian, etc. The same is apparent in Southern Gothic, where Italians are equal to African in their 'inferior' place in society. I knew from the get go to be frustrated by her oppressive manipulative behavior and hoped that she would eat a few of her own words and be taken to task for evil collusion. She was absolutely my 'operatic' image of the grotesque, right down to the image of her being as bad with the wig as without.

I didn't really comprehend that link, until watching two stories back-to-back; Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning (1988) and Christopher Walken in Vendetta (1999), a tv movie. Bio research on HPLovecraft also highlighted that viewpoint, with a NYC backdrop. His high horse position in New England, reflecting common thought process in the UK.

Currently taking in Oliver Twist (mini-series) and Black Beauty (a seasonal indulgence with my daughter). It occurs to me that Bumble bugs me more the Sykes or Fagin, for the same reason. The really bad guys are expected to behave the way they do, for whatever reason, but the shady characters like the Artful Dodger and the Beadle are so annoying I can barely keep from launching a stuffy at the screen!