We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

ASECS, Richmond: traces of a slave society; perplexities on how to proceed from here, & ducks & daffodils · 29 March 09

Dear Friends,

It’s been a week since I last wrote: Monday through Wednesday I was practicing my paper on the 1991 mini-series Clarissa, working on two of my further projects: Victorian political novels as part of a perspective for the Palliser films, and reading studiously Wm McCarthy’s Anna Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment towards a review; reading for and teaching at GMU; posting to friends offlist and on listservs; walking, talking, eating, going to the movies with Yvette and/or Jim; not to omit long bouts at the dentist having my few real teeth cleaned and my two partial dentures fitted; and then packing and travelling by train to Richmond for this year’s ASECS meeting.

We had a rejuvenating time while away (one night it was real old-fashioned partying till past midnight at the hotel, with me & Jim downing 4 Scotch and sodas, and all I could wish for was to be able to dance too), and now I’ve begun to settle in again, catching up on reading and grading student papers, rereading yet more books for the general education literature course and pleasure too. Despite the manifest increasing troubles with this blog (its functions are not working as they should, Jim cannot save it on his central computer as it’s gotten too big, the latest version of firefox rejected its text pattern), I feel a need to continue writing in it. It satisfies a need in me to publish essays on books, movies, and drama, on art and politics, to write in it as a diary, travel journal and cultural memoir, to use it as a space for self-exploration and release, for working out of ideas towards further essays and (on rare occasions) answering letters by other people on or off the blog or listservs; not to omit trying to work out plans for future studies & our lives here together in Virginia.

Tonight I thought I’d tell a little of the human dimension of our time at Richmond as well as see if I can figure out a flexible yet disciplined schedule of eading, studies and writing for the spring and summer to come. Just like my time at the BSECS, Oxford, the non-academic parts of the conference were my happiest moments. Vic (Ms Place of Jane Austen’s World) is a native of Richmond, and she and I met for dinner on Thursday night. She was a fairy godmother to me, and drove me around the city, showing me some of its most beautiful and historic areas. I saw a large park every bit as pretty as Central Park, complete with an oneiric lake and place for doing plays by Shakespeare in summer; we drove across the James River in a memorably picturesque setting (complete with chandelier-like bare and budding trees set across a wet sky); we drove down the famous Monument avenue, and I saw the huge statues on pedestals aggressively celebrating the civil war southern generals who died in battle (the murderous Jeb Stuart and Stonewall Jackson), Lee in simple dignity on his horse (at the center of several criss-crossing streets), Jefferson Davies standing like Nelson on his column, only beneath him is a colonnade on top of a arched pedestal, and finally (anti-climatically) Arthur Ashe with his tennis racket and children about him. The houses are Edwardian mansions and Vic said they are still many of them occupied by a single family. Wealth in the early 20th century has become wealth in the early 21st.

There are lots of smaller districts in Richmond: a long street of small restaurants, and shops in one place, an area called the Fan which seemed imitative of London streets (tucked in parks and squares, attached and private houses) and others which remind me of here in Alexandria where I live, built in the 1940s and 50s mostly; museums (including a couple dedicated to the confederacy which I imagine are nowadays riven with schizophrenic contradictory attitudes), an opera house, place for plays, moviehouses. It seemed that the hotel we were staying in (and two other fancy boxes of steel and glass and a nearby convention center) were in the ugliest part of town, made up of warehouses, and cement boxes of institutions, with the statehouse being an imitation of Tara.

It’s a city that doesn’t forget the civil war which destroyed most of it. The population today is majority black; one curious thing was the lack of traffic, even on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The railway station was also troubling: the photographs on the wall were all of white people in the 40s and 50s, and some of a flood in the 70s. Surely there have been photographs since. It seems that up to the 1960s black people were not allowed in the railway station except just before the train arrived, and then had to use an old filthy iron stairway (still visible from one platform). I felt I was seeing a trace of the slave society that once was: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Martineau, Fanny Kemble and all those who visited it who were northerners talked of how strong was the contrast with a capitalist egalitarian one. Mostly the public world of a slave society is unashamed in its displays of wealth and power for the few, and desperate poverty and repression for the many, with little sense of duty towards any public worlds beyond implicit militarism everywhere. We took a cab back to the railway and then saw the commercial district: many empty buildings, failed stores, the once capital of the confederacy is now dependent on federal reserve banks for what business it has.

After our drive, Vic and I headed for the Thai room, a lovely quiet restaurant, where Jill S (my dear friend who had driven 12 hours to get there) joined us around 8:00. We ate, drank, and had good talk until well past 10. Vic was kind enough to drive me back to my hotel and then the next day came to the session where I gave my talk on Friday. That day Jill spent the day with me going to sessions, eating lunch, and she was of course there for my session. Afterwards she, I , and Jim ate out in probably one of the most expensive and fancy places in all Richmond: the Jefferson hotel, whose innards look like a palace (huge columns inside, marble floors, elaborate decorated furniture from another era, flowers everywhere, different levels to walk on, grand staircases and balustrades, ornate iron gates. It reminded me of the Reform Club in Pall Mall, London (though that was nowhere as overdone as this), where I gave my talk: controlled opulence. We had a dinner where each course was accompanied with a different kind of wine, port for dessert (I had vanilla ice cream).

Jill went back to her hotel by 10 as she had a long day’s drive back, and it was then that Jim and I went down to the bowels of the hotel where we found AMS press had paid for a table of snacks and another of much liquor and wine, and three rooms were made available for the people of the conference to drink, talk, make music (which some people did, playing guitars, singing folk songs from Ireland). We stayed and talked and drank. As I said, all that was missing to me was music for dancing.

On Saturday at the women’s caucus I sat with Samantha C, a graduate student (soon to finish her Ph.d. and take up a tenure-track job in Singapore) who I first met at another ASECS and have become very friendly with online from C18-l and now ECW. One chapter of her dissertation is on Clarissa. I met other old friends there too: Caroline B, Mary T, Christine E. At the various sessions on all three days and in the corridors (a very important place in conferences), and the book-selling room, I met old friends and made new acquaintances.

It was not all good feeling and contact. The food in the hotel, and especially the womens’ caucus, was terrible, and as feminism dies a strangled death from misrepresentation, unacknowledged & overt erasure, ridicule, and lack of funds or power, the purpose of this particular luncheon gets more and more lost, especially as the younger women manifest no interest or any real understanding of serious root issues—at least in public. One of the things done at this luncheon is to decide what will be the topics for the two panels sponsored by this caucus. Following a majority vote did not allow for serious topics to win: like the laws and customs controlling marriage, rape; earlier women’s scholarship, but made the panels to be about frivolous and silly things (women and happiness no less), avoiding all uncomfortable topics. (Worse than most votes on listservs for books to read.) Nonetheless, two women at my table put on sour faces shortly after the luncheon began, and I heard one of them protest against being categorized as a woman, for after all this category it seemed did not give rise to anything particuarly she wanted to be connected to. I was relieved when both of them left early, but know this kind of behavior is as bad a sign as the voting for stupid topics.

I have also to make a followable plan for the months to come. I do have too much to do (though that’s better than not having enough) and am perplexed. I must be realistic. At the conference in a session on memoirs of actresses, I learnt that after all the 6 volume George Anne Bellamy has not been published by Chatto & Pickering, but rather a much inferior 2 volume abridgement of it which presents her in a obtuse and unsympathetic way, so my attempt to put an etext of this rare book online is no longer redundant. I had stopped because it was so arduous to do (as my text has the old-fashioned “fs” and seems to scan badly) and I thought why repeat what was being done elsewhere, for those who want the text could get it from a library. Now my project is meaningful and useful again. But where find the time for daily typing?

I must return to writing about the Palliser films. I can see that it could be months for me to finish reading about Victorian political novels. I’ve now begun Sybil and find it intelligent and genuinely radical: Disraeli is using Scott’s method of setting a story against a backdrop of serious historical and political analysis, and in this case the abysmal poverty of most of the English people (reminding me of Gaskell’s depiction in Mary Barton), and I’ve got a new book called Feminine Political Novel in Victorian England by Barbara Leah Harman as well as Mary Ward’s two volume A Writers’ Recollections, to say nothing of Speare’s book and the articles on Meredith. Before I go further, I must get back to a daily or at least nearly daily composition and watching of these films or I’ll find I don’t finish this project either. So often I don’t finish projects because I have no connections and so they don’t end in prestigious paper publication, and I can’t go as far as I like since I know no one and often must do without essential research in private and far-away library collections. But I surmize if I finish this and get it onto the Net, people will find it as useful as my Austen calendars have been found. (I just have to hope no movie studio will protest my use of stills, and they have not done so thus far or on my Austen miscellany page).

Obviously, I mean to get back to working on the first two chapters of a book to be called The Austen Films. Here my trajectory is at least clear. First I will put up on my site the Clarissa paper, and all the work of comparing Richardson’s book with the 1991 film, plus the list of letters and documents used in the film. I’ll update my reading Clarissa in real time website too. I mean to add a page of useful annotated bibliography. Then I’ll start writing. This will be my day project beginning in May.

Then there are two reviews. I’m in the throes of reading Wm McCarthy’s Anne Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment: a deeply felt, subtle mature picture of a fully realized believable woman, he brings out the power of her radical thought and beauty and appeal of her poetry. I’m reading her work alongside the biography. I also mean to read McCarthy’s Hester Thrale Piozzi, Literary Woman. I assume he’ll unlock her deeper subtle thinking and feeling self the way he has Barbauld. I’ve bought the Broadview edition of some of Barbauld’s poetry and prose, and McCarthy’s edition of her poetry. At the conference, I managed to buy for 50% off, Mary Trouille’s Wife-Abuse in France, which I mean to review for the Intelligencer too. I heard her give another paper from a chapter of it, and looking into it, it’s a serious work of hard scholarship on law, custom (no such thing as marital rape and “moderate chastisement” by husbands and families of women allowed), property as well as children-abuse.

Now when am I going to do all this. In the next month and one half I have still to teach. Evenings I’m often tired, and when I’m tired I can’t even watch movies, much less read. I’m reading also some excellent books on films (and I mean to tell of three sessions on film I went to at the conference). I keep up my comfort women’s books: my latest is Miss Webster and Cherif by Patricia Duncker. Its secret I finally decided is that the narrator, a spinster forcibly retired from her job teaching French on the grounds she persisted in really teaching the subject and then left to rot by herself, whereby she has a complete breakdown, ends up in hospital and goes to Africa to recuperate (!), and her young black male Muslim companion, Cherif, are naifs, kindly honest innocents abroad (abroad being the world), from different points of view, who look out at the mad world and go about failing in good spirits. One beautiful paragraph about how much her home means to her:

“She looked around at her books, pictures, heavy lined green curtains, the framed photographs of landscapes in France, the new DVD player, and realised that she was speaking the truth [she has just said ‘I’d never leave the cottage. I’d rather die here’]; this was her tomb, her pyramid, the final resting place” (p. 161).

I love how she and he walk through St James park, and “settle down with a thermos of tea before the ducks and daffodils” and later “ponder the assembled ducks and floods of daffodils, sweeping across the greening lawns” (p. 171-72).

I am reading Trollope’s very great The Duke’s Children, quietly desolate book, so graceful and yet acknowledging the insinuating evil of Henry James ruthless corrupt characters, and also listening to the very great Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte read aloud by Donada Peters and David Case (who has a voice for Gilbert Markham I’ve never heard before, one soft, using dialect and conveying the character’s subtle kind nature and strong passions). This masterwork is about the miseries of marriage (alcoholism is but one of Arthur Huntingdon’s foulnesses) and miseducation of complicit and compliant vicious men & women, coercion of decent good ones.

How to work out a schedule. By typing all I want to do here, I can look at it, and come back tomorrow morning to decide.

Ellen gently putting Ian (my boy cat) off my lap and so to bed

Posted by: Ellen

* * *


  1. It was a pleasure to finally meet you in person, Ellen. I’m so glad you decided to go to the Jefferson to eat. From your description, you ate at Le Maire, probably Richmond’s grandest restaurant. Isn’t the interior of The Jefferson outrageous? Whenever a member of the Janeites of the James celebrates her birthday, we go to the bar for a drink and hors d’oevres. Very grand.

    It was too bad that it rained the entire time you were in Richmond. I look forward to seeing you in Alexandria when my travels take me there. Vic
    Vic    Mar 30, 12:24am    #
  2. I’ll add to this that just before and while away I read the last of three excellent books on costume drama: Robert Gidding’s The Classic Serial on TV and Drama is a sensible history which gives solid accounts of important (sociologially and aesthetically) costume dramas since the 1970s to the end of the 1990s. These include neglected and overlooked good films like the mini-series adapting Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Gidding’s Screening the Novel provides a fascinating and rare set of interviews with people making a specific costume drama, the 1987 Vanity Fair and we see how the low status of the effort affects what they are doing though they keep up high and thoughtful ideals and practice. Finally, Sue Harper’s Picturing the Past (rise and fall) where she saws like Higson, these dramas have as much subversion and questioning and release of repressed desires as they are conservative; comically (to me) she didn’t prove that costume drama died in the 60s (which is hinted as the ending in the subtitle of the book).

    Ellen    Mar 30, 8:02am    #
  3. Dear Vic,

    Yes. We live but a couple of hours apart and the next time you come to Alexandria, we’ll do lunch in Olde Towne.

    Elinor    Mar 30, 10:40pm    #
  4. I had written Nick that as opposed to the general atmosphere and points of view of the BSECS which was dismayingly conservative (with the word feminism trotted out as about a group of wildly wrong women and no contradiction so much as whispered) at the ASECS, if politics are now muted, the implicit perspective in general remains liberal and progressive.

    He answered thus:

    “Thanks for the mails – lovely to have you back and am glad that you had such a good time despite the stresses. I have read your first blog and it sounds as though the time in Richmond was enjoyable even if the women’s caucus was so dispiriting.

    Obviously I was very interested in your observations on the comparison between the BSECS and ASECS. I would have absolutely no idea about these things apart from the fleeting impressions gained at the Trollope and Byron Conferences, which would in fact very much bear out what you say. Although it does not sound as if the women’s caucus in Richmond was any cause for celebration.

    My general impressions on this subject in the UK – and they are impressions gained from second-hand accounts – are that there has been a substantial shift in my lifetime. The days of student and academic radicalism in the 60’s and 70’s, which I know can be over-stated but still very definitely existed, have completely vanished and academic life is now a competitive rat-race, with the focus on people getting ‘careers’ which earn them money, status, power (of course this is a probably absurd generalisation). But the young people who are protesting now against capitalism, exploitation, world poverty, ecological issues etc. don’t seem to be based in the universities as far as I can make out. Certainly not organisationally. I am quite out of touch with these things but I can perceive this shift. It may all be quite different in the US.

    Anyway it was fascinating to read your comments, observations and work-plans – the latter of which sound formidable to me!”
    Elinor    Mar 30, 11:33pm    #
  5. Dear Nick,

    Thus far for me as an adjunct it seems much of the claimed radicalism of those who say they are very lefist is hypocritical. I know one must take care of oneself and can’t be responsible for the injustices of a system beyond what one can reach to help, but I’ve heard and seen such complicity and also shark and cut-throat tactics from so many people and the whole thing (organization, what is planned for students, the way publications work out) so corrupt it’s hard to see the university world as in any way better than the business one. Sometimes I’ve thought at least the profit motive makes the people working in business chose for promotion people who actually do a decent job rather than their friends or for paybacks. Nonetheless, it is true that the American version of ECS is more liberal in feel than the British. I’d say feminism is in a desperate state theoretically—it’s alive and well pragmatically.

    My ruminations over what to do next are partly the result of not wanting to overdo. Now that this commitment is done, and I have no other date I want to take it easier, and yet keep my life meaningful and full of things to do. Jim suggests I put Bellamy on the back burner. I just don’t have the time, and that come May I throw myself into the Austen project the way I did the Trollope one when I wrote a book. For now I’m working on getting the Clary paper up and updating my website (I made a start tonight) and want to get back to the Palliser films. I thought I would try to thread in Barbauld over the next few months and then turn to Trouille’s book. At night tonight I finished Miss Weston and Cherif I so wish I weren’t so tired at night; I’d love to watch more movies than I do.

    Elinor    Mar 31, 12:03am    #
  6. From Kathy:

    “Dear Ellen,

    I’ve loved reading your comments on Miss Webster and Cherif! It’s an unusual book: the characters are two naifs, as you say, but tough and brilliant. Miss Webster is no quiet, conventional spinster out of Anita Brookner or Barbara Pym (though I love them, too, and it’s not fair to call them conventional. What do I mean? Perhaps that Miss Webster ignores all conventions). This is one of the few books I didn’t blog about, and I’m glad you’re writing about it. Patricia Duncker deserves to be better known. It’s so difficult to find really good contemporary fiction. Reviews are all good these days: there’s so little space for reviews in newspapers anymore that reviewers must feel under pressure to be cheerleaders.

    I do want to read the new Anita Brookner.

    You had such a good time in Richmond, and it’s great to read about it. How nice that you had a reunion with your friend Jill!

    Elinor    Mar 31, 12:03am    #
  7. Dear Kathy,

    I was sad when Miss Webster came to an end. The ending was somewhat artificial or she seemed to be struggling to tie the book together. I liked the theme of wanting truth but as the book has been about comfort, I’m not sure it worked in the place it was. I’ve read a number of Brookners, but not gotten very far in any Pym. Maybe I’ve tried the wrong ones, but they just haven’t held me. Duncker is just the sort of self-deprecating woman writer reviewers (who are mostly male) would ignore, and women in the male periodicals be embarrassed by. She is also not overtly political and angry enough for WRofB. I’d like to try Sisters and Strangers.

    At moments the stress was bad. Since I’ve been getting a little better these years, I’m more able to pinpoint what it is that so distresses me. I think it’s the connections: I get so nervous about meeting the person, about how that is going to be, about the first few moments. I put it in words that I fear somehow I’ll get lost or the person won’t make it, but think it has more to do with risk and uncertainty and a fear of this. Once I’m sitting down in the session and listening or at the dinner with the person I’m okay; it’s in the liminal connecting that I go to pieces. Jim, for example, made the phone calls and arrangments that enabled me to get together with both Vic and Jill. No mean feat. So what to do? Open my book and read while the time goes by and hold myself calm that way. And then it does all go beautifully (usually :) )

    I also panic at new things. When I'm to meet someone or a group of people I've never met before, it's very stressful. This coming Sunday I'm to go to a reading of poetry from Letters to the World. I've talked or written at and to some of these women for a couple of years now. My translated poem is in the book. But it will be very hard going into the cafeteria at 11:15 am (15 minutes past the time precisely so I won't be first). I won't read my poem aloud, but I will be in the audience. I want to go, and yet feel much trepidation

    Brookner is so admirable to me. She spent decades writing brilliant art criticism and now turns around and churns out these wonderful novels.

    I visited your blog tonight. I wish I could control myself more and keep to topics instead of rooting so much in myself.

    Elinor    Mar 31, 12:20am    #
  8. Journalizing: It has made me feel good that a number of friends have written me to say they're glad I'm back (both on the listservs and off).

    Well, I've made a start. For now I’ll alternate reading McCarthy on Barbauld and Barbauld herself and then on Thrale, with books relating to my project on Palliser films (I suppose books on films are as germane as books on Meredith, Sybil and the political novel). That’s one half of the time. The later and more tired half I’ve begun work on putting up my Clarissa paper and all my comparisons of the book and film, plus a new brief selective annotated bibliography.

    After Clarissa I’ll return to the Palliser films for a while (say the second part of April). In May I’ll throw myself into the Austen films for the summer and try try try to produce a chapter of a book. For breaks back to McCarthy review. I may have to put aside the Palliser films work for then once again, but I think I’ve been thorough enough that I will be able to pick it up in the fall.

    Very late fall will be Trouille's Wife-Abuse.

    Jim says I must put aside George Anne Bellamy for now. It’s just one too much.

    Morning I'll post (minimally as long as no one else does), and at night I'll have my womens' novels and memoirs (right now a goodie awaiting me is Mary Ward's A Writer's Recollections) and movies and blogs and friends.

    Elinor    Mar 31, 10:35am    #
  9. “Dear Ellen,

    I love your analysis. The book is so odd that it transcends genre.

    Yes, Brookner writes beautifully. She has a new one out this year (maybe not yet, though).

    You seem to have the right energy to go to conferences and get a lot out of them, even if you are nervous at times. The “liminal connecting” expresses it beautifully. I’m so glad your paper went well. And I’m impressed that Jill came to meet you.

    If you would like my copy of Mr. Skeffington (I paid only $1 for it: it’s a 1949 copy with a beautfiul dust jacket that unfortunately sort of crumbles in my hands; I had to take it off) I’ll send it to you. Von Arnim is such a strange writer. I don’t guarantee that you’ll like it: the shape of her books is better than her style. But it is about a subject that interests women of our age. She does an abrupt turn at the end to keep it from sentimentalism.

    Elinor    Apr 1, 7:27am    #
  10. Dear Kathy,

    It’s so curious to me now how much I enjoy these things and even then live on the memories for a while afterwards, all the while I am made nervous, couldn’t do it without Jim there by my side (and today I have belated stress symptoms, this time a bad lower back), and realize the limitations of these encounters, even with friends :) Socializing seems to contain all the ambiguities of life wrapped into intense moments. Exhausting. I am looking forward to the “Emily Dickinson project” on WWTTA. I know I’m just about the only one posting there (with two others from time to time), but I will actually take some books over the three months and read poetry and letters by her and a biography of her. I find nothing particularly strange or ill about her; only she’s unusual in having acted so consistently on her dislike (?) awkwardness (it’s said when she began to speak she intimidated others) or trauma (?), maybe that she was able to and is now so well known for her poetry.

    Beyond being unable to cope with the liminal, for me meeting new people, especially in a group is anxiety-producing. This Sunday I am to go to listen to a reading of poems from letters to the World at the National Womens Museum with lunch first. Scary. I won’t read my poem; I’ll just be in the audience.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to read Von Armin’s Mr Skeffington.

    Part of my getting a schedule is to let myself have evenings free. Do you know Frederick Wiseman’s documentaries? Well we’ve downloaded three, and one is Central Park. I saw it years ago, an evocative intelligent examination of the politics of the place set in a loving continual photographing of it. 3 hours this weekend with Jim.

    Much affection,
    Elinor    Apr 1, 7:29am    #
  11. From Clare:

    “Thanks for posting the blog entry on Richmond, sounds like a great few days, except for the food.

    I was concerned to read that there are problems with the site. I hope Jim can resolve it. I’ve just discovered that the new iMac 24’’ has a one terabyte hard disc, which means they must be available for other systems. Perhaps copying the whole site to a large disk would sort things, but I’m sure Jim will know what to do, once he’s had a ruminate.

    Elinor    Apr 1, 8:41am    #
  12. From another friend:

    “Socializing can be exhausting. We love our friends but it’s feast or famine in conference or party situations. But it is nice to be together with people who care about the same subjects.”

    Yes, Yes it’s getting together with people who like the same subjects. Also Kathy to be with people who spend their lives in the same way. When I stand or sit there and listen to someone who is telling me how he or she spends most of waking hours reading, studying, on a project, much of which has no earthly compensation (meaning jobs, promotion, prestige), I feel better. People with tenure who come to such conferences do it. People without tenure who haven’t any hope of getting any. Independent scholars (people with no job and no affiliation) do it. I feel understood and understand. On top of that I’ve here and there made a couple of women friends where we talk of personal life (this is more true of the East Central meeting where there are usually few “high-powered” people about) and I get intelligent remarks (even).

    I’ve known famine in other party or group situations. Then I’m desolate and want to leave pronta.

    Elinor    Apr 2, 7:50am    #
  13. I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to do what I tried, which was to get Hotels.com to allow me to come a day earlier and leave a day earlier, which would have allowed me to share in your glorious tour of Richmond with Vic. I’ve been to nursing conferences, and Wagner symposia, but never to a literary conference, and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely. Especially the man who was the authority on Wollstonecraft, and shamefully, the French professor with that fascinating movie, even if she was ill-prepared.
    Jill Spriggs    Apr 2, 5:31pm    #
  14. Dear Jill,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I too liked the man’s paper on Wollstonecraft’s Rights of Woman. I also liked the session on memoirs of women actresses. The papers on Austen were complicated amalgams of the fascinating and worthy and wrong-headed.

    I could not and do not like the French professor’s paper. First and foremost had I gone third, I would not have gotten to give my paper after months of work. She did not care how long she took. Then, the movie may be fascinating, but her discourse on it was filled with banal thrill-like words. What did she say that made us appreciate or understand more what we were seeing? She did show bits about masquerade and it’s true that ridicule was central to the period’s destruction of identities and social capital of other people; but if she meant to critique it, she failed to see her behavior was of a piece with those who hurt others out of their own ego.

    Elinor    Apr 3, 12:08am    #
  15. “Hi Ellen!

    I just purchased an ex-library cope of the six volume An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy for $375. It looks like a good readable copy; it was rebound into three volumes. I may have it again rebound because it doesn’t look like it’s in very good shape. But won’t that be wonderful to have?


    Dear Jill,

    My copy, old, battered,half-broken cost me $300. The most expensive book I’ve ever bought. It’s so expensive to have books rebound. I’ve done it twice thus far: my thesaurus I’ve had since age 13 and my French dictionary since age 15.

    Elinor    Apr 3, 7:04am    #
  16. Hi Ellen, Jill, and Elinor – Here is the link to the Google book version of An Apology for the Life of George Ann Bellamy.

    Vic    Apr 11, 9:59am    #
  17. “Hi Ellen,

    I tried to leave a message on your blog. This link is for you and Jill. I apologize if you’ve already found it.

    Google books offers an e-text version of An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy: Late of Covent-Garden Theatre. Written by Herself. To which is Annexed, Her Original Letter to John Calcraft, ... The Third Edition. In Five Volumes. ... By George Anne Bellamy, Alexander Bicknell Published by printed for the author, and sold by J. Bell, 1785 Original from Oxford University Digitized Jun 29, 2006.

    Click here: http://books.google.com/books?id=mHQBAAAAQAAJ

    Happy Easter, all! Vic”
    Elinor    Apr 11, 11:09am    #
  18. Dear Vic,

    Thank you for that information. I think my project as originally conceived is therefore probably superfluous. I had been finding these texts hard to scan: they have the old-fashioned f and are in a bad state. The version of the Google book is the 5 volume one; I have a six volume one. So I have to look into this and see what’s the difference.

    What I need to do is reconceive the project and etext edition. I could read Volumes 3 through 6 (I’ve only read through to the end of 2), and then offer selections with commentaries inbetween. I will eventually write up a new introduction and leave on line what I’ve done: Vol 1 and part of Vol 2 and re-embed the whole in a new conception. I’ll have a short online essay too.

    I could make it the subject of a paper for a future ASECS.

    Elinor    Apr 12, 8:36am    #

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