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'The Best of Anya'

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Wed March 23rd, 2011, 1:32 am

"MLE" wrote:Nah, Philippa Gregory just wrote forewords for them, and rather condescending ones at that. But putting her name on them means that they show up in more reader's searches, and for that I thank her. She's pretty much single-handedly brought Anya Seton's works back from the Out-of-Print graveyard of forgotten books.


Oh those forwards drove me nuts, especially the one for Avalon IIRC. She was downright insulting and I'm glad they dropped her for My Theodosia. But her *NAME* did help sell so I guess we should be grateful for that.

One thing to point out and for other authors to remember - even someone like Seton has an off *meh* book on occasion - it happens to the best of us.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

BrianPK
Reader
Location: Ireland

Postby BrianPK » Thu March 24th, 2011, 12:19 am

"Misfit" wrote:Oh those forwards drove me nuts, especially the one for Avalon IIRC. She was downright insulting


What did she say that you found insulting?

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu March 24th, 2011, 12:34 am

"BrianPK" wrote:What did she say that you found insulting?


Brian, it has been a few years, but in general I recall a snootiness towards her writing and stories in general. Most specifically, I recall an inference towards a more *inappropriate* relationship between father and daughter in Devil Water. I don't recall picking up on that, nor to the best of my memory have I seen others mention it either. PG, on the other hand focuses on incest a bit in her novels.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

BrianPK
Reader
Location: Ireland

Postby BrianPK » Thu March 24th, 2011, 2:04 am

Well,Misfit, I read Devil Water years ago and how anyone could construe an unnatural relationship between the father and daughter in that marvellous story is just beyond me.But nothing really surprises me about people and their "imaginings" any more.
Regarding Anya Seton's writing style and stories,well of course they differ from what a more modern author would compose and write. Most of Seton's novels are from the 50s and 60s. In 50 years time most current authors will be regarded as old hat and out of fashion. Only a few will still be remembered but I'm pretty sure that there will always be people who will discover the charm, the(yes) innocence and the sheer delightful entertainment to be garnered from Anya Seton's wonderful stories. :)

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu March 24th, 2011, 2:11 am

"BrianPK" wrote:Well,Misfit, I read Devil Water years ago and how anyone could construe an unnatural relationship between the father and daughter in that marvellous story is just beyond me.But nothing really surprises me about people and their "imaginings" any more.
Regarding Anya Seton's writing style and stories,well of course they differ from what a more modern author would compose and write. Most of Seton's novels are from the 50s and 60s. In 50 years time most current authors will be regarded as old hat and out of fashion. Only a few will still be remembered but I'm pretty sure that there will always be people who will discover the charm, the(yes) innocence and the sheer delightful entertainment to be garnered from Anya Seton's wonderful stories. :)


You see why I was scratching my head at her forewards? I know Seton can take some getting used to (as any author *that old*), but she's well worth it IMHO. Honestly, I love the older stuff, and that includes the 70's and 80's. There are plenty of treasures waiting to be discovered and/or rediscovered.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

SCW
Avid Reader
Preferred HF: Lately World Two or the time immediately before and after this period
Location: Australia

Postby SCW » Mon March 28th, 2011, 6:50 am

Maybe I'll re-enact the scene from Dead Poet's Society before I read Philippa Gregory's introduction then. ha ha
But its good that she's helped Anya Seton's work be re-published. I've ordered Avalon and Devil Water for my birthday

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon March 28th, 2011, 4:01 pm

"BrianPK" wrote:Well,Misfit, I read Devil Water years ago and how anyone could construe an unnatural relationship between the father and daughter in that marvellous story is just beyond me.But nothing really surprises me about people and their "imaginings" any more.


I didn't like PG's intros, either; I felt that in every one, she implied she could have written the book better, herself. However, in her intro to Devil Water I don't think she was far off in suggesting something a bit unnatural in the relationship between Jenny and her father. I distinctly remember a scene where her father kissed her on the mouth when she was 16 years old? 18? That struck me as a bit unnatural. Also, if you remember, there was a priest that Jenny and her father were close to (it's been over a year since I read it so his name eludes me), who was instrumental in getting her to immigrate to America because he felt like it would be good to separate her from her father. The relationship never became incestuous, but Seton clearly implied that it was heading in that direction -- remember, Jenny's father was only about 16 years older than her, he wasn't around her when she was growing up, and he was a womanizer. So when Jenny re-entered his life as a beautiful young woman who was totally devoted to him, his paternal instincts -- which were weak and sporadic at best -- sometimes were confused with and overtaken by his stronger, more randy instincts.

So -- I have to go out on a limb here and say that I agree with PG's viewpoint on this one. But it was still one of my favorite Seton books, anyway.
Last edited by Michy on Mon March 28th, 2011, 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BrianPK
Reader
Location: Ireland

Postby BrianPK » Tue March 29th, 2011, 12:17 am

It's quite a few years since I last read it and I actually forget those incidents.Knowing me,however,I would have been immediately turned off the book if I detected anything unsuitable about the relationship. I would have been very uncomfortable with the story if I sensed anything "dodgy" between father and daughter and instead I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I can say though, that in various books and movies I've read and viewed over the years, a kiss on the lips( not a snogging session) between family members or very close friends had been common enough in previous eras and only seemed to die out in Victorian times where bodily contact was kept to a minimum and open displays of affection were frowned on. A case in point is the wonderful movie Barry Lyndon where Ryan O'Neal's character is holding his mortally wounded older friend during an 18th century battle and his friend asks him to kiss him before he dies. He kisses him on the lips and weeps as he dies and we are given to understand that this was normal affection during those times between close friends.
Last edited by BrianPK on Tue March 29th, 2011, 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Tue March 29th, 2011, 1:02 am

Posted by BrianPK
A case in point is the wonderful movie Barry Lyndon where Ryan O'Neal's character is holding his mortally wounded older friend during an 18th century battle and his friend asks him to kiss him before he dies. He kisses him on the lips and weeps as he dies and we given to understand that this was normal affection during those times between close friends.


Hence Lord Nelson's accurately recorded request when dying, "Kiss me, Hardy", which has occasioned some puzzlement and misunderstanding amongst those of later times.

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Tue March 29th, 2011, 2:27 am

Perhaps that's why PG stated in her foreward that "modern readers" would find a troubling element in Jenny's relationship with her father; she's acknowledging, at least to some degree, that the discomfort may be due in part to different social customs in our modern times. However, she does state right out that there is an incestuous tone to their relationship, and she goes on to cite several examples, all of which are valid and well-stated. She concludes that the reader's discomfort comes from the fact that this aspect of Jenny's relationship with her father is only partially developed and never fully explained or resolved.

But different social norms notwithstanding, I still agree with her assessment because of the reaction of the priest who was close to Jenny and her father (his name is Father Brown). I actually pulled my copy off the shelf and took another look at the passage I referred to in my earlier post. When Jenny's father is upset about her immigration to America and begging her not to go, Father Brown tells him, "It is better for everyone, and I have seen that for you both there's danger in your feelings for the girl." To me, this shows that it's not just a modern reader's interpretation of social behavior that is no longer an acceptable norm, but this is Seton herself implying that there was something a little more than "fatherly affection" in Charles' feelings for his daughter.

At any rate, I don't feel that these particular comments of PG's were slanderous or in any way demeaning of Seton's work; she was validly pointing out a significant aspect of the plot of Devil Water that might cause trouble for some readers. I happen to agree with her assessment, although I realize everyone doesn't.


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