Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

The Red Queen

User avatar
Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Thu August 12th, 2010, 6:16 pm

The 18th-century novels which I read for my Ph.D. (all 150 of them) were key for learning how a novel is put together.


I've read a lot of 18th century novels, although not 150 by any means, and as much as I enjoyed them, I can't say I learned that much about structure. They tend to start with years of backstory on the main characters, pause frequently for long flowery descriptions of the landscape and now and then stop the main action for a couple of chapters while the minor characters narrate their backstories. Plus they rely on a set of cliches derived from Restoration drama - children swapped at birth, missing wills, long-lost heirs, etc - which are actually still popular, but for genres like daytime soaps. I don't think a novel inspired by 18th century fiction techniques would find many takers today, unless it was some kind of postmodern intertextual literary kind of thing.

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Thu August 12th, 2010, 7:47 pm

I interpreted her comment about the 150 novels as something she slipped in there just for the "wow!" factor. You know, to make the reader stop and say, "Wow! She read 150 18th-century historical novels for her PhD!!!"

Of course, I could be wrong and it wouldn't surprise me if no one else reacted to it like that.... :p

As for being able to write -- or read, even -- in a busy, noisy place I am completely the wrong temperament. I am such an inveterate people-watcher that if I'm even semi-serious about doing any reading or writing I have to go somewhere very quiet -- no background music, even. So I guess I would be the stereotypical lonely writer holed up in a garrett somewhere!

User avatar
Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Thu August 12th, 2010, 8:53 pm

"Michy" wrote:I interpreted her comment about the 150 novels as something she slipped in there just for the "wow!" factor. You know, to make the reader stop and say, "Wow! She read 150 18th-century historical novels for her PhD!!!"

Of course, I could be wrong and it wouldn't surprise me if no one else reacted to it like that.... :p


No, Michy, I strongly suspect you're right!

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Thu August 12th, 2010, 9:13 pm

Especially since, as you said, 18th century novels wouldn't be much help to a modern author in developing a sense of structure. I think she was just showing off a bit -- to let everyone know she has a PhD and that she read 150 books to get it! :p

Although I tend to be cynical sometimes, so my reaction could be off the mark. I've never read anything by PG except the forewards she wrote for the recent re-releases of Anya Seton's books,and those did not impress me at all (PG's comments that is, not Seton's books which I love). She conveyed a strong sense of "if I had written this book I could've done a much better job." I was left feeling that she thinks pretty highly of herself.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu August 12th, 2010, 9:30 pm

She conveyed a strong sense of "if I had written this book I could've done a much better job." I was left feeling that she thinks pretty highly of herself.


Oh those forwards of hers on the Seton books irked me to no end, especially Devil Water :mad: :mad:
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Fri August 13th, 2010, 2:22 am

She can read 550 18 cent novels for all I care. I'm gonna bet that in all those novels there is a little thing called "detail."

And thats what she is lacking...details in her novels. I'm thinking I maybe done with her. I haven't bought the last 4 books she has had out. And I"m glad of it.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Tanzanite
Bibliophile
Location: Northern Virginia
Contact:

Postby Tanzanite » Wed September 1st, 2010, 12:05 am

I finished this yesterday. Overall, I enjoyed it but there are some issues I had with it - most of which have already been mentioned. Here is a link to my thoughts on it:

http://shelfandstuff.blogspot.com/2010/08/red-queen-by-philippa-gregory.html

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed September 1st, 2010, 2:03 am

Great review. I think we all agree on the weaknesses of this novel. It was good, decent but not an awesome read. but I doubt we'll ever get an awesome read from her again.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Wed September 1st, 2010, 8:29 am

Great review Daphne - loved it! You got the of recent books 'dumbed down' impression too. I thought it was perhaps just me. This will probably go on my long term TBR. It does raise challenges for an author who wants to tell stories from history, when some of the protagonists are unappealing. Do you not tell their story at the outset and leave them forever in the dust, concentrating only on the shiny ones. Do you warp history and make the unappealing ones shiny, or do you let the historians tell the tale (assuming the can get a contract)? What makes you want to write about them in the first place? Do you have the skill to bring them to life, and even if you do, are the readers going to adversely comment because they don't like the character?
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed September 1st, 2010, 2:41 pm

I think I would have been fine with her as a character if she wasn't so flippin religious. If I had to read about Joan of Arc one more time I thought the book was gonna go across the room.

There is a way for an author to get their point across. Then there is an author beating someone over the head with information. If she cut down on the religious stuff I would have been better.

Does anyone know if she was that religious in real life?
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/


Return to “Philippa Gregory”