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The latest V.S. Naipaul outrage

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Margaret
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The latest V.S. Naipaul outrage

Post by Margaret » Sat June 4th, 2011, 12:06 am

Recently V.S. Naipaul, perhaps the most arrogant writer currently living, had this to say: "I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me." Women writers are too sentimental, he says, with their "narrow view of the world."

I got a charge out of these two responses:

"From One Writer To Another: Shut Up" by Diana Abu-Jaber.

"The Naipaul test: Can you tell an author's sex," a test I took with a self-congratulatory air of "aha, by applying more subtle standards, I can indeed tell" and failed miserably - 3 correct answers out of a possible 10 (although I did correctly identify the V.S. Naipaul excerpt as male). Perhaps you can do better. ;)
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Sat June 4th, 2011, 5:11 pm

Only slightly...4 out 10!
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Sat June 4th, 2011, 6:24 pm

I got six of ten. But I would like to see how the men on our site do with that test (nothing against our fine gentlemen, just curious).

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The Czar
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Post by The Czar » Sat June 4th, 2011, 6:52 pm

I know I can't tell, so I won't even bother trying.

I'd say the only real difference in HF writers by gender is subject matter... you see more "blood and guts" battle fiction from men, and more "bodice ripping" romance from women. The good ones of either gender can do both in one book well.
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
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annis
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Post by annis » Sat June 4th, 2011, 8:54 pm

I got 4 out of 10, and what struck me was how virtually impossible it is to identify the sex of an author from their writing without having your preconceptions already coloured by the knowledge that a particular piece was written either by a man or woman! I wonder how many people miss out on a great reading experience just because they’re automatically prejudiced in regard to an author’s gender?

While I was playing around on the Guardian Books site I was also intrigued by this debate over whether or not reading romances turns your brain to mush :)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/ju ... ce-readers
Last edited by annis on Sat June 4th, 2011, 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Post by Margaret » Sat June 4th, 2011, 11:13 pm

While I was playing around on the Guardian Books site I was also intrigued by this debate over whether or not reading romances turns your brain to mush
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011...alance-readers
Loved the satirical comments from various authors.

I actually think a case might be made that a steady, intensive diet of romance novels and nothing but might warp a person's perspective on male-female relationships, but it wouldn't be the steamy sex scenes per se I would object to. A lot of romance novels portray men who exercise control over women as desirable.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Sun June 5th, 2011, 6:02 pm

The Czar, I'm going to guess you haven't read a lot of Cecelia Holland ... (nor my own work - though that can be excuses as it hasn't been published yet).

I've personally written enough blood and guts battle scenes that I've become a lot keener in my reading and viewing of them in terms of strategy, flow, and content. Though my WIP is now focusing on three successive generations of women, you still won't find much in the way of concern over bodices in my writing. (The three generations happen to be bum-kicking Ostrogothic royals, so ... yeah, there'll be sex, but not a lot of diaphanous filters over it.)

Edited to add: apparently, a steady diet of self-satisfaction (most likely based in deep rooted fear) can warp a person's perspective on the relative value of their writing, too. Eh-hem.
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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Mon June 6th, 2011, 11:19 am

I got 5 out of 10. I tried to focus on the writing itself rather than the subject matter and just try and take a lead from my instinctive reaction to it. Just shows it's nonsense, in my view.

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