It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
The Lord and his retainers are up and out early, hunting deer. Meanwhile, Gawain is asleep in his bed when the Lady creeps in and sits on his bed. What does she want?
"Stereotyping and humour can sometimes be helpful in educating the public." The author seems to have dimly grasped that subversion of stereotypes and satire can be useful but fails to explicitly use those terms. To horribly stereotype, I suspect this is because of the USA's weak grasp of the concept of irony...
A lava field is mentioned. This is the first reference to the volcanic nature of Iceland that I remember from any of the sagas I've read.
I am suspicious that this body of work is more consciously literary than it at first appears. There's a uniformity of style across so many works over such a long period that a single author is very unlikely. There are some subtle indicators of narrative manipulation that belie the matter-of-fact historical tone e.g. the hurriedly glossed over, not very likely but convenient behaviour of animals, particularly horses, and the small number of occasions when obviously fantastical elements become central. Assume face-value historical validity at one's peril, methinks.
Gawain and the lord of the castle strike a bargain to swap whatever they gain over the day, as Gawain stays in and rests from his long and testing journey and the lord goes hunting in the forest. Little does Gawain know that he is being set up for another moral test, even as he faces a potentially fatal one in only another two days.
End of Part II.
Interesting to hear Katherine; everything else I've read about this great historical crisis has focused on More, Cromwell, Wolsey and Henry, neglecting even Anne.
Interesting point about the effect of celebrating neurodiverse high achievers: does this devalue people who simply aren't capable of excelling at something or does it make clear that having some cognitive difference isn't an automatic barrier to contributing to society?
The Tales were all brief and amusing. Skipping back to the shorter Sagas, now. What's the difference between a Tale and a Saga? Tales are always short. Sagas aren't necessarily. That's about it.
Mansfield Park **
This is allegedly Austen's least popular work and Pride & Prejudice must surely be the most popular. Why? Comparison may be instructive.
P&P's romantic heroes are a dashing, rich, titled, educated and intelligent man and a pretty (but not the most beautiful), educated, intelligent woman who knows here own mind and insists on being appreciated for that mind. Mansfield Park's romantic heroes are a stick-in-the-mud boring but kind and principled second son likely to be comfortably off but not set to inherit the Estate and a timid, shy, submissive, boring girl who at least grows enough spine to not accept a loveless marriage to a morally defective but rich suitor.
The tone of P&P is one of wit, sardonic humour and sly social observation. There is little of this in Mansfield Park. It is replaced with a preachy moralising.
That's probably enough right there. I just don't think modern readers are nearly as receptive to the ideals presented by Fanny and Edmund as compared to those of Lizzy Bennet and Darcy and similarly, wit goes over better than sermons these days.
I struggled with much of the first 4/5ths, at times finding it hard to differentiate all the characters, especially the two Misses Bertram and to establish the connections between them all - especially so in the amateur theatrical week which proves crucial to all that comes later. Eventually I found myself intrigued as to how it was all going to resolve, making the final (sensational) fifth much more interesting.
Oh noes! Tom is seriously ill!
Somehow, Austen has sucked me in to caring how everything turns out and there isn't so very many pages to resolve it all in. Well done, Austen - not sure how you did that, since the first 200p were mostly a chore and the characters are uniformly unappealing, except for William.
Thorstein Shiver meets a demon whilst going for a night-time piss and holds a very matter of fact conversation with it.