May. 17th, 2012

chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)
Joy has been going to pre-school twice a week for about 5 weeks now, which makes this the 3rd week that I've dropped her off rather than hanging out the entire time. I miss her rather dreadfully when she's gone; the mornings when I have appointments or errands or other busyness are fine, but the ones where I'm just taking time to myself are... weird. Nice, yes, but weird. She's gone through the normal gradual (but perhaps somewhat quicker than a lot of kids?) process of being really upset when I leave, to being briefly upset, to last Thursday where she made a face but then blew me a kiss, and then this week she told me "I walk you to the door" and walks me to the door, hugs me, and then goes back inside to sit in the little toddler-sized rocking chair they found for her and rock and hug her stuffed dog until she feels like playing.

We have this conversation every school morning: "Are you going to drop me off today?" "Yes, I am!" "I still don't like dropping off." "I know, but I think you'll have fun when you get there."

Today she actually rushed through eating breakfast, hand-washing etc and then went to the doorand said, "Mommy, let's GO. I'm ready!" This was new, and nice.

But I do miss her. I wish I didn't, quite so much; I am an introvert who is not good at being alone, and I know, believe me I really, really know that her role in this life is not to keep me company. My own mother did that to me and it was horrible. Missing her for herself is all well and good, but missing her because she makes me less-alone is something I'm going to have to get over. I think I'm working through it, with the attendant bad dreams about childhood, which is all to the good.

Today is also the first day I came back home instead of either running errands or hanging out at a coffee shop luxuriously reading or raiding a library outside my normal library system for their precious two new-to-me Stella Gibbons novels. I wish I lived in the UK; a lot of Gibbons backlist is available there PoD, but that does me no good. Publishing distribution rules are weird and annoying.

And now it is time to pick her up! A book post later, I think, about Planet Narnia.
chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)
I had some of a post, but my computer ated it.

So I will dive in again! Planet Narnia by Michael Ward. It is fascinating; Ward argues that there is a unity to the Chronicles of Narnia because Lewis was basing the atmosphere of each book off of the medieval symbolic spiritual meaning of a particular planet. (This is not astrology in the modern sense.) I'm finding it a complicated thesis to summarise here, in part because 'atmosphere' is such a difficult thing to talk about -- Lewis apparently found it so himself, and wrote about his frustrations with trying to do critical analysis on a quality which didn't have a lot of useful critical language. IIRC he wrote about it a lot in On Stories, which I haven't read yet but now really want to.

Anyway... Ward argues that this unity underlies the series, and I've just gotten into the part of the book where he starts giving examples, one novel (and planet) at a time. Lewis was very concerned with the ideas symbolised by Jupiter, because he felt that they were being entirely lost due to the traumas of the 20th century, and thus people were finding it more and more difficult to understand what it meant to be truly 'Jovial'. He wrote a lot of poetry about it, and the planets in general, and put it into his science fiction trilogy (which I have not been able to read due to horrible triggery stuff), and so when he began Narnia he was still very focused on it. Thus The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is full of Jovian energy, which is all about overcoming winter and generous peace-loving kingship and pomp and joy, which the book certainly has its fair share of. Of course, Lewis was also describing his idea of what Incarnation and Salvation might look like in a world different than our own, so there's a lot of other stuff going on too, but Ward argues that the ways in which Lewis describes & uses Aslan are themselves Jovian -- the lion, the king in his rich pavilion, the dancing with the girls, etc etc.

I am, so far, finding it a pretty convincing thesis, in part because a lot of the elements of the novel which worked for me as a kid and then seemed weird as an adult -- like Father Christmas showing up -- make a great deal of sense if Lewis is trying to show a lot of forms of generous, magnanimous kingship. I'd come up with this on my own between hearing about Ward's thesis & starting the book, but Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is the one referent modern people still have for 'jovial' -- large, loud, associated with red (at least red-faced if not wearing red clothes), generous and powerful and warm and, well, jovial. Jolly. So it fits in with the atmosphere, yes, even if it doesn't fit in on a lot of other axes.

It is nice to be reading literary criticism of the sort which makes me think and think and think. Once my thoughts have cohered some more I may take a stab at this 'atmosphere' thing myself, since I knew exactly what Ward and the quoted Lewis were talking about, and it's something I've found surprisingly difficult to communicate.
chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)
Distasteful misogynistic language below.

I really liked the first season of Downton Abbey because, well, it is the sort of thing I like. But I was sad that in the final episode, one character dramatically calls another "slut". Surely the more likely term for 1914 was "whore"? I've been meaning to ask Google's ngram viewer about this for ages, and just now did, and it does look like slut was still mostly used for "an untidy woman, a slattern", although there is an interesting entry in a Pacific Reporter about whether or not it has the meaning of "unchaste woman" and is thus a slander. So quite possibly it already had the meaning it had today, but... I still think "whore" would have been more appropriate.

People who know more about this are welcome to inform me, since I am neither a Brit nor any sort of expert on early 20th century bad language.


chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)

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