lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
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The Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine MarriageThe Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine Marriage by Laura E Thomason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I think this book is a really interesting look at the way genteel, primarily English, 18th-century women viewed marriage. While Thomason does examine several novels, most of her source material is drawn from personal correspondence. I hadn't realized that letters at this point in history were simultaneously public and private documents. People had every expectation that their letters might be circulated beyond the intended recipients, even published without their permission. In addition, European governments had begun surveillance of correspondence, often opening and examining letters. Very fascinating the way women took advantage of that dual nature of letters to do some really neat stuff with argument and with authorial voice.

Very informative read.





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Hide and SeekHide and Seek by Wilkie Collins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Oh, man. I have been on such a Wilkie Collins high, and I was looking forward to reading this one, but it just didn't do it for me. It was a slog, and reading it felt tedious. One of Collins's gifts is dialogue, and this novel is almost entirely descriptive exposition--lots of what everything looks like and what everyone is thinking and very little of it accomplished through dialogue. I also think that the solution to the mystery of the story isn't telegraphed at all so that it just comes out of nowhere. My edition has some notes at the end which suggest that originally Collins did include more clues but edited them out later; I wish he'd left them in because the conclusion of the story was pretty convoluted even for me, an inveterate lover of sensation novels.



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