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PaulCriticalofRogerblog
TWWLN (Pt 2, Ep 12): fierce quarrel between Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy) and Roger Carbury (Douglas Hodge)

Dear friends and readers,

I am happy to be able to say the paper on “Masculinity and Epistolarity in Andrew Davies’s Trollope films” is finished, and accepted as excellent and fitting in very well with a projected volume on British costume and popular serial drama as a whole. (There are four essays on Downton Abbey, two on the Poldark series, one on The Forsyte Saga in it.) In order to keep the paper to 6700 words, I had to omit a bibliography and cut some parts of my argument; the parts chosen were about how Davies alludes to, critiques and even seeks to replace previous films adapted from the same book or another book by the same author. Davies extends his influence beyond how to read a particular book or author by alluding to and replacing earlier ones by a given author; he likes to comment on earlier films and mini-series too.

Davies has often described his approach to an author’s text he has adapted into a screenplay for a film or mini-series as “having a little quarrel” with “mine author.” He means playfully to refer to the way he will reverse, qualify and critique some of his author’s points of view and the characters’ acts and personalities. Most of the time Davies seeks to present a far more humane, and sometimes socialistic vision than his verbal sources.

His way of extending his readings’ influence in many of his films is to allude to and replace precursor films; for Trollope these include Alan Plater’s 1982 BBC six-hour Barchester Chronicles and Simon Raven’s 1974-75 BBC 26 hour Pallisers. In He Knew He Was Right Davies replaces Trollope’s Exeter and East End London with the décor, church ambiance and costume designs of Plater’s Barchester Chronicles to provide a note of needed cheer. The sets also bring home to us this idyllic matter of the 1980s was not shot through, as this film adaptation is, with gender and class betrayals, and exploitations of women. Something that never comes up in Trollope and Plater’s Barchester Chronicles and is made much of here is the need of a clergyman to be seen to be respectable, maintain a standard of life style and please his parishioners to survive.

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HKHWR (Pt 3, Ep 4); Dorothy Stanbury (Caroline Martin) reasoning with Brooke Burgess (Matthew Goode)

In Davies’s and Trollope’s HKHWR, the intelligent and candid Dorothy Stanbury (Caroline Walker dressed in a costume whose cut and design harks back to the previous film) tells her suitor who prefers to ignore this motive for her acceptance of him: “The world is filled with people whom nobody cares for, people that nobody thinks about, nobody talks about as if they’re not there … If a man is a nobody, he can make himself into somebody or at any rate, he can try, but a woman has no means of trying. She does not earn anything or do any good in the world.”

An analogous bleak awareness about why women marry, and the consequent “tyranny of husbands” is uttered by the Signori Neroni in Trollope’s Barchester Towers, although given a wistful turn by Plater and Susan Hampshire (the actress). Susan Hampshire playing the crippled Signora Neroni has been listening to her sister, Charlotte Stanhope, urge their penniless brother, Bertie, to court the widowed Eleanor Bold, to marry her for her money if he can. Obstacles include the heavy mourning Eleanor wears. Madeleine speaks a series of utterances which have undergone no change from Barsetshire Chronicles: “I hate such shallow pretenses. I’d let the world say what it pleased and show no grief [for a dead husband] if I felt none – perhaps not show it if I did,” and (when they in effect say nothing) “you both know in what way husbands and wive generally live together. You know what freedom a man claims for himself and what slavery he would exact from a wife and you know how wives generally obey. Marriage means tyranny on one side, and deceit on the other, and a man is a fool to sacrifice his interests to such a bargain. The tragedy is a woman generally has no other way of living” (Cf 1:4, Episode 5; BT 125-26).

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Barchester Chronicles (Pt 5, Ep 4): Signora Neroni (Susan Hampshire), disillusioned

This disillusioned awareness about marriage, as found in Trollope’s Barchester Towers and uttered by Susan Hampshire is central to Emily Trevelyan’s dilemma and the two other heroines who have no way of supporting themselves in the book, Nora Rowley and Dorothea Stanbury. Through these heroines Trollope utters and Davies repeats bleak versions of Madeleine’s comment. But Trollope shies away, offers no words which shed light on the novel’s sexual and emotional anxiety, distress, on jealousy, both the male and female’s desire to have unshared physical possession (the latter enshrined in marriage), their need for reassurance and respect, and urge to dominate. All that Trollope’s text contains (repeated many times) are Louis’s religious castigations (which Emily rejects as ugly name-calling) and demands for instant obedience. Davies makes us see that in fact Emily did flirt with Osborne, they talked disingenuously when they justified their implicitly erotic correspondence with one another, and Davies does what he can to reinforce and bring out versions of feminist self-assertion in his films.

One example: Lady Rowley (Geraldine James) trying to persuade Emily to own a fault and submit to her husband at least part way.

Emily: and offer him my humble penitence for sins I’d never committed
Lady R: but to have your home again dear and your little boy
Emily: by telling lies and living a lie
Lady R: you wouldn’t be the first women to do so

Emily stares, her father, Sir Marmaduke rustles his newspaper in discomfort resentful as if about to protest. Then Davies gives Emily a soliloquy by curtained window & flower arrangement to us:

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HKHWR (Pt 3, Ep 7): Emily (Laura Fraser) reasoning with us

if I simply said the words to him might they work like a spell would he change back to the Louie I first knew I could pretend pretend to be the humble penitent wife he wants (intense resentment understandable) and wait and take my chance and escape with little Louie … but where could we go that he couldn’t find us … then still looking at us

In The Way We Live Now Davies includes scenes which allude to the kind of behavior we find among males in both Barchester Chronicles and The Pallisers: Davies’s younger contemporary males attuned to the contemporary worlds of business and more liberated women expose the older men’s supposed sheerly chivalrous motives in wanting to marry a much younger woman as a mask for carnal appetites and control over everyone within the reach of their patronage; this achieved by treating women as children and presenting themselves as exemplary in all behaviors.

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TWWLN (Pt 2, Ep 7): again Paul Montague and Roger Carbury confront one another

Four scenes invented by Davies between Sir Roger Carbury (Douglas Hodge) and his cousin-nephew, Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy) are intended as commentary on the supposed chivalrous but actually possessive and repressive behavior of Plantagenet Palliser (Philip Latham) over Lady Glencora McClusky Palliser (Susan Hampshire). Davies’s TWWLN: Part 2, Episode 7: Paul: “For God’s sake, man, she’s not a piece of property for one man to take or another to keep. She has a will of her own and a heart of her own. In the end she will decide. She may not choose either of us”; Part 2, Episode 12: Paul: “You think and you speak of her as a child, Roger, all your intercourse with her has been as a grown man with a child and you offer yourself to her as a lover. How can you regard your advances to her with anything but embarrassment and disgust.”

Palliser’s father-like concern in participating in the forcing of a frustrated thwarted Lady Glencora to marry him forms another common typology in Trollope’s work, one shown to be justified by Trollope and Raven. In a striking scene which set alongside Trollope’s clearly is intended to critique this paradigm, Davies has his less than scrupulous young male hero, Paul Montague turn on Roger Carbury, Paul’s older guardian-uncle when (as in Trollope) Roger disdains Montague for spending a weekend with the married Winifred Hurtle, and accuse Roger of far worse behavior, of distasteful appetites and seeking exploitative control when Roger pursues the much younger and dowry-less Hetta. Roger’s response to this demonstrates how central Davies understands Paul’s direct thrust against Victorian male paternalism (and Trollope’s alter-egos) to be: “I don’t see how our relationship can survive this” (Cf. HKHWR (film), 2:2, Episodes 7, 12 and HKHWR 374-77)

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HKHWR (Pt 1, Ep 3): Emily with Osborne (Bill Nighy), a vision or daily happening?

In interviews Davies has said both The Way We Live Now and He Knew He Was Right are about “strong, confident ['modern'] women.” He sees Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right as “about a strong woman who is seeking to make her own decisions and lead her own life, and a rather fragile man who can’t stand up to her” (Walsh), an astonishing stance when placed in relationship to most essays about the book, which Davies clearly has read (e.g., Nardin 203-11).

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HKHWR (Pt 1,Ep 3): Emily overmastering Louis (Oliver Dimsdale)

Although Davies eliminates some of the worst explicit violence against women in Trollope’s novel, it’s Trollope’s dramatization of women’s subjection, caged delusions, sense of self, fierce materialism in conflict with their need for love, and tendency (as he sees it) to submit and sacrifice themselves to others that Davies turns to mildly subversive advantage in the stories of the partly re-characterized unchaste as well as chaste young heroines. The character Trollope meant to be one of the corrupt and deluded focuses of the book, Lady Carbury (in Trollope’s scathing view, a marketplace “female literary charlatan” if ever there was one, [Kincaid 173-74; McMaster 69, 76]), becomes an often sympathized-with vulnerable and sensual career woman.

LadyCarburyMrBrounblog
TWWLN (Pt 1, Ep 9), Lady Carbury (Cheryl Campbell) making up to Mr Broun (David Bradley) at her salon

Davies was attracted to The Way We Live Now by two male characters: “Sir Felix Carbury, so pathetic, yet very attractive to women. He’s utterly contemptible really, and is my favorite character”; “my character of Sir Roger [Carbury] is Trollope writing in a great fire of indignation about every aspect of English society” (PSB Website). Integrity as an element in male emotional weakness, and empathy with mean, vicious male characters have long been found in Davies’ filmic oeuvre (Cardwell, Davies 159-66, 84-94, 148-57), but the conventions and characterizations in Davies’s Trollope represents show Davies unsympathetic to Trollope’s moralisms, staid realism and specific characters in the 1974 Pallisers (which Davies sought to replace).

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TWWLN (Pt 1, Ep 6): Felix’s jaunty walk (Matthew Macfayden)

Felix Carbury is a type found throughout Trollope’s fiction: the ne’er-do-well drone attractive to women because he can be brutal to them, e.g., Burgo Fitzgerald whom Barry Justice plays (Pallisers 1:1–3:6) as a poignant tragic hero, a view consonant with Trollope’s text: Raven’s pathetic scene of Burgo as genuinely grief-stricken and abused, wounded in a justified pride (Pallisers 3:6, Episode 28) includes dramatic language taken directly from Can You Forgive Her? (690-700). Matthew MacFayden as Felix ends complacently playing cards, drinking whiskey, and is last seen chasing a flirtatious woman around a door, apparently content with life on a remittance in small European town (at least behaving no differently than he ever did). Neither Raven nor or Alan Plater (scriptwriter for the Barsetshire Chronicles) ever question the supposedly admirable motives of Trollope’s alter egos.

Davies’s particular brand of mild feminism within a masculinist perspective calls out for study since he has been so influential on how people respond to the books he’s adapted. He feels for weaker woman, e.g., in TWWLN Madame Melmotte’s nervousness is contrasted to Hetta (Paloma Baeza) and Mrs. Hurtle (Mirando Otto) as strong women: Madame Melmotte (Helen Schlesinger) clutches her hands in a characteristic gesture signaling a helpless woman listening to Melmotte’s last pragmatic advice: “You’d better pack up your jewels . . . pack ‘em up small, ready to hand . . . you might have to …”

MadameMelmotteblog
TWWLN (Pt 4, Ep 11): she wrings her hands

Not all is sombre; strength in woman can make gay scenes too. A mark of Davies’s real talent for play-writing (scripts for TV too) is the ability to convey a story through dialogue and make the dialogue itself of interest in different ways and at the same time create human sympathy for the characters. I was struck by this sparkling dialogue written by Davies for Caroline Spalding and Mr Glascock to speak to one another in their flirtatious phase at Florence; there is no such dialogue in Trollope, but it articulates the conflict of values between the two, and presents as sharp a critique of the US as the UK — which self-critique the American Senator Gotobed (American Senator) fudges:

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HKHWR (Pt 2 Ep 9): Miss Caroline Spalding (Anna Louise Plowman) holds her own; they begin their witty flirtatious debate with Caroline suggesting to Glascock (the name is deliberately parodically allegorical) he would not enjoy a visit or life in the US:

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Mr Glascock (Raymond Coulthard)

Caroline: You wouldn’t like it [the states]
Glascock: Why not?
Caroline: Because you’re an aristocrat
Glascock: And why should that prevent me from liking it
Caroline: One half of the people would run after you and the other half would run away from you on principle
Glascock: Revolutionary principle?
Caroline: Democratic principle
Glascock: And may I ask which half you’d be in [-- gets sly and sharp look now]
Caroline: The second half of course
Glascock: You’re not running away from me now
Caroline: No I’m not, am I? but I think I shall have to before too long
Glascock: Oh that would make me sad
Caroline: It would make me sad too but there we are I think it has to be done the old world and the new are like oil and vinegar you see we may be polite to each other in society but deep down you believe we’re an inferior race and
Glascock: mouths oh
Caroline: Deep down we’d like to smash your outdated snobbish institutions and make you like us free and equal
Glascock; Well, all Englishmen are free and we’re all equal in the eyes of god
Caroline: Oh and doesn’t that excuse a great deal of iniquity we freed our slaves Mr Glascock
Glascock: We never had slaves Miss Spalding
Caroline: No you just traded in them
Glascock: Well not me personally and my father was very active in the abolition movement (getting insulted now)
Caroline: None of this is personal, Mr Glascock
Glascock: I’m relieved to hear it.

The juxtapositon of this fresh love of Caroline and Glascock is cast odd light on by previous utterances about love and courtship by the 5 or 6 other couples of the novel (dependent on how you count them) and also Emily and Louis’s love: What will this couple be in a few years, we are led to ask. A deep scepticism about erotic love in this film is part of Davies’s presentation of male sexual anxiety too — she says this will end in tears. Then we get this witty half -challenging dialogue about old world and new aristocracy and democracy. Davies probably thinks of himself as outdoing his predecessor even in the area of naturalistic dialogue where Trollope is a past master too.

Ellen

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butler setuponblog
Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo set upon by dogs during demonstration (2013 The Butler)

Dear friends and readers,

Mr Carson likes being a butler (Downton Abbey); in the poignant Merchant-Ivory movie, The Remains of the Day, Anthony Hopkins is a tragic butler; Hudson (Gordon Jackson) of Upstairs Downstairs fame, loved it; so why shouldn’t Cecil thrive too, except that Cecil isn’t in charge but subject to a white staff manager and, as a black man, makes much less money than white people do in analogous staff roles. I write just in case you’re like me and have not yet gone to The Butler (the hit in our area of the summer) to say don’t miss Danny Strong’s historical bio-pic, The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels.

ButlerGainesCarterblog
Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) and Carter Wilson (Cuba Gooding Jr), his peer — kitchen talk

Yes it has flaws. It’s yet another of these pious semi-historical biopics (Lincoln, The Queen, even Hyde Park on the Hudson), where the concluding scene tells us if all is not yet well with respect to the particular injustice the movie is on about, it soon may be, due to the heroism, courage of an elect group and the underlying rightness of our social order no matter how skewed now and again by a few rotten individuals, or, as in this movie, a rotten group of thugs and bigots, half-crazy. (The sort of quiet truth Ang Lee told of the civil war in his genuinely interesting non-cliched, non-stereotyped melancholy Ride with the Devil is rare; what’s more the studios trashed the movie so it never got anywhere.) The Butler also features the usual virtuoso performances of an actor exquisitely impersonating some world historical figure, especially ironic is Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan and on point, Alan Rickman as Reagan. They seemed to be getting a kick out of their roles:

fonda-as-Nancy-Reaganblogsmaller

Five presidents, several wives, some famous staff people, well-known (I had almost said stars) politicians and outsiders at the turns of history.

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Iconic Kennedys

I might as well tell the worst. The Black Panthers are misrepresented: they were not murderous but genuinely bent on defending blacks from being killed so armed themselves; they were ferociously targeted, smeared, and killed by the FBI; too much slack or leeway is given Reagan: while we are shown how adamantly he worked against civil rights for blacks, he is made very kindly, an easy employer (maybe he was), comically afraid of Nancy. And if for black people the election of Barack Obama signifies limitless possibility for individual blacks lucky enough to find themselves in places where they can try for advancement, in 2 terms the average black person has lost a lot of ground (more impoverished, just an under and unemployed, or harassed, more at risk, draconian prison sentences, abrogation of voting rights, subject to be killed on the streets for being black). I admit I never was an “in” person in any social group during the 60s or 70s so if this or that portrait of someone is awry I might not notice this unless I read about the person and recognize the impersonation.

This is also another upstairs/downstairs movie, and we are with the lowest paid and esteemed of the downstairs. The point is made how much staff there is in the white house.

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An over-voice narrator (Cecil) is used: here he tells us look behind those smiles:

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But within these paradigms supposed the way one gets a popular success, and what in the films is adhered to for propaganda by its money-producers and distributors, it’s an effective, centrally accurate (okay the story of Eugene Allen is fictionalized to make it more dramatic) film whose strong purpose seems to be to remind and teach audiences about the terrifying savagery of the whites and their complicit agents and armed forces of the 1960s towards black people seeking a much better life, liberation, not to be humiliated, to a good education, voting rights. The opening sequence about what life was like for black people in the US before WW2 — you had to accept whatever vicious murderous whites imposed on you, for if you didn’t, you found yourself lynched, simply shot (to death), raped (if a woman on a plantation), if you tried to free yourself of plantation life, you found no niches, no connections, no place awaiting you and police everywhere seeking to put you away or out of it. People watching TV today about the sit-ins, freedom rides on buses, marches, demonstrations, see a clip or two of vicious whites beating up, hosing blacks, and then we switch to the big man who brings an end to this. This movie shows that these few minutes of film are thin as melting icefloes; it shows us the long incidents of townspeople acting out cruelty, brutality, killing day in and day out. Black people watching this today will not be fooled that they have full permanent voting rights; this movie tells us at what cost what progress has been made was done. Until near the end the occasional intertwining of real footage (from TV) and voices and photographs (Carter, Jesse Jackson) worked very well.

And until near the end, the tone is (paradoxically) light; most of the time the characters are in domestic situations or quiet social events.

The plot-structure once Cecil gets his job at the white house, follows the drama of the conflicts between Cecil (marvelous delicate performance by Forest Whitaker), his wife, Gloria, a just perfect performance by Oprah Winfrey: I was taken by every facet of it, from her outfits (she does remove her wig at one point), to her anger, to her devotion,

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Sending a son to a traditional black college in Tennessee (Cecil would have preferred Howard University)

to her sense of humor, drinking, smoking, having an affair at one point.

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I’m now awaiting a star role for her in another movie and the obligatory Oscar. Then their oldest son, Louis: once again David Oyelowo delivers a deeply felt convincing in-depth presence (I’ve now seen him in Small Island, Five Full Days, Lincoln). Central to the film is Louis’s idealistic rebellion which his father cannot understand as he sees Louis’s behavior as risky and useless:

fathersonButler
The father and older son

A younger son, Charlies (Isaac White) identifies as American and volunteers to go to Vietnam and dies.

I felt passionately for Louis, exhilarated by Oprah-Gloria and really identified with Cecil during his endurance of invisibility, stigma, low pay (and insults saying to go away if you don’t like it or want decent pay), no promotion and whatever you do (until near the end of the movie) you can trust no one to respect you for your years of work, as a nobody nothing you do counts. What is this but the adjunct’s life I endured for decades. This is not the first time I’ve identified as a black person. Whitaker as Cecil is continually snubbed. He is told early on by Vanessa Redgrave (as the mother of the crazed man who rapes Cecil’s mother and murders his father) as “house nigger” behave as if the space you are in is empty. Every once in a while he breaks code: he attempts to say something consoling to Jackie Kennedy after the assassination of Kennedy: she cries on and then gets up and goes out as if Cecil were not there.

Serving
Long hours

If you saw Lincoln, make this film its companion in your memory.

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Worthwhile reviews: David Denby in the New Yorker; A. O. Scott of the New York Times (yes it’s exuberant; marvelous dancing sequences in black American style); Ben Sachs on it as anti-Gump; Steve Boon for Roger Ebert.

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At a family celebration which ends in passionate quarreling

No women critics reviewed this film. So: I cried all the way home because I identified with Oprah as the butler’s wife and so envied her her kind protective hard-working long-lived (!) butler husband who she thanks near the end for taking care of her all these years. Oprah I can see appeals to a certain segment of black women and yet can make a direct appeal to lower middle whites too.

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The point of view on home life, its emergence as central to the story is a woman’s point of view. Not for nothing was Oprah one of the film’s producers.

Ellen

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Society is no comfort/To one not sociable — Shakespeare, Imogen, Cymbeline, IV:2, 12-13

WalkingStickSeashore3blog
The Walking Stick: Deborah (Samantha Eggar) badly lamed leaning on Leigh (David Hemmings) (1970, Eric Till, Winston Graham, George Bluestone)

Dear friends and readers,

Disabled characters have increased in numbers in popular fiction & film in the last quarter century. Has there been a genuine increase in sympathetic empathy and understanding, any real help offered such people or acceptance as a result. It would seem not. I link these two phenomena to the growth of fandoms in cyberspace and elsewhere and how they effect the development of programs and series of fictions. Why there are there. I exemplify briefly with the way disabled characters from Sondheim’s Passion to Winston Graham’s mystery and Poldark novels are treated, and more at length in Downton Abbey, from Fellowes’s himself to the indifferent to hostile commentary on him & Anna, the head housemaid who loves him.

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A spin-off from both the APA/ACA and ASECS conferences: in both there were roundtable panels on “disability studies: I feared not enough would be said in the more casual talks these roundtables offer to take up enough time and the audience would be called upon to talk, and then feared I’d reveal myself too much or get too involved. I have seen academic people present themselves as interested in isabilities and found that they were not, except as an abstract topic; worse, if I probed I discovered the people were just as strong for enforcing “normalcy” (on behalf of “success”), just as prejudiced (not taking a whole personality into account, not being willing to critique their definitions of success), fearful and/or nervous in their reactions. I worried I’d feel angry or know intense dismay.

So I didn’t go, and now regret this because what I did do was take down names of journals, books and periodicals with disability studies for today. First off I learned that in the last quarter century there’s been a huge increase in the number of disabled characters in popular fiction. It might be the disabled characters were always there in mystery-crime fiction, though not acknowledged, as villains or victims, but not being acknowledged, presented as freaks, or evil, or reprehensible in some way. But this is a big change to presenting people with disabilities in a sympathetic or seeming sympathetic way. Nowadays disability is also popular in historical fiction and romance. So that I noticed so many disabled characters in Winston Graham does not show originality on his part, but rather a following of a zeitgeist.

I won’t cite the names of the articles or journals separately unless someone asks for these (in the comments) which is most unlikely, just describe generally. Most were studies of texts or art in the close reading humanities way today (looking sociologically, how they function in society). Basically there were two schools of thought: one argues that the new wave of appearances of disabled characters is not increasing any real understanding or sympathy for people with disabilities because 1) at the end the disabled person is forcibly or seemingly willingly co-opted into the “normal” world, made to seem “normal” and the point is to defuse the person as a threat, on the way the emphasis in portrayal is the disability itself with full utterly varied richness of people ignored; it’s voyeurism; and 2) we see very little progress in the outer world for funding, real acceptance, or even understanding in wider circles of people. The other argues that the spread of such depictions does help; little by little the stories make people no longer ignore the disabled, no longer erase them altogether, and does gradually work up sympathy and we may hope for change.

MrsSmithPersuasion
When Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) wants to visit the crippled Mrs Smith (Helen Schlesinger), her father rages at her with open disgust for her “queer” tastes (from the 1995 BBC Persuasion, Roger Michell, Nick Dear)

Then there are essays on particular works or authors or sub-genres: how disabled people are presented in romance; how presented in mystery-crime stories (where they’ve long been an unacknowledged central type, either as villain or victim); in later Victorian gothic. The way they are discussed in non-fiction case histories, which sometimes turn out to be obtuse fictions which promulgate single-minded freakish stereotyped views, e.g., Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night which invites voyeurism. Once in a while a particular writer or work is found which increases understanding and sympathy. The value of these is if you want to do such studies they show you how to do and what’s said, and give you insights.

Two good books are worth noting: Women with Disabilities, ed. Michelle Fine (and others). Fine’s the one who’s done intelligent candid studies of how women who have been raped are treated, women’s studies. The kind of character includes is Fosca in Tarchetti’s book (now called Passion from Sondheim): I’ve noticed again and again women who are presented as disabled are eroticized, made beautiful but for the disability which then adds to their alluringness (and the kick of having sex with them in the imagination apparently). Another is more historical and crosses gender, class, ethnicity: Rosemarie Garland Thomson: Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring disability in American literature. The truth is many people still believe in disabilities only if they are physical.

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Fosca from Passion, made plain not crippled (yet this came from a website mocking the addictive love affair)

From what I’ve read thus far I think the those who say this increase in visibility has not led to a gain in empathy or understanding are right. Even when the novel does not enforce normalcy, readerships insist on misreading the fiction to emphasize a happy ending at the close — happy being equivalent to assimilation and erasure. From what I’ve seen in real life — the cutting off of funding, the cutting out of Aspergers from the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Physicians Manuel), and the increase in coercive techniques & drugs among psychologists again those who say more visibility has not helped are right. No one really has a mechanism for helping such people gain self-sustaining employment for or proposes helping older adults socially for real at all.

Misreading in terms of the readers’ own identity needs, to throw off a threat of anything unknown or new leads me to the other related topic I heard discussed at the conference and want to consider again. Next time (if there is one for me at either conference), and if I have a chance to go on panels about fandoms, fanzines, I will. The book here is Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins.

Future-Perfect-Tenseblog

Fandoms are one aspect of different ways of life in the Net that are reactions the increasing anonymity and loss of community in US life, the impoverishment of individuals and high unemployment rate so that people come onto the Net to find community, meaning when there is nothing where they live. These groups replace religious communities too, can be a religious community, and they are real. It’s another instance where the idea that what happens on the Net is not real is false. In the 1950s Richard Hoggart wrote a book called The Uses of Literacy where he argued that TV was being used to create “imagined communities” which through propaganda and loyalty to shows inculcated in people Tory reactionary values; again people at a loss, people left out, communities devastated by global capitalism; the book was re-issued during the 1980s Thatcher years.

But it’s not true that these are imagined and unreal communities. These groups of people active and aggressive; authors ignore them at their peril. They meet outside the Net when they can and influence where they can. They will punish, ostracize, exclude the person who takes a different view and attack that. I have found it very painful to deal with such people; actually I can’t, don’t know how to. They can be group bloggers. They can be seen whirling to some extent around mini-series programs, Games of Thrones say or Downton Abbey.

How do you recognize a fandom. It’ll be a message board where anonymity is enforced, and thus no one held accountable. No personal relationships can develop easily. In the case of films or TV, the re-doing of bits of films in YouTube videos to change the original meanings of scenes to fit what the fans want and posting of these. They can be embarrassing. Fierce conversations which a given aggressive individual will not give up. I’d say worse than some of what happens on Austen-l only it’s moderated so the two or three people moderating immediately shut up whoever has said what they don’t agree with (they were particularly fierce over sex), “community” activities centered on the actors and stars of the films and a whole range of sociological or psychological phenomena having to do with inventing a fictional identity. They do meet outside the Net when they can. A pre-screening of the new Sherlock in a New York movie-house brought fans from around the country to meet in the movie-house, see their movie, eat and talk together afterward.

FavoriteShotblog
A deeply sexual shot: Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees about to go to bed together as Ross and Demelza Poldark (1975 Part 7)

Examples include Harry Potter, Batman, Dr Who, Star Wars, long-running TV programs. My experience has been with the Winston Graham Society webpage, really a message board dedicated to discussing two of the famous stars from the first mini-series: Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees (although she’s dead now). I had read in Graham’s autobiography this group succeeded in damning a 1996 film and making it impossible to go on; a paper I heard at ACA showed that the group influenced the second season of the films. I was told by one woman my discussion of disability, violence and sex in Graham’s fiction “deeply upset” her so how dare I? No one should write about this series what could upset her, no details allowed. I had notice how many disabled (often autistic) characters Graham has in his Poldark and mystery novels; how he studies alienation (Marni) and individual loss sympathetically and wanted to discuss this. The shattering of one of the heroines from continual marital rape; the reality the hero rapes one of the chief heroines and the son they have, neglected and over-indulged (anything but taken care of) after her death grows up disturbed and lonely enough to reach out for an orangutan as a companion. Forget it.

Facebook pages dedicated to famous stars or authors identified as conservative and classic, or with some ethnicity or doctrine. The audience for Austen’s books is leavened because it includes different types of people, academics and heritage industry and there’s a lot of money to be made on sequels and conferences and tourism so the fandom cannot invent this world of its own and control the material. Austen has prestige, her texts are not considered trivial and worthless in the way of say Star Trek and other texts around which fandoms whirl. These groups dislike any criticism of their author; they will justify or excuse or explain away the smallest unfavorable remark. Their identities have become involved, their egos, their self-image. They build whole worlds around their texts & shows.

Tellingly, for people interested to see if popular fiction that has a wide enthusiastic audience can function to increase the sympathetic imagination, the fiercest hostile responses come from any assertion that the fetishized material explores sexuality or gender in unconventional ways, has an ambiguous or sad ending, shows the hero to be less than admirable (violent for example, politically radical).

***********************

Season1pat3ThrowingHarness1blog

I’ll end on the treatment of disability in Downton Abbey, the first season. Since I think I do not misread, I cannot tell what the misreading would be precisely, probably in the direction of scorn or dismissal or somehow turning the disability into what’s normal if “unwanted,” as Sir Anthony Strallon was treated in the third season, or silence, as the man with the heinously disfigured face was in the second — both given over to the program-scapegoat, Edith.

In the first part of Downton Abbey, the lamed Mr Bates is almost fired because few will accept his disability: most take it as a blemish on community, insist he will not be able to do his job, a few ridicule him, a couple (that’s enough) tell false tales; Lord Grantham almost fires him but his decency and better self seeing the cruelty and injustice of the act, keeps him on at the close of the hour.

In the third part, Mr Bates still driven by fear he’ll be fired, tormented by cruel jeering or physical gestures (as when Miss Obrien trips and humiliates him) buys an instrument of torture to make himself walk more straight. As the hour wears on we see Bates in pain, leaning over in agony, having a sour expression, indeed not be able to do his job. (In the context of the hour’s juxtaposition, the parallel is the ejection of Pamuk’s corpse from Lady Mary’s room after he half-rapes her; both are trash which ruin the body and probably spirit of the character.) Finally Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper insists on seeing what is wrong with Mr Bates, and he shows her his leg, now covered with blood and sores from the contraption on it.

As ever Fellowes is on the side of the mainstream: we next see the pair by the side of a river on the property. Mr Bates has agreed to throw the thing away. The lesson Mrs Hughes instructs Mr Bates to remember is: “I promise I will never again try to cure myself, I will spend my life happily as the butt of others’ jokes and I will never mind them.” Mrs Hughes: “We all carry scars Mr Bates, inside or out, you’re no different than the rest of us, remember that.” Mr Bates: “I will try to that I do promise.” And then he hurls it off, and she cries “good riddance.’

The part about not trying to cure oneself is good — autism month should be called autism acceptance month. The group of articles I have include two arguing the higher ends of autism include people who are in many ways more gifted than the average and would not have to consider themselves disabled if others didn’t ostracize and punish them. And Mr Bates is doing his job fine. But the second part half-blaming Mr Bates and saying it was he who considered himself different is the narrow cold-shouldering mind of the establishment speaking, demanding in effect (were he autistic) that he be neurotypical and leads to people purchasing such contraptions or having painful useful dangerous operations. Stiff upper lip. Never admit to anything.

Season1Part5Endingblog
Mr Bates and Anna (Joanna Froggart) end of Part 5: he getting into cart

As far as I could tell from reading the fan’s responses to the hour, they were sympathetic to the obtuse and mean Lady Mary; in his notes to the script Fellowes exclaimed against letters to him decrying a supposed buggery — the people couldn’t endure that Lady Mary should lose her virginity (hymen) so they jumped to the conclusion buggery had occurred and this was why the man had a heart-attack (!). (How revealing of silent suppositions this is.) And on-line people quickly tired of Mr Bates — by the second season as homely and a “sob-story” (“passive-aggressive” was a favorite phrase)and felt excruciated when (they felt) asked to identify with Anna, for they would not have fallen in love with Mr Bates as she slowly does for his intelligence, integrity, good nature, refusal to kowtow or forsake his dignity, good heart (of which we see instances).

A friend wrote:

Mrs. Hughes’s comment that ‘we all carry scars’ nags me, however. Who is the “we?” On the first glance, I’d take it to be a universal statement–the series shows that everyone, upstairs or downstairs, has their problems, but I’m not convinced it is a universal “we.” (I’m sure Fellowes meant it to be.) Is the “we” the servants? However, whether or not Mrs. Hughes “we” is universal, this leads me to think that disability plays out differently between servants and masters — Matthew’s Hemingwayesque war wound, leaving him “crippled” and impotent, is a parallel to Mr. Bates’ disability — both
are physical and both call into the question each man’s ability to do his primary “job” — in Matthew’s case of course, to “make the heir,” but one has a miraculous cure and the other not …

Yes. Who is the we? In the case of the servants, they have no buffer or support to help them if they are rejected, so they must conform and if they cannot, must not complain.

I was told again and again how my blogs on Downton Abbey took “a different view,” and at times (especially around the character of Edith whose scapegoating I exposed) attacked. Twenty years from now attitudes will have frozen and it will be hard to talk freely to those still remembering (many will no longer but move on). I never did discuss disability in Downton Abbey. I should have. So have made up for that now.

Ellen

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‘They are surely happy,’ said the prince, ‘who have all these conveniencies, of which I envy none so much as the facility with which separated friends interchange their thoughts.’ —Samuel Johnson, Rasselas

… still, saved as we all are by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange, she would not have given up her more elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments — Jane Austen of Anne Elliot, Persuasion

What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. if we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”—— Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

Carringtonblog
Emma Thompson as Carrington in the 1995 film of that name, Jonathan Pryce as Lytton Strachey, scripted & directed by Christopher Hampton, adapted from Michael Holroyd’s biography — today she’d be on the Net, and a laptop might be in front of him too

Dear friends and readers,

I’ve had several thoughtful responses and have been moved to write again taking on a new aspect of the topic, or at any rate, a different perspective and emphasis.

I wrote my paper in 2006 and would like to think there has been progress in the area of understanding cyberspace experience itself as well as how cyberspace impacts on physical local (so to speak) space and vice versa. That people continue to try to understand the first, the interaction between physical/local space and what happens in cyberspace is so; this morning I saw a Call for Papers whose subtitle is “The Digital Turn” and its interest is how cyberspace is affecting book history studies; what they are after is how power relationships are changing and thus what’s written about. They are not concerned with cyberspace experience in and of itself. People who are those who would not be interacting with others the way they do if not for cyberspace and are listened to (say bloggers who are political but not hired by conventional newspapers or political organizations) are partly to blame for this, for that’s how they justify their presence on the Net. They are there for influence and social connection. To be sure, the latter is a strong part of why all people are on the Net, but it does not go anywhere near far enough in understanding what happens here.

And that’s hard. It’s one thing to say that content is only part of what’s happening and maybe not the most important, especially surface content; it’s another to try to articulate what are the equivalents to physical of what’s happening that influence content and make people behave on the Net the way they do. It’s easy to describe this through connection. Women learn early on to fear violence and humiliation; ergo, they are afraid, and rightly for them safety is the central issue. For men not so much; my experience here is men say (in off-list communications is where you learn this sort of thing) they don’t trust the other person posting; they can know too little for sure about them unless they’ve met them face-to-face or have some certain history about them and know this is their identity. This trust connects to holding onto a job and promotion and pride (saving face) — issues central to manliness, respect as a man as understood by our society.

And it’s not hard to take what is known about women’s psychology growing up — the real importance of intimate friendship as a support mechanism — and try to see how this works. The woman one commenter mentioned who pretended to be a male is escaping these continual influences or pretends she is. This woman was apparently (someone known to all) a tenured professor. I suggest therefore she is also successful because she is credentialed high. Katha Pollit has that and it makes a big difference in how people react to her postings on the Net.

Two responses were about false identities on the Net. One friend I know revels in games where he says that in fact these false identities are aspects of ourselves that we get to be, or act out (using the common life is a stage metaphor) there where we can be them nowhere else. Another inveighed against it when the identity was presented as real on a list-serv or blog. Said she was “very offended,” a phrase I note that is not much in use in physical local space but is a common way of beginning a debate or quarrel with someone on the Net. It’s put in polite terms but what it means was “you piss me off” or “how dare you,” a stance people don’t dare face-to-face unless they are willing to take the argument very far (into something physical or vengeful).

I do dislike intensely the false identities on the Net but know from the get-go, in its origin, people immediately began to take advantage of that, and a lot of people appear to love it. Those who play games don’t seem to care in the least that what they are doing will have nothing to do with what happens in real space. At least they hope so. (Sometimes they are caught up and find they are badly hurt in the real world because they have believed a false identity). I find it to be cheating, a fundamental lying but that’s because I want experience on the Net to count, though it need not in regular physical space to count.

The reality is there are a whole group of peculiar circumstances on the Net not replicated in regular physical space which are at work (how is it she speaks to me? knows something, though not much, of me? she does), elements which keep some people from posting (all these unknown make them nervous) and which encourage others to post (I’m more comfortable and freer when I am not looking at someone’s face, can speak so much more freely). The largest is it’s a writing space; you have to have a writing self, love writing and not be bothered with revealing this self which is a more private self than the social one.

In my paper the best book was Technology and Women’s Voices: Keeping in Touch (ed. Chris Kramarae) and after that Women@Internet (ed. Wendy Harcourt) because they really genuinely looked at women — for example, that we are so much less technically educated, so much more uncomfortable with technology — but both and (from the title you see this) Communities in Cyberspace essays (ed Marc C. Smith and Peter Kollock) include one on women tenants empowering themselves to fight a local landlord) (are often most on about how cyberspace and regular physical space interact. A slew of individual essays in periodicals were very good too but I no longer remember which was most helpful. For me whose identity is partly that of an academic these were Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, “Same Old Gender Plot? Women Academics’ Identities on the Web,” paper presented at Cultural Diversities in/and Cyberspace Conference, University of Maryland, 2000; Jill Arnold and Hugh Miller, “Academic masters, mistresses and apprentices: gender and power in the real world of the web,” Mots Pluriels, 19 (October 2001).

My husband Jim taught Information Technology: he’d have 1 or 2 women to 11or 12 men every time. Conferences are 90% male and the women there are often in personnel. The kind of talk men indulge in as social grease is highly sexist and makes women uncomfortable. Men don’t want these women there so they can carry on that way.

I concluded that the internet was an equivalent of the railway in the 19th century in changing our world because I took on that aspect too. People using the railway did not get to say where it would stop or how be organized. That’s what women are today still.

But today I want to begin to dwell on another aspect, one as or more crucial. You can see it’s ignored because most photos on the Net are of people apart from their home environment, on a laptop, shown in business places, out on the street (buying hotdogs as a joke), and mostly with other people around, people in rows with laptops. That’s not accurate. Yes the cell phone has become a little computer in our hands, but that’s someone phoning someone else, acting pragmatically most of the time, killing time too, distracting themselves as with crossword puzzle. It’s not computer cyberspace experience that leads to blogs, websites, web-rings, list-servs.

Much of that time on the Net is spent at home, alone outside (it can be a common room, a library, a coffee place where you can sit for hours), ensconced in an individualized environment.

*******************

MyRoomFacingDeskblog
People’s computers and laptops are at home, an essential part of the whole environment, but just one part

It needs someone or a group like that of Freud and his early disciples to really delve this new area of life, new way of communication. A great deal of what people write is about how a newspapers and communities in regular conventionally organized physical space are impacted by someone who has the courage to break social and political codes, manners, and tell real truths or falsehoods on the Net. It’s not just a matter of finding analogies for family life. Maybe it seems impossible to do but in the 1880s it would have seemed crazy to come up with Freud’s theories and nowadays it’s all commonplace and some of it essential to understand what happens to us. My intuition tells me we have to begin with a new experience of solitude (with others there and not there), how this is recuperative. Then how people feel when they are alone in the pre-cyberspace way, and how much this empowers some when they know they are alone (and hence as women in the immediate sense safe) and how these feelings are transformed into something new. What kind of person does it empower? why? what has been their background to make them feel so? we have to get over dismissing the very real urge of people to be asocial at crucial moments of their lives.

We need to think about how much we can reach on the Net and why it is so vital to keep it un-exclusive. How much information and insight one can have in a day by reading on the Net it would not just take years of books to have, but would not be in books. What are the conventions of postings, list-servs, blogs, webrings that make them so different from what is put into still unchangeable print.

We need to think about why face-book where people do identify themselves and form small but distant groups is so enjoyable. Not scold people and despise them as delusional. They are not. We need to understand the dysfunctional nature of a lot of physical local life and how hollow it can be, impossible to find any satisfaction in. What happens at twitter? Why is this place important to the people doing it, not the important people outside the Net quoting and writing about it.

We need to be frank and examine the hurts people experience on the Net. What are the specific circumstances each time? how did the relations unravel when they would not have in physical local space apart from not being face-to-face. What was allowed and what came out? What were the results? If we cannot tell them aloud to others on the Net individually, think individually and then generalize.

*******************
masked-face-laptop

Finally, two people, one the same as the above, brought up the issue of gender lying. Both women. I wonder if men would bring this up. It’s a separate issue. She said to watch a woman, say Sally, pretend successfully to be a man, discuss football, sex as a man, be aggressive and be respected (and perhaps help Sally’s life outside the Net) made her want to be a man intensely. It is possibly true that a woman can and experience power because on the Net she can have an imaginative experience of being a man, and in cyberspace that’s as good as physical experience. There is such a thing as internet sex. For my part, I would never want to be a man, never have. I don’t know how usual or unusual that is for someone who is a feminist. I don’t care that being a woman gives me much less power in most areas because my experience is this particular lack is not much worse than my class (which I saw robbed me from the time I could understand my environment), who I was born to, how little money or connections I had in growing up or after.

It’s not just the old Austen saying (Anne Elliot) that we like ourselves best after all and do not want to trade (see epigraphs at the top of the blog). It’s that I know myself fundamentally as a woman that’s what I want to be. I do think of myself first as much a woman as a person. Frankly (Rhett Butler stuff) I’m relieved that I never have had anyone tell me I had to support a family, had to have a certain kind of job to do so. I’m glad to have options women are given like staying home if I have another source of income beyond marketplace work remuneration. I’m glad to be free by option of having to do well in social interaction to rise to power. It’s not expected of women and they can survive without it and (if they have brains) even now when masculine values have taken over women’s worlds, can still ignore or cast it aside. I dislike and reject some of the disadvantages. I felt under no obligation whatsoever to have children. But then I basically regard life as in itself meaningless and all these things are unreal and one can if lucky pick and choose — and can try insofar as each of us can (what are our genes, where born, to whom, what gender, race, class). Like Woolf, I see that women don’t have identities in the same way at all as men; our gender cuts across all these and cuts us off from much power that comes with this or that identity.

But then gentle reader I do prefer women’s books to men’s, women’s films, women’s poetry.

Ellen

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MapofInternetWorldblog

Dear friends and readers,

We’ve gotten into a for once (well to me) enlightening thread on a Women’s
Studies list-serv (WMST-l)
. It began over in Wompo (women’s poets) and slid
across lists because Katha Pollitt is on both list-servs and got irritated
with a couple of contentious threads which had turned into quarrels (still
mild), at which one woman complained at the contention and said she would
get off or fall silent. Katha’s posting was (to me) a form of scolding: she
basically said men’s way of being in cyberspace is superior to women’s
because supposedly they don’t mind quarreling in public. She wrote in terms
that were insulting to women, but attention catching. By mistake she put this posting onto Women’s studies where the people are more reasonable — it’s a more academic style list with more women academics on it.

I’m very interested in the realities of women in cyberspace and how theirs differs from men’s behavior. Obviously, I spend enormous amounts of time on the Internet, and my experiences here have helped me to mature, become more socially active (go to conferences, meet with friends) I wrote a paper on this which the listowner of WMST-l put on line as part of a permanent set of papers. I’m so bad at nuts and bolts I can never reach my paper over there, so for those who want to see (or read it later) , here it is on my website: Women in Cyberspace.

I had the courage to counter Katha on Wompo and nothing reasoned in response to my posting was sent. Instead I got misspelled mild jeering (using CAPs). At the close of my last posting, I just said, “Come, go ahead, abuse me … ” And one woman did, but the thread died after that.

Katha had said to ignore the posting on WMST-l and two of her friends (women
with credentials like hers, Marge Piercy among them) backed her on this,
but what she wrote was significant. Here is the core:

Before the internet, I never believed the truism that women have trouble disagreeing openly because they place such a high value on harmony, fitting in, not standing out. Having been on numerous women’s lists I see how true this is. They ALL have the same dynamic: sugary mutual admiration, with occasional outbursts of snark that cause conniptions. Yerra makes a personal remark, Joyce slaps her down by appealing to ‘the spirit of the list,” Yerra takes her marbles and goes home. On a coed list, or a mostly male list, a slightly snarky remark would have just been one of those things that happen. A reprimand would be be read as impossibly stuffy, and a threat to leave would be a joke.

I’ve been on wom-po for ages, and let me tell you,with all the mutual flattery (complemented by back channeling of expostulations and eye rolls) and self congratulation for our female wonderfulness it’s pretty boring. I barely take part any more, This is a list so scared of open discussion that “political” posts have to be labelled so the frailer flowers can avert their petals and the illusion of harmonious sisterhood be preserved. Oh no, someone mentioned abortion rights! help!

Can we please put on our big girl panties and talk about things like grownups?

Katha

I want instead to cut to the quick, the sudden idea I saw. I often say that the content of a posting is only part of what’s happening the way the content of our words in physical space is only part of what’s happening. For the first time I was able to see how the posting itself functions differently (than say all the stuff that is added on in real space). It’s that we see the posting primarily as either by a man or either by a woman. That comes first. The way writing is primarily seen as either by a man or women (that’s why 90% of what is published in mainstream publications is by men).

Second, the reason men can quarrel openly and not get upset really is they
fundamentally respect one another as men. They can insult and jeer and yet
they are respected and respect one another. I put it that we women don’t
fundamentally respect one another as women. We are taught not to. We may
respect a credentialed woman but she is still a woman. A male homosexual is
respected as a man and identifies as a man first. Lesbians are at the
bottom of a heap of gender types because they are also women.

The books I cited in my first posting tell how much friendships mean to women growing up, how badly women feel betrayed when their friend goes off with boyfriends or drops the other woman for her new “family” or connections. How it hurts. The sense of betrayal.

So when women quarrel it’s not childish.

And the results of quarrels — as the results of rape or any complaint are differently for men than women. Women are punished when they complain and the results of quarrels they are taught will be bad. They will lose the respect of important connections. The punishment meted out will be denied; it will be presented as reasonable behavior. This is where masochism comes in. Women seem to be masochists and accept what happens because they find if they don’t things get worse for them.

My Women Writers Across the Ages, a Yahoo list-serv carries on discussing feminism calmly is we have so few men, the men here are a congenial bunch who agree with feminist values. And a woman list-owner. All of this is highly unusual.

Women quarreling in cyberspace are often quarreling because one or both feels her gender has been betrayed.

*************************

conversationLaMonteblog
Conversation, Susan LaMonte

If anyone wants to read the more essay-like email versions:

1) I don’t think there’s anything wrong in the way women behave differently from men on lists — as I don’t think there is anything wrong with the women behave differently in life. To find the male model preferable is to prefer a whole host of values and norms that at least some of us have wanted to not to be the prevailing code. The classic and still important book on this is Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice; also about why women quarrel so bitterly, Lyn Mikel Brown, Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development;and Girl Fighting: Betrayal and Rejection

Women complain how we never seem to make any progress. Well there are these three books which analyze the phenonomena that Katha has castigated/scorned without looking to see why women behave like this except to imply “coward” or silly emotional creature who bores me. Cyberspace experience is obviously only analogous to real physical life, physical encounters where names and all sort of information are there right away to make the others accountable. Not only empathy and understanding is required to understand why women need moderators on lists, thrive better in some lists than others — it might be recalled that men simply refuse to get onto lists run by women often and get off certain kinds of list-servs that attract women. Does that mean those women’s lists don’t count or are inferior? Men simply disdain what is not consonant with how they are encouraged to behave in our society.

My study of women in cyberspace which is written in a way that looks to find ways to enable women to cope with the experiences they find on lists which are often analogous to what puts them at a disadvantage in life. It should also be remembered women don’t forget what happens in real life — like rape (frequent). I’m upbeat, constructive as that’s what’s wanted in social and public life:

I seek to present material to help us think about what are the obstacles to women using cyberspace effectively, and what can be done to construct cyberspace experience so as to make it more appealing, hospitable and usable for women.

Here though I will break code again and say that indeed the public encounters in front of a whole group of people, most unknown, with no way to manipulate the encounter to your set of values or norms (feminocentric) is analogous to rape (virtual) because it’s public and people looking on are in the position of voyeurs (the term lurkers is a telling one here).

Another aspect I don’t bring up in the paper is that women value friends, they value contacts; they don’t want to lose them, and given their real knowledge of other women’s psychology and their own plus experience of men, they retreat into silence as the really wisest way to cope given the present misogynistic environment. When will we ever stop celebrating the war mentality (which aggression, competition and the rest of what has been put before us as better and more fun)?

WMST-l itself is a list run by women, with women moderators, it has the typical list of rules one finds in women’s lists (not men’s) which are resorted to and I like it because of this and much else.

How are individual women to be heard is the question.

On Wompo I miss Annie Finch’s explicit point of view in how she saw this list as a place for women where women’s values and norms and experiences and knowledge would prevail.

2) The second email adding to original points:

I want to speak again to this one. Much as people still try to deny this, what happens in cyberspace matters — people might acknowledge various govt’s reactions to whistle-blowers, bloggers, privately-sent emails (one-to-one) emails. It also is increasingly central to local affairs. I had thought not to since Gail Dines reiterated what I was going to repeat with more details. That saying women have just got to accept aggression won’t do since many forums in cyberspace replicate the realities of physical space. Men are in charge. I was forced off a listserv (Inimitable-Boz @ Yahoo) last week, and I’m no melting flower on list-servs (or blogs or other venues in cyberspace). It did become impossible to stay because what was implied and not spoken about what I had been writing and what was explicitly said simply ignored everything I had said and the explicit talk became rawly insulting (the attempt was made to shame me), not just snide or a matter of innuendo. The terms of the aggression were misogynistic but if I dared use that word or any like it, I’d be laughed at as a foolish feminist.

Where men are not in charge but constitute the working majority of those who post (and in cyberspace when men become numerous on lists they have been shown to become the active members with only a couple of women maintaining a presence), the same sort of thing occurs, perhaps more muted if at least one of the list-owners is herself a woman. The gender matters. The woman can be very different politically but I’ve observed and experienced nonetheless she will understand and give crucial support to the women poster (sometimes, not
always). It’s like Republican women are mostly pro-choice, and they vote
for shelters for women and children.

We don’t accept the terms in which rape is discussed which (as we saw a
couple of summers ago) allowed in at least three high profile cases, the
case to be dismissed (the Muslim housekeeper in NYC who was raped) or
humiliated and lose her case (the young executive who was intoxicated and
made the mistake I’d call it of phoning the police) and the supreme court
fining parents whose daughter accused frat young men of raping her. We
don’t say we’ve just got to accept this. We try to alter the basic understanding of what’s happening.

It is not a matter of putting “on our big girl pants and talking like grownups.” I talk like a grown-up all the time, even to my cats. The phrase was an irritant.

So I’ve come on this second time because I want also to counter it first
under the aegis of the idea that “older women” are to be assumed to behave
differently in this than younger ones necessarily which is dismissive or
that anyone was being childish. It assumes the problem is the deference of
older woman. I’m not deferent. Another aspect of this particular thread is
some of us come on with more credentials. Not quite the same thing as being
a man (nothing beats that — I’m sarcastic here) but part of power plays. I
speak to Katha the way I do to others — or Barbara Bergson or anyone with
more credentials. This fault-line of age versus youth divides and conquers
us again. In a way being older and who I am and am not frees me (like
Janice Joplin line, freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose”).
The paradigm of the second wave is implicitly brought in here, but it was
in the second wave people used the word “liberation” and talked about sex
openly. I got myself into trouble (get myself) because I’m not deferent to
men.

And second, women do squabble a certain way but it’s not because they are
childish. The understanding of quarrels and their meaning is different from
men’s. The way women treat one another as girls, what their friendships
mean to one another and how they disrespect one another on lists is different from men’s. I suggest at some level men respect one another as men fundamentally. And women often do not respect one another fundamentally as women. All of us are taught not to – by the society. Look at ads for a start. And they feel betrayed, angered really.

Third, women’s experience of the results of quarrels very different. Third
and fourth wavers (if there is a fourth wave), post-feminists experience
punitive results which teach women silence is the wise policy because of
self-interest works the same. The punitive nature of the result is
frustratingly denied the way rape is called a false accusation (as in you
consented). That’s one of the sources of so-called masochism.
I’ll cut off here as I’ve gone on far too long but I feel these points are
important and need to be dealt with, even if solutions are not easy to see.

*******************

OnNotcommunicatingblog

Of course most of the replies either ignored my points or saw what I wrote in quite different terms, but one I did think useful for what I was saying.

I think history has given us TWO inadequate models for dealing with conflict, each model loosely associated with a gender role, but available to anyone. In life, we probably all “mix and match” elements of these two inadequate models. On the one hand, there is the “feminine” style of handling conflict (conflict avoidance; conforming to the “feminine” gender role by avoiding direct expression of aggression while channeling aggression into “mean girl” behaviors such as gossip, isolation, manipulation of alliances and social status, etc.). On the other hand, there is the “masculine” style (handling conflict in ways that deny the value of interdependency and rely on inequality/hierarchy; fighting verbally or physically to avoid shame and loss of status by shaming the opposing point of view).

Both of these ways of handling conflict are inadequate. They temporarily stifle conflict rather than truly resolving it, so the conflict usually resurfaces and becomes part of a cycle. There are other, more constructive ways to handle conflict that can lead to better resolutions. Conflict should be seen as a positive and inevitable product of equality. Conflict is inevitable; the only question is how we handle it. If a group can resolve conflict only by silencing it or by creating inequality (“I’m right, you’re wrong, so shut up; your point of view has no place here”), the group has failed. We are products of our culture and our culture has tried to teach us that conflict is threatening to us personally and to our social order. And it has tried to train us to turn to authority figures (ultimately the police or the state) to resolve our conflicts rather than teaching us the skills to resolve them in ways that strengthen us individually while also enhancing our ability to function collectively.

There are occasionally conflicts where logic alone can reveal a “right” and a “wrong”; a “winner and a “loser.” But deeper, more intractable conflicts are not just rational disagreements. They reflect some damage done to the communal bonds holding people together, and mending that damage often requires attention to things such as the quality of communication, and the creation of a group dynamic trusted by all. When Audre Lorde says that our culture has “misnamed difference as a threat to unity” and when she envisions “the creative function of difference in our lives,” I think she is talking about what feminism could potentially contribute to our understanding of conflict and conflict resolution (micro- and macro-) if we look for alternatives to the two inadequate, gender-coded models of conflict “management”/irresolution.

Leah Ulansey

Ellen

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Dear friends and readers,

Perhaps this blog belongs on my Austen Reveries since it is Austen’s sceptical and wise defense of novelists (in her time much despised) that is my touchstone (in the Arnoldian sense), but since my catchment area is so broad, I’ve decided to put my thoughts in response to a far from unbiased New York Times column here. It seems we must all be suspicious of on-line reviews, and bloggers in general, since David Streitfield (doubtless paid) came across a story about a man who makes just oodles of money writing fatuous blog reviews of books: The Best Book Reviews &c

Speaking generally (but remember Blake: “to generalize is to be an idiot”), Mr Streitfield is telling us home truths about publishing and selling books today, and also the tendency of reviews not only on-line but in paper. First, it’s getting harder and harder to get a book, any book, into print, and even harder (that’s why publishers are so reluctant) to make a profit: there are just so many for free texts, so many books on sale in so many different places, such an embarrassment of easy-to-reach other things to do (to say nothing of the potential reader having a full-time job, or perhaps 2 or 3 part-time ones), that selling books has become retail, one-on-one.

And I am aware of how publishers use bloggers: I’ve refused numbers of books — where the person also says it’s understood I will praise it. I especially get offers of Jane Austen sequels, which I turn down regularly. I did accept one this way, found it awful, said so, and the publishers was livid. I have done reviews for friends but only when I think well of the book. Again, speaking generally, one cannot go to most reviews for real advice on whether to buy or take out of a library, and try to read a book.

So, what’s forgotten here is how many reviews published in paper are anything but trustworthy. They are done by the writer’s friends, or someone part of his or her group. No one dares say anything adverse lest his or her book get a reciprocal treatment;the editor receives complaints from his or her friends. It is also not the way to make friends. I’ve had the experience several times now that after I’ve read the book for real and more carefully than any review I come across, write a scholarly review where I generally praise the book highly, outline its contents specifically (so as to let readers know what’s in it), but then have a paragraph or two of objections, evaluative critique or downright objections, the person who wrote the book is resentful and lets me know it. They don’t care if the reviewer at TLS or LRB didn’t read the book, appears to know nothing beyond the first chapter; all they want is praise.

Many blogs produce fatuous praise; that’s what wanted by the mass readership. Common readers don’t understand evaluative criticism. I’ve had very angry responses to those reviews I do of more popular novelists — like Ann Patchett. That one is paying a writer a high compliment by “rational opposition” (here comes Austen), genuinely engaging in central issues of conversations to which the book belongs is not understood. There are readers for whom reading a book is a version of identity politics; they also get indignant: how dare you. Who do you think you are? And the attacks one gets connect to why many writers in print and in blogs are so reluctant to tell personal details of their lives that are not conventional, upbeat.

I demur not only at the unqualified singling out of bloggers as somehow inferior (stupider), more corrupt than people paid by institutions and businesses, but also the over-glamorizing and supposed success, the amount of money this man (who stands as an example), it’s implied, bloggers can make if they write ecstatic to vapid (“how wonderful”) reviews. I’ve read numerous tales of the real living or even huge sums a blogger can make; if these stories were true, a lot more bloggers I know would be making good money; they are not. Bloggers who are paid a living wage or more work professionally on line for a conventional publication. Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a decent living because he is blogging for the Atlantic. How many people write books? is it probable that anyone would have such notice as to attract so many people a day. $5 a review. The idea that one can write them out as if one were a programmed machine is behind this kind of aspersion.

Streitfield is not exactly a disinterested witness.

**************************

My good friend, “Frisbee” who has an excellent blog on her life as a reader, she sometimes talks about the complaints and false perceptions of bloggers that she has to deal with when it comes to readers (E-attention spans, blogging and culture) and then has asked, Should or Shouldn’t We? (blog). Clarion call with Jane: yes we should.

Fellow bloggers, we are in the position of classic book film adapters today, of novelists yesterday: Let us not desert one another:

We are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded as much and more and continual extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world [once you own a computer and are attached to the Net, for free], no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers

Ellen

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Samuel Lawrence’s 1864 painting of Trollope — my favorite of all the images (I don’t have it in color)

Dear readers and friends,

Over on Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two, under the stress of the usual stigmatization and occasional spiteful harassment I have to endure where I teach as an adjunct lecturer, I turned to work again on my paper, “The Content of Ann Radcliffe’s Landscapes,” and found myself renewing my strong ties with what keeps me alive, makes my life worth working to sustain. Being alive is (as Austen tells us at the close of Mansfield Park) a “consciousness of having to struggle and endure.” And I wrote a blog telling of how I first read Austen and Radcliffe too, how I first came across both of them and why I have not tired of either (or Bronte’s Jane Eyre). I posted a URL to the blog to friends and readers, and was answered on Trollope19thCStudies at Yahoo so reciprocated with someone who had told of his experience with my first experiences of Trollope.

As I’ve posted so much here on the Palliser films, and by extension thus Trollope, I thought I’d continue the thread here and tell how I came to read almost all Trollope. I’ve read all his fiction, all but one travel books, most of his non-fiction and a good many of his essays. The centered piece is written in a different style than that of this or other blogs: it’s from my book where I worked very hard to polish and make bright my style:

Over on Eighteenth-CenturyWorlds at Yahoo a sweet woman has joined us, is reading away and enjoying herself She told of how she first encountered Austen at age 58 through a film, Rozema’s 1999 Mansfield Park (very unlike Austen’s book most feel). She felt a little awkward about coming to this now intense engagement with Austen through a film. So I told her that the Palliser films had been a catalyst for me. While I did not come to him first through a movie, my interest was deeply aroused on a second encounter by the Palliser films.


Kate Nichols as Mary looking out at her mother, Lady Glencora Palliser, Duchess of Omnium’s grave (favorite still from Pallisers)

From the introduction to my book, Trollope on the Net:

My first “real” to Trollope occurred when I was around twenty-one and in my third year of college. I took a course in the nineteenth-century British novel, and one of ten novels assigned was Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne. I didn’t forget this one. The memory of some amused calm in Trollope’s voice remained vivid to me. It would make me smile to remember how he kept making all these excuses for himself because he was forced to take two long chapters to tell us the previous history of all the characters in Doctor Thorne before his book could officially begin. I reread the green-and-white 1959 Houghton Mifflin edition I bought for the course, and Elizabeth Bowen’s introduction to it, more than once.

In it I can still locate all the annotations to my copy which I
took down as notes from the English professor’s lecture in the course. The professor castigates Trollope ‘for telling, not showing’. Trollope is ‘repetitious’. The professor admires a scene in which Frank Gresham courts Mary Thorne while she sits upon a donkey because the comedy of the donkey’s perspective and presence ‘undercuts the sentimentality’; a near final line in the book where Mary cries out ‘Oh, Frank; my own Frank! my own Frank! we shall never be separated now’ leaves the reader with ‘a clutch in the throat’. Nevertheless, the book isn’t ‘sufficiently centered’ on ‘the consciousness’ of its characters. It’s not even clear who the hero is. We are ‘bogged down’ in ‘too much detail’ and ‘too many stories’. He said we were reading Trollope as ‘a mirror’ of his age. Trollope was dismissed. He was uninteresting.


Hermione Norris as Anna Howe reading Clary’s letter (favorite still from 1991 BBC Clarissa)

Seven or eight years later while I was writing a long dissertation on Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa & Sir Charles Grandison, two very long eighteenth-century epistolary novels, and had become very weary of my task, the Public Television station in New York City ran a several-part film of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels. I was so entertained by the first episode that I went out, bought and read Can You Forgive Her?. During the day. I put the dissertation aside. Then I bought and read Phineas Finn. Despite my real poverty, I went out and bought and read the novel I gathered came next, The Eustace Diamonds. Then I bought the next one and read it. And then the next. It was like some candy one could not resist. It was such a relief from Richardson. Sanity after madness. Trollope’s idea of politics described my daily existence. I began to grieve that I had chosen the wrong field. I should have studied Victorian literature so I could have written my dissertation on Anthony Trollope. I laughed at myself.

Jim read these Palliser novels with me. As I would finish one, I
would give it to him and he would read it. He was doing his mathematics Ph.D. dissertation on Kleinian groups and didn’t mind putting his down either. We discussed the novels and, when we had finished The Duke’s Children, we bought & read in tandem The Way We Live Now, but at the time I at least felt disappointed by it. My father owned Barchester Towerss and brought it over to me from his apartment. What a delight. I then read The Warden. I cherished Mr Harding. Still I had to stop. My husband had already returned to his work. I could not go on with this addiction. I too had to return to what I had already begun and finish that. I told myself that someday I would read The Small House at Allington because it was said to have more Plantagenet and Lady Glencora, but again life got in my way.

The fourth time, ten years ago now, something clicked in me. I
decided this time I would not put Trollope aside, but carry on reading him until I had gone through every novel or other kind of book he ever wrote. It didn’t matter how long it took. The thought that he had written so many books that it would take a long time before I would run out cheered me. It was Aug 1989. I just been had been in a frightening automobile accident, and had spent twenty-four pain-racked hours in a frantically-busy emergency room in Metropolitan Hospital, an underfunded hospital in New York City in Spanish Harlem. Two days later, when I finally arrived on a ward for women, and my condition had been treated so that I was on the way to beginning to mend and I found myself in a quiet room in a bed, my father brought to me a copy of The Vicar of Bullhampton to read. He said he had just read it and remarked ‘how wise Trollope is’. It got me through.

In my book I also tell of how I have a vague memory I did meet
Trollope once before. When I was 15 rummaging in my father’s books once again I think I must’ve read Trollope’s autobiography. I remember a story about a young boy’s father who was seen as a mad-man writing long encyclopedic books about nuns. And also how he was so badly beaten at school, the class humiliation. It was probably one of those small blue book Oxford books published in 1951.

So films have meant a lot to me because it was on a Trollope list I led my first group read, on a Trollope list I met John Letts who invited me to write a book for the Trollope society, published it, invited (and paid me) to give a hour lecture at the Reform club, the first time I ever gave a talk in my life — to such an exalted group too. My 15 minutes of fame came and went early.


Gari Melchers*, Penelope (1910) (AT’s Story-telling art: Partly Told in Letters)

Again my listserv (and nowadays facebook) friend replied telling generally of his earliest reading experiences and love of 19th century novels. And so again I responded in kind, again I quote the centered piece from the introduction to Trollope on the Net

Thank you so much for replying: our stories are parallel as they probably are not uncommon stories of reading American children growing up in households with access to books. We were reading children as we are now reading adults.

Mine differs slightly but I note neither of us came across Trollope or Radcliffe until later in life. They are not included in children’s classics abridged or otherwise — and in my story were not included in the 1930s and 40s sets of classics my father owned which he had picked up inexpensively by
belonging to book clubs at the time. Again I do quote from the opening of my book, Trollope on the Net. He told me these sets of books were produced by organizations at the time who were trying to spread education “to the masses,” left book clubs really. Tellingly, they did not distribute Sinclair’s The
Jungle
or modern critical classics (say Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath), much less any more radical or political book but rather the famous ones suitable to a school canon. Now older I surmise that’s because such books were out of
copyright, easy to get hold of, thought to be very good for us (the way the BBC first had education and uplift part of its aim). I thought and still think Trollope was excluded because his vision includes sex more overtly and Radcliffe suffered then and now from ridicule.


Juliet Aubrey as Dorothea planning for cottages (1994 Middlemarch)

When I was a girl my father owned old sets of these in editions published in the 1930s. Before I was fourteen I had read all sorts of novels by a number of the more famous English novelists: Oliver Goldsmith, Jane Austen, Emily & Charlotte Bronte, and then later in my teens William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Charles Reade, Richard Blackmore, Robert Louis Stevenson — & of course Charles Dickens. But no Trollope. Trollope was never included in these sets, perhaps for the same reasons one found in them George Eliot’s Silas Marner but not Middlemarch, Goldsmith and Austen but not Henry Fielding or Samuel Richardson, Robert Louis Stevenson but not George Gissing or Arnold Bennett. Depictions or analyses of adult sexual experience were not favoured — and also those authors chosen were those whose books are identified as romances or adventure stories, and those whose novels still regularly make it onto the syllabi in American high schools or colleges. Trollope’s books use adult sexual experience, and he is an author who schoolteachers and college professors think they can skip.

One reason for my writing this book in the way I have is to reach readers who, like myself, have not come into conscious contact with Trollope until they reached college, and those who, again like myself, once there, have had professors who’ve decided they have neither room nor time for Trollope or who belittle him. Anthony Trollope is one of the greatest 19th century novelists.

Twice now, once on the Trollope list and once on Trollope-l, I
have asked how others on the list came to read Trollope with real interest, if not devotion, and I have told how I did. Athough I never took a poll, it seemed to me that on both lists a large majority of people began to read Trollope on their own — that is, without first having been assigned to read a novel by him in school. Those who first read him did so in college or at a university. Unlike the nineteenth-century American novelist Herman Melville, or James Joyce, about both of whom it has been argued they are today classics and best-sellers (at least in college student bookstores) because of assigned reading in school, Trollope has survived in spite of how he is treated or ignored in schools. Most of us had also found that university teachers regard Trollope as a minor or second-rate novelist. My experience resembled that of others.

And finally, have I or does one tire of Trollope?

No I’ve not tired of him. But I do know that when I read him, it’s not common for me to have the kind of intense release or delight I can still know with Austen and Radcliffe. It can happen though – and usually it’s rather when he really hits his tragic mode, sorrow, grief, twisted anguish often framed in a larger ironic way through the book and I do really appreciate his downright simply said hard truths. As with Samuel Johnson, I find this comforting.

Although (as I said) i’ve have have read almost all Trollope, including travel writing and a number of his essays, I would be willing to read again or read more I’ve not yet read. I think I would find real interest (knowledge) and delight in what I’ve not gotten to as yet. He really does mean to and offers knowledge, information. And an ethical vision that stands up — if it’s limited, it’s less so in some ways than Austen or Radcliffe because his experience of the world was so much greater than theirs and as a man was allowed to write of it in searing fiction.


John Everett Millais, Lady Julia and Johnny Eames, The Small House at Allington

Ellen

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Letters to the World: poems from the Wom-po listserv

Dear friends and readers,

ON the Wompo listserv, a member, Lesley Wheeler, has posted a URL to an essay she wrote on the Wom-po community:

A Salon with a Revolving Door: Virtual Community and the Space of Wom-po, Contemporary Women’s Writing, an Oxford online Journal.

It is a defense of listserv life from the point of view of this listserv set up to discuss women’s poetry, and be haven for women poets and those interested in women’s poetry; goals included meeting other women poets and creating a healthy women’s community. I’ve been a member of a member of for some years now and remember when we first bruited the idea of publishing an anthology of poems by the members (interspersed with prose comments on the listserv community), Letters to the World. Lesley’s article is valuable for putting into some permanent (traditionally respected form) a history of this community, for treating it with respect, and pointing out some of the significant functions such listservs can play in real people’s lives.

Lesley’s essay also shows real respect for the members of the wompo listserv, and its peculiar formations. Perhaps though she does somewhat over emphasize the function or centrality of the famous respected people over and over again. They are attractions to other people and can help keep people posting (if mostly through backchanneling). Her choice of topic too — international versus national conversations, how location actually does figure in what is said and to whom and about what — needs to be thought about more. It’s not that overwhelming a thread at all, though the outsider-insider nexus is a central part of the experience (so we all do know who are the dogs on the Net and who cannot be kicked). I wish she had developed the importance of conversation as community more. It seems to me that’s the central insight of her essay. When conversation dies, the community vanishes.

A wee correction: it was not I who started Wompo Wednesday. It was a part of the listserv conventions when I came: on Wednesday all are invited to put poems by contemporary living women onto the listserv. Joelle Biele has been keeping that up still, with a occasional people joining on to comment or contribute a poem or two. I did pick up on it and kept it up for a while with them. The same goes for Foremother Friday. There I made more of it than had been intended: I not only posted poems by women who were poet foremothers (at first they had to have died sixty years since), but also contributed little lives and a short piece of criticism and I did it regularly for a number of years and 30 of my pieces became part of their Wompo festival site and listserv Foremothers Corner. But it was there as a option for posting something for Friday when I came on, others have kept it up since I gave over doing it so regularly and began to put the postings here on this (Foremother poets) and my other blog too (Austen Reveries group).

I regret there’s never been one on Kevin Berland’s C18-l nor Patrick Leary’s Victoria (so far as I know) and also none on Austen-l: too much prejudice surrounds these unexclusive virtual community groups (especially from those inside exclusive coterie groups in academia or publishing), and Austen-l has suffered bouts of flame wars and (to be honest) trolls and a ruthless use of it for self-advertisement (so that anything can be said about Austen, no matter how improbable) and insufficient moderation (it has no owner in this sense). But Austen-l has been a real wide-ranging known community fostering all sorts of people as beginning writers as well as scholars and Janeites. A number of people have told me this (Cindy James who wrote My Jane Austen Summer comes to mind and is one of many many).

These listserv communities have meant so much to me and I know to others. For me they have given me a life I did not have before, could never have had any other way (like others in this I know), one I value and cherish and try to sustain. I see the same happening for other people who have stayed on listservs and opened blogs and websites; for individual friends, my daughters, their friends. I’ve published four times on listserv communities I’ve been part ofP: my Trollope on the Net is 50% about the people reading Trollope’s novels, how we went about it and what we said; my “On reading divergent Fanny Burney d’Arblays” and “Johnson and Boswell Forever” describe and commemorate two reading and discussions we had on Eighteenth-Century Worlds @ Yahoo, and my “Women in Cyberspace” is about cyberspace is a strongly gendered experience, differing in significant ways for women and men. This one Joan Korenman, listowner of the long-time WMST-l was genderous enough to place on the Net as one of the permanent papers of the community of women scholars. I am aware the word “community” with all its unexamined positive resonances is one some people refuse to see as real in cyberspace (sometimes I feel in meanness, sometimes ignorance, sometime fear because they’ve had or heard of bad experiences) and Leslie addresses this question too. The greatest red herring in debates over cyberspace life is that it takes you away from all your others social worlds: lots of people have few or small and uncongenial social worlds and should shout that out as central to the outsider/insider nexus.

Ellen

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Gmail trouble

Dear friends and readers,

My google mail has disappeared for number of hours and that has given me quite a scare. I got a frozen message for many hours which claimed to be fixing an error in my mail storage. So anyone who wants to contact me, please remember that I have two other addresses available on two further site: beyond ellen.moody@gmail, there’s Ellen2@JimandEllen.org or emoody@gmu.edu.
I’m also on facebook (Ellen Moody) and twitter (Miss Sylvia Drake)

Thank you for staying in contact with me,

Ellen

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