Saturday, March 25, 2006

tiny post

I was falling a little behind in my reading, but I've had a chance to catch up in the last couple of days, and I have to say, I've really been sucked in by the last part of Book Two, and what I've read of Book Three. Dorothea's reactions to Rome were so beautifully put-- I remember my astonishment there at the vibrant, crazy jumble of the ancient and modern (the difference being that I loved it). I was also fascinated by the discussions about painting, but I felt it was a little off topic, so I wrote a long post about that on my own site. If you care to read it, it's at Mad Mutter.

I'm also struck at how perfunctory and businesslike the decision to marry was. I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that these unions were often about financial support for one party or the other, and it also occurs to me that if you can't have sex before marriage (at least if you're a woman) you're a lot more likely to speed up the whole process. I don't think I'm supposed to talk about Book Three yet, so I won't say any more.


Anonymous rachel said...

Your comment about premarital sex means that now I have to ask the question I was feeling too polite to ask before. Bear in mind, this is NOT answered in the text, so go ahead and speculate to your heart's content without fear of spoilers -- Do you think Dorothea and Casaubon actually HAVE sex? Ever?

Have I just put lurid images in your head?

10:37 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Ick! I don't like thinking about it, but if I have too, I think they probably had sex at least once. The text says one of Casaubon's reasons for marrying was to produce a copy of himself-- he felt it was his duty to do it(of course!). This is assuming he knew where babies come from.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

From the first paragraph of Chapter 29 — DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW — this lovely bit, which I couldn't help but read as a double entendre:

"in return, he should receive family pleasures and leave behind him that copy of himself which seemed so urgently required of a man — to the sonneteers of the sixteenth century. Times had altered since then, and no sonneteer had insisted on Mr. Casaubon's leaving a copy of himself; moreover, he had not yet succeeded in issuing copies of his mythological key;"

So I'm kind of relieved to think, no, they didn't.

(Casaubon's project is a metaphor for his manhood!)

8:02 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

If Casaubon's work is a metaphor for his manhood, can we infer that they tried...and he couldn't??? It's almost worse, isn't it?

9:47 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Isa -- It's another of my inadvertent spoilers! Now you know they never have children! Damnit!!

10:12 PM  

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