Placet

Jan. 18th, 2016 11:46 am
jinasphinx: (Sphinx)
[personal profile] jinasphinx
I borrowed the audiobook of Gaudy Night from the library and listened to it on my iPhone. It was a little bit of a hassle to import the sound files from the Overdrive folder to iTunes and then sync with the phone, but the worst part was having to contend with the Apple Music app on my phone. Other sound-playing apps have controls like this:



And then there's Apple Music, which does not have an easy "skip back N seconds" button and whose controls are so much smaller:



UI annoyances aside, the audiobook experience was great. I was able to listen during my commute (now that I've given up on the light rail) and during data entry at work. The narrator's English accent enhanced a lot of the pompous discussions among the Oxford dons and lent some added charm to Lord Wimsey the younger.

And the story itself was good; I hadn't known anything about Dorothy Sayers before starting the Wimsey books, so I hadn't realized how much of a feminist nerd she was. I love that she highlighted the double standards of how male and female students were treated and how the women's college is aware of its own precarious situation. It creates a nice backdrop for Harriet's need to maintain her independence. And I loved Wimsey for that moment when he realizes Harriet is in danger and instead of hiring bodyguards for her or trying to stop her investigation, he teaches her self-defense. I was less charmed by the dog collar; I wasn't sure what Sayers was trying to do with that, or if the comparison between a woman and a dog wasn't a thing in the 1920s.

I also wasn't sure how big of a scandal Harriet's well-publicized "fallen woman" status would have been. Obviously it's enough of a thing that she's worried about how she'll be received at Oxford and is used to getting hate mail, but I don't remember the book saying that she was worried she would harm Peter's reputation. Perhaps that would have gone without saying. My only complaint with the book itself is that by the time you get to the ending, it feels anticlimactic, and then it ends abruptly. But that was the case with Have His Carcase too, and probably a convention of storytelling at the time. I've noticed the same abrupt feeling in older movies.

dog collar, fallen woman, etc.

Date: 2016-01-19 08:03 pm (UTC)
walkitout: (Default)
From: [personal profile] walkitout
Here's some discussion of the dog collar:

http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/novelreadings/this-week-in-my-classes-am-i-making-excuses-for-gaudy-night/

I'm all over finding dom/sub play hidden in plain sight in older books, but I don't really think that's what's going on in this book. It struck me then, strikes me now, and, in this blog post, is affirmed as a practical solution to a real problem: how to protect Harriet's neck from a strangler so she can continue to be independent.

I'm slightly confused about your concern with Harriet's "fallen woman" status possibly harming Peter's reputation. As near as I can tell, it might have been a problem if Harriet had been involved with an heir, but Peter's a younger son so I don't think there would have been any concern whatsoever. Perhaps we are talking about different aspects of reputation, however. Also, if Peter had been quite young, obvs, a parent would likely interfere, but there's no way anyone is going to be telling Peter what to do at his advanced age.

I'm glad you mostly enjoyed the book! I _loved_ that book and reread it over and over and over again. But it's been so long I've forgotten details, so perhaps it is time to give that a try again!

August 2016

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