diony: (Default)
My reading follows a very predictable rhythm in its form if not content; I get too many books from the library, return those and get more, and manage to keep up with the cycle for a while until suddenly I run into a wall and return all the books to the library and start over again. This usually happens in autumn, and so it is no surprise to me to have returned from Farthing Party full of the desire to read more speculative fiction and particular sorts of literary work, and less interested in the random assemblage of library books I have out.

On the plane I read The Documents in the Case (which is an epistolary novel by Dorothy Sayers and Robert Eustace, her only mystery novel without Lord Peter) and while it was really not very good, being written more to touch on some philosophical ideas about science and religion than anything else, it did give me the thought that perhaps for my (still very theoretical) PhD I might try to do something with female criminality in literature. The novel was clearly a take on the Thompson-Bywaters case, and I know two other novels from the period which treat it, and then going back to the Victorians there is Lady Audley's Secret, and I can imagine a line from the one to the other, although it might go earlier and end later -- there would be much research -- and also they are different flavours of criminality, and if there is enough out there, I might do all of it on the sort of Edith Thompson idea, the woman as evil muse -- and that could spill into art too, so very fertile ground when I can see so many ways to go from the core. This is quite a pleasant surprise, really, as the desire to do the PhD and teach and study more has been strong for a while, and I have had a rough idea of what I might like to look at, but never anything so specific, and I think I am more likely to get into the program I would like if I have a very good idea about whom I want to work with and why.

Up next -- well, that is complicated. I might read those other Thompson-Bywaters books, but I should take notes if so, just in case. I have a children's novel by Jill Paton Walsh to finish (The Dolphin Crossing, a very early one if not her first), and a mystery by Antonia Fraser, who is an excellent historian but I am not yet certain what I think of her fiction -- this is the first I have tried, and it is interesting, but it has not really come into focus for me. And further out I have an Atwood novel, and I would like to read Susan Palwick, and I am slowly rereading Jane Duncan's "My Friends" books because they are quite enjoyable even when frustrating... and so it goes, there is always more to read than I have the time for, especially as I am also wanting to work on my fiction and send email and spend time in relationships and all. But better that than the reverse.

Date: 2013-10-03 07:51 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] oursin
oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
If you are interested in Thompson/Bywaters, I have to recommend Lucy Bland's Modern Women on Trial, published last month (though she's previously published on the case I think this is her fullest analysis). There was also a fairly recent article in Past and Present by Matt Houlbrook.

(Lucy and I went together to see that movie on the case that came out some years back, and sat there with our C20th Brit-historians sneers, because there were Problems.)


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