Login   Register     FAQ    Members

View unanswered posts   View active topics


Board index .:|:. Sharing the Hanes :: Community .:|:. Recommendations
It is currently 27 Jul 2017, 15:46



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 13:50 
Offline
Sub-prefect!
Sub-prefect!
User avatar

Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 18:41
Posts: 3040
Location: Czech Republic and Herts UK
I was going to put this into the What we are Reading thread but then became engrossed by the comments about it on the Good Reads website so thought I would open up a thread of its own for it.

I realise that only people who have read it will be able to comment thoroughly although wiki does have a very detailed synopsis. I have no idea why I have never come across it before since according to several sources, it is widely regarded as the world's first bestseller, vying with Uncle Tom's Cabin for this honour.

It is by the author of Queechy, Susan Warner, writing under her apparently usual pseudonym of Elizabeth Wetherall. Jo March reads it in Little Women and we know our Jo read Queechy so probably also read The Wide, Wide World, though I don't remember any mention of it.

I picked up a copy on Monday of a version abridged by Joyce Lankester Brisley, of Milly Molly Mandy fame, complete with delightful illustrations. I devoured it in one gulp and have since looked at the original on Project Gutenberg. Although the Brisley adaptation is good, for the full Victorian moral and religious effects one certainly needs the original....

What fascinates me about the comments on Good Reads is how irate many people are about the themes in the book of submission by women, the superiority of men, and the bowing of one's will to the Almighty.

I personally don't understand these reactions. The book is of its time; whilst one might rejoice in the changes that have occurred in the following 150 years, I am not sure that anger is an appropriate reaction to the author's treatment of the issues.

Has anyone read it? And if so (and even if not) what do people think about this? Since not dissimilar reactions surface sometimes with regard to various themes in the CS books I thought it might be interesting to widen the debate....

_________________
Cestina's dolls houses - À la mode...


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 14:11 
Offline
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
User avatar

Joined: 03 Jan 2010, 22:35
Posts: 1268
Location: Berkshire, England
Yes I read it as a child. Don't remember a lot about it, but I do remember when Ellen leaves home her father gives her a writing case with very detailed list of contents. I think I enjoyed the basic story, not sure if it was an abridged version.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 15:26 
Offline
Learning the difference - can and may
Learning the difference - can and may
User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2006, 13:28
Posts: 801
Location: SE England
Quote:
What fascinates me about the comments on Good Reads is how irate many people are about the themes in the book... I am not sure that anger is an appropriate reaction to the author's treatment of the issues.

That's probably worth a thread of its own!

I read it a long time ago. I vaguely recall that my mother found it in a secondhand shop and bought it because she read it as a girl and thought I might like it as an example of 19th century girls' fiction. We then acquired and read others by SW/EW, I remember a series about a girl called Daisy.

All the evangelising did become tedious after a while, I recall. But it was a genre of fiction, not necessarily representative of all girls' fiction, or how people conducted themselves in real life.

Having just refreshed my memory with the Wiki synopsis, I can see themes which were to become common in girls' fiction:
The story begins with Ellen’s happy life being disrupted by the fact that her mother is very ill and her father must take her to Europe, requiring Ellen to leave home to live with an almost-unknown aunt.
Or, in other cases, go to school!

I'd bet good money that EBD had read The Wide Wide World - there are some of EBD's favourite themes - the absent and uninterested father, the adopted sister.

I wonder if SW had read Jane Eyre? Going by the Wiki summary, Alice Humphreys is another Helen Burns. But SW would probably disapprove of Jane and think she should have accepted St John.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 16:37 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7984
Location: Manchester
America in the 1850s is one of my "specialist" subjects so I really ought to read this. I'd probably hate it, but it might be interesting from a historical viewpoint :-).

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 18:43 
Offline
Attending a prees' meeting
Attending a prees' meeting
User avatar

Joined: 21 Jul 2012, 16:53
Posts: 3163
Location: West London Alps
It was a favourite book of my eldest aunt-and-godmother, and I was very pleased to find her a copy to replace her lost childhood one, but I didn't read it - I can only think that this was because I was at university at the time, and needed my leisure time reading to be escapist!

I'm sure EMBD had read it, or at least knew it - doesn't Len say somewhere that she's pleased her name is Helena not Ellen because of the character in the Wide, Wide World? And it occurs to me that it (or at least its genre) may be what Matey's referencing in Jo Returns when she takes Jo to task over her first book:
Quote:
'And, then, Malvina! Such a plaster saint of a girl would aggravate anyone into thinking, "Well, she asks for her troubles, and she jolly well deserves them!" ...Malvina and Rosetta never lived outside the pages of the sort of school-story with which we used to be bored when I was a girl - and rather worse than some, at that!'


I find the GoodReads comments in general a bit odd sometimes - and I can't see any point in reading a book from this period without recognising that it will be of its era!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 19:31 
Offline
Sub-prefect!
Sub-prefect!
User avatar

Joined: 13 Aug 2009, 18:41
Posts: 3040
Location: Czech Republic and Herts UK
Noreen wrote:
.....and I can't see any point in reading a book from this period without recognising that it will be of its era!

Well that is rather what I think. And if it is going to upset you that much, then don't start reading it.

I think you might enjoy it Alison, because you will read it with the eye of both an historian and a writer. No book can be quite so popular across generations without having something to say for itself.

Yes, definite echoes of Helen Burns in Alice.

(It's her mother that equips the writing case Ivohenry and just for that section alone the book is worth reading. Quite incredible detail of what had to go into the simple operation of writing letters - I must check it out in the unabridged version to see if there is even more.)

_________________
Cestina's dolls houses - À la mode...


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 20:57 
Offline
Playing the competitions
Playing the competitions
User avatar

Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 19:18
Posts: 972
Location: Hampshire
Is Melbourne House by the same author? I remember skipping through that at about eight and not liking it, not surprisingly. Vaguely remember a girl called (possibly) Sylvia and maybe someone falling in a river.

Alison, have you read Lena Rivers? American novel published in the 1850s, can't remember the author. I bought it from a charity bookstall a few years ago and dipped in to it. I think it's probably worth a proper read and I'll fish it out again sometime.

_________________
http://nicolaslade.wordpress.com/


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 21:17 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7984
Location: Manchester
No, but both it and Wide Wide World are available for Kindle for free, so I've downloaded them :D .

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 21:20 
Offline
Asked to help with the play
Asked to help with the play

Joined: 17 Nov 2011, 02:45
Posts: 891
sealpuppy wrote:
Is Melbourne House by the same author? I remember skipping through that at about eight and not liking it, not surprisingly. Vaguely remember a girl called (possibly) Sylvia and maybe someone falling in a river.


Yes, it is.

I absolutely loved "The Wide, Wide World" when I was young and I read "Melbourne House" and "Daisy In The Fields" as well. I still own those three. I thought I had a copy of "Queechy" as well (I couldn't see what it was about the pictures that might make Joey tear them out!) but apparently not.

I haven't read them for some years but found them much better than the "Elsie" books. At the time, I rather had them bracketed in my mind with the "Katy Did" books.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2016, 22:57 
Offline
End of term...again
End of term...again

Joined: 29 Dec 2004, 17:16
Posts: 1131
Location: Ontario, Canada
I know I read The Wide Wide World as a child, absolutely no recollection of it now, though. However, I do have it on Kindle (a free download at some point) so should remember to re-read it before too long.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2016, 16:41 
Offline
Arguing from cause to effect
Arguing from cause to effect

Joined: 30 Nov 2008, 22:28
Posts: 230
I still have my childhood copy of it on the shelf. As a child I too had in the same mental pigeon hole as What Katy Did, but it's much less funny and much preachier. I've not reread it for years, but did enjoy Queechy when I read it a couple of years ago. As several have said, if you're not going to buy into the attitudes of the author in her time, then why read it? But Goodreads is a bit like that - I'm an avid reader and conscientious contributor to the site, but I'm not sure there are many readers like me on there!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2016, 21:50 
Offline
Indulging in a midnight feast
Indulging in a midnight feast
User avatar

Joined: 23 Sep 2004, 21:57
Posts: 539
Location: UP NORTH
I remember a BBC adaptation as a child. It was heart-breaking when no-nonsense aunt dyed all her lovely white stockings grey. I did read it later and enjoyed it as a period piece. In one of Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet books a character (Miss Millament?) remembers that the heroine was weeping on nearly every page.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 14 Nov 2016, 14:29 
Offline
Castor Oil!
Castor Oil!
User avatar

Joined: 12 May 2006, 17:54
Posts: 544
I'm sure Len says 'all wide wide world and pi' at some point which might be a reference to this book? I find it fascinating when eventually I get an explanation for the more obscure CS comments.

Sometimes I'll got onto Good Reads when I'm bored at work to read comments about books I've read and not thought much of, just to see how many other people agree with me :D


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2016, 18:59 
Offline
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
User avatar

Joined: 05 Oct 2004, 20:15
Posts: 1266
Location: Sadly Broke
Just downloaded this and Lena Rivers. Thanks for the recommendations.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2016, 20:49 
Offline
Still bored
Still bored
User avatar

Joined: 08 Feb 2005, 15:50
Posts: 2282
Location: Cheshire
I've just finished reading it - it's a long book! - and I have to admit to enjoying it. :wink: I actually had tears in my eyes a few times for the poor heroine, as she lost one loved one after another, and was made so unhappy by people who should have cared about her feelings.

_________________
"When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not more of a pastime to her than she is to me?" (Montaigne)


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2016, 22:26 
Offline
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
Chosen for the Lacrosse team
User avatar

Joined: 05 Oct 2004, 20:15
Posts: 1266
Location: Sadly Broke
Also just finished reading it and I write enjoyed it! Not for the author liked the British. :D


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Wide, Wide World published 1851
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2016, 15:26 
Offline
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward
Donating it to the Childrens' Ward

Joined: 22 Feb 2008, 18:42
Posts: 1070
Location: Perthshire
Think there was a discussion about this on the Facebook Finishing School page recently, asking whether it or the Elsie books was more horrifically 'pi'. I've just finished a novel where the little boy bonds with his father's boss because it's her favourite book and he's a voracious reader and has just finished it - written in the 40s. It's At Mrs Lippincot's by Elizabeth Taylor (not that one) and I really enjoyed it. Mentions lots of children's books and is obsessed by the Brontes. The little boy is very endearing because he falls in love with the heroines of all the books he reads, and has to visit them in the library...


Top | End
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] 

Board index .:|:. Sharing the Hanes :: Community .:|:. Recommendations
It is currently 27 Jul 2017, 15:46

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jenefer and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group