book review

The Pleasures of the Imagination……

The Pleasures of the imagination

Admit it, you thought it was a fantasy romance book I wrote.

However, this is a book that took me a month to read because I actually had to use my brain. (The thing that has been stuck on Cat and the Hat for the last ten years.)

Why did I choose this book?  I chose it because the Video Drama Club was talking about Pride and Prejudice coming to DramaFever and I wanted to get more background on the time period.Slide1

With the BBC added to DramaFever I am happy.  Classy costumes from around the world.  Great heroes that transcend time.

Check out what the club is thinking.

But I digress.

We are talking about the book that is 721 pages long, with illustrations from art of that time.


In this book I learned

  1. People wrote to impress others especially patrons.
    1. Getting out of bed at 2 in the afternoon does not impress me.
    2. All the day light that is wasted and candles used when people were carousing.
  2. Most writers were split in the thoughts about the Ancients (Aristotle, Renaissance) and those of the Moderns and which was best.
  3. If politeness marks how well a society is doing..than I wonder what 1800 Century would think of our political correctness and manners?
    1. and this is just the intro.
    2. Love the tidbits in this book…pg.xxii John Brown was hired by a queen to “improve the morals of the Russian Court but killed himself before he reached St. Petersburg”
      1. That gets my attention.
  4. Has the publishing system changed since then?
    1. yes, we digitalized
    2. No, people like me can self  publish their books. (hack writer)
    3. hack writers are someone who write low quality books to order.
      1. I don’t do the “to order” part.
    4. My apologies to the intellectuals of the world.
  5. I felt like I was reading Barbara Cartland on some pages.
    1. My apologies to John Brewer
  6. Fine I didn’t read, read the book.  I skimmed it in places.
    1. Charles I’s court……
      1. I could be reading Leviticus
      2. His beheading was interestingly introduced.
  7. Scrofula has something to do with tuberculous and doesn’t look pretty.
  8. Coffee houses severed brandy and  wine too.
  9. The word Piazza makes me think of Pizza
    1. Not helping the diet.
  10. Anna Larpent sounds  like an interesting woman and makes me think of Anne Bradstreet from America.
  11. Still looking for Jane Austin.
  12. Journals
    1. Pg. 108  “Like any form of politeness, the exchange between the author and his diary was seen as a conversation”
    2. As a storyteller I should try this.  (All I have is calendars.)
  13. The fear that women are controlled by feelings provoked by movies, tv and books is the same as back then but instead they had theater, literature with the emphasis on the romance literature.
    1. I admit it. I am one.
    2. Men are controlled to.
    3. I did not know this but in the 1790s there were critics who were against sensibility.Austin must have had it rough.  I wonder if that is why she made the character Kitty in Pride and Prejudice.
  14. Authors have not changed.  There are those of us who write for monetary rewards and those who write to “edify, amuse and instruct.”
    1. I am all monetary. (still waiting for my huge fan club to buy out my $6.50 kid book and make millions)
    2. I am also not good at ignoring all the creative ideas that bug me until I have to let them out.
  15. Oh dear,  was not expecting the image of Richard Payne Knight’s book.
    1. Those images aren’t cut off fingers, which I first thought.
    2. Oh my.
  16. Sarah Siddons as an actress intrigues me.
  17. I haven’t found much direct Jane Austin information.
  18. Opera books had pictures of half naked people on them.
    1. false advertising
    2. And since I am watching Gag Concert just to see the comedian Ryu Geunji and if he shows his chest, this type of advertising works on me.
  19. Thomas Bewick is another person that I would like to read an biography on.
    1. I am interested in nature and how John Brewer describes Bewick makes me interested in a man who used nature as a means of moral instruction.
    2. Engravings
  20. Concert going was not cheap.
    1. Same now.
  21. Jane Austin’s Emma is mentioned on page 548, the chapter talking about music, dance assembles, and etiquette.
  22. Found my first typo. pg. 549  could instead of cd. (I can’t even make it a paragraph without a mistake.)
  23. Note to self. Pg. 552 talks about Organs.  This would be beneficial if I ever do another type of Golden Age of Radio program.
  24. Second note to self on pg. 555.  Methodist “pride [ing] themselves on the power of congregational singing.
  25. Music
    1. I want to have small music parties!
    2. I guess I better clean my house.
  26. Second typo on page 561.  It said that Marsh was married to 1774.  (I sigh with relief, a book this well written and intelligent has a few mistakes.  I don’t look like a complete moron now.)
  27. Anna Seward is another person that this book makes me think about researching.  She was a friend of Walter Scott.
    1. Was it the Sir Walter Scott of Ivanhoe fame?
    2. I may have to borrow Anna Seward’s writing style and the “sense of place”
    3. The author of this book writes about Anna Seward’s life and how she did not move from her hometown.  I understand this sense.  I too find if I were to move from my rural life that I would just become another housewife trying to become an author.  With my seclusion and agriculture setting I have become an unique storyteller.  This might be enough of an oddity to propel me to fortune and fame.
      1. Still waiting on my fan club to buy that kid book.
    4. Robert Burns is a distant, distant, distant relative of mine.
      1. Seward was a patron of his.
  28. While I am writing this the kids are in the basement trying to catch a rabbit that got loose.
  29. Welcome chapter 16.
    1. Jane Austin’s works are discussed in this chapter titled Culture, Nature and Nation.
      1. 1766 artist George Stubbs sounds familiar.
        1. I think that name was used in romance I read recently.
        2. song “Poor Stubbs is dead. Poor Stubbs…” Oh wait that is from Oklahoma and it is Judd not Stubbs.
  30. Not much Austin.
  31. John  Brewer did a lot of work in writing The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century.

If I can take anything out of this book it that I should write a journal.  I have something like it and I call it the Hag of War.  Why?  Because it sounds fun to me.  I need to write more in it.

I admit that I got this book because I wanted to learn more on Jane Austin and that time period. I found the writing humorous and intelligent, which for me was a challenge. Oh dear, I haven’t seen words like this since college. Took me a month to get through but I am glad I did. It was so much better than reading the Cat and the Hat for the umpteenth time.

When I returned the book to the library I headed over to the same section out of curosity and there a shelf down with a huge title it says..

Jane Austen’s England

Yep.  That’s me.

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