Thursday, February 6, 2014

An Excellent Woman, not so far from Barbara Pym's Ideal

We are about 57 viewers short of reaching 10,000. Thank you! I was pondering my other blog on Barbara Pym and Charlotte,, when it came to me that Erzebet was an Excellent Woman, too, of the type addressed and sort of sneered at by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and defined by John Donne, who originally coined the term. See, "The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym," [using AP citation style]. Erzebet was well bred and educated, and as her letters who, concerned herself with running her 37+ estates and properties and addressing family issues and illnesses. If she didn't make tea in a crisis, she knew how to handle them and confront those who caused her problems, like Miss Clovis, the excellent "dog haired" character in many of Pym's novels. Erzebet did not speak peasant dialect, but was truly the Chatelaine, especially after Ferenc died. She was vulnerable when widowed, as many woman left alone are, and were, even in Pym's gentle books, or in the cozy novels of Miss Read, lone women are an eccentric problem to be taken care of. Pym's best friend, mystery writer Hazel Holt, even has an occasional spinster killed off. What do we do with those pesky, strong but rigidly correct excellent women like Erzebet, who do their domestic engineer/management chores too well? Like Rapunzel and Anne Boleyn [who also had gorgeous hair] we lock them up in a Tower.

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