Monday 4 December 2017

Providence: Kitty's Last Seminar

Notes on the seminar scene in chapter 11 of Brookner's Providence:
  • Says Kitty of Adolphe's ending: 'For the first time we are aware of the author's consciousness rather than his recital.' Later she says Adolphe is interesting for its juxtaposing of intense emotion with very dry language. And Brookner? 'There is a constant delightful tension between the austerity of her message and the voluptuousness of her medium,' wrote Lucy Hughes-Hallett in 1998.
  • '[I]t is characteristic of the Romantic to reason endlessly in unbearable situations, and yet to remain bound by such situations. [...] For the Romantic, the power of reason no longer operates. Or rather, it operates, but it cannot bring about change.' The Romantic dilemma, or indeed the Brooknerian, in a nutshell.
  • 'We are dealing with a work of fiction, and I simply want to make the point that in this period fiction, indeed all creative endeavour, becomes permeated with the author's own autobiography.' How far is Brookner's fiction permeated with her own autobiography?
  • 'Déclassée women like myself frequently are [well-dressed]'. Was Brookner 'déclassée'?

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