Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Siberia

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I remember reading it too as a teenager. Highly recommended!

I read it too as a teenager, very good book indeed.

One of my favorite novels back then was also written by a male author. It was Çalıkuşu, or The Wren, a novel by the Turkish author Reşat Nuri Güntekin. The book is written in the form of a girl's diary. I liked the girl's character a lot: she was very brave and independent (as much as a girl can be in a Muslim society), and also very loyal and caring. It is a romantic novel, but there are almost no love scenes there. The book mostly describes the hardships that the girl had to go through in her life, and she did it gracefully. Here is the article about the book.
 

Maat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
J'ai trouvé en Français les 4 tomes, les titres ont l'air moins "ringards" mais je ne suis pas certaine que ce soient les livres dont Laura parle :
I found in French the 4 volumes, the titles look less "old-fashioned" but I'm not sure these are the books Laura is talking about:

If you do a search on the BNF website, you will have the titles available in French with the original title (most of the time). See here :
 

Heather

Dagobah Resident
Like others have talked about on this thread, Jane Austen comes to mind. Writing into the early 1800's, she was the daughter of a pastor, and her novels reflect that particular world. She is particularly adept at rendering the difficulties of women at her level of society, with the understanding that, with very few exceptions, the sons were the ones to inherit estates, and the daughters, if they were not well married, could find themselves on the thorny precipice of total financial ruin. So choosing well in marriage was significant even just from a survival perspective. But Austen is able to wed that concern with the high mindedness of her heroines who would often pass up marriages that guaranteed position, and opulent estates, and instead opt for not just love, but a meeting of the minds. That most of these heroines manage to attain both wealth and inner happiness seems the just reward for their travails, including self sacrifice on behalf of others. For these reasons, I agree with others here that Austen's novels are elevating in the way I believe Laura is talking about. On top of that, Austen is a superb writer.

As for Austen movie wise, someone already mentioned the BBC version of Persuasion -- although, if there are more than one of these, the BBC version that was released as a film in 1995, starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is exceptionally good.

Another exceptional Austen film to look for is the Sense and Sensibility film that was directed by Ang Lee, and features Emma Thompson (who also wrote the wonderful adapted screenplay), and Kate Winslet.

As the title of the book (and film) suggests, Austen is ruminating on two very different character types: Thompson's Elinor, who, time and again must subordinate her deeper, more passionate emotions to the at times stifling requirements of honor and duty, while Winslet's Marianne (sister to Elinor) is prone to exposing all that she is feeling, which typically is on par with her excessive and passionate romantic idealism. Needless to say, since Austen is steering the ship, Elinor will ultimately prevail not only in love, but in demonstrating the value of right conduct for her younger sister Marianne, who manages to survive a near fatal romantic disappointment, and find happiness in a relationship that is more deeply nourishing, as opposed to excessively (and dangerously) passionate.

This scene eloquently shows Elinor's fraught predicament whereby the man she loves (Edward Ferris) -- due to his own standard of honor -- is bound to marry a selfish, conniving woman (Lucy Steele) whom he foolishly fell for years before, even though her lowly status would cause him to lose his inheritance (and now his happiness with Elinor):


But lest I leave you in despair, in true Austen fashion, Elinor here wins her man, Edward, played so charmingly by Hugh Grant (as you'll hear him talk about, his betrothed, Lucy, took a fancy to Edward's own brother, Robert, whose, uh, utter ickiness seemed to be much better suited to Lucy's own, um, utter ickiness -- not that Edward would say as much). It should be noted that although Edward lost his fortune due to his promise of marriage to Lucy (a fortune which has gone to his brother, ironically, since he's the one who winds up with the lowly Lucy), it is thanks in part to Elinor's self sacrificing efforts that Edward was granted a parish, which was always his inclination, even though it went against his mother's more worldly ambitions for him. Actually, it should be noted that Elinor acts as the conductor of all good and just things throughout this drama.

Marianne, as I stated earlier, will also marry well. So, these young women will not only avoid total ruin, but will prosper in happy marriages grounded in both soundness, and goodness:

 
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Heather

Dagobah Resident
Ooops. Wrong movie. I meant Just Like Heaven, with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo.

Trailer
Speaking of Reese Witherspoon (and Jane Austen), there's a Beverly Hills, romantic comedy version of Austen's Emma, which I remember being quite good. No, wait -- it's not Witherspoon, it's starring Alicia Silverstone. And it's called Clueless, from 1995. I think I'll look for that again.
 

Zzartemis

Jedi Council Member
Austen fan here too!

I grew up with my nose in books. Now, I read much for knowledge, but I miss reading fiction. Until a few years ago, I spent 25 years with the same group reading literature. We read mostly the classics, but chose Sci-fi and Fantasy too; I think a few westerns, and other gendres.

Reading had a large part in shaping my interior world. I most enjoyed books from the Romantic Period of literature, including many others from the Victorian Era, with their high ideals towards the development of character and virtue.

Victorian realists, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and George Elliot are favorites, also.

Transcendentalist writer Louisa May Alcott, author of the much-loved, "Little Women," warmed my heart. Well, I could write pages of books because they were all my favorite, while reading them!

I miss reading literature; I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to reading in that they must be well written. I am carried away into the story when I read a transcendent passage in a book.

Not all books came to a good ending for the protagonist but this helped shaped my ideals towards a new reality. Books give a close look into what motivates people, good and bad. It looks at situations that start people down the wrong path. In turn they also give insight into conditions that instill goodness and stabilty.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
For sure. I read a lot of Georgette Heyer in high school after rereading all of Austen's books at least three times each. I think A Civil Contract had a lot to do with forming my ideas about how a relationship might go. It relied less on passion and more on people recognizing their realities and making the most caring choices they could.

Funny, I've been wary of going back to this kind of fiction, and suspicious about my weakness for rom-coms (who wouldn't love Almost Heaven? 😇 ), but it worried me that I would start longing for something that probably wasn't ever going to happen. That's a distraction I really don't need. But looking at those stories as a template for what could be is a great idea.

Well, looking at the stories I mentioned in the last session is exactly what this thread is about and why I took the time to describe the process by which I came to that thinking. I didn't intend for the thread to branch off into other literature, but very specific literature about which I am quite curious because of the things I noted: it seems that someone is behind this promotion of certain values whether the authors are aware of that or not. As I noted, some things seems almost formulaic, so someone or something is behind it. It appears that it is being written in a way that attracts readers in specific ways - emotional energy and creative/sexual energy is being heightened. I think I'll be asking the Cs about it in more detail soon.


Like others have talked about on this thread, Jane Austen comes to mind. Writing into the early 1800's, she was the daughter of a pastor, and her novels reflect that particular world. She is particularly adept at rendering the difficulties of women at her level of society, with the understanding that, with very few exceptions, the sons were the ones to inherit estates, and the daughters, if they were not well married, could find themselves on the thorny precipice of total financial ruin. So choosing well in marriage was significant even just from a survival perspective. But Austen is able to wed that concern with the high mindedness of her heroines who would often pass up marriages that guaranteed position, and opulent estates, and instead opt for not just love, but a meeting of the minds. That most of these heroines manage to attain both wealth and inner happiness seems the just reward for their travails, including self sacrifice on behalf of others. For these reasons, I agree with others here that Austen's novels are elevating in the way I believe Laura is talking about. On top of that, Austen is a superb writer.

Exactly. And these books I'm interested in are a combining of those very ideas, though the variations are wider and even deeper, sometimes, than Austen alone could produce in her short lifetime. Quite a few of these books go even deeper than Austen went. Mary Balogh does one heck of a job of going through the mental processes of the main characters, exposing their internal considering in graphic detail and showing how, gradually, they are brought to more objective perspectives. Along this line there are the following: "Indiscreet", "Unforgiven", "Irresistable" (in that order). Also: "Dark Angel" and "Lord Carew's Bride". Her book, "Heartless", is harrowing, but worth it for the psychological twists and tangles. The companion to that volume is "Silent Melody" about a deaf and dumb woman and her true love.

The heat level in Balogh's books is low enough for everyone, I think, and her psychological insights are just stunning.

Now, what I actually had in mind when I started this thread was that others would read these books (at least some of them) that I am specifically thinking about in order to discuss them and discern what exactly is going on here. I didn't really intend for the thread to become a discussion of other literature. My thought was that, if I am right and these books are as good as I think they are in terms of heightening and focusing emotional and creative energy, they just might be effective for focusing that energy on creating a new reality during this very specific and frightening time. While one has to be very careful with sexual energies, they can also be utilized along with emotional energy to focus on values and principles that are positive. God knows, they are being used in negative ways every day with porn and violence.
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Un Grand MERCI Maat pour le lien, je l'ai enregistré dans mes favoris car je ne le connaissais pas... Il va bien me servir... LOVE

A Big THANK YOU Maat for the link, I have saved it in my favorites because I didn't know him... It will serve me well... LOVE
 
Great thread!

After reading Laura's first post, two novels I had read 30+ years ago came to mind. Popped up with big waving flags, in my mind. I've read a huge amount of fiction when I was younger, I still do, but not so much.

The two that came up are somehow pertinent. I kept reading this thread, and haven't lost the impression that I should go back to read them after all these years.

I understand what Laura is saying about some undercurrent of lack of fulfillment that's being fed.

The two books which came to mind are science fiction, but in both, the main character deals with very strong women, and falls in love with them because they are. That was my take away.

I read these when I was 16-19, so I'll re-read them to see if I got the right impression from them (with these current eyes) before I say which novels they were.

I dearly hope I wasn't just readings things that weren't there. It would be crushing.
 

BHelmet

The Living Force
"A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by the Scottish writer David Lindsay, first published in 1920. It combines fantasy, philosophy, and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. Described by critic, novelist, and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century",[1] it was a central influence on C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy,[2] and through him on J. R. R. Tolkien, who said he read the book "with avidity".[3] Clive Barker called it "a masterpiece" and "an extraordinary work ... quite magnificent."[4]

An interstellar voyage is the framework for a narrative of a journey through fantastic landscapes. The story is set at Tormance, an imaginary planet orbiting Arcturus. The lands through which the characters travel represent philosophical systems or states of mind, through which the main character, Maskull, passes on his search for the meaning of life."

Me: I give it 500 stars - a total mind bender - In it's own way, in the same league as Darkness Over Tibet. It is a catalyst to think, feel and see in new ways and changes the reader.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Now, what I actually had in mind when I started this thread was that others would read these books (at least some of them) that I am specifically thinking about in order to discuss them and discern what exactly is going on here. I didn't really intend for the thread to become a discussion of other literature. My thought was that, if I am right and these books are as good as I think they are in terms of heightening and focusing emotional and creative energy, they just might be effective for focusing that energy on creating a new reality during this very specific and frightening time. While one has to be very careful with sexual energies, they can also be utilized along with emotional energy to focus on values and principles that are positive. God knows, they are being used in negative ways every day with porn and violence.

Perhaps we can make a list of books that are most pertinent for the aim you had in mind. So far, from what I've gathered from the thread:

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (this is the first book of a long series)
Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell (also first in a series)
The Unexpected Wife by Emily Hendrickson
Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie (a series of 4 books)

Several of Mary Balogh's books:

"Indiscreet", "Unforgiven", "Irresistable" (in that order). Also: "Dark Angel" and "Lord Carew's Bride". Her book, "Heartless", is harrowing, but worth it for the psychological twists and tangles. The companion to that volume is "Silent Melody" about a deaf and dumb woman and her true love.

Other authors mentioned:

Mary Balogh, Jennifer Ashley, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, Alice Chetwynd Ley, Elisa Braden, Emily Hendrickson, Jess Michaels, Scarlett Scott, Dorothy Mack, Laura Kinsale, Georgett Heyer, of course, and a few others.
 

Adaryn

The Living Force
"A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by the Scottish writer David Lindsay, first published in 1920. It combines fantasy, philosophy, and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. Described by critic, novelist, and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century",[1] it was a central influence on C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy,[2] and through him on J. R. R. Tolkien, who said he read the book "with avidity".[3] Clive Barker called it "a masterpiece" and "an extraordinary work ... quite magnificent."[4]

Hi BHelmet,
Please reread Laura's first post to this thread, as well as what she wrote in her latest post:

I didn't intend for the thread to branch off into other literature, but very specific literature about which I am quite curious because of the things I noted: it seems that someone is behind this promotion of certain values whether the authors are aware of that or not […] Now, what I actually had in mind when I started this thread was that others would read these books (at least some of them) that I am specifically thinking about in order to discuss them and discern what exactly is going on here. I didn't really intend for the thread to become a discussion of other literature

Laura talks about something very specific here, and she gives a list of books and authors who delve into certain themes, and from the little I've seen, those stories usually seem to take place in a specific time period / setting. All those stories seem to follow a certain pattern, and almost seem stereotyped (?) (haven't read them yet, but have ordered some). The book you mention - and I'm not criticizing it or anything, I haven't read it - doesn't seem to fit what Laura talks about here. So let's try to keep the thread on topic :-)
 
Out of band comment, but kind of interesting:

David Lindsay died July 16, 1945 at age 69. When the World's first atomic bomb was detonated.

Thanks for the reference, sounds like a good read.

And now back to the thread... ;-)
 
Well, looking at the stories I mentioned in the last session is exactly what this thread is about and why I took the time to describe the process by which I came to that thinking. I didn't intend for the thread to branch off into other literature, but very specific literature about which I am quite curious because of the things I noted: it seems that someone is behind this promotion of certain values whether the authors are aware of that or not. As I noted, some things seems almost formulaic, so someone or something is behind it. It appears that it is being written in a way that attracts readers in specific ways - emotional energy and creative/sexual energy is being heightened. I think I'll be asking the Cs about it in more detail soon.


I can't remember the exact session, but it had something to do with westernized men completely quitting relationships with women because it just wasn't worth the trouble. (Something along those lines).

I've actually seen women slapping other women down in social media for being "unrealistic" and they laughed at them for being single because of their long list of demands, which, if reversed, they couldn't satisfy themselves. It's obviously a western disease.

But these are not real thinking women (or men for that matter). It's definitely emotional.
 
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