elen_nare: (Default)
I was reading an Angela Brazil book the other day - you, know, as you do, who doesn't read 1920s girl's books? (I was on a train for five hours and they're free on project gutenberg, don't judge :P). Anyway, Angela Brazil does have a tendency to rather sentimental friendships, and to fancy names for her heroines, which combined, from a modern perspective, spectacularly in the following paragraphs:

She admired Lesbia, much as a boy would, for her pretty hair, her dainty movements, and the general Celtic glamour that hung about her; she behaved, indeed, more like a youth in love than an ordinary schoolgirl chum. Her large soulful eyes would gaze at her idol during classes as if she were composing sonnets, and she haunted her round the school till the girls christened her "Lesbia's shadow".
"She's queer, of course, but in a way she's rather a sport," declared Kathleen, discussing the new-comer in the cloakroom.
"Yes, she's certainly queer. She never does anything in the least like anybody else," agreed Ermie Hall.

I know, I know, language evolves, and generally I can take the sentimentalism in stride, but the magnificent combination of a heroine named Lesbia and an admirer described as 'a youth in love' and 'queer' in the space of five lines really made me giggle.

Side note, the names, oh goodness! I'm sure there's another Lesbia as a supporting character somewhere, but then as heroines you have Winona, Aldred, Rona, Ingred and Quenrede, Merle, Raymonde (and actually all her friends deserve a mention: Fauvette, Morvyth, Aveline, and Ardiune, if you please! There's the comparatively normal Katherine and Valentine, but still), and more I'm sure. She will occasionally drop to a Peggy or Patty or Mildred for the lead, but even then there's sure to be fancy names among the supporting characters. (I've always suspected Angela Brazil to be one of the people Elinor Brent-Dyer was gently mocking when she had Joey give her characters fancy names in her first attempt at writing).

Date: 2017-06-17 08:50 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] lost_spook
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
LOl, that's fabulous! I've always wanted to read Angela Brazil, because she was the original big name is girls' school stories, but never come across them. Clearly, the time is coming when I will have to get an ereader, because all these copyright free old books are a big temptation.

And I had no idea she'd been so into elaborate naming, but I wouldn't imagine there;s much doubt about EMB-D sending that up, because she was the big star of the preceding generation of school story writers. LOL! No wonder she mocks poor Malvina and that naming party they have when Sybil's born!

But omg, Lesbia. That's actually bordering on the point of wondering if something of it was on purpose, because the Sappho-Lesbia connection is something that anyone with a classical education would have known. INteresting... (I know nothing about Angela Brazil, though, beyond what I've said here.)

I think you should nominate it for Yuletide and quote that paragraph!!

Date: 2017-06-28 05:07 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] lost_spook
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
Ha, those are marvellous names, although I have to say, nearly all of them fit into the sort of Gothic-Victorian thing, if a little at the extreme end - Lesbia doesn't. So I'm side-eyeing whoever concluded that obv. Not Gay. It's funny how often people who write about these people are so sure it couldn't possibly be that at all.

I have trouble reading still, even if it's a little better, so I don't read much fiction online, even fanfic, so, yeah, it'll only be useful if I get a kindle or something, and, of course, if I can manage things on it okay.

Hey, don't give me MORE things to nominate for Yuletide! I tend to be overwhelmed as it is!

But it's always fun to contemplate the possibilities! And, lol, it would be fun, you've got to admit. ;-)

Date: 2017-06-25 11:49 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] bluealoe
bluealoe: (Default)
Wow. That whole paragraph is a thing of beauty. I know language changes over time, but I bet the author never realized her work would be read like that.

And Lesbia? Really? Obvious connotations aside, is Lesbia even an actual name? Does it exist outside of the author's imagination?

That list of names is amazing. It makes me wonder if the author was using some sort of pre-internet random name generator...


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