Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A.S Byatt and a Dirty Sock

I had been meaning to thoroughly wash my socks, which have been sullied beyond reasonable comprehension even for an adult male living by himself. As i looked upon them wondering what ghastly disaster that may befall my washing machine due to the months of accumulated dirt and sludge, i realized that its filters have not been cleaned from the day it arrived. Thus i searched for the owner manual but found A.S Byatts novel :Possession-A romance, Barack Obama's Dreams from my Father and some other shit novels instead.

I promptly started reading the novel (ASB-P-AR) again for one reason or another, kicking myself for not finishing it when i bought it years ago (from a used books store- it was stamped as the property of a school library). I remember this novel clearly from the times i walked around the library ( The National Library) looking at book covers. It always turned me off for some reason, perhaps because its titled a "Romance" and the cover showed the face of Renaissance woman in the subdued mode of such times- it came across as a sappy historic romance. I do not entertain sappy, or even historic romances. I only bought it cause i seem to have a thing for Booker Prize winners.

Reading on, the first chapter hinted of familiarity of having been read, this brought me a measure of satisfaction. Already i had a probable plot structure in mind, such that the historic research on a love affair will mirror a love affair at the present moment. For me, it seems that there can be no other possible outcome than this, despite how many surprises may come in between.

What did surprise me though was a little idea floating in from the historical letters within the present fiction: the Victorian man. This idea connected at so many levels at the same time, and i was able to sense my entanglement with it from the first times i had read anything, all thanks to British colonialism. In detail: the Victorian man represents the ideal man. Rich so that he may indulge in various hobbies which he may pursue and more importantly, give up as he deems fit.. The Victorian is high born that he may dispense with all the effort to gain respect and he always finds company with intelligent intellectuals trading words that require some thinking to be heard. There are always women, but they are clean and chaste, always ready to play an intricate mating game of witty responses and biting sarcasm (Jane Austen??). These guys had it all, and they also lived at the place of places at the time, somewhere in the country side of London. Everything of importance to the making or breaking of the Victorian shall be explored at tea time with biscuits served by order loving maids. To child, this was a complete vision of something truly acceptable and admirable.

War is a dignified affair on this world,  it was always raging over clattering tea cups and heated exchanges. Talent and intelligence were deemed a necessary privilege which was placed upon one without guilt of payback. How wonderful a world to live in,  no one starves intellectually in the countryside manors of England.

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