favourite literary character

Was Elizabeth just after the money? Was Darcy just looking to get laid?

I have recently read in some blog or other about Pride and Prejudice that love in the novel is very well observed as Elizabeth falls in love with Darcy for his wealth and the comfort he can provide and Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth because he is sexually attracted to her. It went on to postulate that this is very true of males and females in general. That I took objection to such a description of my gender, and the male gender, of humanity and two of my favourite literary characters is perhaps not to be wondered at. In fact, so far-fetched is this statement of that blogger that I doubt there are many who would sign up to it, but it reminds me of the fact that the issue of just what attracts Darcy and Elizabeth to each other, and when each completes their emotional journey into love is a mystery. It is widely discussed and subject to various conjectures. That it is not something entirely made clear in the novel can be seen in the TV and movie adaptations. In the 1995 BBC TV series Darcy first notices her when she appears to laugh at him after he calls her tolerable (which is not something that explicitly happens in the novel), and in the 2005 movie he appears to notice her instantly but equally instantly turns away determined not to pay her the slightest attention (again not the case in the novel). In one of Austen’s brilliant final dialogues between Elizabeth and Darcy he tells her that he could not settle upon the hour or the day, the moment or the look. And when she asks him whether it was her impertinence, he tells her it was her liveliness. And when Jane asks Elizabeth when she fell in love she dates it back to seeing Pemberley for the first time (though she’s obviously joking when she says this).

I suppose that I must subscribe to one of the things that blogger had written, which is that love in the novel is very well observed. And indeed, in real life, we fall in love with people not at a moment (or at least I do not think you can call it being in love when that happens), but over a series of encounters. It is a developing sort of thing. And we know that Darcy at first does not find Elizabeth outstandingly attractive at all. Whether he truly only thinks her merely tolerable, we cannot know. It is possible that he is merely grumpy and does not want to be pushed into dancing. It is also possible that as he looks at her for a while before their gazes meet and he looks away, he simply wants to deflect any notion that he may have been admiring her. Was he delivering her a set-down or was he merely stating a fact? As he feels comfortable acknowledging Jane’s beauty it is perhaps more likely that he simply did not look closely enough and the environment did not induce him to be generous or gallant. That it takes a prolonged look at her rather than a quick glance to dismiss her, may tell us from the start that the matter is far from settled. But soon (over the course of several encounters which are not described in any detail in the novel, but take place between the Assembly in Meryton and the party at Sir William Lucas’s house) he notices her eyes and her figure, then he wants to dance with her (asks her a total of three times, of which only one she accepts), he engages in verbal sparring matches with her, and then later, in Kent, it almost seems like he is coming close to something like flirting, before telling her that it cannot be helped, he ardently loves and admires her. And in the letter he writes to her, when he justifies his having separated Bingley from Jane, he refers to a force of passion that has induced him to ignore the things that have propelled him to come to his friend’s rescue. It can therefore seem, on the surface, that his wish to marry Elizabeth is motivated by his wish to have sex with her. Andrew Davies seemed to be a proponent of that theory, as Colin Firth makes quite an expressive play of it. I have seen several male commentators on the issue lend their support to the theory, in fact, that when Darcy makes his tortured proposal he really is saying: you are so hot that I will even go as far as marrying you, despite everything, just to be able to bed you.

I could never argue that this is not the case. Were Darcy a real man (as in: not fictional) sexual attraction would presumably be a large portion of his decision-making process in marrying. And in fact, the propensity to watch her and all that flirting may very well suggest that it is indeed a consideration. But to claim that that is the only or even just the main driver in his selecting Elizabeth as his bride would be, I am sure, cutting Darcy short. For one, when he notices her eyes, he also notices that they are intelligent. Her figure is light and pleasing, but the thing that attracts him is her lively manner, which is remarked upon much more often by him than her figure. In other words, he finds her personality attractive. And that makes sense, because had he been one so influenced by his carnal urges we could suppose he’d be married already. He is 28 when we meet him in the novel. We know his father died five years ago, which meant that at the tender age of 23 he would have been very rich and of age. In other words – he would have been an incredible catch and nobody could have stopped him if he had decided to get married to whomever he wished. At 23 he would have been, if I may venture a guess on the basis of what we all know of humans, much more hormone driven and probably more reckless and less responsible, as well as much more naïve about sex and women, than at 28. If he had been the type to make such decisions on the basis of his carnal urges I think we could suppose he would have long been married by the time he met Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth tells him that she thinks he felt attracted to her because unlike other women she argued with him, and did not try to please him with each move she made, and that may have drawn his notice. But I think it far more likely that a combination of factors were at play. It is probably reasonable to assume, judging by the way other women behave around him, that he is not often given the opportunity to be the hunter and not the hunted. In Elizabeth’s case he definitely has that opportunity. At the same time she does not play a conscious cat and mouse game with him, her manners are remarked upon as not being that of a fashionable London lady, and in general she is seen frequently acting just the way she feels like. Her naturalness must be something he noticed, as opposed to the fake attentiveness he receives from Caroline Bingley. In fact, there is a brilliant symmetry about the relationships between Elizabeth and Caroline on the one hand, and Wickham and Darcy on the other. Darcy is real, there is no façade he puts on to please others. Elizabeth, too, is real – her feelings guide her actions, and she does not pretend to be anything she is not. Wickham and Caroline Bingley on the other hand, are all façade, and therefore quickly fall away by the wayside as romantic prospects for our lead pair.

Elizabeth likes to read and Darcy is known to purchase books constantly and have an extensive library he is proud of, so he detects in her a kindred spirit. Again this is contrasted with Miss Bingley’s behaviour who reads a book only because it is the second part of whatever he was reading at the time, and speaks prettily of enjoying reading while perfectly ignoring her book and evidently not being interested in the activity itself. While she tries to guess what he is thinking and agree with it (e.g. when she tries to tell Bingley that a ball at Netherfield may not be welcomed by all and that she would prefer it if conversation not dancing were the order of the day), Elizabeth disagrees with everything he says, often simply for the pleasure of doing so (e.g. we know that contrary to what she so eloquently claimed at Netherfield, she does not actually think that Bingley should follow whatever his friend says without exerting his own mind to it, because when he actually does do it, and follows Darcy’s advice about Jane Bennet, Elizabeth disapproves very much).

So, in other words, it is both the similarities between them (they are both proud, intelligent, like to read, are fiercely loyal to their friends and siblings, have a high moral code etc.) that he detects, as well as the differences (she is lively while he is reserved, she is witty while he is brooding, her humour is lively and teasing, his is dry and sardonic) that make the full picture of the woman that perfectly complements his character, and that makes this attraction so dangerous to him.

From this, I think we can see that while sexual attraction would constitute a large part of his love for Elizabeth, it is definitely much more than that. When he proposes to her he may have been governed by passion, but the way he deals with her rejection is an act of love and respect. He acknowledges to her that he was angry at first, but then, soon enough, his anger takes a proper direction and he heeds her reproofs and tries to see to them, not because he thinks he can charm her by doing so (he has no expectation of ever seeing her again, or her ever finding out) but because he thinks she may be right. In short, he respects her opinion.

When he next meets her he overcomes his biggest vice, at least according to Elizabeth, his pride. He does so on two fronts. First, welcoming to his home and being kind and polite to her and her family, after she had so humiliatingly rejected him, shows that he cannot be so very proud. Second, he welcomes to his home and is pleasant to the Gardiners, who are in trade and live in Cheapside. Here he shows Elizabeth that he has fought with what she calls the worst form of pride. He does not shun her nor is he haughty or distant when they meet again. When he happens upon her in Pemberley he exerts himself excessively to be pleasant to her and her family. And then, when her family faces a threat of enormous proportions, he comes to her rescue. By the time he returns from this adventure, he has made clear to everyone that his feelings are fully engaged, and that Elizabeth may expect from him not just his admiration of her face and figure, but love and respect.

In Elizabeth’s case, to think that money was her prime consideration, I think, proves a profound misreading of the novel. I am also not aware of any film or TV adaptation that makes that a likely conclusion. And to say that for men sex is a consideration while for women it is not, is also not true either of women in general or of Elizabeth in particular. In fact, I think her sexual attraction to Darcy is rather obvious, and is what makes their interactions so very interesting. Because while Darcy’s attraction to her is clear to him, I think it is certain that Elizabeth’s attraction to him is not something she is overly aware of at all. But we know for sure that it is there, even if Austen does not give us many direct hints. For one, the novel is written from Elizabeth Bennet’s perspective, and as we are made aware of Mr Darcy being a tall and handsome sort of fellow (and we are told this several times), we know that Elizabeth herself was aware of it. Whenever his looks are talked of by the narrator, I think, is also a moment of Elizabeth noticing them. So we have him mentioned as tall, handsome, with fine features and a noble mien. He walks in a deliberate manner. And he smiles at her (and he does so often). But she is angered by his manners. At first the narrator talks of his progress from object of admiration to source of discontentment among the Meryton society at the ball with some amusement, but soon Elizabeth takes a very strong dislike towards him when she herself is slighted by him. She vows to hate him.

In that period up to Kent, does she really only hate him? It is debatable whether we are supposed to think that Elizabeth truly disliked Mr Darcy without any undertones of anything else. The fact that she disliked him so passionately would suggest that she had strong feelings of one kind or another about him almost from the start. She never passionately dislikes Mr Collins, and even Mr Wickham does not get so much hatred from her after his villainy is exposed. Elizabeth herself remarks on the connection between love and hatred in her letter to Mrs Gardiner about newly engaged Wickham:

I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings are not only cordial towards him; they are even impartial towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this.

She only ever gets passionately angry and becomes uncivil when Mr Darcy is concerned – when he proposes to her (the first time) and when Lady Catherine tries to separate him from her. And what has Mr Darcy done that is so horrible that merits such passionate dislike? She dislikes him fervently before she ever hears of Mr Wickham’s story. And afterwards she grasps for it as a stamp of approval on her own settled opinion of him. Is it because she was rejected by him to begin with?

Considering the above quote, it is interesting to compare her feelings and reactions to the rejections dealt her. Before she leaves for Kent our heroine is rejected twice, as a matter of fact: first when Darcy calls her merely tolerable and won’t be induced to ask for her hand at the assembly, and second when Mr Wickham engages himself to Miss King. And yet, though she is friends with Wickham, though she declares him to be the best sort of man and though this rejection must have come both as a shock and a blow, she is able to shrug it off with ease. She wishes him well. When Darcy is overheard saying something unkind about her, she dislikes him fervently and believes every ill of him. This disproportionate reaction is why many conjecture latent sexual attraction towards Darcy.

Austen never makes this point explicit, however, so conjecture it must remain. Yet, if it is true (whatever that means with regards to fiction penned so long ago), then it makes sense within the confines of the novel. If we consider who Darcy was and what an effect he must have had on the small Hertfordshire neighbourhood, it is easy enough to see why. Consider, for example, the way Elizabeth is with people around her, both the ones she likes and the ones she does not. In both cases she uses wit and humour to connect with or gently mock whichever category she places the people around her. She does so with success: the ones she likes are the ones who read her wit and laugh with her, thereby cementing the connection between them. The ones she does not, do not read her wit, do not laugh with her, do not understand it and receive the blows that come their way either with ignorance or offence. Along comes Mr Darcy, who stubbornly refuses to fit in either category. She does not like him, but he does not react with either offence or ignorance when she tries her wit on him. He may be pompous and full of his own consequence, but unlike Mr Collins, who is all that too, he has real intelligence to back this up. He does see that she is trying to laugh at him. He understands, but won’t sit silently by to let her get away with it. He challenges her back, drives his own points home with dry wit of his own and leaves with the last word every time. He may be a snob, but unlike Caroline Bingley, he is actually both in birth and breeding the socially superior person in the neighbourhood. He is not throwing his empty weight around. Elizabeth teases him that he is not to be laughed at, but in typical Jane Austen irony, in a very real sense, Mr Darcy is hard to laugh at – both because he is intelligent enough to deflect any attempt at making him look ridiculous, and because he, despite his faults, is not a preposterous little figure that can be reduced to absurdity, like Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine or Mr Collins. Elizabeth does not know it at the time, of course, but this is partially because though flawed, his character is not nearly as bad as she thinks it is. Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine and Mr Collins are all fundamentally false – Miss Bingley is playing elaborate games; Lady Catherine is impertinent and rude, while thinking herself the arbiter of all that is right and proper; and Mr Collins is stupid while he thinks himself superior in intelligence and education. Mr Darcy’s fault, on the other hand, is no greater than Elizabeth’s: he is a little proud and a little prejudiced.

It therefore makes sense that the more Elizabeth knows him, the more his rejection stings. To be rejected by Wickham is to be rejected by a handsome soldier with pretty manners. To be rejected by Darcy is to be rejected by a high-standing member of society, whose critical eye, intelligent mind and fastidious tastes have found one wanting.

If she is attracted to him, she does not seem to know it. And if the attraction is sexual, she is likely equally ignorant of it. Indeed, her knowledge of her own sexuality would have been, I presume, only instinctive. Her actions would have been interpreted by Darcy, the (likely) sexually experienced one (if not in practice then certainly in learning), as flirtation, and as he was attracted to her in turn, he was responsive to it. But though she may feel attracted to Darcy, she is not in love with him.

When did she fall in love with him then? We know that the letter he writes to her after the proposal causes a tornado of emotions within her, but that she did not regret rejecting Mr Darcy. This, I think, is in fact because though she can now see the principals in the correct lights (Mr Darcy as the good guy and Mr Wickham as the bad guy), she still does not see Mr Darcy as a very nice sort of person. Even upon arrival to Pemberley, though she thinks the mansion impressive, she reminds herself that had she accepted him she would likely not have been allowed to bring the Gardiners there, which shows that she still believes in his pride and arrogance. His manners have been quite unwelcoming so far, and who wants to be married to a man who seems arrogant and hostile? She changes her mind in Pemberley, and she jokes with Jane later that that is when she started to love him, but I think it would be a gross misrepresentation if we thought that she was motivated by her desire for his money. For one, she knew he was very rich (10k/annually) from the start, yet rejected him anyway. She rejected Collins too (and though we know he is not nearly as rich as Mr Darcy he has a very good living and will inherit Longbourn in due course). We know for a fact that money alone would never induce her to marry. The argument that 10k may be too abstract for her and that seeing Pemberley opens her eyes to just how wealthy he is would be equally silly – she would have seen just how rich he was by his clothes, his carriages, the servants attending him and then, in Kent, by the sort of wealth he was expected to marry. I doubt that she was naïve enough not to recognize his financial status for just what it was. What happens in Pemberley, step by step, is the final stage of her seeing Mr Darcy for who he really was. After the letter she is able to credit him with having been wronged by her, but nothing more. When she sees Pemberley, she is able to finally see him for the person behind the disagreeable exterior. When Pemberley is described in the novel, it is as though Mr Darcy is being described. He is elegant, stately, but not falsely adorned. He shows good taste, and though his wealth is evident, he is not extravagant or showy. His house is happily situated in the nature surrounding it and that is a good metaphor for Darcy, who is also natural, he does not pretend. This lies in sharp contrast, of course, to Mr Wickham, who is showy – he has very happy manners – but underneath hides a real ugliness of character. Then she happens upon him personally, and he makes every attempt to be nice to her and her relatives (whom he knows to be in trade). In Pemberley she sees him from his best possible side, and has the report not of his enemy, as in Hertfordshire, but of his family and of his servants. He receives a glowing character from his housekeeper, who has known him from a child and who has no reason to lie to her visitors. She attests to him being mild-mannered, polite and kind. Elizabeth then meets his sister whose reliance on him is obvious. The picture of him is almost complete. Adored by his sister, justly revered and respected by his servants, and able to humble himself enough to be amiable to one who has spurned his advances, Elizabeth now knows that she had his character wrong all along.

Finally, after recognizing all this about the man, the last trial is upon him, and that is when she sees not just the man but also that love he proclaimed to have for her. It is both she and we, as the readers, that are stunned by the extent of his largesse. That he would traverse to the seediest parts of London to hunt down her sister and the perfidious Wickham, that he would then bargain with him and lay down an incredible amount of money (around £340k/$575k in today’s money, to give you an idea) on top of arranging a suitable living for him, merely to make her sister comfortable, is an act of generosity nobody had ever credited him to be capable of. That he does so without any expectation of gratitude (as he makes everyone promise to keep his role in the affair a secret), is even more noble. He does not want Elizabeth’s gratitude, he wants her love. And he wants her to be happy, with or without him, and that is why he involved himself in this. Though his claim to have acted because he thought himself responsible for the affair is probably true to some extent, he reveals to Elizabeth by the end that he has done it for her, and I am inclined to think that he would never have done such a thing for anybody else.

Finally, he applied for her hand again, even after her family had exposed herself from their worst possible side. He had previously thought her family unsuitable because her mother was loud, her father did not care, and her sisters disdained the rules of propriety. Now her father has shown himself to be a truly irresponsible guardian, her mother to have encouraged licentiousness in her youngest daughter, and her sister has shown herself to be stupid and wanton. If her family was considered entirely inappropriate at the beginning, now a connection between the Darcys and the Bennets seems truly impossible. And yet, at the merest hint that she was not entirely set against him, he comes back and applies for her hand again. It tells Elizabeth that this is truly not just an infatuation, a mere desire to bed her. He loves her fully. And how can she not return the sentiment, when she now has the complete picture of the one man in the world who would truly suit her. She had been blind to the truth behind Mr Darcy, but by the end of the novel she can see what he saw – that they complement each other perfectly. How can one claim that Elizabeth did not fully fall for Mr Darcy by then, when over two hundred years of reading the novel, we all fall in love with him by the end of it?

So I find that any claim that Elizabeth liked Darcy for what he can do for her and Darcy liked her because he was in dire need of getting laid, a gross simplification and a misrepresentation of what makes this such an incredibly romantic love story. It is true that the 1995 BBC adaptation of the novel stressed money and sex, and I would never argue that these considerations would not have been important (nor that the novel was not in large part about money and sex). But if it were merely that it would never have been the sort of love story to enchant us over and over again, generation after generation of people, for two hundred years. In fact, I would argue that in a time of our social history in which marriage was so tightly connected to sex and money, this story is more about love than about anything else. For despite the imprudence of this connection for Darcy, and despite the disagreeable side-effects for Elizabeth, they have over the course of the novel unravelled each other’s characters and found that in character and disposition truly nobody else would do. Yes, Darcy may have found in her a lover he truly desires, and Elizabeth may have found a deep pocket that will rescue her family in him, but the reason they get together when they finally do is because they have found in each other the ideal partner for life. In other words, Jane Austen found a way to convey to us a story of how two characters have found each other, understood each other, and found a way to be together, despite the best efforts of society and each other’s families. So, it is in actual fact a rejection of the claim that men were just looking to get laid and the ladies were just looking for the largest possible roof over their heads. In Darcy and Elizabeth we find representatives of the school of thought that none of this matters, unless the right person is found. Ironically, then, both are rewarded with the best of both worlds.

Welcome to another Saturday baby name game! This week, we’re using names from literature. Follow the instructions to name your family.

If you are 16 or under, you have: A boy, using a name from this list - Moby, Patrick, Jay, Inigo, Atticus, Victor, middle name of your choice
If you are 17-23, you have: A girl, using a name from this list - Angela, Scarlett, Jane, Veruca, Eustatcia, Scout, middle name of your choice.
If you are 24-30, you have: A boy, using a name from this list - Randall, Milo, Frankie, Uriah, Dorian, Ichabod, middle name of your choice
If you are 31 or over, you have: Twin girls, first name from classic literature, middle name of your choice.

If you are from USA, you have: Twin boys, names from a sci-fi novel, middle names starting with A and I
If you are from the Europe, you have: A boy, first name from a romance novel, middle name starting with E
If you are from Australia or New Zealand, you have: A boy, first name from a mystery novel, middle name starting with O
If you are from another area, you have: A girl, first name from a epic fantasy novel, middle name starting with U

If your favourite book genre is fantasy, you have: A girl, first name is your favourite literary character, middle name is a rare name
If your favourite book genre is true story, you have: A girl, first name is from a well-known character, middle name is from someone who inspires you
If your favourite book genre is romance, you have: Two girls and a boy, first names are old-fashioned names, any middle names
If your favourite book genre is something else, you have: Two boys and a girl, first names are from modern books, middle names of your choice.

If you prefer Harry Potter, you have: Twin girls, using first names from Harry Potter, middle name of your choice.
If you prefer Lord of the Rings, you have: A boy, using a first name from Lord of the Rings, middle name of your choice.
If you prefer Twilight, you have: A boy and girl, using names from Twilight, middle names of your choice.
If you don’t like any of the above, you have: A boy, using a name from your favourite book, middle name of your choice.

If you read 0-5 books a year, you have: A boy, first name is your favourite literary character, middle name starts with R
If you read 6-10 books a year, you have: A girl, first name is a poets name, middle name starts with E
If you read 11-15 books a year, you have: A boy, first name is an authors name, middle name starts with A
If you read more than 15 books a year, you have: A girl, first name is an authors name, middle name starts with D

If your favourite classic is Wuthering Heights, you have: A girl, using a first name from this list - Agnes, Florence, Nellie, Mabel, Minnie, Ida, Annie, Margaret and a middle name starting with a vowel
If your favourite classic is The Great Gatsby, you have: A boy, using a first name from this list - Walter, Harold, Charles, George, Donald, Raymond, Kenneth, Arthur, and a middle name starting with a vowel
If your favourite classic is Lord of the Flies, you have: A boy and girl, using first names from this list - Edward, Ronald, Dennis, Thomas, Robert, David, Gary, William / Judy, Karen, Kathleen, Dorothy, Joyce, Caroline, Mary, Elizabeth, and middle names starting with a consonant. 
If you haven’t read the above classics, you have: A girl, using a name from this list - Allison, Kylie, Genevieve, Natalie, Naomi, Eliza, Celia, Giselle, middle name starting with a consonant.

If you write poetry, you have: Any gender, first name is something to do with books, middle name of your choice
If you write stories or novels, you have: Triplet girls, all first names start with the same letter, middle names after literary characters
If you write both, you have: A girl, first name is from a book that has turned into a movie, middle name of your choice
If you write neither, you have: A boy, first name is from a book that never became a movie, middle name of your choice

I would have:

  • Milo Theodore
  • Sam Oliver
  • Kahlan Essence
  • Luna Grace & Lily June
  • Darken Remy
  • Thomas James & Kathleen Ruby
  • Paige Isabelle
When I read the mortal instruments saga

It was like two years ago, I saw a youtuber doing a reaction about the books and I wanted to read them.
I just love them, while i was reading the first book i was like “Dammit why i didn’t read this before? It’s amazing”. When I finished them I watched the movie, it wasn’t that good, I was dissapointed to be honest.
Then i found out about the prequel, The Infernal Devices. Oh god, i finished the trilogy in one week. Then I read The Bane Chronicles, which made me realized that Magnus Bane was my favourite literary character ever.
Obviusly i continued with The dark artifices, I really enjoyed the first book and i didn’t read Lord of shadows yet.
But let’s talk about the  tv serie, Shadowhunters, there’s no words to describe how much i love that show, how much i love the stories lines and the charcaters representions, i fucking love the cast, they are pure love.

Anyway, in all those years i never had the chance to talk to others fans and I would really like to do it, so if you like the books and the serie please talk to me, there’s a lot of things that i would like to share.

I’ve had keychain-Snape in my pocket since around 2005, his clothes and translucent glow in the dark-face (possibly my fav lego design decision ever) have long started to fade but I hope there are decades to come where he continues to suffocate in my pocket

My friend gave it to me after a trip abroad and I still find it very touching, I’m usually fairly private about my interests and people I know irl are hardly aware that I’m a fan, yet she went out of her way to get it for me. 

I could go on in incoherent lengths about why Severus Snape is my favourite literary character ever and why I love him with all my heart but I’ve never been particularly confident expressing myself with words heh. But Snape is definitely one of those who have shaped me into being who I am and what I do today, it comforts me to know that if he was able to face all sorts of adversities and obstacles with his limited options and support (despite not being real and whatnot), then so can I. And so forth. So here’s my day 1 of general snape love.

Daniel Handler webchat - Full Transcript

25/02/2015 | Source: The Guardian

Q: Have you ever thought about writing a Lemony Snicket book for an adult audience? The ASOUE books were the most important books to me as a kid and it would be really exciting to find out more about the jaded author. Is Lemony Snicket in any way biographical?
DANIEL HANDLER: The Snicket books are children’s literature, but children’s literature is a genre, not an audience restriction, and it certainly appears that many adults are indeed reading All The Wrong Questions and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The Snicket books are indeed biographical - they contain the biographies of the Baudelaires, and of Mr. Snicket himself, among others. I think perhaps you mean “autobiographical,” which is a more complicated question.

Q: What is your favourite Magnetic Fields/Stephin Merritt song/album?
DH: Favoritism changes all the time, of course, but I have always loved “The Things We Did And Didn’t Do,” and my favorite album of Mr. Merritt’s is ususally “Hyacinths and Thistles,” by the 6ths. The band and album names were chosen for their impossibility to say aloud on radio.

Q: It is safe to say that I am one of the many who was inspired by you to become a writer in the future. What advice will you give a college student like myself who wants to persue writing and has no idea what steps to take to make and publish their first book?
DH: If you are in college and wish to be a writer, it is no time to worry about publishing. You will have a lifetime of greying adulthood to worry about publishing. You should read, and reread, and of course you should write, and rewrite. There is nothing to worry about there, either. You will be tempted to worry that what you write isn’t good enough. It most certainly won’t be, so there’s no need for worry. One must write thousands of bad things before anything good shows up, and one might as well start early.

Q: Whenever I see a croquet mallet I get murderous tendencies….and can’t help but think that Flannery Culp is my favourite literary character…can you bring her back? Also, how exactly do write drunk people so well…?
DH: There is talk of Ms. Culp’s return on the small screen, but I cannot imagine what she would be doing in another novel. Drunkenness is difficult to navigate on paper—as it is on life—despite considerable practice.

Q: Just want to say how much I enjoy (and enjoyed) your books. Did you have an older audience in mind when you slipped in political jokes (‘Busheney’ as Sunny-speak for ‘evil man’ anyone?) and literary references?
Also, who is your favourite villainous character?
DH: The Snicket books contain cultural references that are obvious, veiled, and completely opaque, and I suspect the readers have their own individual Venn diagrams with such traits.As for villains, I find myself continually haunted by Humbert Humbert and Condoleezza Rice.

Keep reading

Books, books, books

Coop here, i got asked to put together a recommendation list of some books. This last year, thanks to becoming a digital n00b and getting a kindle, i’ve been on a reading rampage and now i thought i would share a few of the books that have influenced me in someway and that i recommend for anyone interested in expanding their minds. 

  • The Wayfinders - Wade Davis

“Language is the vehicle by which the soul of a culture comes into the world" 

Wade Davis is an incredible anthropologist and ethnobotanist. This book as well as his Light At The Edge of The World; A Journey Through The Realm of Vanishing Cultures (another recommendation) is a collection of his lectures telling of his time spent with various tribes around the world. I found his talks extremely eye opening in revealing the beauty and profound ways other cultures perceive reality. Too many of us get all too consumed by our western ideologies and influences that it is easy to forget that other languages, and ways of being, completely alter ones own existence from our own. Learning of these, and seeing some of the breadth of the human essence is awe inspiring. 

  • Speaker For the Dead, & Xenocide - Orson Scott Card

"Humans invent an imaginary lover and put that mask over the face of the body in their bed. That is the tragedy of language my friend. Those who know each other only through symbolic representations are forced to imagine each other. And because their imagination is imperfect, they are often wrong." 

Definitely an all together different story from the previous. If you saw Enders Game, or have only read that one in the series, i definitely recommend at least the next two. Although the author has expressed some seriously skewed views in the public, his writing is incredible and i love how these books conjure new internal struggles with conventional morality. 

  • Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

I read this book a couple of years ago but revisited it recently. Its rather a controversial book, well more Rand’s altruistic and elitist ideologies are, but this book is 100% worth the read. Howard Roark is my favourite protagonist and literary character (right up there with winnie the pooh for me). His understanding of art as the expression of his soul and his unwavering commitment to that; is unquestionably beautiful. I would quote his entire speech in the courthouse as it is incredible, but far too long for this. Definitely worth the read. 

  • Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig

"Whats’s emerging from the pattern of my own life is the belief that the crisis is being caused by the inadequacy of existing forms of thought to cope with the situation”

Currently reading this, and have almost gotten to the end unfortunately as i have enjoyed it immensely; (it also has little to nothing to do with motorcycle maintenance…kind of). Its philosophical fiction that explores the metaphysics of ‘Quality’, 

I love how the protagonist examines different thought processes through the 'classic’ and 'romantic’ methods of understanding, such a captivating read. 

  • Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic - Oliver James

“For the first time in human history, children are getting most of their information from entities whose goal is to sell them something, rather than from family, school, or houses of worship.”

If there is a “must read” book, particularly for anyone residing in a western dominated society, this is the book. James reveals the poisonous, world destroying, species slaughtering notion that is consumerism; and how we’ve all fallen victim to it as well as all being contributors to this cancerous and vile disease of the mind and culture. This book really hit home for me, and I seriously urge everyone to read it and discuss it with everyone they know.