Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shabby old Viragos...

... and David Herbert

From the Lifeline op shop in South Lismore (an excellent source of books, housed in a charming little former church) :  Four old Viragos and a bloke.

From the Macquarie Dictionary:

virago  [I'll leave out the pronunciation] n., pl. -goes, gos.  1. a turbulent, violent, or ill-tempered scolding woman; a shrew. 2. a woman of masculine strength or spirit. [ME and OE, from L: manlike woman]

So now tell me feminists have no sense of humour. Good name for a publisher of (mostly) neglected classics by women.

They are:

1. Tell me a Riddle, by Tillie Olsen

A new writer for me. Short stories (the title one, published in 1961, being 'one of the most famous stories in modern American fiction.)

2. Stevie Smith, The Holiday, first published 1949

Love her Novel on Yellow Paper.

Random quotation from new book:

So with these happy thoughts in my mind, I go down to our butcher, with whom my aunt has dealt for forty years, and Mr. Montgomery the butcher gives me six ounces more than the ration books says. He is a tall thin man, looking like Charles II, he smiles as he wraps the parcel. There you are, my dear. How's mother? (for he is convinced that my aunt is my mother).

My mother died when I was a child, my aunt has always lived with us, she has never wished to marry, she has 'no patience' with men (she also has 'no patience' with Hitler).  She thinks men are soppy, she says: He is a very soppy man, a most soppy individual.

Stevie Smith, The Holiday

3. Emma Goldman, An Intimate Life, by Alice Wexler

Late last year I re-read Goldman's excellent 2 volume autobiography, Living My Life (which should be brought into the attic at some stage - I've had it over 30 years, a wonderful strong old Dover publication), so I think I should let the effect of that settle before I read this. But why not have it there, just waiting to be read?

4. Such Devoted Sisters: An anthology of Stories, edited by Shena MacKay (1993)

How to resist this subject matter? One I've mined many times in my own novels.

And the bloke, not a Virago of course, but one of those lovely old orange Penguins, is Kangaroo, by D. H. Lawrence.

I hated him when I was a student - all that overblown stuff about men and women. But he lived in Australia for a time, in a cottage called 'Wywork' (a delightfully Australian sentiment) on the South Coast of NSW. Thirroul, if I'm not mistaken.

So here is is writing about Oz. Has to be worth a read.

1 comment:

  1. Thirroul indeed - the house still stands although it is over renovated as happens in gentrified seaside suburbs. There is a plaque.