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Feminists who are Lord Peter fans......

(164 Posts)
BertrandRussell Tue 06-Feb-18 19:56:02

I just noticed this reference to domestic violence in Busman’s Honeymoon.
“"O-o-oh! I do hope he won't be violent."

"Violent?" said Harriet, half amused and half angry. "Oh, I shouldn't think so."

But alarm is infectious...and much-tried men have been known to vent their exasperation upon their[Pg 330] servants. The two women clung together, waiting for the explosion.

"Well," said the distant voice, "all I can say is, Bunter, don't let it happen again.... All right.... Good God, man, you needn't tell me that ...of course you didn't.... We'd better go and view the bodies."

The sounds died away, and the women breathed more freely. The dreadful menace of male violence lifted its shadow from the house”

Aren’t those last two sentences chilling?

HelenDenver Tue 06-Feb-18 20:17:48

Uh huh.

But - SPOILERS.... if you consider the perpetrator and what might have happened to one or possibly two women down the line if he had got away with it, I think it's fair foreshadowing...

Lancelottie Tue 06-Feb-18 20:50:43

Hmm, how about (approximately, as I can't find the book):
'I believe if I'd had nothing but a haystack to offer you, you would have married me years ago.'
'Of course', said Harriet. 'Just think of the time I've wasted! I could have been tramping at your heels by now with six babies and a black eye, and saying to a sympathetic bobby, 'You leave him alone. E's my husband, ain't he? He've a right to knock me abaht.''

'You seem', said her husband reprovingly, 'to regret the black eye more than the six babies.'

HairyBallTheorem Tue 06-Feb-18 21:20:04

Yes, I've always found that exchange most disturbing, Lancelottie

I'm not quite sure what it says about Sayers' own tastes (since Harriet is the biggest self-insert in the history of self-inserts in literature).

Lancelottie Tue 06-Feb-18 22:25:40

Or:
'It would be quite a relief to be ridden over rough-shod once in a while' -- Harriet to Miss de Vine, in Gaudy Night.

(contemplates PhD in detective fiction)

BertrandRussell Tue 06-Feb-18 22:26:20

All the stuff about manly men and womanly women in Gaudy Night is food for thought too.....

Lancelottie Tue 06-Feb-18 22:33:56

Oh, that bit annoys me, as it's supposed to be overheard by a Significant Member of the Plot, but so far as I can tell, she is only in the room for half of it and would have had to make some sweeping guesses about everyone's opinions.

What about the 16 generations of feudal privilege stirring Peter's bones in Clouds of Witness, hey?

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Tue 06-Feb-18 22:34:05

Nothing is as disturbing as the moment when Albert Campion tells his sister she needs a "little rape" in The Fashion in Shrouds. Put me right off Allingham.

Lancelottie Tue 06-Feb-18 22:35:37

Campion is weird pretty much all through, and best ignored.

I'm in two minds about Rory Alleyn but stick with it for the lovely descriptions of Troy's paintings.

Pollaidh Tue 06-Feb-18 22:42:04

I've always liked Wimsey's response to the question of women's education in Gaudy Night. Can't find the quote but IIRC he entirely supports it but says it isn't right that he, as a man, has the power to decide it. Of course there's a lot to be said for allies, but his objection seemed to be more for the fact he was being asked as an 'authority'.

BertrandRussell Tue 06-Feb-18 22:56:21

Peter is amazingly modern in his approach to life. He is a credit to his mother.

Efferlunt Tue 06-Feb-18 22:57:50

That was about the port wasn’t it? Think it was meant to be comic but at the same time shows how although LP and HV know each other well marriage is still a risk given the peer balance it implies for them.

Efferlunt Tue 06-Feb-18 22:58:19

Power not peer

meditrina Wed 07-Feb-18 06:56:44

The exchange in Lancelottie's first post does not end there - it goes on to say something about 'that's because you'd never give me the black eye' (deliberately speaking for effect - there are a lot of echoes of formal rhetorical devices and debate on how they speak)

The riding rough-shod wasn't in a sexual or DV context IIRC.

Sayers is great - fully competent, adult women, discussing politics and the role of women (just because the language of their day sometimes sounds odd nearly a century later doesn't change the essence). There were plenty of female characters also owned property, had careers, employed war widows/excess spinsters, had an education and said what they thought.

The lengthy courtship between Peter and Harriet really explores the baggage of matrimony at the time, and examined how they could refashion it for themselves without preconceived roles.

She's very sound on sexual consent.

And women's sexual pleasure (though that is through Peter as attentive and responsive lover, who wants partner's pleasure as much his own, it's all about Harriet). That wasn't a common theme in mainstream books of that era.

HairyBallTheorem Wed 07-Feb-18 08:03:09

Good point, Med - though there's also that odd little exchange when they're in bed together "Did you just call me 'my lord'? Two words I never thought I'd get a kick out of." I wonder, was there a hint in Sayers' personality of perhaps being a bit like the sort of woman I've talked to occasionally, both on here and in RL, who is totally in control in their working and outside of bed lives, and finds it relaxing to be a sub in bed because it's "time off" from being in control?

Gruach Wed 07-Feb-18 08:16:45

(approximately, as I can't find the book): flowers

<Genuflects in profound awe>

But yeah, wot meditrina said.

Gruach Wed 07-Feb-18 08:19:55

It was the 'no English woman' thing that stuck in my craw ...

(Hope I'm not mis-remembering.)

BertrandRussell Wed 07-Feb-18 08:38:40

It's all a strange mixture, isn't it. The extraordinary snobbery, the cast of hilarious working class characters coupled with the sensitive and really modern writing about sexual consent, the problematic nature of marriage and the depiction of women living free and independent lives. And that breathtaking cameo of Mrs Grimethorpe......

Lancelottie Wed 07-Feb-18 08:39:36

No, you haven’t, but the context means that English makes sense, I think:
‘I have now completely given myself away. No English vocabulary. No other Englishwoman.’
Or something like that.

Lancelottie Wed 07-Feb-18 08:41:38

Oh yes, Mrs Grimethorpe! And come to that, the other driving-a-chap-wild woman in the same book. Clearly not quite the same species as your decently reserved and intellectual English woman.

HelenDenver Wed 07-Feb-18 09:49:34

I think the 'riding rough-shod' bit was self-criticism from Harriet re 'overthinking' - unable to trust her feelings, she was trying to make the intellectual case for marriage/celibacy and was tired of being trapped and indecisive.

HelenDenver Wed 07-Feb-18 09:51:43

"She's very sound on sexual consent."

Agree. Which is why...

<spoilers for Thrones, Dominations>

..the discussion about the victim in T,D annoys me; I believe that DLS wrote the first third or so and I really don't think her LPW/Parker would've been so... dismissive.

Lancelottie Wed 07-Feb-18 10:45:27

I would love to read just the bits DLS wrote in Thrones, Dominations. I doubt she wrote the tosh about sitting stiffly at opposite ends of the table, for one.

Betcha she did write the line in which Peter says he's callening his child Kerenhappuch, and the one in which the elderly relative eyes Harriet and says, unexpectedly, 'Good girl.'

Lancelottie Wed 07-Feb-18 10:47:08

I would also like to see Miss de Vine's take on the current 'forcing oneself into appropriate feelings'. A propos of nothing in particular, of course.

HelenDenver Wed 07-Feb-18 10:49:50

Me too, Lancelottie. I tried to google and find out once. IIRC, DLS wrote the first six chapters or so and left notes and the odd bit of drafting for the rest.

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