By E. F. Benson
With an creation and Notes by means of Dr Keith Carabine, college of Kent at Canterbury.
Lucia is among the nice comedian characters in English literature. Outrageously pretentious, hypocritical and snobbish, Queen Lucia, ‘as via correct divine’ ideas over the toy state of ‘Riseholme’ in line with the Cotswold village of Broadway. Her long-suffering husband Pepino is ‘her prince-consort’, the outrageously camp Georgie is her ‘gentleman-in-waiting’, the village eco-friendly is her ‘parliament’, and her topics, equivalent to Daisy Quantock, are hapless would-be ‘Bolsheviks’.
In Lucia in London, the prudish, manically formidable Lucia launches herself into the louche global of London society. Her earnest choice to benefit all approximately ‘modern movements’ makes her the ideal comedian automobile for Benson’s free-wheeling satire of salon society, and of the dominant fads and hobbies of the Nineteen Twenties, together with vegetarianism, yoga, palmistry, Freudianism, séances, Post-Impressionist paintings and Christian Science.
Meanwhile in Tilling, basically modelled on Benson’s domestic city of Rye, omit Mapp ate up via ‘chronic rage and curiosity’ sits at her window, armed together with her light-opera glasses preserving baleful watch on her neighbours. ‘Anger and the gravest suspicions approximately everyone had stored her younger and at the boil’: and Benson transmutes her boiling right into a sequence of small humiliations in his witty, malicious comedy.
In his insightful creation Keith Carabine indicates that those books are excruciatingly humorous simply because Benson, like Jane Austen, invitations the reader to view the realm in the course of the self-deluded fabrications and day-dreams of Lucia and the self-deluded persistent anger and jaundiced suspicions of Elisabeth.
Carabine additionally concentrates at the novels’ irritating, bitchy, ‘camp’ humour each time ‘that horrid factor which Freud calls sex’ is raised.
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Additional info for The Complete Mapp & Lucia, Volume 1: Queen Lucia, Miss Mapp, Lucia in London (Wordsworth Classics)
For more than a year after he believed that all long hair was like that--detachable. One night he couldn't sleep: he followed that clandestine track of his childhood the opposite way in search of water. The servants' stairs creaked under his tread, but unlike his footsteps on the way to Brinac they meant nothing: they were new hieroglyphics nobody had learned to read. On the floor below was his own old room: nobody slept in it now, perhaps because it bore too clearly the marks of his occupancy.
The Mangeots," she said, "don't run to servants. Anyway I want to walk about a bit. " She went away and came back holding the glass. As she stood there in the rough dressing-gown holding the glass out to him he instinctively recognized the meaning of her action. She had told him all about her hate and now she wanted to indicate by a small gesture of service that she had other capacities. She could be a friend, she seemed to indicate, and she could be gentle. That night, lying in bed, he felt a different quality in his despair.
I'm of the Resistance," Roche replied. " "The war's over for us, isn't it? " "Don't you believe it. It's just beginning down here. You'd better show me your papers," he said to Charlot. " "Show them to him," Therese Mangeot said. Roche had to drop the reins to take them and the pony, released, moved a little way down the road. Suddenly he looked odd and powerless like a boy who has been left in charge of a horse he can't control. "Here," he said, "take them back," and snatched the reins. "I'll hold the pony for you if you like," Charlot offered with studied insulting kindness.
The Complete Mapp & Lucia, Volume 1: Queen Lucia, Miss Mapp, Lucia in London (Wordsworth Classics) by E. F. Benson