Posts Tagged ‘class-ism’

More Reading

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I am now reading Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. This one is not such a success for me. It’s still wonderful, but very dated. Offensively so, I’m afraid. If you haven’t read These Old Shades and don’t wish to have the plot spoiled at all (though I should think much of what I going to mention is pretty obvious stuff, read no further.

SPOILERS!!

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There’s this passage in which the heroine, Leonie, is speaking to some other servants of the hero, the Duc.

[Gaston speaking] “Mon Dieu, is it thus you speak of the wickedness? Ah, but I could tell of things! if you knew the women that the Duc has courted! if you knew –”
“Monsieur!” Madame Dubois raised protesting hands. “Before me?”
“I ask pardon, madame. No, I say nothing. Nothing! But what I know!”
“Some men,” said Leon[ie] gravely, “are like that, I think. I have seen many.”
“Fi donc!” Madame cried. “So young, too!”
Leon disregarded the interruption, and looked at Gaston with a worldly wisdom that sat quaintly on his young face.
“And when I have seen these things I have thought that it is always the woman’s fault.”

My goodness.

A bit later in the book, as the story begins to develop its plot points regarding the possibility that Leonie is a nobleman’s daughter who at birth was given to a peasant family in return for the the nobleman taking the peasant family’s son as his own … Well. It’s just so heavy handed and classist. Leonie, despite having been raised as a peasant is nothing but superior – whiter, softer, finer, smarter, superior in every way while the peasant boy raised as a nobleman is heavy and coarse and low and so on. Oh, so offensive. I nearly set the book aside at that point.

It’s not yet certain I’ll be able to finish this one.

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