Sunday, 24 May 2009

Lost in Romance

Isn't the weather lovely? Oxford is crammed with people eating ice cream and enjoying the way the college stone looks in the sunshine. The river is teaming with punts, and no one seems to be falling in. Bank holiday weather of the most sublime sort - and I don't even care that I'm actually working tomorrow. With weather like this, and the promise of more to come for summer, I could work every day as long as I got a Pimms at the end of it!

I spent much of the day in the Botanic Gardens, marvelling at the riot of colour, and reading about a different sort of colour in Jude Morgan's brilliant 'Passion'. Dovegreyreader was talking recently about Jude's latest book, which reminded me I had yet to read the above mentioned, and it seemed fitting after 'The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth', which mum has just picked up, and which seems to hardly be suited to such a day. It needs to be read during a storm. 'Passion' on the other hand, is ideal for the heat and brightness of today, for what other words could be used to describe the four women that are shown in the novel. Mary Shelley and Fanny Brawne have yet to burn as brightly as Caroline Lamb or Augusta Leigh, but it seems to be only a matter of time, before they too fall into the embrace of Byron, Shelley or Keats.
How different from Wordsworth, who has only an obsessed sister to cast a shadow over poetic respectability.

I am barely halfway through, but I am being whirled along, as if I too were engaged in a waltz with a dissolute rake. Jude' style is mesmerising and mercurial; hardly the same from one page to the next. Sometimes taking the voice of one woman, speaking directly to the audience, and at other times allowing the reader to be less involved. On the periphery, untouched by scandal, but seeing it just the same.

I must go tend to my pink arms, and see if I can make my shoulders the same colour. I was too involved in reading to notice the tan lines ....

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