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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Real Charlotte by Somerville and Ross

The Real Charlotte
by Somerville and Ross
p. 1894

  Somerville and Ross were the pen names for a couple of Anglo-Irish women- lesbians- by all accounts- who were best known for their comic masterpiece, Some Experiences of an Irish RM.  These days, it's The Real Charlotte that the true literati embrace, though I frankly question to what, if any extent, Somerville and Ross are read in America in 2013.

  Almost every review I've seen mentions that you need to read The Real Charlotte more then once to grasp the subtlety and beauty of the plot, to me it just read like a denser then usual marriage plot.  The Real Charlotte at issue is a complex, anti-heroine type which makes her more interesting then your typical late 19th century British female protagonist.

 The idea of the "Irish Novel" being somehow distinct from the English tradition strikes me as risible.  So far I think there have been exactly three novels from Ireland- all three by female Anglo-Irish writers- maybe four in total?  All of them featuring plots that resemble contemporary English influence.  Actually I think Anthony Trollope wrote a novel set in Ireland- so- five.


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