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Thesis with a side of butter

For those who asked, my M.A. thesis is online now, but before you go read it start to finish, let me advise you of this: Unless you like reading about dry sociolinguistic theory, skip the first part of the introduction. That's the stuff I put in at the very last stage, to appease my professors. If I were you I'd just scroll past it until you get to "Historical background." That, at least, has some amusing quotes from the British about how shockingly ungraceful American speech is. *sticks tongue out fondly at our allies across the Atlantic*

Speaking of the Brits, I'm reading another P.G. Wodehouse novel lately because I needed to be cheered up (remember, it was only last month I finished the R.O.T.K. re-read, and that's always depressing). It's working quite well. I find myself giggling constantly. Your excerpt for the day:

'A woman has the right to expect the man she is about to marry to regard their troth as a sacred obligation that shall keep him as pure as a young knight who has dedicated himself to the quest of the Holy Grail. And I find you in a public restaurant, dancing with a creature with yellow hair, upsetting waiters, and
staggering about with pats of butter all over you.'

Here a sense of injustice stung Lord Dawlish. It was true that after his regrettable collision with Heinrich, the waiter, he had discovered butter upon his person, but it was only one pat. Claire had spoken as if he had been festooned with butter.

Pretty much the whole thing is like that, as are all his books that I've seen so far. He is so delightful.

Oh, but he can't write American accents worth beans. I'll pick on that another time, maybe. Still, I love him to pieces.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2003 07:35 pm (UTC)
Have you read any of the Jeeves and Wooster series? Classic stuff, that. . .
May. 30th, 2003 09:07 am (UTC)
I haven't, but to judge from what others say, sounds like I really should. I'll put it on my list.
May. 29th, 2003 07:50 pm (UTC)

I've only watched the Jeeves and Wooster series but I've been meaning to go back and read some of the books that the series is based on. The excerpt you quoted is right in line with the tv show :)

May. 30th, 2003 09:08 am (UTC)
He is quite a lovely read. Some of his stuff is available as free e-texts from Project Gutenberg.
May. 29th, 2003 08:00 pm (UTC)
I love Wodehouse! He keeps me in giggles, too. As for the American accents, I believe they were intentionally written poorly for a humorous effect- at least that's my take on it.

That said, Stephen Fry as Jeeves in Jeeves & Wooster brightened up my lowly Sundays on PBS in the 1990s. He always makes my day. *Swoon*

You may want to check this out: Wodehouse saved my life.

May. 30th, 2003 09:12 am (UTC)
*giggles at Hugh Laurie's writing style* Wow, he's almost as good as Wodehouse! Sounds like I definitely must read the Jeeves series.

Yeah, you've got to love Stephen Fry. I was quite fond of him in Wilde, of course, too. (My appreciation has nothing to do with the naked-Jude-Law content. No, nothing at all.)

The thing with P.G.'s American characters is merely that they have a tendency to sound too British, to me. He doesn't seem to exaggerate Americanisms, necessarily, but rather has Yankees say stuff like "old chap" and "I'm dashed if I can" and "have you any money?" and other stuff that I doubt Americans have said since the 18th century. :) But, then, I haven't researched that specifically...
May. 30th, 2003 06:01 pm (UTC)
I always took the accents as an example of the British perception of Americans appearing "cultured" by copying their lofty Britishisms. An example would be the myriads of modern Americans who seem to relish using "bloody," "bloke," "randy," "shite," etc as a means to differentiate themselves as sophisticated and urbane.

Keep in mind that most of his American characters represent moneyed individuals from a land of plenty. He was caricaturizing the Gilded Age nouveau riche.

You should check out this essay.
May. 31st, 2003 12:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, having finished the book now, I think this may be the case. Also, his very British narrative style may have colored the way I "heard" the whole thing, since when I bent my mind to it, I could see how the Americans could actually sound American for the most part. I was just hearing them as British because his whole style is that way.

Cool article! I didn't know he became an American. Now I like him even more. :)
May. 29th, 2003 10:53 pm (UTC)
Sounds well-worth the read. ^_^ Read any Douglas Adams? I'm certain I've asked you before (I seem to ask everyone), but if you haven't read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet, let me advise you: DO. Soon. I sincerely wish I had more of a quote to give you (I can't find my copy at the moment, and am convinced, despite protests, that my brother's friend Shari still has it), but a taste:

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad idea." (something like that--very close. Incidentally has nothing to do with the story itself, but ya know).

*grins* And if you've already read it, I apologize for the add in your LJ comment space. ^_^
May. 30th, 2003 09:17 am (UTC)
Re: LoL
Oh, yes indeedly, I read the whole Hitchhiker series. Douglas Adams rocks. Actually, I read them before I'd ever picked up Wodehouse; and when I did finally start reading Wodehouse, one of my first thoughts was, "Ah-ha...so this is where Douglas Adams learned to write!" Very similar style.

You might also like Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, for more of the same surreal British charming silliness. (Plus, the angel/devil duo is so very slashable.)
May. 30th, 2003 06:24 am (UTC)
"Festooned with butter" is a wonderful phrase :)
May. 30th, 2003 11:30 am (UTC)
Brits rock
heheee... I love Brits.
May. 30th, 2003 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yess...ol' P.G.W. could write 'em. Have you ever noticed how some other British authors write American accents? "Aw shucks, Miss Lucy, I guess I ain't fit ter regulate the lacin's of your little shoes. Annyhoo, how's about us'ns hitchin' up an' trottin' on down that thar road in double harness?" The character must also use "I guess" in each of his speeches, and cry "What the Sam Hill?" when shocked. I call it Quincy Morris Disorder. Doyle and Stoker did it an awful lot.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )