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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.

Comments

dirae
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.

Cheers!
mollyringle
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...
dirae
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.
mollyringle
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. :)