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Old 01-15-2020, 11:46 PM   #1
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Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

'On vacation from school, Denis goes to stay at Crome, an English country house inhabited by several of Huxley's most outlandish characters--from Mr. Barbecue-Smith, who writes 1,500 publishable words an hour by "getting in touch" with his "subconscious," to Henry Wimbush, who is obsessed with writing the definitive "History of Crome." Denis's stay proves to be a disaster amid his weak attempts to attract the girl of his dreams and the ridicule he endures regarding his plan to write a novel about love and art. Lambasting the post-Victorian standards of morality, Crome Yellow is a witty masterpiece that, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's words, "is too ironic to be called satire and too scornful to be called irony."'

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This is the MR Literary Club selection for January 2020 - the first of the new decade! - and this thread is for discussing it. We generally aim to finish reading the selection and discussing it in its entirety by around the end of the month, although we encourage discussing your thoughts during reading too. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!



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Old 01-16-2020, 12:07 AM   #2
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I've begun and with it being relatively short I'm already about a fourth in. I noted in the nom & voting thread but I think it's an interesting coincidence that this book was written about 100 years ago.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:36 AM   #3
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Oh heck, since it's a public domain book in the US and life+50 countries, I'm in, I suppose.
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Old 01-23-2020, 02:22 AM   #4
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That's great, binaryhermit!

I'm enjoying this, and it's so different than what I remember Brave New World being like. Although, there was the part here where they discuss a possible future society that did seem reminiscent of that book.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:01 AM   #5
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I've started the audiobook this morning. It is only 6 hours long, so I expect to finish in the next day or two. Ready to get back into the swing!
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Old 01-23-2020, 05:13 PM   #6
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I have just got going on it and just about to start Chapter 5.

It doesn't seem for me have developed much steam yet but the prose is pleasant to read as are the small bits and pieces happening in the story line. So liking it so far but hoping it develops more as it gets along.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AnotherCat View Post
I have just got going on it and just about to start Chapter 5.

It doesn't seem for me have developed much steam yet but the prose is pleasant to read as are the small bits and pieces happening in the story line. So liking it so far but hoping it develops more as it gets along.
You and I are at similar location. I am just starting Chapter 6. I agree that I like the prose and wit. The end of Chapter 5 is interesting, but I don’t want to spoil why.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:50 PM   #8
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I just finished. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I did have some real pacing issues when we get to the narration of the family history bits. I will be interested to see what others have to say.
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:32 PM   #9
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Hey everybody, first time posting to this book club so please tell me if I'm doing anything wrong!

I finished the novel last week, and I'm not too sure how I felt about it either. I certainly enjoyed it more than not, but something seemed lacking from a narrative standpoint, but then again when I would take a step back I would realize that the lack of meaningful development in the reunion of all these rather archetypal literary/intellectual posers contributed to the absurdity of it all. But still, it bothered me and made it less of an enjoyable read, and I found myself refreshed when proper narrative appeared within the stories about Crome's history. I guess conflicted is how it all made me feel, perhaps others felt the same.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:35 AM   #10
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Welcome to the discussion, ustou! It’s nice to have you join us. I have been progressing slowly through this week but expect to finish the book this weekend. The book is witty, but I have been wondering where it is headed narratively so your post helps to know what to expect.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:07 PM   #11
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I am not getting much reading done at the moment as have too many distractions (all good ones ) so am still only around 80% of the way through the book.

At the moment my views pretty much align with what others have already posted.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:46 PM   #12
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I finished the book last night. I'm not sure what to make of it. I suppose that is because it is more a book of ideas than a narrative plot. Mr. Scogan seems to be the method to contrast the modern post-WWI era with the Victorian era. I didn't really like any of the characters.

The inspiration for Crome was Garsington Manor, and it sounds likes a fascinating history if the walls of that estate could talk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garsington_Manor
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Garsington became a haven for the Morrells’ friends, including D. H. Lawrence, Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Sackville-West, William Smith, Lord David Cecil, John Cournos, Lytton Strachey, Aldous Huxley, Mark Gertler, Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf. In 1916, they invited conscientious objectors, including Clive Bell and other members of the Bloomsbury Group, to come and work on the home farm for the duration of World War I, as civilian Work of National Importance recognised as an alternative to military service. Aldous Huxley spent some time here before he wrote Crome Yellow, a book which contains a ridiculous character obviously intended as a caricature of Lady Ottoline Morrell; she never forgave him.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:44 AM   #13
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A 1977 journal article credits Crome Yellow as the inspiration for William Faulkner's Mosquitos, which was published 5 years later. I have included a snip of the article below. I wrote my thesis on Faulkner back before I went to law school, so I apprecaited this. The cite for the article, for anyone who has JStor access is:

Faulkner and Huxley: A Note On "Mosquitoes" And "Crome Yellow"
EDWIN T. ARNOLD III
The Mississippi Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 3, SPECIAL ISSUE: WILLIAM FAULKNER (Summer 1977), pp. 433-436
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:51 PM   #14
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It's interesting to see everyone's reactions to it so far. Personally, I loved it. It was somewhat more a series of vignettes really, but I enjoyed the setting, the characters and the style. I thought it something like if Downton Abbey were a soft but silly satirical sitcom and focused more on a group of young visitors. That's not the most perfect comparison since Crome Yellow totally ignores the staff as well but still. I thought the writing was enchanting, and I liked the mixture of wit and bite with the bits of pathos and melancholy. I liked it better than Brave New World, the only other Huxley I've read. Honestly, I only very vaguely remember that book as I read it so long ago, but I definitely remember that while I thought it was good I didn't love it.

What did everyone think of the chapter 13, concerning the history of the house and the story of the little people? I thought it was heartbreaking.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by astrangerhere View Post
A 1977 journal article credits Crome Yellow as the inspiration for William Faulkner's Mosquitos, which was published 5 years later. I have included a snip of the article below. I wrote my thesis on Faulkner back before I went to law school, so I apprecaited this. The cite for the article, for anyone who has JStor access is:

Faulkner and Huxley: A Note On "Mosquitoes" And "Crome Yellow"
EDWIN T. ARNOLD III
The Mississippi Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 3, SPECIAL ISSUE: WILLIAM FAULKNER (Summer 1977), pp. 433-436
Thank you for sharing this information. I am not familiar with Mosquitoes but do enjoy Faulkner and now have added it to my TBR.
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