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Old 02-08-2020, 09:53 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
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.
I thought you might have really enjoyed this book. I liked Brave New World better and have read it several times.

The history was sad. The architectural history and the original design/purpose of the towers was "unexpected" for lack of a better description! Henry was certainly obsessed with the history. Of the two older gentlemen, Henry had his head fully in the past, and Mr Scogan was used to contrast the past and modern.

I found this information about adaptations on Wikipedia.
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In 2014, Australian novelist and independent publisher Julian Davies wrote Crow Mellow which he describes as "a contemporary social satire closely based on Aldous Huxley's ... Crome Yellow".[3] Chapter XIII was adapted by Philip Mackie as a one-off 60 minute play, The Dwarves, for BBC Radio 4.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:57 PM   #17
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I didn't really like any of the characters.
I take that back. I wish Jenny had been developed as a character more. I liked the scenes where she leaves the party on their night adventure in the dark and where Denis finds out what is written in her red book. Even though she can't hear, she is observant and more is going on inside her head than appears to the outside world.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:05 PM   #18
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I liked this book in a middling way but spoiled getting the best of it for myself as I could not get a straight run at it due to other distractions. However, because there was no plot I could not lose that so it held together under the circumstances better than a novel with a complicated plot and storyline would have. The last chapters covering the fair I did get a fair run at and enjoyed those.

I thought the prose good but in that, and especially for its satire and humor also, I didn't think he quite matched his contemporary Evelyn Waugh, for example. Maybe Huxley's writing was quieted by his being more of a philosopher (and did he have a more privileged background which dulled his criticism of the "layabouts"?).

I wondered if there was some agenda of Huxley's when writing Denis as being stuck with writer's block? Also, if the book had maybe lost some of its bite as its allusions to real persons in the contemporary world would have been more obvious to contemporary readers; whereas, as best I remember, Waugh's novels, for example, did not have such allusions to real contemporaries so does not age so much in that respect.

While the opportunities to base a modern novel on the chatterings of layabouts sponging on manor owning layabouts might be thin and far between nowadays, I wondered if there was another modern opportunity for a plotless novel. It came to mind that a good one, in some sort of parallel, could likely be written based on the chatterings of the twitterarti, and the toils of the sufferers of exaggerated wokiness and snowflakiness in their constant vigilance for opportunities to trigger themselves into finger wagging and anger; they all sponge within the modern virtual manors of the internet. I have, of course, like Huxley, Waugh, etc., used strychnine as ink to write this paragraph .

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Old 02-12-2020, 09:28 AM   #19
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Also, if the book had maybe lost some of its bite as its allusions to real persons in the contemporary world would have been more obvious to contemporary readers; whereas, as best I remember, Waugh's novels, for example, did not have such allusions to real contemporaries so does not age so much in that respect.
I agree with the Waugh comparison. I think that is why Waugh’s books have lasted as modern classics more so than this one.

I wonder what the significance of the title is. The best that I can come up with is that maybe yellow signifies hope for a brighter future and an entrance into the modern world after the darkness of the World War. Another idea is that maybe it represents the sunlit, leisurely days of summer at the estate.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:29 PM   #20
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Also, if the book had maybe lost some of its bite as its allusions to real persons in the contemporary world would have been more obvious to contemporary readers; whereas, as best I remember, Waugh's novels, for example, did not have such allusions to real contemporaries so does not age so much in that respect.
Definitely agree here. I certainly felt that the satire would've been far more biting and the novel in general more interesting had it been read by somebody living more directly around the personalities represented by the characters. I did generally appreciate the read though, notably thanks to Huxley's wit, but also due to the fact that I have examples of roughly those sorts of relentless intellectualism around me and so I'm able to identify the satire to certain people (although we're not as snobbish as the English, there is A LOT of thinking and intelligence purely for its own sake here in France); that being said I have a hard time seeing how the novel could be of much interest to people for whom the discussion is less relevant, apart from being a droll time capsule.

Since for me satire is strongly rooted in being a sort of cathartic experience that lures you into a reflection on the good and the bad in the way things are, what'll define an excellent piece of satire is that it deals with timeless, innately human issues, allowing that experience to happen no matter who you are or when you live. And although Crome Yellow comes close, I feel like it's a little bit too relative to the era to fit into that category.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:45 PM   #21
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I wonder what the significance of the title is. The best that I can come up with is that maybe yellow signifies hope for a brighter future and an entrance into the modern world after the darkness of the World War. Another idea is that maybe it represents the sunlit, leisurely days of summer at the estate.
One of the first things I got from it was the idea of "Crome, the yellowing house", like Huxley was giving us a glimpse into the aging and obsolete world of the English elite, where people get to live their lives without the worries of work and responsibility and can release their entire selves to their passions, whether amorous, artistic or intellectual, and the lurking spirit of capitalism was ready to chomp down on the countryside, as represented by the main character (whose name I have already forgotten despite finishing the novel two weeks ago) abandoning his boyish passions in order to return to city life, disguising this defeat as responsibility.

It reminded me quite a bit of Wuthering heights, oddly enough, where it seems that nothing in the world exists but raw, unbridled passion, which is, even more oddly, quite beautiful in my opinion.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:02 PM   #22
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Interesting interpretation. I like it! I was thinking yellow for a brighter future, and your interpretation contrasts it with yellow for an aging past. I suppose yellow could also be the color of the estate buildings. I don't recall if the family history talks about the stones the estate was built from.

Out of curiosity, I did a google image search on book covers to see how publishers were marketing people's first impressions. There's quite a large variety. Some feature the estate, some feature the people enjoying life at the estate, and some feature both the estate and the people. It seems to be a balanced mix. Which people are featured is interesting: some are couples, some are an individual woman, some are an individual man and some are the ensemble. I was surprised to see one cover that featured the painter only.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:13 PM   #23
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One of the first things I got from it was the idea of "Crome, the yellowing house", like Huxley was giving us a glimpse into the aging and obsolete world of the English elite, where people get to live their lives without the worries of work and responsibility and can release their entire selves to their passions, whether amorous, artistic or intellectual, and the lurking spirit of capitalism was ready to chomp down on the countryside, as represented by the main character (whose name I have already forgotten despite finishing the novel two weeks ago) abandoning his boyish passions in order to return to city life, disguising this defeat as responsibility.
Your statement about Dennis's return to city life inspired me to re-read the ending. The book goes full circle with the entrance and exit of Dennis. In the beginning he arrives expectant and you get focused attention on his arrival on the bicycle.

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Once at the top of the long hill which led up from Camlet station, he felt his spirits mounting. The world, he found, was good. The far-away blue hills, the harvests whitening on the slopes of the ridge along which his road led him, the treeless sky-lines that changed as he moved–yes, they were all good. He was overcome by the beauty of those deeply embayed combes, scooped in the flanks of the ridge beneath him.
His exit is pathetic. I had forgotten about the barometer needle shifting to the left indicating a change in weather and the reference to the car taking him back to the train station being his coffin/hearse. He is defeated/deflated throughout his stay. His love interest thinks he's a child; Mr Scogan continuously insults him about his ignorance and makes fun of his writing attempts. He discovers what Jenny wrote about him in her red journal.

His final line is a quote by the poet Landor. Both in his entrance and his exit, he expresses himself using quotes from his schooling rather than his own unique words.
Quote:
Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher (also titled in places as On His Seventy-fifth Birthday)
BY WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warm’d both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks; and I am ready to depart.

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Old 02-15-2020, 03:55 PM   #24
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I also wondered about any meaning behind the title but I didn't come across anything that set out any comment on that made by Huxley.

Maybe Chrome Yellow just looked and sounded like an interesting title and leaving the "h" out made even more interesting, or Huxley used it for his own amusement to get readers into performing mental gymnastics trying find out any hidden meaning. As one can see, I had an English teacher who pushed that we shouldn't over-analyse what author's write as to meaning behind their prose.

But putting that aside, if there was some meaning he had in mind I felt that that it may have been one imparting deterioration and regression because the pigment chrome yellow tends to darken with age and so loses its bright characteristic (I think this was well known in Huxley's time due to aging of the paintings of the Impressionists who used chrome yellow pigment as a bright primary - a strong example being van Gogh's sunflowers) and his mangling the pigment's name by leaving out the "h" added to that sense. But that is all just unleashed imagination on my part :-).

However, there are trains of deterioration and regression of characters, experiences and things lying within the story, including Denis's experience along the lines clearly described by Bookworm_Girl.

I am thinking that this may be worth a reread sometime; I had a quick go with an audiobook extract and felt that it might fit that medium well, just as a change of attack?

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