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Old 01-02-2019, 09:10 PM   #106
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[...]
How dismissive of their efforts can Marguerite be? Why is she belittling them at the exact moment she's realizing her husband is the dashing hero?
Given how often this sentiment is repeated (as you already noted, Orczy did like to make sure the reader didn't miss such things ), it is obviously intentional that we should understand that the League are not doing it to be heroic. In more modern times we have heroes striding forward into their heroic endeavour like that scene from "The Right Stuff", but I believe the style of that period (and going back quite a way) was that it was better form (more English, perhaps?) for them to be doing it for sport.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:16 PM   #107
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Given how often this sentiment is repeated (as you already noted, Orczy did like to make sure the reader didn't miss such things ), it is obviously intentional that we should understand that the League are not doing it to be heroic. In more modern times we have heroes striding forward into their heroic endeavour like that scene from "The Right Stuff", but I believe the style of that period (and going back quite a way) was that it was better form (more English, perhaps?) for them to be doing it for sport.
That was my take on it too. To me, it seemed clear that Orczy herself revered that "for sport" mentality. Heroism per se seems to have been a bit too vulgar for her, in the sense of being too plebeian. Those of the right sort do the right thing for fun, it seems. Which is part of why I think the book was an apt selection - we read it not out of noble motives, but just for fun.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:36 PM   #108
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I agree with this, but for me there's something else, too. With a great book, I think it exists on its own. I don't care about how it's been influenced by the author's life or how it's a representation of its times; it has its own self-contained world. I'm not saying those things might not come up, for fun and insight, but they don't matter.

With a flawed book, though, those factors become interesting and possibly even compelling to me. It's impossible for me now not to see The Scarlet Pimpernel and other books of its stripe as representative of a reactionary impulse in the zeitgeist. The age of the common man was dawning, and the Orczy element was resisting with all its worth. Save the nobility at all cost, pay lip service to its centuries of cruelty to the oppressed, patronize the working class. (Sally's "little mind.") So Orczy drew on her own experience as having fled a peasant uprising and cast her mind back to the start of it all, the French revolution. One wonders, as you implied above, just what would have got the aristocrats' attention short of the Terror? France did keep returning to the kingdom/empire mode for the best part of the next century; that tendency was hard to root out for good.
How well you put that, issybird. One needn't accept the morality of whaling to savour Moby Dick.

I enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel the first time I read it, without really thinking about its messages. This time around, I was much more aware of the ideological overtones of the novel, but I still enjoyed it as an adventure novel, even knowing the plot, which says something about Orczy's skills as a writer. Deciphering the author's views gave it an extra level of interest, and helped to explain so many of the odd phrases and portrayals in the novel
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:40 AM   #109
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One constant in this genre is the incredible good luck of the hero as good always triumphs.
Indeed. The roller coaster metaphor seems apt. At some level the adrenaline is false; you're not really scared. Similarly, you're along for the ride in a book like this and it's more fun not to overthink it, even though you know it will all work out.

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The other thing I enjoyed about the story is the overall tone in which it was written, including some wry humour and irony I seldom encounter in more modern works.
I agree with this. Perhaps it's because you have to buy into the notions of derring-do and nobility of character as well as rank for it to work?

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I HATED the blatant, horrible anti-Semitism in the scenes with the "Jew"; I knew right away who it really was, because there was simply no other reason for that character to be there. So I also hated the clunkiness of those scenes.
I thought Orczy saved this by her comment about Percy's sadness and explicit evocation of anti-Semitism. Lacking that, it would have been extremely unfortunate, but as it was, it seemed reasonably accurate.

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In fact, Marguerite's courage was the truest of all, because she was afraid but she went anyway. In the end, she didn't actually achieve anything of course (perhaps because of the changed ending of the play?) but it was very brave of her to go.
I'm not entirely sure of this. Percy met Sir Andrew in Calais before encountering Chauvelin, so perhaps the forewarning helped save the situation? He might not have made his arrangements with Reuben which allowed him to approach the hut without interference, and in the company of the soldiers who were looking for him. There's no question Marguerite got him in the soup, but perhaps she was instrumental in getting him out at that.

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Given how often this sentiment is repeated (as you already noted, Orczy did like to make sure the reader didn't miss such things ), it is obviously intentional that we should understand that the League are not doing it to be heroic. In more modern times we have heroes striding forward into their heroic endeavour like that scene from "The Right Stuff", but I believe the style of that period (and going back quite a way) was that it was better form (more English, perhaps?) for them to be doing it for sport.
I don't think there's a question that at least for the more thoughtful members of the League, compassion was a motivating factor, with sport as an acceptable gloss. Lord Antony seems a rather dim bulb, but Sir Andrew seems more to be more conscious.

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Which is part of why I think the book was an apt selection - we read it not out of noble motives, but just for fun.
I do like the meta take on it.

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Deciphering the author's views gave it an extra level of interest, and helped to explain so many of the odd phrases and portrayals in the novel
It's one reason why I find revisiting childhood favorites interesting. There's the fun of seeing why it worked then but there's also the added interest of discerning what also was going on, especially in terms of social commentary. I approach them with a dual mindset - and it's why Scarlet Pimpernel will always be a loved book for me.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:29 PM   #110
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Given how often this sentiment is repeated (as you already noted, Orczy did like to make sure the reader didn't miss such things ), it is obviously intentional that we should understand that the League are not doing it to be heroic. In more modern times we have heroes striding forward into their heroic endeavour like that scene from "The Right Stuff", but I believe the style of that period (and going back quite a way) was that it was better form (more English, perhaps?) for them to be doing it for sport.
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That was my take on it too. To me, it seemed clear that Orczy herself revered that "for sport" mentality. Heroism per se seems to have been a bit too vulgar for her, in the sense of being too plebeian. Those of the right sort do the right thing for fun, it seems. Which is part of why I think the book was an apt selection - we read it not out of noble motives, but just for fun.
I guess it must have been my haphazard reading and lack of focus, but the bit I quoted from Marguerite was the only such instance I noticed; I noticed it because it seemed contrary to the essence of the Scarlet Pimpernel as a dashing, heroic figure, revered by all. My take was that Marguerite was downgrading her view of SP to fit with her foppish husband. It was as if she still thought him a fool, just a different sort of fool.

Even if I missed other such instances, I still don't like Marguerite's opinion here.

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I thought Orczy saved this by her comment about Percy's sadness and explicit evocation of anti-Semitism. Lacking that, it would have been extremely unfortunate, but as it was, it seemed reasonably accurate.
It may have been accurate, but the way it was written was extremely distasteful. As I said, I was absolutely sure that Percy was playacting, but his performance was still cringe-worthy and unacceptable.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:30 AM   #111
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The following link showed up in my newsfeed this morning and I thought it might be of interest to some here as an adjunct to The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Poulenc: Dialogues of the Carmelites

The opera tells the story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, Carmelite nuns who refused to renounce their vocations as mandated by the anti-clerical revolutionary government and were guillotined (toward the end of the Terror, an error in the link blurb).
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:33 PM   #112
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It’s a great work by one of my favourite composers. Interesting painting too.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:53 PM   #113
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Boy I was wrong. I always thought the title was The Scarlet Pumpernickel not Pimpernel
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:58 PM   #114
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Boy I was wrong. I always thought the title was The Scarlet Pumpernickel not Pimpernel
Right title, wrong discussion.

You're thinking of the famous Michael Maltese work: The Scarlet Pumpernickel
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:18 PM   #115
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How have I managed all this time without having seen this masterpiece?
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:37 PM   #116
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I’ve already started February’s book, A Delicate Truth. We were destined to read it! There are multiple Pimpernel references which I would not have understood previously.
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Old 01-19-2019, 12:41 AM   #117
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Golly, I didn't know that! I nominated it because it seemed to fit the theme very well indeed, and I had picked it up recently from Kobo. I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:11 PM   #118
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Right title, wrong discussion.

You're thinking of the famous Michael Maltese work: The Scarlet Pumpernickel
So I guess I am not really wrong LOL Ond of course its a Daffy Duck Cartoon
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:42 AM   #119
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Commenting here because it seems related to the portrayal of the "Jew" in SP. I've just started Whose Body?, the first Peter Wimsey story and Lord" is it OBSESSED the fact the missing man is "A Jew" "A Hebrew", "Jewish" "a Semite" etc, etc. The overwhelming frequency of comments like "I’m sure some Jews are very good people" (Dowager) "A good Jew can be a good man" (Bunter) is distracting and annoying. If Orczy cops flak for being anti-Semitic, then Sayers DEFINITELY should too in that horridly patronising condescending sort of way that pretends it's not racist.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:03 AM   #120
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Commenting here because it seems related to the portrayal of the "Jew" in SP. I've just started Whose Body?, the first Peter Wimsey story and Lord" is it OBSESSED the fact the missing man is "A Jew" "A Hebrew", "Jewish" "a Semite" etc, etc. The overwhelming frequency of comments like "I’m sure some Jews are very good people" (Dowager) "A good Jew can be a good man" (Bunter) is distracting and annoying. If Orczy cops flak for being anti-Semitic, then Sayers DEFINITELY should too in that horridly patronising condescending sort of way that pretends it's not racist.
You might be interested in the discussion of Whose Body? which was the last selection of the old Mobile Read Book Club, exactly a year ago in January 2018. We discussed antisemitism at length.
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