starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
source: A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery (1987)
audio: Scala & Kolacny Brothers, "Heroes"
length: 3:20
stream: on Vimeo
download: 27MB on Dropbox
summary: We can be us, just for one day

A Festivids 2016 treat for josette-arnauld.

Original Festivids post


password: heroes

I devoured Dorothy L. Sayers' Peter Wimsey novels last year and was blabbering about them to my roommate (who had only read the Vane novels); I convinced her to read the rest of the books and she showed me the Petherbridge/Walters miniseries. The casting is divine, but the adaptations start out good with Strong Poison and go downhill from there. This is my love letter to Harriet and Peter, though it's not the vid I initially envisioned because the footage just doesn't exist, from a combination of the exigencies of BBC budgets (minimal) and the bad choices made in the adaptation of Gaudy Night, which rob the story of a lot of its political heft. Peter and Harriet, of course, rise above such issues, mostly because Petherbridge and Walters rewrote their scenes wholesale on set. Their relationship--the fact that they find each other, and are able to become the versions of themselves who are able to hold onto each other through each other's influence--is an achievement, and it would be so even in this day and age, even more so in the 1930s.

Technically, vidding with footage this old was…interesting. I thought about trying to correct it, but the light levels are mostly tolerable (I did alter the light levels in the courtroom scenes for visibility) and in the end I lost my vidding energy for all of November, which obviated that possibility. (Fun fact: I finished the first draft of this vid on a plane on Halloween.)
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
First things first: Happy Halloween.

What got me fired up to write about Gaudy Night was, ironically, the fact that the BBC adaptation of it is rather crap. It's a crying shame, because the cast is stellar, but the ways in which the adaptation not only cuts out significant chunks of the book but also misses the point of large parts of it is equally parts irritating and telling.

Still preoccupied with 1935 )
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
I said when I started reading the Wimsey books that I was reading them explicitly by way of an obituary for the United Kingdom, for whatever it will be post Brexit is not what it was before, which admittedly has probably put a different spin on these books than many people bring to them, but which for me highlights the fact that Sayers is, by the era of MMA and T9T, cropping the action of the books very carefully, in a way that can't help but draw attention to what's going on outside the frame. I imagine her readers didn't need to be reminded, and frankly as a historian and a person with a heart and a brain in 2016 I don't need a reminder either. But by T9T, even for a book that is isolated and insular, things far outside England are shown to be on everyone's minds: Mussolini and the Showa Emperor are name-checked explicitly, and the much-maligned League of Nations is the subject of a running joke between Wimsey and the nameless sluice-gate keeper.

No more water, but fire next time )
starlady: (bibliophile)
So here's the other semi-secret reason that I wanted to finally read Sayers: Garth Nix has talked about having read her books, and now that I have finished The Nine Tailors, I am quite confident in saying that there is quite a bit of Sayers influence lurking in the Old Kingdom novels, which I love forever. Thematic spoilers )
Speaking of Lirael, I also think that there's something of Shrewsbury in the Clayr and their Glacier. Like Shrewsbury, the Clayr's Glacier is an all-female society, and it displays the same instinctive solidarity for which Peter commends the Shrewsbury dons and which thwarts the poltergeist who wishes them ill. Like Harriet, Lirael spends a good chunk of time longing for that community, but unlike Harriet, she also suffers a good deal because of its solidarity, which she is on the outside of through no fault of her own. And like Harriet, Lirael does flourish on the outside of that community eventually (and in a romantic relationship between equals).
starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
As previously stated, I love Sarah Monette's posts on the Wimsey books—they're what got me to read these novels—but occasionally as a historian I have to shake my head in despair over English majors, and Murder Must Advertise is one of those times. Monette is very right to point out the elements of class conflict as symbolized by the lethal iron staircase and the ambiguous anarchy of the company cricket match, but there's a whole other level on which this novel is working: namely, a critique of capitalism.

Capitalism and the tarot )

And I haven't even gotten to the cricket match yet. It is, in other words, an entirely brilliant and deceptively straightforward book.
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
I am continuing to blaze through the Wimsey books. I'm just into the beginning of Have His Carcase now and adoring every second of it, but what's really interesting to me is how neatly the series divides at the halfway point.

Where my Wimsey takes me )
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
Alas, I never did read these books as a child; I imprinted on the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels that Sayers is so devotedly skewering and paying homage to in the first two books. But in times of despair I find myself drawn to murder mysteries, which offer such a reassuring fantasy of justice being done, as well as to other depressing fare. At the rate things are going I'll have finished Jo Walton's Spare Change trilogy before the equinox.

I've been reading Sarah Monette's DLS posts, and they're wonderful even a dozen years on; I would buy a book of Monette's criticism so hard. Unnatural Death and the existence of God )

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starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
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