ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (widget)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
Temporarily at least, the ODNB life of Martin Cyril D'Arcy is available free on the OUP website. He was the Jesuit at Farm Street who instructed Evelyn Waugh, among many others.

A couple of extracts:

Complementary with this ideal of a Jesuit contribution to English Christian humanism was an attachment to an English Catholic past, hazily and romantically conceived, and an addiction to the English Catholic gentry. He took innocent pleasure in an 11 foot long genealogical table, written in 1617 and illuminated with numerous coats of arms and two coronets, which allegedly traced his family back to the Norman conquest.
In 1945 D'Arcy left Oxford to become provincial of the English Jesuit province. He formed imaginative plans for influencing the life of a country newly restored to peace, though his term of office is sometimes best remembered for his proclivity towards purchasing old houses with Catholic associations. Unfortunately he neglected the routine paperwork of administration, preferring to achieve results by personal contact...

The last twenty-six years of D'Arcy's life were something of a protracted dark night. He was out of sympathy with post-war Oxford and England. He saw no merit in the type of analytical philosophy then in the ascendant; the changes in the liturgy and theology of his church left him with a sense of betrayal.

I am sure that Anthony Merrick must have known him.
[identity profile] rekraft.livejournal.com
... of the Mass in which the Pope beatified John Henry Newman?

Or, for that matter, what would Nicola - or Patrick, or any of the others - have thought?

I should add that I'm asking this as an interested outsider who watched most of it and is eagerly awaiting discussion, but probably doesn't know enough to be able to actually contribute much.
[identity profile] charverz.livejournal.com
I have been speculating.  What would be the results of Edwin finding a Marlow who died for the Protestant faith?  I suspect it would be under Queen Mary, but that would mean that there must have been a farm journal filed out of order, as I believe that in RAH Nick says that he's up to the 1670s.

Of course Nicola wants to know that her Protestant ancestors were sincere in their belief, if only to match Patrick's.  This would be the proof she needs.  But I don't see it affecting her interest in Catholicism.

The other person I can see it affecting is Ann, but I'm not sure in what way.  Perhaps a quiet pride, although deploring the bloodiness of the times?

(I'm off for France on a Battlefields Tour with my son's school for the next 10 days)


Feb. 17th, 2010 12:29 pm
[identity profile] charverz.livejournal.com

Patrick's romantic life provides a lot of scope for speculation.  The canon only provides Ginty, Claudie, and Nicola.  I'll state up front that, of the three, Nicola is obviously the best match, in my opinion.  Claudie is a non-starter, and unless Ginty gets a massive dose of maturity or Patrick goes off the deep end, we can rule Ginty out.

On the other hand, I see other possibilities.  First Rowan, for all that there's an age difference.  They certainly interact well together at the Nativity play in End of Term.  And I can see each providing the other with something each lacks - a romanticism that would be a nice break from Rowan's constant level-headedness, and a practicality that might help Patrick go somewhere in life.

The other, surprisingly enough, is Ann.  She is the only religious Marlow, and surely between low church Anglican and conservative Roman Catholic they could find some common ground. With the Anglican communion having its own turmoil, Ann might decide she doesn't want a woman vicar or blessings of same-sex unions.  One suspects that Antonia Forest would have found today's religious landscape very interesting (and would have been very happy with the new Pope).

Attic term

Aug. 25th, 2009 06:06 pm
[identity profile] res23.livejournal.com
1. Nick and Lawrie are still on the Junior netball team, even though so much of the switch in EofT was because Nick would never again have the chance to do this because they'd be too old?

2. There seem to be so many more rules than ever before at school.  I guess there must have been before, but somehow they just seem more prominent now.  Nick and Miranda shopping for the play in End of Term didn't seem to involve nearly so much fuss as these shopping saturdays do - I know they were sent by a staff, but they seemed to be a lot more trusted then than later on.

3.  What, exactly, were the millions of shopping party rules that they broke?  OK, not telling Gina exactly where they were going - but surely girls didn't always know what shops they'd be in or what they'd be buying, specially as they were looking for things like birthday gifts, where they were undecided already about what to buy.  Buying clothes?  Did they know that was such an offence?  they don't seem to have been aware at the time that they were breaking so many rules.  Buying things for others?  Well they were gifts, so was that really a problem?  I know that it led to others finding Changegear, and doing illegal things like swapping clothes or getting Day Girls to provide things to swap.  But what was so wrong about what Nick and Miranda did that day?

4.  And why the sudden emphasis on Day Girls?  Just a plot device?  Or were they there all along and just not mentioned as much.  Or perhaps schools by the time Attic Term was written did have a lot more day girls. (and a lot more rules!).

5. Miranda's Jewishness being such a problem at school Xmas events.  (not just Attic term, but also End of Term).  Why do they all care so much?  I know that sometimes Jewish girls objected to being made to participate in Christian events, and fair enough, but she seems to want to do it, and is never allowed - not because her family would object, but because other people would, a feeling that it's somehow not proper/respectful etc of her to being doing it.   That way around is something that seems less common, with everyone somehow worrying that someone else woudl object, but we never actually see anyone who finds it a problem.  Is anyone really offended?  Maybe people like Ann?

6. Patrick really does seem to be in love in Ginty at times.  I tend to think of him as mostly just fancying her because she's there and she is so obviously keen on him - but that's probably because I know how it ends up.  At the time, he seems quite keen on her, too, wishing she'd phone, wishing he could magic her there to be with him, etc.   When he and Claudie are discussing sex, and he says he is innocent, and she gives him a long look - he then says 'no' - is she offering?  I tend to read it like she is, but then sometimes I think she is just somehow questioning the fact that he doesn't want it.  I don't really understand/like Patrick so much in this book.  The whole crying at classical music, and just lots of other interactions, don't seem realistic to me, somehow. 
[identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com


Has anybody noticed a curious thing about the books, that while the Marlows themselves are spectacularly fecund, just about every other major character - Patrick, Tim, Miranda, Esther….is an only child? 


I’ve been wondering for a bit if this is more than coincidence….it seems to me that AF (who is on record as saying she began the Marlow stories very much with publication in mind) made sure to choose both a genre (school story) and a type of family (large, naval, adventurous, anglican) that were both acceptable and recognisable in terms of current children’s fiction.  When Tim describes the various Marlow sisters at the start of AT, you can almost see how AF was thinking, setting them up: Kay scholarly, Rowan good at games, Ginty a bit wild but with good stuff in her etc etc…the “types” that inhabit so many school stories.  Giles and Commander Marlow, of course, are both fine, upstanding naval types, and Mrs Marlow is a typically clichéd docile mother (IMOshe gets more interesting/complex in subsequent books).


However, as we all know, AF’s books are NOT simply genre school stories, and it seems to me that one way she made them more complex was by introducing characters who in some manner diverge from the mainstream and so tend to present rather different perspectives/values.  So we have Patrick (Catholic) and Miranda (Jewish) and Esther (divorced parents) who all of them at various times present slightly unusual slants on accepted conventions/values, and certainly contrast strongly with the more conventional Marlows.  And then there is Tim (artistic father, well-travelled) who tends to subvert and undermine practically all established school girl story values.   If you try to imagine Autumn Term without Tim it is just about impossible – never mind the plot, but you would end up with a far more conventional piece of boarding school fiction.  (Whether, as reader, you actually like Tim is another matter entirely!)


These “onlys” all have something of the outsider about them, and so it is only fitting that they should be “only children” – used to standing alone.  Of course, they all have a foot in mainstream too: Miranda and Patrick’s families are rich, Esther’s dad is a barrister, Tim is the headmistress’s niece!  A bit like AF’s books themselves: on the one hand, genre stories about upperclass families, full of ponies, team games and squabbles in the guides…and yet as we all know there’s a whole lot more? Or (not for the first time )am I spinning a theory out of nowhere?


AF was also an only child, and I also can’t help wondering if any of them represent her or aspects of her charater.  (Based only on obits) the top candidate would seem to be Miranda (Londoner, Reform Jewish but with some interest – expressed in End of Term – for Christianity) but then Patrick shares AF’s real name and Catholic views.  And I believe both AF and Esther like gardening...
[identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com
So good to find this site, full of other people who share a passions for the Marlows    Fascinating that people have such very different responses. Never occurred to me that you could love the books but not Nicola, or that anyone actually liked Patrick Merrick….
So I’d like to ask opinions about something I find puzzling. All the obits/biogs say Antonia Forest was such a strong catholic, and yet why (to my mind) are her noncatholic/nonreligious characters so much more appealing? And her catholic characters so strongly unappealing. Mme Orly is a nightmare –fun to read about, but a nightmare – and then there’s Patrick… I suppose he is the major example. To me he always seems both arrogant and a prig, and his religious certainties always seemed a big part of this. He is just way too certain of himself and his beliefs.
Some examples: In conversation with Rowan, he states that of course he never has any difficulties at all in believing in God (End of Term). Nicola, following a conversation with him, reflects that she hopes her ancestors were genuine believers in Protestantism, as anything else would seem so inferior to the Merricks, with their acceptance of possible martyrdom. (interesting: she seems to detect in his religion a kind of dynastic superiority rather than a personal spirituality!) In the same conversation Patrick makes clear that he sees the whole of English history through a Catholic prism – completely writing off the Tudors and the Restoration, and stating that of course his family supported Charles not ‘Orrible Oliver during the Civil War. (And more fool them, as Oliver Cromwell’s regime was notable for its toleration towards Catholics – far more so than after the Restoration.) Patrick’s certainties (religious, social, intellectual) are not even much shaken up by his long talk with Jukie (Thuggery Affair) although he does at least find Jukie’s DIY theology baffling, rather than amusing (as we are told would usually be the case). Is such cast-iron certainty/superiority really an attractive feature in someone who is only fifteen/sixteen? Wouldn’t you want to shoot him for such smugness!
Most tellingly, I can’t think of any notable example of kindness or generosity by Patrick, religiously inspired or not. Quite the opposite, in the whole betrayal of Nicola for Ginty -which makes it all the more annoying she is just delighted to get him back!)   (Oops – I suppose Patrick’s willingness to help Jukie – at some personal risk – is an example here. However, Jukie dies and the incident seems to have no lasting effect upon Patrick at all.)
ALSO I can’t help noticing that AF herself chooses for her main characters people who are both open-minded and reflective and generally of no strong religious conviction at all. (Does this mean she likes them best?  Or she thinks they are more appealing to readers?  )In End of Term, Nicola is both thoughtful and intrigued by the different religious beliefs she encounters, almost sociologically observant, but very far from expressing any particular belief herself. This makes Nicola a lot more appealing in my eyes…she is also generally a kinder person than Patrick, and far more reflective about herself and her own behaviour. For that matter, Lawrie (who states that she thought Christianity was some sort of mythology, like the Olympians, and even tries to make bargains with God) is a lot more appealing than Ann (full of conventional religious piety).  
Then there’s Nicholas and Will (Player’s Boy/Rebels). AF’s Will is surely one of her most appealing characters: wise, ironic, shrewd, detached…and he has no interest in supporting the Old Religion. Furthermore, he believes Nicholas is right to betray the Essex plotters regardless of the fact that some of them are hoping to restore the Catholic faith. (He and Nicholas’s scruples and regrets about this are to do with personal loyalties/friendships, not religion.)
So what’s going on here? Am I misreading the books totally? So many things I like about AF’s writing – her subversiveness (especially in the school setting), her openness to paradox and alternative points of view, and her choice of open-minded, searching, pragmatic characters for her main narrative viewpoints – seem at odds with what I read on the AF web-sites – that AF was a strong catholic herself.   (And monarchist for that matter.) Of course, I have to say it is decades since I read Attic Term – would that make things clearer? Do I simply not understand what AF was trying to do? Comments please!

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[identity profile] geebengrrl.livejournal.com
Can you help?

1. In Peter's Room, Peter, Rowan and Karen are in the bathroom. Peter draws 'an X on the surface of the water in the basin to avert a quarrel'. What does this mean?

2. In Run Away Home, during all the hoo-ha about Nick borrowing Ann's bike to go to Mass at the Merrick's, Rowan says, "I ought to warn you that when old Ramsay [I assume this is their local vicar] does his duty by the A.S.B first Sunday of the month, our mama cuts Matins and goes to evensong instead." What's ASB, why is Ramsay involved avd why would that make Mrs Marlow change her church-going habits?

[identity profile] ex-ajhalluk585.livejournal.com
Cross posted from my own journal.

I wondered if any other AF fans had also encountered Jenny Overton? Also published by faber, her two "modern day" novels, Creed Country and The Nightwatch Winter (only the latter of the two do I own) has a tone remarkably similar to AF, particularly in relation to the Easter Play in Nightwatch Winter, which is not dissimilar to the play in End of Term (as it is used as a catalyst for action, as well as how it is described except that - more realistically, to my mind - the Overton play "wasn't a runaway success at all, just some good bits and some ordinary bits, and some dodgy bits in between". She's also like Forest, too, in the importance of religion in the lives of her characters without them ever being pi or preachy (quite remarkable, since one of them has a vocation as a nun).

I thought of it recently because I see Overton as a Christmas writer - the Easter play has the Seven Joys of Mary and the Cherry Tree Carol in it, quoted extensively - but also because she was the writer of The Thirteen Days of Christmas which is a very definitely non-AF charming fantasy set in a sort-of 17th century in which the rather staid and unimaginative Francis (who as the son of a prosperous merchant is a good catch but rather unromantic) is wooing the Mariannish Annaple, whose numerous younger siblings would be delighted if he carried her off and out of her scope for micro-managing their lives, so decide to help him with the romance side of the matter.

Anyway, are there other Overton fans out there? And did she write anything after Nightwatch Winter?
[identity profile] slemslempike.livejournal.com
Inquiring minds want to know. I was rereading Run Away Home, and I have a few religious-related questions. I'm an atheist, albeit with a vaguely Protestant background, and I don't understand some of the terms. Rowan says that when Ramsay does his duty by the ASB, Mrs Marlow goes to Evensong instead of Matins. So:

1) What's the ASB?
2) What's Evensong? Given the context, is it a Catholic service?
3) Why does Mrs Marlow cut Matins when it's the ASB?
4) Why does this upset Ann?
ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (Marlows)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
Sorry about the delay in writing this up, have only just had time to do it.

We gathered at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate on Saturday morning May 21st, and hung around in the churchyard until it was time for the Mass. I stuck my head around the kitchen door to offer help, but it was already full of eager hands chopping fruit and suchlike, so I stowed the Special Chocolate Cake and left. St Botolph's is a lovely church, though I can’t find a picture of the interior for you. Father Nicolas du Chaxel celebrated the Tridentine Mass, and the choir sang the Byrd Mass for Four Voices, his Ave verum and the chant beautifully. There was a slight shortage of Mass books so we had to share, though as often seems to be the case with missals/mass sheets it was pretty difficult to work out where we were in the service anyway and how many pages to skip for the next bit. First time I’d been to a Tridentine service since I was very young, but I can’t say it had the same effect on me as on Nicola, I don’t think I’d be hooked if I went again. Fr Nicolas preached a short sermon on the importance of artists and writers like Antonia Forest, and we finished up by singing The Lord’s My Shepherd. There was a collection at the end, half for the church and half for the RNLI.

Then it was time for people to register and have lunch; while queuing I chatted to [livejournal.com profile] liadnan and [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap, about among other things exactly what Antiochian Orthodoxy is, we having noticed that they have services at St Botolph’s. It turned out that one of the women ahead of us in the queue was Antiochian Orthodox, and she told us about their Patriarch in Damascus, Ignatius IV.

Eventually everyone got seated in the church hall; a woman sitting near me had brought along a letter she’d received from AF, though I can’t make any revelations because I didn’t get a chance to read it properly. Hope to see one of the people who did tonight, so may report further later. We discussed the future lives of Nicola and Patrick (‘My first crush! You can't slash him!’, explained someone), including whether Nicola might marry Robert Anquetil (edited to correct his name, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jediowl), and some of the ideas in the ODNB entry for Nicola that a few of us put together a while ago.

Another letter, and a photograph of AF as a girl, were prizes in the raffle; I won a British Library CD of Elizabethan music. Lunch was very good, and finished with a toast to AF’s memory. Sue Sims, AF’s literary executor, then talked about AF’s life, and the extent to which it’s reflected in the books. She also passed around a photo of AF’s father, Ernest Rubinstein (AF’s real name was Patricia Rubinstein), and AF at her bat mitzvah. Hilary Clare then discussed AF’s place in children’s literature of the period, quoting Victor Watson’s ‘Jane Austen has gone missing’. We all agreed her place is high, natch! [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap took notes and is going to report on this bit in more detail.

And then it was time to drag everyone out on the ‘Nicholas Marlow’s London’ walk; I had a group of about 12 people, including [livejournal.com profile] liadnan and [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap, who despite the rather mixed weather cheerfully (I think!) walked our route around the City, admiring the statues of beatified chartered accountants in Great Swan Alley, visiting the monument to Hemings and Condell in St Mary Aldermanbury, getting soaked as we stood at the site of Paul’s Cross in St Paul’s Churchyard, and remembering Nicholas seeing the preachers there, and meeting Humfrey, and trying to imagine the bookshops like the Phoenix Restored where Lloyd’s Bank now is. The rain eventually eased off and we walked along part of the Thames footpath, and saw the place where old London Bridge once was, with its entrance through St Magnus, where Nicolas rode into London with Robin Poley from Southwark under the gatehouse with the severed heads over it. Finally we walked up Gracechurch Street (the route that Burbage used to take the timber from the Theatre to the Globe), and went to look at Great St Helen’s, one of the few medieval buildings left, and where Shakespeare was a parishioner (and defaulting taxpayer). Crosby Place opens off the same street, where Richard of Gloucester lived, but the building is in Chelsea now. Possibly the most appreciated piece of information I was able to give during the walk was that Cloak Street is probably named after the sewer which once ran along it, (cloaca = sewer in Latin).

Back to St Botolph’s for tea, where the chocolate cakes and gingerbread were disappearing rapidly, in time for me to rush off to catch a train to Oxford and others to do a rather fiendish Forest quiz, as set by Hilary Clare. I have a copy at home, so may put the questions up here for people to try - though I don't have the official list of answers.


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