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Angel (1957)

av Elizabeth Taylor

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
7532822,667 (3.97)1 / 162
Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . . After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book: 'Some old lady, romanticising behind lace-curtains' . . . 'Angelica Deverell is too good a name to be true . . . she might be an old man. It would be an amusing variation. You are expecting to meet Mary Anne Evans and in Walks George Eliot twirling his moustache.' So nothing can prepare them for the pale young woman who sits before them, with not a seed of irony or a grain of humour in her soul.… (mer)
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engelska (25)  spanska (2)  franska (1)  Alla språk (28)
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Elisabeth Taylor dresse le portrait d'Angel, un personnage qui dédie sa vie entière à l'écriture, de l'adolescence jusqu'à sa mort.
Difficile de porter plus mal son nom : Angel est une héroïne froide, mégalomane et entièrement absorbée par elle-même, même si elle jette un jour son dévolu sur un beau jeune homme, peintre raté et fantasque, incapable de s'attacher à qui que ce soit. Celle qui lui sera dévouée jusqu'à la mort, c'est la soeur de ce jeune homme, qui décide de devenir sa dame de compagnie, sa servante, sa comptable et son souffre-douleur.
Très jeune, Angel trouve le succès en écrivant des livres baroques, anachroniques, peuplés de têtes couronnées et d'aventures improbables. Avant de tomber peu à peu dans la pauvreté (ses fariboles trouvant de moins en moins leur public), elle devient très riche, ce qui l'aide à épouser l'homme qu'elle convoite.
L'écriture du roman est à l'image de son personnage : froide et acérée. Elisabeth Taylor trempe sa plume dans une encre ironique. So british...
Heureusement, elle écrit bien car elle a créé dans ce roman un personnage tellement insupportable qu'il est difficile d'y habiter. Le pauvre lecteur finit assez rapidement par suffoquer et souhaiter trouver meilleure compagnie ailleurs.
Une curiosité.

Extraits :
"Until now she had thought of love with bleak distaste. She wanted to dominate the world, not one person".
(A propos de Lord Norley) : "He was always kind to human beings, in the manner of a man who does not like dogs but would not countenance any cruelty to one. He gave them his time and some of his attention. Restless shadows, they moved before him. He handed them prizes, counted their votes, raised his hat to them in the street, dined with them, attended their funerals".
(A propos du jeune peintre raté) : "His life had been hindered by his beauty and the adventures it had permitted him. THe adventures had all been expensive of money and of fortitude, and were beginning to be expensive of the beauty itself". ( )
  biche1968 | Feb 24, 2021 |
This book, about a writer’s life from around 1900 through the 1960s, started off as great fun and grew more serious as it went on. But all of it was good. As an introduction to Elizabeth Taylor it’s certainly made me want to read more by her.

The best comparison I can make is that Angel starts like a female, teenage version of Hadrian the Seventh, that wonderfully self-indulgent catholic fan-fic written by Frederick Rolfe: that one, too, deals with an impossibly smug writer convinced of their natural superiority and utterly unwilling to compromise. Angellica Deverell (to give Angel her full name) is a confident teenager who is bored with her and her timid mother’s bland life above a shop they keep for someone else, and decides randomly to start writing a novel. The end product reflects Angel’s values: great flights of fancy, purple prose and a firm conviction that her imagination is a superior substitute to real life -- in short: over-wrought romance among the upper classes. Her manuscript sees print on a lark, by a publisher who laughed themselves silly at Angel’s so-bad-it’s-hilarious efforts. In later sections of the book Angel will become a wealthy, highly successful author whose career and emotional life will see the impact of the events of the 20th century.

I have a penchant for books about what I call magnificent megalomaniacs, larger than life characters who take their obsessions so seriously they become absurd. And that is definitely what Angellica Deverell is: she goes all the way and pursues her (petty and ridiculous) goals with a seriousness that commands respect. And in many ways, that is how this book feels on a meta level, too: Elizabeth Taylor definitely sees the funny side of Angel, tongue firmly in cheek, and she makes sure that at least a few of the other characters are prone to snarkiness and eager to egg things on just to see how far they will go. But Taylor herself does not relent in supporting Angel all the way: any meanness in the humour is entirely the characters’. Like any good parent, Taylor stands by her creation and insists on seeing them develop on their own terms, socially awkward though they may be. That is the space in which this novel develops, and Taylor did a masterful job of being fair to all sides.

In all, I think this was a lovely character study of a slightly absurd, magnificently megalomaniacal writer. A very charming surprise, but a book I loved and one which I recommend warmly! ( )
2 rösta Petroglyph | Apr 21, 2019 |
Utterly entertaining novel, the account of the increasingly eccentric, self obsessed and anti-social Angelica Deverill. Daughter of a lowly widowed shopkeeer, Angel has great plans for her literary career, producing inadvertently hilarious novels set in grand stately homes (put me in mind of Daisy Ashford's 'Young Visiters' )(sic), the whole a product of imagination and stories heard from her aunt - a lady's maid. Because unlike other young literary wannabes, Angel doesn't read...she is only interested in her own creations.
Angel is a wonderful creation; Taylor's powerful characterization never falters, we believe in her impossible nature totally.On being told by someone "I read one of your books", "she blinked, jolted by what he had said. She always supposed that everyone had read all of her books and had them nearly by heart, that they thought about them endlessly and waited impatiently for the next one to appear."
And as old age sets in, Angel (complete with peacocks, umpteen cats, a mouldering stately home and an outlandish wardrobe) becomes increasingly alienated from normal folk.
Laugh out loud funny in numerous places (especially the bits about cats). For all her unutterable awfulness, I rather liked Angelica. At times she almost felt like a soul -mate! ( )
2 rösta starbox | Dec 18, 2018 |
Might serve as a cautionary tale for female writers with cats. Predictable in all the right ways. ( )
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |
This book was, in a roundabout fashion, my introduction to the fiction of Elizabeth Taylor – or rather, I learnt of her writing thanks to this book. Well, thanks to François Ozon’s adaptation of it, starring Romola Garai, which I reviewed many years ago for videovista.net. I liked the film so much, I kept an eye open in charity shops for books by Taylor… and it’s taken till now before I finally stumbled across a copy of Angel (after first finding and reading Blaming and A Wreath of Roses). And the first thing I noted about Angel the novel was its differences to the film adaptation. The plots are pretty much identical – opening in the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign, working-class teeenager Angelica Devereux, Angel, writes a florid romance novel, publisher takes a chance on it, book is a success, Angel goes onto become a successful – if critically mocked – writer, falls in love with Esmé, an impoverished upper-class painter, who marries her for her money but cheats on her, he is wounded in WWI and dies in an accident soon after, her books are by then no longer popular, and she lingers on in poverty… The film has Esmé’s work re-evaluated after his death, so he becomes critically lauded, while Angel’s books continue to be seen as trashy potboilers. The film also makes Angel more of a figure of fun, and so more sympathetic, than the novel, although they make use of the same events. In that respect, in that Angel is an unsympathetic character, and not played for light laughs, the book is a tougher read than the film is a viewing. But Taylor’s prose is so very good, reading it is never a hardship (which is not say Ozon’s direction is bad, although he does film it in a very artificial, almost pantomime, style, which suits his treatment of the material). I’ve now read Angel, but I’ll continue to keep an eye open for Taylor’s novels – and I have her Complete Short Stories on the TBR… ( )
1 rösta iansales | Sep 17, 2017 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (7 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Taylor, Elizabethprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Bailey, PaulInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Boldini, GiovanniOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Mantel, HilaryInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Angel ( [2007]IMDb)
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"'into the vast vacuity of the empyrean,'" Miss Dawson read.
"You ought to get married, Miss Sylvia," said old Jeffcott, the head gardener, with a wag of his hoary beard. (Introduction)
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Gilbright and Brace had been divided, as their readers' reports had been. Willie Brace had worn his guts thin with laughing, he said. The Lady Irania was his favourite party-piece and he mocked at his partner's defence of it in his own version of Angel's language.

"Kindly raise your coruscating beard from those iridescent pages of shimmering tosh and permit your mordant thoughts to dwell for one mordant moment on us perishing in the coruscating workhouse, which is where we shall without a doubt find ourselves, among the so-called denizens of deep-fraught penury. Ask yourself - nay, go so far as to enquire of yourself - how do we stand by such brilliant balderdash and live, nay, not only live, but exist too..."

"You overdo those 'nays'," said Theo Gilbright. "She does not."

"There's a 'nay' on every page. M'wife counted them."
Even if she had felt a need to renew contact with life, a funeral was a strange way of doing so: and she felt no such need: at sixteen, experience was an unnecessary and usually baffling obstacle to her imagination.
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Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . . After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book: 'Some old lady, romanticising behind lace-curtains' . . . 'Angelica Deverell is too good a name to be true . . . she might be an old man. It would be an amusing variation. You are expecting to meet Mary Anne Evans and in Walks George Eliot twirling his moustache.' So nothing can prepare them for the pale young woman who sits before them, with not a seed of irony or a grain of humour in her soul.

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