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The Edwardians (Virago Modern Classics) av…
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The Edwardians (Virago Modern Classics) (utgåvan 2003)

av Vita Sackville-West (Författare), Juliet Nicolson (Inledning)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6612326,780 (3.68)151
An instant bestseller when it was published in 1930, this glittering satire of Edwardian high society features a privileged brother and sister torn between tradition and a chance at an independent life. Sebastian is young, handsome, moody, and the heir to Chevron, a vast and opulent ducal estate. He feels a deep love for the countryside and for his patrimony, but he loathes the frivolous social world his mother and her shallow friends represent. At one of his mother's decadent house parties, Sebastian meets two people who shake his sense of self: Leonard Anquetil, a lowborn arctic explorer, who questions his mode of living; and Lady Roehampton, a married society beauty with a string of lovers, who breaks his heart. When Sebastian reaches the brink of despair, it is his self-possessed younger sister, Viola, who opens for them both a gateway to another world.… (mer)
Medlem:anmaau92
Titel:The Edwardians (Virago Modern Classics)
Författare:Vita Sackville-West (Författare)
Andra författare:Juliet Nicolson (Inledning)
Info:Virago UK (2003), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:English, fiction

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The Edwardians av Vita Sackville-West

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» Se även 151 omnämnanden

engelska (21)  portugisiska (1)  spanska (1)  Alla språk (23)
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Sebastian is the lord of Chevron, where falling into being a good lord of the manor comes easy to him, and he can do the young-man-about-the-town part too, although it doesn't really make him feel like himself. A guest at a weekend party invited by his mother, Leonard Anquetil, manages to shake his assumptions and make him think more about his life; Anquetil does the same for his sister Viola. Over the years, Sebastian has relationships with four women, but none of them quite make him feel fulfilled—if they fit into his imagined future, they bore him, others excite him for a time, but he cannot see them as his wife in his role as the lord of the manor. And all the while, Sebastian is all too aware the world outside is changing and lords of the manor are increasingly less important to in local people's lives and less likely to be seen as the only potential future employer in families working in the manor's sphere of influence for generations.

At the end, finding that Anquetil wants to marry his sister, he seems to finally want to break free and join on Anquetil's adventures. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Jun 27, 2021 |
Somewhere between ugh and yawn. I very much enjoyed her All Passion Spent, about an old woman abandoning the rules she'd always lived by to become her real self - this one is about a young man who allows various love affairs to bind him ever tighter into the rules and roles he was born into. I don't much like Sebastian; he feels like a spoiled teenager in the first scene (because he is) and he doesn't change much over the course of the book. The final scene is a twist - but by this time I don't believe it would help, and besides the book is over. We don't get to see what happens when (if) he finally breaks free. Didn't enjoy it, nor find anything valuable in it. I'm still willing to read another Sackville-West, but I'm no longer confident it will be good (I was quite sure I'd love all of hers after All Passion Spent). ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Mar 27, 2020 |
I abandoned this book 120 pages in a couple of weeks ago, but my abandonment was grating on me so I went back to pick up where I left off.

Second time around I was much more in the mood for it. Although not difficult prose to read, I found it needed a certain amount of concentration, and I think background distraction on my commute originally meant I was drifting in and out of the subject matter and not connecting with it enough. I'll stand by my original opinion of the first third of the book, in that it felt like Sackville-West had the characters lined up ready to throw them into the story one after the other, and didn't think too hard about good plot devices for introducing them.

Eventually, once she'd found a flimsy excuse for lining up all the characters in front of the reader, a story did at last begin to emerge. In all it was light-hearted, poking fun at the first world problems of the elite class in the early 20th century. It was particularly interesting to be reading this at a time when there's all the furore over Harry and Meghan; I couldn't help but draw parallels between the young duke Sebastian, who feels very sorry for himself in terms of the pressure to fall in line with expectations for his position, and our own young Duke of Sussex.

Sackville-West wasn't afraid to poke at the unwritten rules and hypocrisies that existed amongst her own class, so in this regard there was something very fresh in her approach. However, ultimately she was no Jane Austen in terms of prose.

3.5 stars - I'm glad I went back to finish it as I enjoyed it well enough, but I doubt I'll think about it for too long. ( )
  AlisonY | Jan 21, 2020 |
Sebastian y Viola, dos jóvenes hermanos que heredarán en un futuro no muy lejano la mansión de Chevron, con todas sus deslumbrantes pero envaradas costumbres, están a punto de dejar atrás la adolescencia y adentrarse en los entresijos de la alta sociedad inglesa bajo la atenta mirada de su aristocrática y severa madre, Lucy. Sin embargo, la irrupción de un impetuoso aventurero llamado Leonard Anquetil en una de las recepciones familiares trastocará irremediable y definitivamente sus vidas. El mundo que les espera promete amantes, exquisitas fiestas y entrañables tradiciones ligadas a la mansión rural y al servicio, pero también dobleces e hipocresías, reclusión y artificialidad.
Todavía están a tiempo de tomar las riendas de su existencia, les recuerda Anquetil, pero ¿sabrán elegir sabiamente su camino?
  bibliotecayamaguchi | Dec 20, 2018 |
History records that Vita Sackville-West wrote ‘The Edwardians’ on holiday, targeting popular success. Her book was a huge hit, it was adapted for the stage, it was translated into several languages, but neither its author or its publisher saw it as having any claim to literary greatness.

They were probably right, but it is a lovely entertainment that captures a particular time and a particular class wonderfully well.

The author wrote what she knew, and at the very beginning of the book she notes that:

“No character in this book is wholly fictitious.”

If you have knowledge of her and her circle you will appreciate that; and understand that she is looking back at the world that she grew up in, comparing it with the world that her mother knew and the very different world that her children knew; and knowing that, while she loved it dearly, it was fatally flawed.

But it doesn’t matter if you know nothing at all, because the book is such a lovely period piece.

The story opens in 1905, with Sebastian, the nineteen year-old Duke of Chevron ascending to the roof of his country home to escape the guests at his mother’s house party. She loves society, while Sebastian isn’t quite sure how he feels. He is drawn to the glamour of his mother’s social set, but he can’t help being aware of how shallow their lives and their values really are.

His estate, Chevron, is a working estate, and Sebastian loved everything he can see and hear from his high vantage point.

“The whole community of the great house was humming at its work. In the stables, men were grooming horses; in the ‘shops’, the carpenters plane sent the wood-chips flying, the diamond of the glazier hissed on the glass; in the forge, the hammer rang in the anvil, and the bellows windily sighed … Sebastian heard the music and saw the vision. It was a tapestry that he saw, and heard the strains of a wind orchestra.”

It had been that way for hundreds of years, with sons following their fathers into the shops to learn a trade, and with positions within the house filled by the daughters and nieces of those already employed; with staff claiming – and constrained by – their inheritance just as much as the family they served.

All of this is so vividly evoked, and the early chapters are rich with details of the life of the house, the party arrangements, the family, and a veritable army of servants.

One of the weekend visitors to Chevron, Leonard Antequil, didn’t belong to that world; but his adventurous life, including a winter spent alone in a snow hut in the Arctic Circle, and had brought him fame and made him a very desirable guest for the fashionable set.

It may not have occurred to the other guests that he was there as the result of his own of his efforts while they were there only by chance of birth or marriage. Or that he thought little of them.

One night Sebastian invited him up onto the roof, and he spoke to him openly and honestly, sensing his dissatisfaction and urging him to recognise the limitations of his lifestyle and to consider breaking with tradition.

“Very well, if you want the truth, here it is. The society you live in is composed of people who are both dissolute and prudent. They want to have their fun, and they want to keep their position. They glitter on the surface, but underneath the surface they are stupid – too stupid to recognise their own motives. They know only a limited number of things about themselves: that they need plenty of money, and that they must be seen in the right places, associated with the right people. In spite of their efforts to turn themselves into painted images, they remain human somewhere, and must indulge in love-affairs, which are sometimes artificial, and sometimes inconveniently real. Whatever happens the world must be served first.”

Sebastian is torn between his deep love of his home and his knowledge of the truth of Antequil’s words.

The arguments are beautifully expressed and perfectly balanced.

Sebastian regretfully declines Antequil’s invitation to accompany him on his next trip; but he never forgets their conversation.

He is seduced by an older woman, a society beauty of his mother’s generation; when their affair is ended by an ultimatum from her husband he drifts into a shallow life as a man about time; and then he draws a middle-class doctor’s wife into his life, and makes the mistake of inviting her to Chevron ….

“He had tried the most fashionable society, and he had tried the middle-class, and in both his plunging spirit had got stuck in the glue of convention and hypocrisy.”

All of this says much about Sebastian’s world; but it isn’t quite as engaging as those early chapters about life at the family estate.

Meanwhile, the world was changing.

Sebastian’s sister, Viola, knew that, and she was glad.

“For what have our mothers thought of us, all these years?” said Viola; “that we should make a good marriage, so that they might feel that they had done their duty by us, and were rid of their responsibility with an added pride. A successful daughter plus an eligible son-in-law. Any other possibility never entered their heads – that we might consult our own tastes for instance ….”

The author knew that.

The first defection at Chevron, when the head-carpenter’s son chooses a job in the new motor industry rather than follow his father into Chevron’s shops, illustrated that beautifully.

Sebastian was caught up with his own concerns, he was unhappy, but an encounter with Leonard Antequil on the day of the coronation of George V made him realise that he could change his life.

But would he?

I can’t say, and there are lots of details that I haven’t shared.

I loved this book: the prose, the conviction, the wealth of detail, the depiction of society.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. It’s a little uneven, the structure isn’t strong, and much of what it has to say feels familiar.

But it does so much so well, it has such authenticity, and it is a wonderfully readable period piece. ( )
2 rösta BeyondEdenRock | Jan 23, 2017 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (4 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Vita Sackville-Westprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Davidson, AndrewOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Glendinning, VictoriaInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Nicolson, JulietInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Among the many problems which beset the novelist, not the least weighty is the choice of the moment at which to begin his novel.
Vita Sackville-West wrote The Edwardians for fun, and to make money. (Introduction)
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No character in this book is wholly fictitious.
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An instant bestseller when it was published in 1930, this glittering satire of Edwardian high society features a privileged brother and sister torn between tradition and a chance at an independent life. Sebastian is young, handsome, moody, and the heir to Chevron, a vast and opulent ducal estate. He feels a deep love for the countryside and for his patrimony, but he loathes the frivolous social world his mother and her shallow friends represent. At one of his mother's decadent house parties, Sebastian meets two people who shake his sense of self: Leonard Anquetil, a lowborn arctic explorer, who questions his mode of living; and Lady Roehampton, a married society beauty with a string of lovers, who breaks his heart. When Sebastian reaches the brink of despair, it is his self-possessed younger sister, Viola, who opens for them both a gateway to another world.

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