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Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman (1926)

av Sylvia Townsend Warner

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
1,0714913,952 (3.86)1 / 168
In this delightful and witty novel, Laura Willowes rebels against pressure to be the perfect "maiden aunt." Not interested in men or the rushed life of London, Laura is forced to move there from her beloved countryside after the death of her father. Finally, she strikes out for the countryside on her own, selling her soul to an affable but rather simpleminded devil. First written in the 1920s, this book is timely and entertaining. It was the first selection of the Book of the Month Club in 1926.… (mer)
Senast inlagd avmissrabbitmoon, MargaridaSN, privat bibliotek, ycc, MASK1970, raton-liseur, deark, sallypursell
Efterlämnade bibliotekBarbara Pym, Karen Blixen
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engelska (47)  katalanska (1)  franska (1)  Alla språk (49)
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J’ai entendu parler de ce livre il y a un petit moment déjà, au détour d’un entretien de [[Geneviève Brisac]] à la radio, qui disait que l’héroïne de ce roman était l’une de ses figures littéraires féministes préférées. Mais il est épuisé en français et j’ai même eu du mal à le trouver en anglais, heureusement le Père Noël a ses entrées dans des librairies connues de lui seul et il a gentiment déposé ce livre dans mes petits souliers à Noël dernier, et je l’ai lu dans la foulée.
Lolly Willowes, donc, est une jeune fille de la bourgeoisie rurale anglaise. Légèrement postérieure mais très similaire aux héroïnes de [[Jane Austen]. Sauf qu’elle ne semble pas du tout intéressée par les hommes et le mariage et qu’elle laisse passer ses années de jeunesse sans chercher à séduire et sans susciter aucune demande en mariage. Alors, quand son père meurt, elle est traitée par ses frères au même titre que les meubles de l’héritage, et on décide pour elle qu’elle s’installera à Londres chez son frère aîné, où elle deviendra l’inamovible Tante Lolly, toujours serviable, toujours traités comme une pièce du décor. Mais un jour, sans crier gare, Laura (son véritable prénom) fait tout voler en éclat et, pour la première fois, émet un souhait et se met en devoir de le réaliser.
C’est cette notion de volonté propre de la femme qui est au cœur de ce court roman. La volonté de choisir sa vie, même si dans le cas de Laura Willowes cela signifie ne rien faire d’autre que des thés et des promenades solitaires. La volonté n’est pas forcément de faire des grandes choses, juste de vivre pour soi. Et cette réflexion à laquelle nous convie Sylvia Townsend Warner à travers ce personnage est vraiment intéressante, finement menée et originale. Etre féministe, ce n’est pas que vouloir avoir accès aux positions usuellement dévolues aux hommes. C’est juste exister pour soi, quoi que cela veuille dire. Et si Lolly Willowes est le personnage principal, l’incompréhension qu’elle suscite auprès de sa belle-sœur, femme mariée ou de ses nièces, d’une autre génération, permet d’enrichir la notion de féminisme.
La dernière partie du livre tranche avec les deux premières et je ne sais toujours pas si je dois la lire au sens littéral ou pas. Elle m’a un peu déstabilisée, mais elle n’enlève rien à la force du personnage, qui trouve sa voie propre pour conquérir sa liberté personnelle.
Cette découverte d’une autrice peu connue en France est une réussite pour moi, et j’espère continuer à explorer son œuvre, œuvre qui a l’air riche en femmes fortes car Laura Willowes l’est, forte, à sa manière.
  raton-liseur | Jan 27, 2021 |
I was surprised at how readable Warner's Lolly Willowes is; the words simply flowed. Described unmarried women's lives in the 20th Century as dependent and drudge-like. These women were expected to live with their brothers or sisters submissively caring for their families without recompense.

Many like Lolly did so. But when Lolly reached a certain age, a restlessness caught up with her. She shows a rebellious, independent streak by moving out of London to a small country cottage despite her family's shock. Now able to do as she pleases, she is thrilled with her freedom. But then her nephew Titus comes calling expecting her to accommodate him. She is irritated and feels her family has re-captured her.

These first 2 parts of the book I understood. It is this last part which I find troubling. Seems to keep her freedom Lolly must make a deal with the devil. Of course people will do almost anything when desperate. But I don't think this is the right direction for Lolly or any woman to go.

To me it seems to be saying that if you aren't willing to comply with society's norms, you, single women are 'witches,' and bad and deserve only the devil for companionship. This is an egregious depiction of adult women who choose independence for themselves. They need to be heard, understood and loved, definitely not castigated, discouraged and disrespected.

What was Warner trying to say with this novel?
  Bookish59 | Jan 14, 2021 |
Laura Willowes (or Lolly as she is now called by all her relatives) has lived at Lady Place in Somerset all her life, but on her fathers’s death it is decided by her relatives that she would be much better going to live with her brother Henry and his wife Caroline in London:

‘Lolly ought to come to them. London would be a nice change for her. She would meet nice people, and in London would have a better chance of marrying. Lolly was twenty-eight. She would have to make haste if she were going to find a husband before she was thirty.’

But Lolly is never interested in any of the men that are presented to her (or them her). The First World War comes and goes, and her nieces get married and have children of their own, and still Lolly remains in the house of her brother and sister in law, never living the life that she wants to live, or even knowing what life that might be. But at long last a chance encounter in a greengrocer’s shop sends her suddenly to live alone in the village of Great Mop in the Chilterns, much to the consternation of all. And after years of stultifying conventionality ministering to the needs of others, Lolly (or Laura, as she is now able to revert to her proper name) is finally able to focus on herself.

Written in 1926, this is a thoughtful book which looks at the options open to an unmarried woman in the first decades of the twentieth century and which comes to a surprising conclusion. It doesn’t end up where you expect it to at all. ( )
  SandDune | Jan 14, 2021 |
It seems like the author had something she wanted to say about women's independence, so she wrote a 5-page essay about it, and then realized that the essay needed some context, so she wrote a 200-page novel to build up to the 5-page essay.

The rest of this review isn't exactly a spoiler, but since the main events of the book don't happen until the very end, it's impossible to talk about the book without talking about how it ends, so read on with caution.

Laura Willowes (called Lolly by her niece and nephews) is a quintessential maiden aunt - after the death of her father, her married brothers and their wives take control of her life. She is cared for and given a place to live and enjoys helping to raise her nieces and nephews, but no one ever asks her what she wants. One day when she is in her middle age, she spontaneously decides to move to a small village in the countryside. The behavior of the villagers is rather strange. Laura soon realizes that they are all witches, and she joins them. And... that's pretty much it. She becomes a witch, meets the devil, gives her feminist speech, and that's the book.

I suppose that it's easy to find this book disappointing a hundred years after it is set, knowing that what Laura says at the end about women's right to independence not the controversial statement that it was at the time. I also found the brief dalliance in Satanism to be very underdeveloped. Laura just kind of realizes she's a witch one day, and never stops to think about the implications of Satanism or what it means to give her soul to the devil. In the midst of a feminist screed about women's independence, it seems odd that this monumental decision is just something that happens to her rather than something she chooses to do, and that her form of independence is basically just agreeing to the whims of some man she's never met and whose existence is only theoretical.

Despite all of that, the fact that I kept reading despite the fact that there was not really a plot does tell you something about how good the writing is - the book was still engaging. ( )
1 rösta Gwendydd | Jun 20, 2020 |
Not quite what I expected -- the much vaunted (in book summary and introduction) deal with the devil doesn't come until the final third of the book, and it's with such a soft touch that I wondered why everyone took Warner at her word that a deal indeed had been made!

Strong feminist message -- circled around for most of the book, then named explicitly at the very end in a monologue from Miss Willowes.

4.5 stars for descriptions of being among nature in the English countryside. A , would imagine I was there. ( )
  elam11 | May 30, 2020 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (7 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Warner, Sylvia Townsendprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Anders, AnnÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Gatti, GraziaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hernández, MartaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lévy, FlorenceÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Méndez, ZaharaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Miller, AnitaInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Waters, SarahInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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When her father died, Laura Willowes went to live in London with her elder brother and his family.
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Preference, not prejudice, made them faithful to their past. They slept in beds and sat in chairs whose comfort insensibly persuaded them into respect for the good sense of their forbears. Finding that well-chosen wood and well-chosen wine improved with keeping, they believed that the same law applied to well-chosen ways.
So Laura read undisturbed, and without disturbing anybody, for the conversation at local tea-parties and balls never happened to give her an opportunity of mentioning anything that she had learnt from Locke on the Understanding or Glanvil on Witches. In fact, as she was generally ignorant of the books which their daughters were allowed to read, the neighboring mammas considered her rather ignorant. However they did not like her any the worse for this, for her ignorance, if not so sexually displeasing as learning, was of so unsweetened a quality as to be wholly without attraction.
Being without coquetry she did not feel herself bound to feign a degree of entertainment which she had not experienced, and the same deficiency made her insensible to the duty of every marriageable young woman to be charming, whether her charm be directed towards one special object, or in default of that, universally distributed through a disinterested love of humanity.
She had thought that sorrow would be her companion for many years, and had planned for its entertainment.
After some years in his house she came to the conclusion that Caroline had been very bad for his character. Caroline was a good woman and a good wife. She was slightly self-righteous and fairly rightly so, but she yielded to Henry's judgment in every dispute, she bowed her good sense to his will and blinkered her wider views in obedience to his prejudices. Henry had a high opinion of her merits, but thinking her to be so admirable and finding her to be so acquiescent had encouraged him to have an even higher opinion of his own.
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In this delightful and witty novel, Laura Willowes rebels against pressure to be the perfect "maiden aunt." Not interested in men or the rushed life of London, Laura is forced to move there from her beloved countryside after the death of her father. Finally, she strikes out for the countryside on her own, selling her soul to an affable but rather simpleminded devil. First written in the 1920s, this book is timely and entertaining. It was the first selection of the Book of the Month Club in 1926.

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