Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

The quote is, of course, from Zuckerman's book 'Writing the Block Buster Novel'. It is made with reference to a certain Don Corleone. Zuckerman is showing how Puzo makes him sympathetic. That general advice is very good, but I was particularly fascinated by this quote in particular, as it is so astute, and explains an … Continue reading Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders: Part II: Samuel Richardson’s Lovelace, Mr B and Pamela

I ended my former post of lay psychologising about the high prevalence of characters who seem to have personality disorders in famous books, by mentioning Robert Lovelace, the rapist anti-hero of Clarissa. I have written about this fellow elsewhere as a fascinating example of a character personifying the dark side of an author’s psyche – … Continue reading Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders: Part II: Samuel Richardson’s Lovelace, Mr B and Pamela

Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

Laughs are at a premium these days, what with the pandemic still going on as a second Christmas approaches.That being so, I thought I’d use my recent renewed interest in personality disorders by subjecting some classic characters in fiction to a bit of the dreaded lay analysis.If this post gives a few readers a laugh, … Continue reading Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

Review of Balazac’s ‘Cousin Bette’.

I enjoyed Balzac’s ‘Pére Goriot’ overall, despite – maybe because of – the melodramatic scenes. I particularly enjoyed the chapters which dealt with the villain Vautrin, and the sordid lodging Parisian house where he is in hiding. I expected to enjoy ‘Cousin Bette’, too, especially as it is considered to be one of Balzac’s masterpieces.Sadly, … Continue reading Review of Balazac’s ‘Cousin Bette’.

The Antagonist in Various Forms

  I read somewhere the phrase, ‘Inside every antagonist, there’s a protagonist waiting to come out’ ( obviously a variant of the saying ‘inside every fat person, there’s a slim person trying to come out’). The antagonist, of course, makes the story nearly as much as the protagonist. If you have a weak or insufficiently … Continue reading The Antagonist in Various Forms

Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

I always find it interesting how through reading fiction written by authors at about the time that the story is set, or shortly afterwards, you can get authentic background detail about various aspects of everyday life. This varies as to the social position of the author, of course, and how far he or she is … Continue reading Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

Review of Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: Vivid Atmoshere: A Shame About the Male Lead…

The atmosphere and the descriptions of the scenery were really good. The idea was original. It was well plotted overall. Generally, the characterisation is cleverly done. I also liked the heroine, who shows herself as generally brave and having integrity. I also liked the fact that the story was about ordinary people - well, they're … Continue reading Review of Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: Vivid Atmoshere: A Shame About the Male Lead…

Re-Reading ‘The Go Between’ by LP Hartley

I have just started re-reading ‘The Go Between’ by L P Hartley. I last read it longer ago than I care to admit – in my early twenties. It made a big impression on me then. I was struck by the vivid writing, brilliant use of a string of connected images and the striking ability … Continue reading Re-Reading ‘The Go Between’ by LP Hartley

The Brilliant ‘Bodily Harm’ by Margaret Atwood Revisited

Recently, I broke off from my ongoing good old independent research into women's escapism  (and if anyone reading this has read anything recent  and not partisian on the topic of women’s escapism and reading romances, do let me know). Finding Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm on the shelves of someone I was visiting, I pounced on … Continue reading The Brilliant ‘Bodily Harm’ by Margaret Atwood Revisited

Character Development: Some Classic Best Sellers Without Much of It…

  A couple of years ago, the latest thing in discussing novels online  or leaving reviews seemed to be a lot of talk about ‘character development’. I haven’t heard so much about it of late- maybe I haven’t been looking – but back then it seemed as if you couldn’t read a single review without … Continue reading Character Development: Some Classic Best Sellers Without Much of It…