Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Let me briefly explain... Novels that have silliness on the level of plot are those like P.G. Wodehouse that have absurd event after absurd event - a sort of narrative farce - that is expertly organised but so unlikely as to be impossible. Silliness on the level of dialogue encompasses rather more - the example given was from von Arnim's In the Mountains, where a pompous guest begins a reminiscence with "Our father ..." and the narrator thinks she is about to start praying. I suppose it is moments or wordings that are unlikely to happen.
I love dialogue taken to unlikely extremes. It's why I love Ivy Compton-Burnett, and strident heroines like Lady Catherine de Burgh. I also love narratives which leap to hyperbole or litotes - which is why I adore Richmal Crompton's William books and the Provincial Lady series. Silliness perhaps isn't the word, but it isn't realism. Silliness in plot, however, I have only limited tolerance for. Wodehouse yes; almost everyone else, no.
Does this division chime with anyone? What are you thoughts? Did you think I was finally going to blog about the Mr Men? (One day...)