Thursday 16 December 2010

Dangerous Ages

I've got half a review saved away in my draft posts, but it's late and I'm heading bedwards, so instead I thought I'd share this delicious quotation from Rose Macaulay's Dangerous Ages (1921). It's a conversation between Gerda and Neville (who are, confusingly, mother and daughter. Or perhaps aunt and niece - I got a little confused.) I think it's a fun little satire on thoughtless 1920s Bohemianism...

“Marriage,” said Gerda, “is so Victorian. It’s like antimacassars.”

“Now, my dear, do you mean anything by either of those statements? Marriage wasn’t invented in Victoria’s reign. Nor did it occur more frequently in that reign than it did before or does now. Why Victorian then? And why antimacassars? Think it out. How can a legal contract be like a doily on the back of a chair? Where is the resemblance? It sounds like a riddle, only there’s no answer. No, you know you’ve got no answer. That kind of remark is sheer sentimentality and muddle headedness. Why are people in their twenties so often sentimental? That’s another riddle.”


  1. Simon, I love Dangerous Ages. It's one of the best novels I've read this year. There aren't many novels that deal with the pitfalls of middle age and I really empathized with the problems of Neville as she went back to med school. I also felt for the thirtyish writer sister. Dangerous ages of these three generations indeed!

  2. It's a master piece. .The characters were interesting, and the plot combines a sense of the continuity of life with a sense of the effects.

  3. This sounds wonderful! I just downloaded it onto my Kindle - for free!

  4. Great quote! I haven't read Macauley yet but I have a copy of The Towers of Trebizond patiently waiting to be read, hopefully I'll get to it soon. I think I'll have to look for this one as well.

  5. Great quote! love it! thanks for sharing it Simon. I think i will have to read this book.

  6. aha! So funny...and a book I have to add to my list...

  7. Frisbee - I've finished it now, and isn't it good? I had some trouble working out who was related to whom, but that's mostly because I read the first half on a tiring train journey. Have you read Crewe Train or Keeping Up Appearances by RM? They're both even better, I think. Have you reviewed Dangerous Ages? Will go and post this on your blog, in case you miss this...

    kaye - You seem to have read everything I mention, I'm very impressed!

    Susan - :)

    Anbolyn - Wow! I don't have one, but how nice that people can find the book so quickly and for free - enjoy!

    Karen - I've read five and a half Macaulay books now, and still not that most famous of hers!

    Willa - do, I think you'll like it. :) Macaulay doesn't seem to be read much, but she's great. A lovely ironic twist to her domestic fiction.

    Daniel - do add it, Sir, you'll enjoy it!

  8. Simon, I'm convinced you're the only person on earth besides me who has read Dangerous Ages.
    I've read Keeping Up Appearances and will add Crewe Train to my list.


  9. I'm just now discovering the delicious prose of Rose. Summer vacation reading, but first, Dangerous Ages, as I cannot wait for the July holiday to enjoy it. The first three pages were enough.


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