Sylvia Townsend Warner Claire Harman
- Title: Summer Will Show
- Author: Sylvia Townsend Warner Claire Harman
- ISBN: 9781590173169
- Page: 281
- Format: Paperback
Sophia Willoughby, a young Englishwoman from an aristocratic family and a person of strong opinions and even stronger will, has packed her cheating husband off to Paris He can have his tawdry mistress She intends to devote herself to the serious business of raising her two children in proper Tory fashion Then tragedy strikes the children die, and Sophia, in despair, fiSophia Willoughby, a young Englishwoman from an aristocratic family and a person of strong opinions and even stronger will, has packed her cheating husband off to Paris He can have his tawdry mistress She intends to devote herself to the serious business of raising her two children in proper Tory fashion Then tragedy strikes the children die, and Sophia, in despair, finds her way to Paris, arriving just in time for the revolution of 1848 Before long she has formed the unlikeliest of close relations with Minna, her husband s sometime mistress, whose dramatic recitations, based on her hair raising childhood in czarist Russia, electrify audiences in drawing rooms and on the street alike Minna, magnanimous and unscrupulous, fickle, ardent, and interfering, leads Sophia on a wild adventure through bohemian and revolutionary Paris, in a story that reaches an unforgettable conclusion amidst the bullets, bloodshed, and hope of the barricades.
Recent Comments "Summer Will Show"
Sylvia Townsend Warner was a female writer with Communist sympathies in love with a female poet when she wrote this story of an upper-class Englishwoman, Sophia Willoughby, who falls in love with her husband's Jewish mistress Minna Lemuel in Paris and who becomes embroiled in the French revolution of 1848. It's much more the story of Sophia's changing politics and class loyalties than it is one of "lesbian love." In her introduction to this edition, Claire Harman calls the book "this lesbian nov [...]
I read this a few years ago and gave it three stars. On my re-read, that has been raised to five. Such a wonderful novel. The moral of the story is always re-read, kids.
What luck, to have read two absolutely excellent novels in a row! That doesn’t occur very often. ‘Summer Will Show’ was wonderful, a novel calculated to appeal to me as it combines feminism with revolutionary upheaval in 19th century Paris - two of my favourite subjects. First published in 1936, it initially struck me as a combination of Madame Bovary and Two Serious Ladies. The writing is lyrical but not as deft as Flaubert; the tone is less deadpan and madcap than Bowles. Where it beats [...]
Boring is the Word of the DayboringADJECTIVENot interesting; tedious.Quite frankly this was a disappointment which was a surprise. Reading the blurb on the tin it looked alright, just up my alley in fact; but once opened I found the culinary offering to be rather dry and lacking in flavour. It was pleasant enough at first, perhaps because the English setting suited the protagonist - however when the action shifted to Paris then it began to taste blander with each turned page. The main character [...]
My unrequitable love affair with Ms. Warner continues. More detailed review to come.***************My love is of a birth as rareAs ‘tis of object strange and high,It was begotten by despairUpon impossibility.Readers of my recent fiction reviews will know that I’ve been carrying on a literary love affair with Sylvia Townsend Warner these last few months. With Summer Will Show, the third of her novels I’ve read, that “passionate” relationship continues. Once again Warner creates a remark [...]
Well that was unexpectedly brilliant.
This book is odd, fascinating and uneven. What's wonderful about it is practically sublime; that which is mediocre about it balloons and overtakes the plot and the narration by the conclusion. So what's wonderful about it, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that this book was published in the same year as Gone with the Wind, yet it's practically the anti-Gone With the Wind.Like Gone With the Wind, it is historical fiction about a feisty, self-serving, and often unsympathetic protagonist. Sophi [...]
This is the first STW I've read in ages, but the deep satisfaction of it is amazing. Like watching old movies on TV, you keep asking; why don't they write them like this anymore? Lovely, lovely
Summer will Show, Warner’s fourth novel. Summer will Show is not an especially easy read, but I found the beginning particularly readable, almost unputdownable and although the novel eventually spirals off into a far more complex narrative – it is really very good and very beautifully written. This is a book that I think I will remember – which is always a very good sign. While several of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novels revisit similar themes, the novels themselves do appear on the surfa [...]
I left this on a Virgin train to Birmingham yesterday. Damn! The kids had died, she'd confronted the kilnsman, and was set on going to Paris. Will I see it again? I have two lost property numbers to call on Monday. Meanwhile, I'm in Cheltenham without a book. But there's a used bookshop opening at 10am Hoping to find a gem.-------------------------------It doesn't look like I'm getting this back. I don't quite know what to do with this review now.
2.5this really isn't bad, but it is different from what I thought it would be and I wasn't really in the mood for it.
"Summer Will Show" is the story of an upper-class Englishwoman who becomes a Communist. It is also, and far more interestingly, the story of an upper-class Englishwoman who escapes the bounds of her rigidly conventional existence (and sexuality) to find happiness. (Sylvia Townshend Warner was herself upper-class, English, a lesbian, and (for a time, at least) a Communist, though one shouldn't get carried away with any resemblance between her and our heroine, Sophia Willoughby: the book hardly co [...]
A 1936 novel by a mature Warner about an Englishwoman's experiences in Paris at the time of the 1848 "June revolution", based on quite a bit of research Warner did.I got the book because it was highly recommended by an author I like, May Sarton.The June revolution, which I had known nothing about, turns out to have to do with growing sympathies for Communist ideas at that time, and unrest among the suffering lower classes. Warner herself, along with her life partner, joined the Communist Party i [...]
A mid-19th century aristocratic Englishwoman who has always chafed at the limited role her life offers women, has "dishusbanded" herself, lost her children to smallpox and so heads to Paris, where history immediately catches up with her, as it is February 1848. She more or less falls in love with and moves in with her ex-husband's ex-mistress (though the lesbian angle is somewhat sublimated), undergoes a transformation of her understanding of class (and, to a lesser extent, race) and by the June [...]
I disliked this book so much, I want to go back and turn every book I've ever reviewed and left a one star for and up it to to. I wish there were negative stars. The antisemitism in this book made it very difficult to read. I am reading it for a lesbian book club, and apparently it's supposed to be a love story, but the protagonists never has anything nice to say about her supposed love interest, and often what she says is based in such stereotypical and hateful descriptions that it makes me thi [...]
The singular tale of the redoubtable Sophia Willoughby, a lady of a class enjoying extensive property in south west England at a date which can be precisely fixed at the year of 1848.A young woman, unhappily married, Sophia had banished her intellectually inferior, bland husband to pursuits which took him largely to the continent and Paris in particular. She remains on her estate to oversee the rearing of her two young children and generally to scold and bully the servants. Wilful and arrogant, [...]
I first discovered Sylvia Townsend Warner this Spring when a friend gave me a copy of "Lolly Willows". I immediately fell in love with the book and the author. As Sarah Waters wrote in an article in "The Guardian" about Warner, 'she's certainly one of the most shamefully under-read great British authors of the past 100 years.' How true. After reading "Lolly Willows" I began searching for more Warner novels. Because she is a forgotten author it is not an easy task to locate her books. Fortunately [...]
A curious, disappointing, puzzling book, and one which I found a great deal more interesting than enjoyable. It’s in the unusual position of being a novel which is basically modern but which feels doubly dated today: it was published in the 1930s, but while it’s ostensibly set in the French revolution of 1848, it still feels like the product of a twentieth-century literary conscience. It’s a book about the role of women in several different societies, all essentially patriarchal, and it’ [...]
I had heard and read, here and there, about Sylvia Townsend Warner, but I didn’t know much about her, and “Summer Will Show” is my first true introduction to her. What an amazing surprise, and actually, what a shock that she is not more universally applauded as one of the best English writers of the last century. “Summer Will Show” is a historical novel unlike any others: it is a romance that defies all the codes of the genre, a story that is as much about the past as it is about today [...]
Wow, this was fantastic. Why isn't anyone reading this author?I picked this book up at Harvard Bookstore's warehouse sale last year. It first caught my eye because of the photo on the cover, by one of my favorite Victorian artists, Lady Clementina Hawarden. Then I noticed a quotation by Sarah Waters, one of my favorite novelists, who said this was one of her favorite novels. Well! Then I realized I had already read a STW novel before, the delightful Lolly Willowes, so I decided to try it out.I'm [...]
Sylvia Townsend Warner has written a beautifully crafted tale of a 19th C wealthy, landed and slightly smug Englishwoman who spurns her adulterer husband, loses her children from smallpox and flees to France. There she finds herself stretching her feminist inklings to forge a new life with her husband's ex-mistress and embraces the revolution of 1848 happening around her. As Minna, her new companion, says "Though you may think you have chosen meor chosen happiness,it is the revolution you have c [...]
It was great… up to some point. I don’t really know where, but I suspect it started getting tedious when all of a sudden Sophia started subscribing (w00t alliteration) to Communist, hm, maybe not ideas, but actions. Why? Out of love for Minna, when Minna herself was sort of ambiguous about the revolution?But the first part was absolutely magnificent. Here was Sophia, a wealthy, cold, calculating, unloving, unsympathetic, racist person, and I couldn’t tear myself off her – what a fascinat [...]
It's hard to describe just how much race, class, gender, political points of view, and nationalism together dominate this book. The confluence is astounding and overwhelming. I don't think I have ever seen a main character go through such a volte-face as Sophia does here. From aloof and distant English mother, frigidly estranged wife, wealthy mistress of a large estate, and coldly superior beneficiary to those she considers beneath her, holding the corresponding horrifying race, class, and gende [...]
This is an interesting example of historical fiction (written in 1936, set in 1848) and lesbian fiction (a romance between an unfortunate English aristocrat, Sophia, and her husband's erstwhile mistress, Minna, who escaped pogroms in her native Lithuania as a child).There are some beautiful passages – a few that spring to mind are Sophia dawdling in the Cornish countryside, blissfully alone, and Minna's lyrical childhood reminiscence of the arrival of Spring in the forest, with a river waking [...]
Jane Austen meets Victor Hugo with a dash of Thelma and Louise. Sophia Willoughby is a headstrong English aristocrat, who's sent her husband packing to live with his mistress while she goes about raising her children. The children die, and Sophia tracks her husband to Paris, where instead of reconciling with him she winds up infatuated with his mistress, Minna, and the two of them send the husband packing and proceed to live a Bohemian life together until the Revolution of 1848 puts them on the [...]
Thought the writing of the first half when Sophia loses here children was incredible and worth 5 stars. The second half of the book in 1848 revolutionary Paris was less inventively written more conventional narration, but an interesting premise. Ending was ambiguous.
I found this book interesting, but also disappointing and hard to get through. Warner's writing style often left me wondering just where the characters were/what was happening, etc. It's possible I need to give it a year's rest, then read it again!Sophia Willoughby's transformation from prim, upright Tory mansion-keeper, wronged wife and tragic mother (both her children die of tuberculosis) into poverty-loving, barricade-manning revolutionary is as unconvincing as her suddenly discovered love fo [...]
I loved this novel so much. Amazing plot and the character development was incredible. I loved that Sylvia Townsend Warner made her character variety so diverse, and no character was perfect. There was no stereotypically beautiful woman, and the way she brought race and identity to the forefront of her discussion was beautifully done.
really stunning prose, interesting characterization of complicated women, I loved those things, but jfc the antisemitism/casual 1930s racism is hard to read past.
wonderous but should have ended in a murder spree.
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