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Following up on this post:

Actually, The Sea-King is not very Byronic at all -- it's a reincarnation fantasy that trundles along in Walter Scott's mode. Except, of course, for the Norse myth trappings, which are both surprisingly extensive and unsurprisingly all surface. It also looks ahead to pulp adventure stories in the Haggard and Burroughs vein, and its largest failure mode, an inability to deal with women in any way realistically, squarely matches that genre's. I am not at all surprised to learn that the author, a minor Spasmodic poet named J. Stanyan Bigg, was 20 when he published it.

If you're interested in rhyming pulp adventure, I commend it to your attention.

OTOH, the main failure mode of The Maiden of Moscow is applying Byronic mannerisms not to passion but to sentiment, and in particular sentimentality. If you can make it past the third canto, your stomach is stronger than mine -- I had to cleanse my palate with some Roman gods wangsting in dogtrot Elizabethan fourteeners.

(Subject line by G.K. Chesterton, natch.)

ETA: Apparently, The Maiden of Moscow has (one of?) the first known usages "outer space." Who knew?



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
I can put up with a lot to glean such nugget as death-balls, and spoom!
Mar. 28th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
The death-balls are indeed a delight, especially the way they ambush you.

Mar. 28th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I wonder whether there is a list somewhere of the nameless subgenre "unintentionally hilarious straight-from-the-id novels written by adolescent to young men which are over-the-top and compulsively readable despite being lushly bad." Like The Monk.
Mar. 28th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
And its corresponding distaff subgenre.

I suspect we won't get a list without a name for it, though. And a name would be really useful, to make it easier to talk about it.

Mar. 28th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
(Subject line by G.K. Chesterton, natch.)

The next Oxfordian I meet gets this one.

Mar. 28th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Heh, heh, heh.

Mar. 28th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
As if the poetry weren't bad enough, the ornithology is just dreadful... owls do not whizz.

The comparison of the owl to machinery is interesting, though, as an example of the penetration of the machine age into poetry.
Mar. 29th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
Oh, yes -- that owl RILLY bugged me. As did the supposed Scandinavian ecology. Also, I do not think the word "shepherdess" means what he seems to think it means.

As a social and psychological document, it's interesting, tho'. And if you can disengage the brain the right way, it is an adventuresome romp.


Edited at 2012-03-29 12:18 am (UTC)
Mar. 29th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
a minor Spasmodic poet

I do not think you ever want anyone to be able to say that about you.
Mar. 29th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
The irony of calling someone an unimportant member of a deservedly forgotten movement was too tasty to pass up.

I have on tap his next work, a closet drama that looks simply dreadful, rather than entertainingly so.

Apr. 2nd, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)

As I read the first part of 'The Sea-King', its meter seemed to chant to me an indication that it may have been an inspiration for the meter of Robert W. Service... reminiscent of 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew'.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
Service had more immediate models, though -- the ballads of Kipling, and his predecessors.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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