Days left: 12
Can I just say right off the bat that I LOVED Cold Comfort Farm? The beginning is a little rough but soon enough it becomes WONDERFUL and I can’t wait to actually write my review instead of just thinking about it and wishing I had enough energy to write more than one post a day.
I saw something nasty in the woodshed! Ahem.
In today’s class we did a somewhat roundabout introduction to Stella Gibbons and Cold Comfort Farm. Roundabout as in we went off on several tangents about other authors and there was decidedly less of actual Stella Gibbons content than I had hoped for. But I’ll try to put something together for you all–
Stella Gibbons came from a dysfunctional family (my prof called them “weird”); he father was an alcoholic, opium addicted drama queen who spent all the family’s money and didn’t make Stella or her mother’s life easy. Luckily, I suppose, he dies pretty early on in Stella’s life, soon after her mother died. Stella was left an orphan, something that shows up in CCF.
Her first job was as a journalist, and though she was fired for causing a minor financial crisis by way of placing a decimal in the wrong place in an article, she got another job and carried on. It was during the commute to this second job that she started reading the books that would later influence her in writing CCF (she also wrote CCF on the commute, on the backs of napkins and things).
The sort of literature that was popular at the time vacillated from dreary to ridiculous to wonderful. Gothic literature, romantic literature, literature that featured long-winded sentences and really awful analogies (like Golden Arrow, which you should read if you like a good laugh while recoiling in horror. I suppose it was like The DaVinci Code of it’s day.): basically all the sorts of things she incorporated into CCF. The character Elfine, for instance, who’s a sort of woody nymph flower child, was based off of Tess from Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Mr. Mybug, the licentious author chasing after Flora, was based off of DH Lawrence’s personality. And of course the whole “oh this farm is cursed and doomed” and so on was taken from the gothic romances of the time.
We were supposed to watch part of the 1995 movie (with Stephen Fry as Mybug and Kate Beckinsale as Flora, btw) but we didn’t get to it. So I’ll put the slightly ridiculous trailer down below and you’ll just have to deal: