With The Form Conforming Duly, Senseless What It Meaneth Truly…

Meryl Streep as The French Lieutenant's Woman.

I have always had a base line love for Victorian literature.  It was one of my favourite periods of literature for my degree.  I loved how interior worlds, passions and sentiment were replicated and revealed.  As we imploded as an Empire, the strict structures of the form gave way via World War One to Modernism and a fractured universe where nothing was as clear as the coded revelations of a generation before – except that these in their way had hinted at this very discrepancy – gathering momentum.  Last week I read ‘Elijah’s Mermaid by Essie Fox, a latter-day proponent of what has become known as ‘Vic-Lit’, perhaps somewhat disparagingly, since the format favours the female.  A modern mind interpreting the 19th century obsessions with mental health, female subjugation, Pre-Raphaelite aspirations and back-door brothels.  The thread of the Thames, water, mermaids neatly interplays these motifs, as we dive through the novel, with the clarity of our seemingly more evolved empirical methodologies, our world of equal pay, equal rights, oh yes and page three…

Circling the masterpiece of ‘Vic-Lit’ I decided to enter the mother-ship, the maestro of the format, and this week am reading ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’, by John Fowles.  Having seen the film and loved the intertwined stories, I was surprised to find this was a Harold Pinter script invention, clever man, to highlight Fowles’ knowing narration, his pitch-point moments of standing back into the present day.

“Charles did not know it, but in those brief poised seconds above the waiting sea, in that luminous evening silence broken only by the waves’ quiet wash, the whole Victorian Age was lost.  And I do not mean he had taken the wrong path.”

Genius, and as I try to break the deadlock of writer’s block for my weekly writing class, I yet again bow down to another technician’s searing talent…

Meanwhile, rather tritely, back on Planet Fashion, as I prep for my shoot next week, off to Oman for Vogue, I flick through style.com and notice that likewise of course there is always room for an epic cape, especially at couture, and especially when worn by a friend, in attendance of budding couturier Ulyana Sergeenko, whose universe like mine seems like a Russian epic filled with romantic swansongs and pre-revolutionary text.

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