WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Monks and Friars

Places are slowly opening up in some states around the country…but it’s still a good idea to stay home unless it’s essential to leave. In the interest of continuing to flatten the curve, and corrupt our minds, let’s crack open some horrid novels! If they were delightful enough to cause offense to polite society, they must have much to recommend them.

Lady Reading in an Interior, by Marguerite Gérard, between 1795 and 1800, private collection.

Monks and Friars

Terms used by printers: monks are sheets where the letters are blotted, or printed too black; friars, those letters where the ink has failed touching the type, which are therefore white or faint.

So as we emulate a Regency lady under the shade of a yew tree, or beside a bubbling fountain in her fragrant garden, wherever shall we turn for a list of books, as most ‘circulating libraries’ remain closed?

Glad you asked.

Author and historian Rachel Knowles compiled a list of lovely, vulgar novels that gentle readers might peruse for their delectation. Most are available in the public domain. How many have you read, or will you attempt to read this quarantine season?

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe -1719

Captain Singleton – Daniel Defoe – 1720

Captain Jack – Daniel Defoe – 1722

Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe – 1722

Roxanda – Daniel Defoe – 1724

Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift – 1726

Pamela or Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson – 1740

The Adventures of Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding – 1742

Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady – Samuel Richardson – 1747-8 (epistolary novel)

Tom Jones – Henry Fielding – 1749

Amelia – Henry Fielding – 1751

The History of Sir Charles Grandison – Samuel Richardson – 1753-4

Vicar of Wakefield – Oliver Goldsmith – 1766

Evelina or The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World – Fanny Burney – 1778

Cecilia or Memoirs of an Heiress – Fanny Burney – 1782

The Sylph – Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1788)

The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne – Mrs Radcliffe – 1789

A Sicilian Romance – Mrs Radcliffe – 1790

The Romance of the Forest – Mrs Radcliffe – 1791

The Monk – Matthew Gregory Lewis – 1792

The Mysteries of Udolpho – Mrs Radcliffe -1794

Camilla or A Picture of Youth – Fanny Burney – 1796

The Italian – Mrs Radcliffe – 1797

Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth – 1800

Memoirs of Modern Philosophers – Elizabeth Hamilton – 1800

Belinda – Maria Edgeworth – 1801

Popular Tales – Maria Edgeworth – 1804

The Modern Griselda – Maria Edgeworth – 1805

Leonora – Maria Edgeworth – 1806

Corinne – Madame de Stael – 1807

Tales from Fashionable Life – Maria Edgeworth – 1809/1812 (6 volumes) including The Absentee

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen – 30 October 1811

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – 28 January 1813

Mansfield Park – Jane Austen – 9 May 1814

The Wanderer or Female Difficulties – Fanny Burney – 1814

Waverley – Sir Walter Scott – 1814 (first of the Waverley novels)

Emma – Jane Austen – December 1815

Guy Mannering –Sir Walter Scott – 1815 (a Waverley novel)

The Antiquary – Sir Walter Scott -1816 (a Waverley novel)

Mandeville – William Godwin – 1817

Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – December 1817

Persuasion – Jane Austen – December 1817

Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott – 1817 (a Waverly novel)

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818

Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott – 1819

Kenilworth – Sir Walter Scott – 1821 (a Waverley novel)

Peveril of the Peak – Sir Walter Scott – 1822 (a Waverley novel)

The Pirate – Sir Walter Scott -1822 (a Waverley novel)

Quentin Durward – Sir Walter Scott – 1823 (a Waverley novel)

St Ronan’s Well – Sir Walter Scott – 1824 (a Waverley novel)

The Betrothed – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

Redgauntlet – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

The Talisman – Sir Walter Scott – 1825 (a Waverley novel)

Gaston de Blondeville – Mrs Radcliffe – 1826

Woodstock – Sir Walter Scott – 1826

The Fair Maid of Perth – Sir Walter Scott – 1828 (a Waverley novel)

Anne of Geierstein – Sir Walter Scott – 1829 (a Waverley novel)

Cloudesley – William Godwin – 1830


As we binge to our hearts’ content, may our monks be legible and our friars visible.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Adaptations and Accuracy: Literary Favorites from Page to Screen

During my 9th grade year, I was assigned to read and report on Pride and Prejudice over Christmas break. I procrastinated until the final weekend of the holiday, and frantically ran to the city library. While checking out the book, the kindly librarian asked if I’d ever seen the 1940 Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson adaptation of the novel. Thinking I had just scored an easy way out of my assignment, I grabbed the movie as well. One trip home, a bowl of popcorn, and ninety minutes later, I was writing my report.

The next morning, I felt guilty for not following the assignment (yes, I was one of *those* students). I determined I could at least start reading the book so I wouldn’t feel like such a cheater. A mere five chapters in and I knew I’d made a bigger error than not reading the book: I’d picked a movie that was basically nothing like the novel upon which it was supposedly based, save for its title and character names.

I read hurriedly and not altogether carefully, but soaked up enough information to write a bare-bones essay. Two lessons were learned that Christmas break: don’t procrastinate, and don’t trust a movie.

Ironically, I’ve kept a date with Jane every Christmas since. It’s my annual holiday treat to myself to read through Pride and Prejudice, then watch the 1995 adaptation. I chase this with the 2005 adaptation because I could listen to Matthew Macfadyen recite the ingredients on a cereal box.

Oh – there’s one more thing I learned to do. It’s pretty unconventional and probably considered blasphemous: I sometimes read books *after* I see their movie. For some reason, I can appreciate the well-made movies that aren’t not completely faithful to canon as long as I don’t know the canon going in. This plan has allowed me to enjoy North and South, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Hobbit. If, however, I read the book first and then try to sit through a less-than-accurate adaptation…well…it’s nothing but a big bowl of disappointment. I’m talking to you, The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Great Gatsby (2013), and Water for Elephants.

Read on and weigh in with your opinion on Mimi Matthews terrific post about accuracy and adaptations…

Mimi Matthews

“If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love…I love….I love you.”

(Pride and Prejudice, 2005.)

 Photograph: Focus Features.Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, 2005.
Photograph: Focus Features.

If you are a serious, literary-minded Jane Austen fan, it may raise your blood pressure a bit to learn that there are many people who believe the above quote was actually said by Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  Similarly, there are those who are convinced that the famous scene where Darcy leaps into the lake at Pemberley is an accurate depiction of something that Austen wrote on the page.  In fact, as most of you reading this will know, the above lines are said by actor Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice and the scene with Darcy…

View original post 1,288 more words