6 thoughts on “Fantasies of the undefeated South: Owen Wister’s Lady Baltimore

  1. “Wister is so genuine and unconscious, so utterly of his time, and yet so appalling to read now. ”

    Perhaps that the difference between Wister and Yates, Sapper, Lawrence and others. Wister feels no need to argue for his beliefs, whereas they are making a case for their beliefs as well as writing novels. Buchan is often playing a dangerous game with assumptions and prejudices, especially in his contemporary novels, which is interesting in a different way. At different points Kipling shows all three attributes.
    Have you read Ernst Junger? he was a German anti-Nazi, but he wrote from the new that the Nazis were contemptible vulgarians and the enemies of the true natural aristocrats.


  2. I’m fascinated by this, not so much as a book to put on my Must Read list but in terms of the complexity of response you describe. It resonated more with me because I had been thinking about Kingsley Amis, that solipsistic drunk with fantasies about schoolgirls as one of his few hobbies. Yet I shall go back to Jake’s Thing or Stanley and the Women knowing about the problems that he and Elizabeth Jane Howard had (and that I’d have been on her side) but enjoying the energy and wit. Is this another facet of suspension of disbelief?


    1. I think it must be, and also an unnerving exposure of one’s emotional responses that might not be as in tune with one’s rational ones.


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