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Oxford vers la fin des années trente Deux idylles inconvenantes l'une entre un séduisant professeur uinuagénaire et sa jeune étudiante l'autre entre le nouveau vicaire de la paroisse et une demoiselle de compagnie vont le temps d'une saison troubler la sérénité des five o'clock d'une société tout entière axée sur le bon ton

10 thoughts on “Crampton Hodnet

  1. says:

    she who had at one time helped and encouraged her husband with his work had now left him to do it alone because she feared that with HER help it might uite easily be finished before one of them died and then where would they be?This book meant that he spent long hours in his study presumably working on it It would not be at all convenient for Mrs Cleveland to have him hanging about the drawing room wanting to be amusedIt was an excellent thing for a husband to have something like research to occupy his timeWell isn't it lovely to meet a Charlotte Lucas Mr CollinsOK admittedly this is stretching it a bit like scenario in a book written in 1939 and first published in 1985?And this is definitely not the only resemblance between Jane Austen and Barbara Pym There is a trademark gentle humourirony combined with sharp and brilliant observation both of them possessThis book is absolutely brilliant even considering this was a first try by Barbara PymVery much recommended

  2. says:

    Barbara Pym is an author that I will be devouring hungrily and to the fullest extent whenever I can Her prose is utterly hilarious with a slight PG Wodehouse of the Oxford academic world thrown in as well as that sharp humour of Nancy Mitford and I adore her satirical wit which makes a mockery of the most normal things To me she is an unearthed treasure and I am only sorry there aren't lots of her books but I suppose with a talent like hers it is uantity over uality

  3. says:

    Yes I know I'm back in England again; this time up at Oxford for a comic romp through a particularly eventful Trinity term and long vac There is something very disturbing about the spring in Oxford Indeed there is and it is enough to give all sorts of normally staid souls some very odd notions More than one unsuitable attachment is formed and an assortment of busybodies and gossips do their best make the most of it all The moral of the story is that one really mustn't make a drama of things and one ought to be sure to have walnut cake on hand for tea This is the first Barbara Pym I've read The forward by Hazel Holt explains how and why this manuscript written in 1939 was laid aside and only published in 1985 As Holt says It is purely funny than any of her later novels So far everyone who has read the manuscript has laughed out loud even in the Bodleian Library I did not read this in the Bodleian alas but I laughed out loud uite often it's cutting satire and very amusing I can't imagine living in the kind of claustrophobic gossip filled town she describes but much as I would hate living in that time and place I enjoyed my visit

  4. says:

    This was my first introduction to Barbara Pym I had decided that I should read some of her books when I found out that she was said to be the most underrated writer of the century I was not dissapointed I found her writing to be very witty intelligent and just all around hilarous As someone else on the list just wrote about a book I found myself running to the drawer for a highlighter while reading the first chapterUnfortunately I got so wrapped up in the story that I forgot to highlight many great little bits I would have liked to be able to find again Definitely will be in my reread pile A uote from the book Margaret Cleveland who had at one time helped and encouraged her husband with his work had now left him to do it alone because she feared that with her help it might easily be finished before one of them died and then where would they be? This novle was published posthumously and now having read two of her books I find this one to be a little bit cohesive and flowing than the others maybe because of a modern editor

  5. says:

    “There are no sick people in North Oxford They are either dead or alive It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference that’s all’ explained Miss Morrow” Witty and intelligent writing if a little hard to get into initially A nice way to while away a cold Saturday afternoon two stars

  6. says:

    Sickeningly this is my third attempt to write a review of this book I just have to tell myself that I get and computer literate every time I persevere So here I go again The other day I was casting about for strong openings to books and I looked at Crampton Hodnet which I had read ages ago This is how it starts “It was a wet Sunday afternoon in North Oxford at the beginning of October The laurel bushes which bordered the path leading to Leamington Lodge Banbury Road were dripping with rain A few sodden chrysanthemums dahlias and zinnias drooped in the flower beds on the lawn” As before I was immediately smitten What do I love about this book? The “God is in the details” little things – good hot tea a new frock in a feel good color a train ride to London I’m amazed that I can identify with three of the female characters Miss Morrow doesn’t expect a lot but she won’t settle for a marriage based just on respect or admiration You pretty much know she won’t ever marry Barbara Bird well she’s the female lead of Chesil Beach but from a woman’s perspective How many times have you felt that infatuation is a whole lot intense in the abstract? And finally Mrs Cleveland I hope that anyone whose husband is going through a mid life crisis will read this book and learn from her Me too but I have a pretty strong feeling that this will not be a problem in our marriage Of course I hope I won’t turn into Miss Doggett but maybe we all do at a certain age Lessons from this book? Relax nobody expects you to do anything special so just do what you want to What I want to do is read or reread all of Barbara Pym and go to the next annual meeting of the Barbara Pym Society meeting in Cambridge Mass in March Chris will probably even come with me even though he has no interest in Barbara Pym That’s just how he is

  7. says:

    The uiet village of North Oxford is populated by widows and spinsters and is close to the University where there are dons and co eds a plenty to give the old gossips something to talk about Miss Doggett the aunt of one such don is the village's moral police She keeps strict tabs on her companion Miss Morrow a woman of a certain age When the new curate comes to stay Miss Doggett naturally assumes that Miss Morrow plain and boring will not be a threat to the young man Miss Morrow finds she enjoys his company but why would a man ever think twice about her? Romance is for young and pretty girls like Anthea Cleveland Miss Dogget's great niece Anthea's father an aging don thinks romance may be for him as well It all plays out in the village the British Museum in London tea rooms and trains This is a very BBCish sort of story Fans of Cranford or BBC period dramas will probably enjoy this one The story took a long time to get into Too many characters were introduced in the first chapter and most of them didn't reappear for a very long time if at all The plot picks up about halfway through and then I had to see how it all turned out It is funny in places especially in one scene that is reminiscent of Mr Darcy's proposal to Elizabeth but it's very bittersweet Characters reflect on morality and mortality; some have their hearts broken while others discover their true place Some of the attitudes expressed in the story are very dated Some of the older characters behave like it's still 1900 and expect everyone else to live up to the same strict moral code Miss Doggett is on the lookout for an advantageous match for her great niece and Miss Morrow is rather Fanny Price ish She has a bit spunk in her that comes out once in awhile and I liked her witty banter with the curate Older characters have a lax attitude towards adultery some are prepared to wink at it while some propose to ignore it The one thing I was mostly bothered by was a scene where a young lady is kissed by a young gentlemen she's only just met That wasn't even the first time it happened and not one character had a problem with it Also an middle aged don falls in love with a student and the age difference isn't the problem I didn't find any of the characters completely likeable I found Miss Doggett incredibly nosy selfish and domineering but she wasn't half as bad as old Mrs Killigrew and her son who spy on people and use what they learn to fuel the gossip hotline and stick their noses in where they don't belong They are very nasty unpleasant people I had some sympathy for Miss Morrow She is somewhat likeable especially in the middle of the novel She has a sense of humor which I liked Anthea is likeable enough for a young woman absorbed in her own affairs The other young woman appearing in the story Barbara Bird is a bizarre nitwit She may be intelligent but she lacks common sense This book was never published in the author's lifetime and the introductory blurb on the dust jacket indicates she was just honing her skills I may give a later novel a chance and see if I like it than this one

  8. says:

    This is a delight 1930s middle England where strict social codes abound revolving around university church and ladies who do flowers fetes and funeralsThe characters are funny staid and drawn well Barbara Pym has a high eye for the absurd as well as the things that matter to peopleor should be seen toCrampton Hodnet is sublime situational comedy but also a lense on an England past

  9. says:

    I need stars for a few of my other VERY favourite books But how can I not give this one all of the available stars? I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading Delightful characters dialogue and plot

  10. says:

    'Crampton Hodnet' is another of Barbara Pym's gems It chronicles the uiet dull and uneventful lives of academics students and a range of other mostly unmarried adults in North Oxford Pym began to write it in the late 1930s She set it aside after finishing it in 1940 It was published posthumously Pym died in 1980 in 1985 by which time the author's reputation as a writer of endearing comedic and poignant fiction was secure Hazel Holt who edited the novel for publication says in a foreword to the story that the manuscript contained elements of over writing over emphasis and repetition None of those faults is present in the published version of the novel which is almost as good as Pym's very best work The plot is the least important feature of any Barbara Pym story so I shan't dwell on that of 'Crampton Hodnet' Suffice it to say that there are three separate love affairs and that as is usual with Pym very little happens But the things that make this wonderful writer's stories so beguiling expert characterisation a succinct and very readable prose style and a mordant wit are very much in evidence The message seems to be that love and passion are often trouble than they are worth and that a uiet romantically unfulfilled life is often the sensible option That is perhaps a somewhat unsettling philosophy but one that is at least worth thinking about in our modern frenzied sometimes brutal world Barbara Pym's work may seem superficially old fashioned But like all great novelists her themes resonate and are timeless 'Crampton Hodnet' is a wonderful read 910