Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Paradise" returns

Just found out that telenovela SIN SENOS, NO HAY PARAISO is being rebroadcast (locally anyway) at noon. Today's capitulo takes place after Catalina has had first operation, returns home--and her school sweetheart/love of her life confronts her as to who paid for it & why.

She gives him snow job as Greek type chorus of catchy-rappy music comments she's sliding down the slippery slope of mendacity.

Reminds me of 18th century Hogarth prints illustrating some morality tales of temporary society; one famous series MARRIAGE A LA MODE tells of marriage arranged between two young people whose families sell a title for wealth. Don't know how PARAISO ends, but can't be much worse!

Think I saw etching's of Hogarth paintings in Time Life book THE WORLD OF GAINSBOROUGH, 1727-1728. Very likely Jane Austen could have seen those; as one essay I read comments (I think in collection of her Juvenalia), she was a child of the robust 1700's, not a prim Victorian ignorant of or blushing at facts of life like those included in this 21 st century telenovela which I think Jane might have enjoyed!

Lots of likable, entertaining characters as well as amusing villains that "you love to hate". Think title (original book title is slightly different, a bit more crude) refers to a Spanish saying, meaning the Garden of Eden wasn't paradise for Adam until Eve showed up (with her "girls" as Oprah calls her front "bumpers"--well, want to be sure it's clear what's being refered to!)

Jane reviewed a novel called SELF-CONTROL by Mrs. Brunton which can be read online for free. She said something like Laura's journey down the American river may be the most believable happening in this unlikely tale (which apparently begins with heroine being assalted by "hero"--I haven't read it myself; for one thing, hate reading an entire book on a computer screen. Give me paper pages!)

Been busy busy busy and TIRED. So it may be awhile before I go back to edit and add to previous posts (if I wait until posts are "perfect" before making public, no-one would ever see them--I've got at least a dozen drafts of emails languishing in limbo because I didn't have time to finish and polish before sending. I need more time in my days...... can you do that in the new year, dear Santa? ;-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Today is Jane Austen's birthday (born 1775--you do the math as to which anniversary this is...)

I enjoyed reading her published letters (mostly to her closest friend & older sister Cassandra; which more letters could have been saved!). Especially interesting to me were her "book reviews"; insightful comments on books she read. Would also have loved to browse her (family's) own personal home library.

Wonder if any of legion of Austen scholars/historians have been able to investigate what titles she and her family borrowed from lending libraries in Bath or wherever.

Her NORTHANGER ABBEY is a favorite of mine, in part because of description of un-heroic Catherine's childhood play (realistic & amusing!), and her love of reading (tho not of the "highest literary level" perhaps!

CASTLE OF UDOLPHO by (got to look up author)is actually much more than the sensational novel that many (who never read it) suppose dismisively. One modern edition--perhaps Oxford Classics-- includes critical essay pointing out how its heroine's applying logic, cool reasoning and scientic method (then-in vogue among upper classes with intellectual interests)helps her overcome superstition and emotional excesses, and likely helped inspire Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fictional "pirate queens"

Novel DONA BARBARA has elements that remind me of a tale involving pirates in the Caribbean, published in 1921 (wonder if Gallegos might have read it!) by then-popular writer of swashbuckling adventure novels, Jeffery Farnol. I think he was British. (May be unrelated fact that DONA BARBARA includes British character who calls himself "Mister Danger", one of the few who gets upper hand over the Dona).

Titled MARTIN CONISBY'S VENGEANCE, dedicated to author's "Dear aunts", it is sequel to title character's adventures begun in BLACK BARTLEMY'S TREASURE. Vendettas that wipe out most of two neighboring families are also featured in beginning of book DONA BARBARA.

The most striking resemblance between novels DB and MCV are the two bloodthirsty women characters who seek retaliation for same tramatic event in their youth. Could be just coincidence: ancient British warror Queen Bodiacia reportedly fought Romans after what their soldiers did to her daughters. In early 20th century, it might commonly be thought that the only reason a "weak female" ("by nature", femininely passive) would act like a forceful (violent) man is suffering "a fate worse than death".

Young "Barbarita" lives on river boat with what are called pirates; bloody Joanna is granddaughter of a Spanish govenor and British (got to look up passage to quote here).

Another parallel shared by two novels: for both "villanesses", there is a mirror image character; DONA BARBARA's daughter (rejected from birth by her mother, she is cared for as child by the village idiot, so grows up "innocent" and unspoiled roaming the wilds of nature. (In tv version, same young actress plays "Barbarita" and her becoming-a-woman daughter.

Captain Jo has rival in childhood sweetheart also named Joan, who had Lady & protective worshipful knight relationship with hero--until he discovers her father is his worst enemy. Shipwrecked hero at one point mistakes Jo for his Lady Joan. I suspect both "evil" women will find redemption by an ultimate sacrifice. Likeness may simply be example of common dicotomy of "good/bad" views of women; former mostly passive, latter willful.

Compare strong women in those early 20th century stories with 21st century heroines for young readers in TORRIE QUESTS books; the first is TORRIE AND THE PIRATE QUEEN. Young Captain Anna, however, is not a pirate--she's trying to remedy what her pirate grandad did. (See woman author's profile at www.annickpress.com Like J.K. Rowling, seems like her gender was disguised by using initials so maybe boys will try her adventure stories!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dona Barbara

I read English translation of novel DONA BARBARA by Romuo Gallegos, wanting to finish book before telenovela currently being aired ends.
Though I missed much of the tv version, I can tell it is very different--lots of romances added for TV (hero and title character never get together in book for instance, though the Dona falls madly in love with Our Hero. Modern TV version (filmed in lusher, very greenColombia, rather than book's Venezuela plains area) also seems prettier & funnier too!

Novel dwells more on conflicts of "barbarism" or lawlessness and Civilization, as symbolized by the tow protagonist and their associates. Spanish word "barbara" is related to barbaric (from bearded invadors of ancient Roman territory) means "terrible"; barbara also came to mean "terrific", as in English usage for something great!

(This word play on a woman's name was used in comic novela PICARA SONADORA by Eduardo Palomo's character for first fiancee he never really loved. Reminds me of 1930's screwball romantic comedy's--pampered heir to department store empire pretends to be poor when he falls for toy dept clerk/law student(who is secretly saving money by living in furniture dept; her uncle is night watchman--who turns out to be long-lost love of hero's grandmother, very business-like matriarch who ran store empire; forced to marry rich man.)

Another aside on word origens: "barbequeue" comes fom words meaning beard and tale, refering to something like roast goat which includes everything from beard or head to tail or "queue" in French, I think).


When I have more time, I plan to finish this post and also re-arrange and add to posts of past week...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chinese zodiac signs & characterization in DJY

Comic relief cousin of my favorite character in MOM'S DEAD UPSET might be played by same actor as wily Mimosa in DJY. Refugee from dispursed kingdom of Baekje, Mimosa eventually becomes strategist for Gorguyeans headed by DJY (he also saves the latter's life with his medical skills) .

Mimosa embodies traits of Monkey: clever, cheerful--and tricky. Some of those qualities appear in ChulinFan favorited clip in which Geumlan dances at banquet given to "conqueroring" forces in house of entertainment run by Mimosa (secretly funded by King).

Introductory info about Chinese zodiac can be found in children's novel ARCHER'S QUEST

Monday, December 8, 2008

More background on video clips

I'd added two clips on Korean drama about the Battle of Ansi Fort in attempt to find more about early part of DJY that I missed. DJY's mother was pregnant with her son while Ansi Fort was undersiege by the Tang Chinese (I'm not sure if his father was commander of that fort at the time, but that amusing enemy, peasant turned general Xue Rengui was there in Tang army).

From comments made much later in drama, it may have been DJY's mother who got idea for undermining hill that Chinese army built to over look the fort in order to attack from above. If it wasn't her idea, she helped dig tunnels which were flooded (by diverting river?), causing collapse of hill, wiping out much of Chinese forces (maybe a million? Fairytale like exageration, perhaps!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bit more background on video clips

Leading man (or galan ) of version of LA MENTIRA starring Kate Del Castillo is Guy Ecker. His parents are German-Americans, but he and his siblings were born and raised in various Latin American countries. Tho gringo in appearance, he says he has a corazon latino.

His bilingual fansite is http://www.guyecker.com/ ; website for Edith Gonzalez, the female star of CORAZON SALVAJE (and Guy's leading lady in SALOME) is http://edithgz.tripod.com You can find other info on her in English (including Wikipedia entry) by searching her name.

While hero of CORAZON SALVAJE and Prince Geom in DJY share some similarties in not knowing their biological fathers for early part of their lives, the difference in their treatment by their supposed fathers maybe be that Juan del Diablo was conceived while his mother was married to best-friend of his "real" father; Chulin hadn't married Geom's "adoptive" father yet.

To be fair, Li Kaigu was a loving father to Geom, up until the Khitans again left their homeland to fight under the Tang Chinese general Xu Rengui--and their path crossed with DJY, sending Kaigu into jealous rage that at times even turned again his adoptive son who he confused with his noble rival DJY. (Kaigu chose name of baby boy; geom means either spear or sword, I forget which).

Another "rival" of DJY was Yeon Namseng, eldest son of Goguryeo general who was that country's supreme military commander. But while priority of proud Namseng (whose tomb really exists) was his own will and personal advancement, humble DJY choose to do whatever would help the Goguryeo people. DJY's shown symbolically kneeling, offering his own back for ailing Supreme general, in heavy full battle armor to step on to mount his steed.

BTW, it was Namseng's marriage proposal to Princess Sukyoung (DJY's future bride) that prompted her to retort she would "marry the hero who saves the country. It is not yet clear who that will be". Namseng's cocky assumption he will triumph in battle tho he's never fought before is example of typical traits of his Chinese zodiac animal, the rooster. DJY is probably tiger; usually timid or fearful Princess S. may be rabbit. (Nomad Chulin may be horse.)

Dragonish Xue Rengui' s comic sidekick Hong Pei may also be worrying rabbit; humorous traditional Korean art shows tigers and dragons teased by rabbits. DJY's sworn blood brothers, Gulsabiwu and Huek (sp?) Sudol have comic scene where former (loyal dog) tricks latter (gulible pig or boar) into thinking he's the elder and therefore commands respect of his "junior". Book EVERLASTING FLOWER shows sculpture of boar in armor, one figure of popular zodiac figures used in tombs (and probably other less lasting types of Asian art).