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This is an absolute must-have for any fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books, which reach their dramatic climax in her 1999 novel, A Civil Campaign. The editors examine the novel's debt to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer and the works of Shakespeare as well as various other sources; they then give a set of page-by-page annotations to explain references and in-jokes as they come up, and finally a long long list of further reading (which I was gratified to discover includes my name). It does exactly what I want of such books, deepening my enjoyment of the original work, encouraging me to query it and my other reading more intensely in future, and pointing me to other literature I might enjoy. (I know Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, and have read a lot of Sayers but not Gaudy Night; and Heyer is unknown to me.) I cannot recommend this highly enough, and hope it gets a reasonable boost for next year's Hugos in the Best Related category.

I was sorry to read that one of the co-editors dropped off the internet before the book was completed, and hope she knows how much pleasure I and other readers are deriving from her efforts.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, do read some Heyer.
Aug. 16th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Seconded. Witty, sparkling, exciting, accessible, and well-researched.
Aug. 16th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
I was intrigued by Bujold's "perceptive remark" that “Shakespeare has romances in all his plays! Some of
them come to really bad ends, but they’re always in there” [page 32]. Does she ship Brutus/Caesar?
Aug. 24th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this recommendation, nwhyte. The Reader's Companion was a lot of fun to do, if also a lot of slog, and I'm delighted it's both being enjoyed and working as a critical/pedagogical resource.

Could you perhaps edit the subject-line to read "& John Lennard" rather than "and John Lenna"? Thanks. (And, FWIW, you can find other, not dissimilar stuff I've done for commercial epublication at Humanities-Ebooks -- including a collection, Of Sex and Faerie, that has essays on the Vorkosiverse and on Bujoldian fanfic.)

And in re: the comment by gareth_rees, well, I'd agree Julius Caesar is one to test the rule, but one doesn't have to ship Brutus and Caesar, or even Brutus and Cassius : Brutus's self-love will do nicely. More generally, though, the point of LMB's perception about romance is that it isn't limited to some designated set of Shakespeare's plays -- those some call 'the romances' (PER, CYM. WT, TEM), or 'the comedies', but is pervasive amid his genre-engineering ; and both in the modern sense of love-story and the older sense of vernacular adventure.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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