Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on May 21, 2015

strangeandnorrellJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a new BBC series that sounded kinda interesting. It takes place in a 19th century Britain where magic had been commonplace several centuries earlier, but for some unknown reason, stopped being practiced. People still studied it, but no one had performed actual magic in 300 years. And of course this is the story of how it started to come back.

Reading the wikipedia page for the book it’s based on, I can see why I didn’t really like the show.

the novel investigates the nature of “Englishness” and the boundaries between reason and unreason, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Dane, and Northern and Southern English cultural tropes/stereotypes. It has been described as a fantasy novel, an alternative history, and a historical novel. It inverts the Industrial Revolution conception of the North/South divide in England: in this book the North is romantic and magical, rather than rational and concrete. It can be usefully compared and contrasted with Elizabeth Gaskell’s attempts at synthesising a unitary English identity in her fiction.

I was thinking escapism, but I got some sort of meditation on national identity. Ah well.

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